Homebuyers Nearing Retirement Age: Nine Ways You Can Help Them Find The Right Home

Real Estate

In real estate, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on your clients, you’ll have to cater to various budgets, needs and interests. This includes where they are in life: A couple or individual looking for their first home will have different wants than a family of five, or someone who intends to travel for large portions of the year.

So how can real estate agents best help people who are much later in their lives or careers? What types of properties hold greater value, and what are some of the trouble spots to watch out for? To find out more, we asked a panel of Forbes Real Estate Council members what real estate agents should keep in mind when working with people nearing the age of retirement. Here is what members had to say:

Members share a few things to keep in mind when helping homebuyers who are nearing the age of retirement.

Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Consider Their Retirement Goals And Circumstances

When working with buyers near retirement age, help them plan not only for immediate wants but also goals once they hit this major life milestone. Talk to them about their plans. Is this the last home purchase? Do they want to travel? Do they like yard work and gardening? Are there any health concerns? Having these conversations before they buy will make you an agent they rave about to others. – Katie BrownDowntown Katie Brown, Realtor

2. Craft A ‘Cheat Sheet’ To Identify Their Ideal Property

Finding the right home for someone nearing retirement is very different from the typical buyer since they are often downsizing. Craft a cheat sheet to help your clients identify specific needs such as accessibility, the minimum number of bedrooms/bathrooms, walkability, support services needed and security. Create a list of vendors who support this specific client base as well. - Lisa FettnerReferralExchange

3. Talk About Location And Lifestyle

Does the new home fit your home buyer’s lifestyle now and through retirement? While living on a beach or in the country may sound like a dream, it is important for buyers to consider their home’s location. Many people enjoy traveling in the early years of retirement. Is there an airport nearby? As we age, more health issues come up. Are their medical care professionals within driving distance? – Joshua LyboltLifstyl Real Estate

4. Present The Right Combination Of Affordability, Functionality And Personality

When looking for the perfect retirement home, stick with a single-family home instead of condominiums to avoid costly monthly association dues that can rise yearly. That goes for avoiding neighborhoods with an HOA that requires dues each year. Keep your costs low. Make sure to purchase a home with a master bathroom on the first floor and choose a home that fits your personality for years to come. - Angela YaunDay Realty Group

5. Consider An Investment Property

As people near retirement, the equity they have in their homes is an important investment to consider. It’s now possible to separate where you live from where you own. Some retirees would be better served living in a rental and owning income property in other markets. In many cases, the income generated by investment properties covers the rent and living expenses while also building equity value. - Gary BeasleyRoofstock

6. Discuss Their Income Expectations

You must have your client look at their ability to debt service after retirement. Of course, a prudent lender will consider this, but it is important that the client do so for themselves. Are they bringing equity from another property? If so, how does that help? Each client is different, so tailor accordingly. Maybe there could be a whole new allocation of existing assets. - Michael J. PolkPolk Properties / Matrix Properties

7. Look At Mortgage Options

When working with a homebuyer nearing retirement, it’s important you factor in that their income will be set from retirement on. So, a 10-year mortgage with a fixed rate might be more beneficial. Also, if your client needs to sell before paying off the mortgage, you want to think through what type of mortgage loan will benefit this person so that they profit and can have a good quality of life. - Bill LyonsGriffin Funding

8. Give Them The Ability To Age In Place

These buyers typically desire smaller homes with requirements unrelated to constraints based on occupation or school. External factors may include proximity to children, recreational activities, senior communities or other hobbies they have long been interested in. Financial stability and certainty are important as well—finding a home that will allow them to enjoy a stress-free retirement. - Sumant SridharanHomeLight

9. Ask Smart Questions And Listen To Their Needs

The most important thing, as with all buyers, is to listen to them. Because of their age and personal life circumstances, many times they will make decisions based upon outside personal factors instead of what is necessarily the most prudent from a fiscal standpoint. Age brings perspective and to be successful with the older buyer, you must acknowledge that and embrace their needs and desires. - Blake PlumleyCapital Pursuits LLC

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