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How to market to senior buyers, retirees

Most real estate agents know that they will have to evolve and dynamically shift their selling and marketing strategies in order to stay up to date on new developments. As a real estate agent, you know the ins and outs of this constant self-improvement process, and you know you need to stay on your game to succeed in this business. But what can you do to break out of the rut and get ahead of the curve? Enter: senior buyers and retirees!

Focusing your agency activities on the 50-and-older demographic can be a lucrative and highly enjoyable sector of the real estate market. In this post, we’ll first look at how the senior buyers are doing in the real estate market, and then we’ll see how you can break into this market.

What do senior buyers want?

The senior real estate market is expanding rapidly, and studies show that the main reason is longevity. A natural result of increased life expectancy is more seniors, but how does that impact the housing industry?

Besides creating more seniors worldwide, we can also look at socio-economic factors. Selling to senior buyers is one of the most profitable real estate niches; it surpassed the National Property Index (NPI) and multi-family properties in returns and income returns. Additionally, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the only residential real estate market that exceeded the NPI and multi-family total returns. While the NPI had 0.74% returns during Q12020, senior housing grew to 0.79%.

It’s worth diving into the senior real estate market. From assisted living to active adult communities, senior living is a hot sector of the real estate market. This trend will continue, as life expectancy will lead to continuous growth in the senior/retiree group. Researches show that by 2029, an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers will have turned 65, meaning they’ll make up 25% of the American population. This unstoppable trend will increase the demand for senior living facilities based on the level of care, amenities, and other senior-related interests. So what can you do to break into this market?

Marketing to Boomers

Almost 40% of all homebuyers in 2020 were 55 or older, and Baby Boomers are part of this growing housing market segment. Senior buyers, retirees, and those who will soon join their ranks belong to the most affluent target demographics in which real estate agents do business. 

When marketing to Boomers, the most important factor to analyze is the type of homes that senior buyers are looking for. With children grown and gone, seniors need less living space necessary. An American Associations of Retired Persons’ study from 2018 shows that around 41% of adults over age 50 consider downsizing post-retirement. This, coupled with seniors’ decreased mobility, influences the housing options they seek. Additionally, senior buyers’ budgets plays a vital role in the housing types and prices they can afford with unexpected expenses; living on less is another factor influencing their decisions.

While seniors aren’t as likely as Millennials to search for their next home online, studies have shown that Facebook is used by around 65% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and by 61% of seniors over age 65. When marketing to seniors, you must be aware of their priorities, worries, and desires. You have to know how to talk and relate to them. As this is a specific niche in real estate, you could get the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) certification through the National Association of Realtors (NAR). 

It’s also important to do your research, whether that means understanding reverse mortgages or understanding how buying a home will affect retirees’ 401(k), IRA, or pension plans, answering their questions is part of the package. With any senior generation, health care and social assistance should be a focus for any real estate agent who wants to be successful, so check the area for amenities.

When working with senior buyers, give them the straight and simple facts, and make sure you know the answers to their questions. This generation of seniors is the most independent we have seen in a long time. If you want to attract a specific clientele, you’ve got to offer a product that they want. Senior buyers may not be limited to one type of home, but some directions can be applied. 

To find out what attracts seniors the most, look at what budget senior buyers typically have in your area. With a little research, you can easily find out how much this demographic is generally spending on their home purchases in any area. Once you know how much they’re spending, you can start finding listings that suit their budgets and tastes. Most importantly, however, is to find out what each senior client wants.

Choosing the right marketing

You might think that conventional marketing (such as lawn signs, business cards and billboards) is more appropriate for the senior buyer set. Don’t dismiss online marketing so fast. Social media is a great option, as are video calls and even virtual tours. Virtual tours are the ideal way to go about showing off listings, especially during the current pandemic. 

Always find ways to stay connected. Retirees often have plenty of time on their hands. By staying connected via phone, email, or traditional postage, you show you’re focused on their situation. And remember that customer relationship management is greatly appreciated by seniors. The agency relationship doesn’t end with the closing day. A housewarming gift is always a great gesture that will ensure your client satisfaction and great reviews.

RealTrends’ guest contributor Beni Restea is passionate about real estate, finance and traveling. Beni’s content is primarily focused on real estate, but squeezing in a few blogs about traveling is not uncommon, as he spends plenty of free time traveling and exploring the world on his road bike.