What's the difference between a senior real estate specialist and a garden-variety real estate agent?

3 answers | Last updated: Dec 04, 2013
A fellow caregiver asked...

I'm looking for a real estate agent to sell my parents' home. I keep running into references to "senior real estate specialists" and "senior-specialized agents." What does that mean, exactly? How are these different from a garden-variety real estate agent?

Expert Answers

The most important distinction is that senior real estate specialists and senior-specialized agents (the terms are used interchangeably) focus on the niche market of seniors selling their homes. Because of this, they may be better at handling the emotional tumult that often surrounds the sale of an older person's home. A good senior-specialized agent will be tuned in to the fact that selling and moving is an especially disruptive and anxious time for older people. She'll be patient with your parents and will listen to what they're willing, and not willing, to do to the home before the sale. She'll be sensitive to the fact that your parents have likely been in their home for decades, and she'll know that things like inspections, negotiations, staging, and renovating the home may be upsetting or even insulting.

A senior-trained agent may also be involved with the moving process, and she may be able to help your parents find useful social services and businesses near their new home. Such an agent makes a longer-term, more involved commitment. Despite this, senior specialists don't typically charge a higher rate than other realtors -- they've just made the decision to work with a clientele that tends to require more TLC.

Whether you decide to work with a senior-specialized agent or not, be sure to look for someone who will support your parents through the process.

Community Answers

Stacybusch answered...

Cathie's explanation was right on the mark. The SRES designation has become very popular over the last few years and I caution you to be sure that you have checked references and met with the agent several times before hiring them.

Working with seniors and their families takes a special talent and requires patience, understanding and compassion. It is one thing to have all the "knowledge" in regard to selling a seniors home but quite another to actually get in the trenches and do the hard work of sorting, letting go and moving forward WITH the client.

Most senior move management companies have agents they work with that have been "tested" with many clients. I would suggest finding a senior move manager in your area that can refer you to someone that is competent and able to work with you and your parents.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me at 408-300-3590 or stacy@tailoredtransitionsre.com.

Best of luck!!!!

Stacy Busch, CEO Tailored Transitions, Inc. www.tailoredtransitionsre.com stacy@tailoredtransitionsre.com 408-300-3590

Leslie read- sres answered...

I agree with both of these ladies and would like to give a few more tips for selecting a SRES. It is very important that you (the prospective client or family) "click" with your SRES and vice versa. Good communication is key; interview your SRES to see if he/she listens patiently, asks you questions to find out what is most important to you and addresses your goals, concerns and fears. Some seniors and/or their families may want a little help, others may want or need the SRES to handle all the details. Ask what the SRES is willing and capable of doing for you to make sure it's a good fit. In addition to being kind and compassionate toward clients and families, a good SRES should also be your advocate and a strong, capable Realtor who knows how to market your property to get you top dollar. If he or she has some financing knowledge that is also a plus, as that will give you an advantage in choosing the right offer and buyer. Ask for references, testimonials and proof of licensure and associations, including the National Association of Realtors and Seniors Real Estate Specialist Council- www.seniorsrealestate.com/. There is a referral network nationwide for SRES Realtors and we are happy to work together to help our seniors and their families transition to the next chapter of life.

Keep smiling and keep the faith...

Leslie A. Read PA Seniors Real Estate Specialist RE/MAX Properties www.LeslieRead.com