Rethinking the 55+ Market

We are excited to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today. Nikki is considered a leading authority on seniors real estate and housing.

Mature Couple at ParkSomeone said to me recently, “Sixty-five is the new forty-five.” We chuckled, but the more I thought about it, the more I found myself in full agreement.

With more and more people working beyond traditional retirement age and the advances in modern medicine, the lines between middle and late adulthood are becoming a bit blurred.

What makes this relevant in the world of real estate?

As our population ages, we will see more and more organizations dedicating their marketing efforts toward the “senior” demographic. You have read previous KCM blogs about the various designations agents can earn for this specific purpose, and undoubtedly you have already seen real estate professionals in your market professing to “specialize”.

Reality check — not all seniors are the same.

Just as with using any label, we run the risk of putting people into a category when they may or may not actually belong there. This is especially true of the senior segment.

Despite the label of “senior,” there are 3 distinct types of moves you may encounter as a real estate professional — all three involve seniors, but they aren’t based necessarily on age. You see, age is not a good predictor of relocation. Instead, people generally make changes in residence based on life circumstances.

Listed below are the three primary types of moves made by those labeled as seniors:

Move #1: Amenity-based

These individuals and/or couples are seeking a certain type of lifestyle and their home is only one component of a much larger picture. When looking to sell, they are usually transferring their equity from one home to the next and can usually either pay cash or put a significant down payment towards their purchase. Depending upon employment status, they may be moving across the country for more appealing climates or seeking a place near an airport making it easier to commute. Some are moving closer to kids and grandkids, while others are moving to destination locations where the family can enjoy visiting.

Social engagement, including quality family and friend connectedness, are key decision-making elements.

Move #2: Anticipatory / Planning

As people age, they may begin to experience changes in personal health status or become the caregiver of a spouse requiring additional care. When this occurs, people may find their current home unmanageable or no longer suited for their current situation. Moving means simplifying and making preparations for future care needs and support. With this type of move, seniors are typically looking to either buy or lease a property with minimal maintenance, accessibility features, and in close proximity to quality healthcare. Family members and adult children may be called upon at this stage to assist, and will often have some influence in the relocation process.

Access to formal and informal support, as well as low maintenance and accessibility features, are primary decision-making factors.

Move #3: Needs-based

While most people intend to live independently until they die, unfortunately, this reality isn’t always possible. As health declines to the point where more support is needed than can be provided for within the person’s home and community, relocation is necessary. This move may involve selling the personal residence and relocating to a senior living community or into the home of a family member. In many cases, needs-based moves involve caregivers and/or family members as additional decision makers. Late-life moves involving frail elderly or those experiencing illnesses or disease processes can be highly emotionally charged and necessitate a level of empathy in addition to real estate competency.

Timing, health status, and caregiver support are keys to decision-making.

As you can see from these various different types of moves, not all seniors share the same housing needs and goals. And while specializing in the 55+ housing market appeals to many, there are actually many sub-niche opportunities within the senior segment worth exploring.

Regardless of whether you choose to make working with mature home buyers and sellers a part of your overall business plan, with at least 1 in 4 home sellers over the age of 65, there is little doubt you will work with older adults in the course of your general real estate practice. When encountering these opportunities, it will serve you well to consider the three types of moves listed here and evaluate your value proposition accordingly, so that you can be the very best agent possible for your mature clients.

With Rates & Prices on the Rise, Do You Know the True Cost of Waiting?

Young Couple Moving HouseThere is a great opportunity that exists now for Millennials who are willing and able to purchase a home NOW… Here are a couple other ways to look at the cost of waiting.

Let’s say you’re 30 and your dream house costs $250,000 today, at 4.41% your monthly Mortgage Payment with Interest would be $1,253.38.

But you’re busy, you like your apartment, moving is such a hassle…You decide to wait till the end of next year to buy and all of a sudden, you’re 31, that same house is $270,000, at 5.7%. Your new payment per month is $1,567.08.

