BACK ON MY SOAP BOX - I finished watching "5 Flights Up" over the weekend and once again realized why we do what we do. Ultimately at the end of this movie the older couple ended up deciding to stay in their home. They chose to stay because they had an overly exuberant agent that was overwhelming them with information and pushing them to make quick decisions.
What disturbed me most about this movie was the fact that the first half was spent showing you why they were moving. One of the biggest reasons was the stairs that both the husband and the dog were having difficulty climbing (there was no elevator and they lived on the 5th floor). There was even one part where the husband looked like he lost his balance on the stairs and, as the movie watcher, you were fearful he was going to fall.
This particular couple was just like many of the families we serve. They were doing what they could to be proactive and to start making decisions so that they could find a place where they could live out the rest of their lives safely and comfortably. In walks the agent doing her job as she normally does but not realizing that the needs of the clients standing before her are different than those of her typical seller.
I'm not saying our clients have lost the capacity to make their own decisions or that they need to be left out of any part of the process. But what I am saying is that typically they haven't sold or bought a home in 30+ years, the market has changed dramatically since then and our clients have slowed down substantially. As Realtors we need to recognize the needs of our clients and perform in a way that is understanding and insightful of their current state of mind and physical health. Our job is to help, not hinder, the process and to do whatever needs to be done to assist our clients in reaching THEIR goals.
For this particular couple, the end result will likely be that of many scenarios we see in our line of work. They will now stay in their home until a crisis occurs that forces them into some sort of assisted living or skilled nursing to live out the rest of their lives. It will be somewhere that they did not have the opportunity to choose themselves and the responsibility to make that choice will be left to someone else...not them. Unfortunately, this entire situation could have been avoided by hiring an agent that understood them, their needs, and did the job they hired her to do rather than overloading them with useless tasks, responsibilities and putting them in the middle of difficult negotiations.
When deciding to make a later in life transition, and hiring the professionals that are going to assist you or a loved one, please be cognizant of who they are and what their experience is. Please be sure that you are hiring someone that has a tremendous amount of experience with seniors and can easily navigate the waters ahead. Be sure that they have a plan and that the plan is NOT to put you in the middle of everything. Remember, you are hiring the agent you are hiring because they know how to sell homes and should not need you to be in the middle other than to give an answer of yes or no. Your job is to make decisions, your agents job is to absorb all the stress and angst and to make the sale of your home pleasant and stress/worry-free.
On that note, there are many "Senior Real Estate Specialists" out there but for the great majority of them this is only a part of their business and not their entire business. While that doesn't make them any better or worse at selling homes it does make them less experienced in what you need as a senior selling your home for the first time in 30+ years.
At Tailored Transitions we are so committed to the clientele we serve that we have made it the FOCUS of our business since day one. We were the very first senior focused real estate/move management service in the Bay Area and we have never strayed from our mission or our purpose. Our team ranked in the top 3% for homes sold through Intero Real Estate Services nationwide last year (2014) and we continue to grow those numbers this year. In addition, we pride ourselves on getting the highest prices on all of the homes we sell...we do this by negotiating FOR you prior to ever sitting in front of you or your family. If you want a seasoned agent that is not only seasoned in the real estate market and how to negotiate but also on your specific needs then it's time to call Tailored Transitions and hire the best and most talented in the field of Senior Real Estate!
Okay, off my soap box now...