5 Ways to Improve Real Estate Marketing to Seniors
In 2017, more than 38 percent of homebuyers were over 52 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report. While seniors, retirees, and those approaching retirement are looking for specific qualities in the properties they buy and in the real estate services they seek, how can real estate agents market to this growing segment of our population as effectively as possible?
Real Estate Marketing: Reflect What Matters to Seniors
A 2018 AARP study found that 41 percent of adults over the age of 50 believe they need to downsize as they get older. With that said, there are alternatives that seniors will consider more than younger homebuyers, like home sharing and communities that offer services that enable aging-in-place. That same AARP study concluded that decreasing mobility – both inside and outside their homes – ranks high in seniors’ worries. This influences the home options they seek, and how to best market to their needs.
Seniors also worry about financial security, unexpected expenses, and living on less. Because they are preparing for a phase in their lives when they won’t earn as much as they did, concerns like affordability rank high with seniors.
In marketing to seniors, it’s also important to realize that digital marketing may be less effective in reaching them than younger generations. With seniors, marketers have found that direct mail as well as paid search and re-targeting campaigns resonate and result in more engagement.
Tailoring Your Services to Appeal to Seniors
Even after your marketing to retirees begins to yield results, you still need to be ready for when they call. What then?
1. Get Credentialed
Go beyond boasting of helping an aging parent, relative or friend. The National Association of Realtors offers the SRES. The Senior Real Estate Specialist certification certifies your knowledge in marketing and selling to, seniors.
2. Answer their questions/Solve their problems
How will your client’s 401(k), IRA, or pension affect the real estate buying process? How does Medicare and Social Security factor in? What about reverse mortgages and aging in place? Do some research and you’ll speak with more confidence and authority. You’ll also be able to show that you can help them with purchasing a home and the process it takes to get there. .
3. Help them downsize
Downsizing may be a relief to many seniors in the long run, but it can be extremely stressful up front. Seniors may need help to see downsizing as a rationalization of their belongings. Focus on what they’ll need in their new home, what will fit, and what can be digitized. Connect seniors with specialists in your network to help them through the downsizing process.
4. A home is really more than a home
While younger generations see promise and potential in buying their first home or up-sizing to a dream home, seniors may be moving out of a home that holds decades of their memories. They may need time to adjust. Be supportive. Acknowledge their feelings. Help them move on. Be human.
5. Don’t call them elderly
Perhaps more so than earlier generations, today’s baby boomers don’t like to be called elderly – though they seem to be comfortable with terms like seniors, elders, or older adults. Realize that seniors may have all sorts of help – solicited or not – from younger friends and family. Be sure you talk to seniors directly and recognize their independence and authority in navigating the real estate landscape.
Seniors, like younger generations, want value, location, and amenities as much as any other client. They also come with their own opportunities, challenges, and perspectives. All of these should, and will, influence how you target your efforts in attracting seniors, nurturing your client relationships with them, and how you will ultimately help them realize their real estate goals. As baby boomers continue to age, retire, relocate, and downsize, this component of the population will continue to grow, providing the market with real estate needs for years, and decades, to come.