The difference in payment is $313.70 PER MONTH!

That’s like taking a $10 bill and tossing it out the window EVERY DAY!

Or you could look at it this way:

  • That’s your morning coffee everyday on the way to work (Average $2) with $12 left for lunch!
  • There goes Friday Sushi Night! ($80 x 4)
  • Stressed Out? How about 3 deep tissue massages with tip!
  • Need a new car? You could get a brand new $22,000 car for $313.00 per month.

Let’s look at that number annually! Over the course of your new mortgage at 5.7%, your annual additional cost would be $3,764.40!

Had your eye on a vacation in the Caribbean? How about a 2-week trip through Europe? Or maybe your new house could really use a deck for entertaining.  We could come up with 100’s of ways to spend $3,764, and we’re sure you could too!

Over the course of your 30 year loan, now at age 61, hopefully you are ready to retire soon, you would have spent an additional $112,932, all because when you were 30 you thought moving in 2014 was such a hassle or loved your apartment too much to leave yet.

Or maybe there wasn’t an agent out there who educated you on the true cost of waiting a year. Maybe they thought you wouldn’t be ready, but if they showed you that you could save $112,932, you’d at least listen to what they had to say.

They say hindsight is 20/20, we’d like to think that 30 years from now when you are 60, looking back, you would say to buy now…

Who Says Millennials Are Not Buying Houses?

Millennials Moving InWe have often gone against the grain to promote the fact that Millennials have a stronger belief in homeownership than previous generations. Some have strongly disagreed. Well, a new study from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found Millennials now account for the greatest market share of recent home purchases.

NAR’s Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Study for 2014, revealed that Millennials comprised 31 percent of recent purchases, leading all other age groups. Here are the percentages for other generations:

  • 30% – Generation X
  • 30% – Boomer Generation
  • 9% – Silent Generation

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun explained:

“Given that Millennials are the largest generation in history after the baby boomers, it means there is a potential for strong underlying demand. Moreover, their aspiration and the long-term investment aspect to owning a home remain solid among young people.”

Other findings from the report:

  • 87% of recent buyers age 33 and younger said they consider their home purchase a “good financial investment”
  • Millennials were most likely to have a simple desire to own a home of their own as their motive for purchasing
  • The median age of recent Millennial buyers was 29
  • The median income was $73,600.
  • 87% purchased an existing home, and they plan to stay in their homes for a median 10 years.
  • Younger buyers relied more heavily than older groups on real estate agents to help them navigate the process.

Bottom Line

Millennials are in the market and recognize the importance of using a real estate professional to guide them to the closing table.

Millennials: Optimistic & Ready to Buy

YoungFamilyHouseA recent survey by the PulteGroup revealed that the Millennial generation has a more optimistic outlook regarding the American economy than other generations. According to the survey, 54% of Millennials believe the economy is in better shape today than it was last year compared to only 41% of the total population.

It seems this optimism is impacting purchasing decisions as 74% of Millennials view now as an excellent or good time to buy the things they want or need. Jim Zeumer, vice president of corporate communications for the PulteGroup explained:

“No other cohort of adults is nearly as confident about their economic future as the millennials are right now. This is definitely a change, as millennials have regularly been viewed as the disenfranchised generation vastly affected by the fallout of the recession.  But now, with an increased sense of optimism, this generation is starting to feel as though they have the resources available to lead the lives they want or expect to in the future.”


Specific to real estate, the survey indicated:

  • 85% of Millennials plan to purchase a home in the future
  • 49% plan to purchase a home in the next two years
  • Of those planning to purchase in the near-term, 56 percent are current homeowners and 41 percent are renters
  • 65% prefer spending more money on a home that is move-in ready compared to doing renovations
  • 58% increased their interest in purchasing a home in the past year as the positive attributes of homeownership resonate with this generation.