|By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!
It’s estimated that there are more than 78 million seniors across North America, so certainly choosing this niche is a great way to tap into the market’s supply and demand. It really goes much further than that for most agents though. For many who choose to become specialists in the senior market it is much more about building valuable long term, incredible relationships with a generation of people who both need us to teach them in terms of what they need to know to protect their interests and also who have so much to teach us in return.
“It really is a niche where you become passionate and protective of your clients. There’s a lot more emotion and personal interaction than there is with other market segments,” said Debbie Rodgers, real estate coach and SRES instructor. “My kids and I would laugh at times when I took on a new senior client. I would call them my ‘five-pounders’ because ultimately, that’s how much weight I would gain with each one after meeting with them every week for cookies and coffee.” Debbie chose this niche back in the 90s when the market was actually very similar to what we are seeing today. As a single mom with two young children she very much wanted to stay in real estate and work during the day while her children were in school. She’s teaching agents all about how back then, and today, seniors are a great target market for doing just that and developing a powerful referral network who, when you do your best for them, are loyal in return.
More than 16,000 REALTORS® have earned the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation from the National Association of REALTORS® and cooperating Canadian Association of Realtors®. They offer a powerful course designed to educate agents on everything from understanding and working with seniors, to government laws, programs and special services available to them. The course also teaches the subtle nuances and empathy needed to work best with this generation and their extended families as well. You are made critically aware of how to best protect their rights, preserve their trust and truly become an advocate they need. To learn more about earning this special designation visit them online at www.seniorsrealestate.com.
Like many agents getting their start in this business, Debbie began by working with first time home buyers. Unafraid of standing in front of a crowd, she enjoyed the opportunity (and the time management) of hosting first time home buying workshops. “It’s a great way to get your message to 15-20 people at a time, as opposed to going door-to-door or calling people individually,” shared Ms. Rodgers. As she expanded her business to work with seniors she leveraged that talent and time to host workshops specifically targeted towards the needs of seniors. In fact, she became so passionate about senior advocacy, she actually ran for City Council and served from 1996-2000, and ensuring all the while that her area implemented senior benefits in their communities.