A new type of real estate agent is beginning to emerge: a senior housing specialist (also called "senior housing professionals").
When a senior--whether it's you or a loved one--is in the market for a new place to live, there are some considerations that are unique to the situation. Whether it's finding a building that will be conducive to aging in place modifications down the road or transitioning into an assisted living facility, seniors have considerations that other homebuyers simply may not have.
Traditionally, the burden has been on the senior (or his or her family members) to find the best situation and know what questions to ask. This can be challenging, as many seniors don't know what to expect, and thus cannot be expected to ask the right questions. As such, they may not even be aware of the various senior housing options open to them in their given communities.
Given the wide array of options open to seniors, as well as their unique needs, finding a new home for a senior can be a challenge, to say the least. This can be complicated by the fact that many seniors, when they make a move late in life, may be dealing with a host of other issues at the same time. The additional stress of a move can be overwhelming and difficult to manage.
Now, a new type of real estate agent is beginning to emerge: senior housing specialists (also called "senior housing professionals"). These real estate agents have put an emphasis on learning all about the housing issues that affect seniors in all walks of life. While they are licensed and credentialed as "regular" real estate professionals, they have completed additional coursework in order to obtain the designation as senior housing specialists.
A senior housing specialist assists seniors in finding new housing that suits a senior's current situation as well as provides the flexibility that the senior may not even realize that he or she will be needing down the line. What's more, because senior moves quite frequently involve the input and collaboration of other members of the senior's family--such as adult children--a senior housing specialist is trained to work with this extended group before, during, and after the housing search.
Senior housing specialists are trained to work with seniors (and their families) in order to handle both the financial and sentimental factors involved in making a move late in life. By putting a premium on open and honest communication, a senior housing specialist can help elderly people and their support networks better able to assess and predict their needs. This, in turn, helps shape the search for a new home by putting the proper emphasis on certain features.
Of course, when a senior decides it's time to move, that will necessarily entail selling the home that the senior currently owns. Depending on the facts of the situation, this can be a sensitive and emotional time. A senior who is letting go of the house where he or she raised a family and went through so many of life's milestones may face some difficulties.
A senior housing specialist is trained to be sensitive to the emotional nature of selling one's family home. In addition to engaging in the "normal" real estate agent tasks of facilitating the listing, showing, and selling of the home, a senior housing specialist can help deal with emotional natures of the move, too.
All realtors are able to assist in the process of buying and selling a property. A senior housing specialist is no different in this regard. Each one holds the usual licenses and credentials necessary for real estate agents.
However, a senior housing specialist's contribution doesn't stop there. Senior housing specialists can be a valuable source of knowledge and information. For example, a senior who is moving from a home where he or she has lived for decades may very well have far too many possessions to feasibly move into a newer home--especially when the move is part of a downsizing effort. In such a situation, a senior housing specialist would be able to point the senior and his or her family in the direction of services such as decluttering services.
Additionally, a senior housing specialist is well-versed in other options for seniors, as well. For example, a senior may be considering a reverse mortgage as a way of obtaining the cash he or she needs to live on during his or her last few years of retirement. A senior housing specialist would be able to navigate the senior through the process of obtaining a reverse mortgage, and could answer questions that a "normal" real estate agent may not know.
Finally, keep in mind that there are a number of government programs aimed at assisting certain types of seniors: a senior housing specialist will know which ones are relevant, and how they apply to you (or to your elderly loved one). Rather than trying to figure out what programs are available, whether you (or your elderly loved one) are a match, and how to go about taking advantage of the program, you can turn that process over to someone who has been educated on the topic, and who can assist in cutting through all the red tape and getting real results from the applicable government programs.
As you can see, senior housing specialists continually engage in ongoing education in order to keep abreast of the newest trends and offerings that are relevant to today's seniors. In so doing, they are able to offer the kind of knowledge and support necessary to help seniors make the best choice when it comes to finding a new place to live.
If you, or an elderly loved one, are considering a move, take advantage of the services offered by senior housing specialists. Rather than trying to find the best place to live without fully understanding all of the housing considerations that are relevant to today's seniors, utilize the training and experience of a senior housing specialist.
There's no need to try to figure out things such as whether a given house will be accessible for a senior who may become disabled, or how to pull equity out of a senior's home. What's more, you need not try to navigate the maze of government programs aimed at assisting seniors in the process of relocating. Contact a senior housing specialist today, and let him or her go to work for you. You'll be glad you did.