Graff-Donaldson Realty Group CB&A, Realtors
BHGRE Gary Greene
What does it mean if a real estate agent has an SRES designation?
SRES stands for Seniors Real Estate Specialist, and it’s one of about 25 designations that real estate agents can specialize in. The SRES designation, as the name suggests, is sought after by agents interested in helping seniors with their special real estate needs. For example, seniors may need to know how to:
- Find nearby communities that are senior-focused, like assisted living or age-restricted communities.
- Use pensions, 401(k) accounts and other assets when making a real estate transaction.
- Understand how Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid factor into real estate transactions.
- Put together a Housing for Older Persons Act application.
- Choose among the available mortgage and loan financing options.
- Find other specialists that can help with a move.
An SRES agent can help with all of the above, so their clients can choose the best living situation for the present and future.
Why should seniors consider working with an SRES agent?
Seniors typically have different motivations when moving, compared to the rest of the population. If a real estate agent doesn’t understand these motivations, they won’t be able to put their client’s interests first. SRES agents are trained to understand why seniors move and what they need when moving, so they can provide valuable insight to their clients. There are several benefits to this approach, including:
More effective planning
Seniors are usually looking down the road some when moving, especially if they have one or more chronic health conditions. Within a few years of the initial move, it may be necessary to find another community that can offer specialized healthcare resources. Another example is a senior couple looking to acquire an income-generating property. There are many more examples, but the point is, seniors need a plan in place when they move.
An SRES agent recognizes the need for this planning and can help their clients forecast what their future residential needs may include. If health is a concern, for instance, the agent can help locate a community that offers independent living, assisted living and nursing assistance all in the same area, so multiple moves aren’t necessary.
More selective floorplans
Many seniors also need particular household features in their home, and an SRES agent can help locate properties that offer them. For example, a senior with mobility restrictions may need additional accessibility features in their home, like a lift or grab bars. Seniors often prefer floorplans that are easy to navigate, as well, like open floor designs. These floorplans are frequently found in communities where the homes have been built to Universal Design standards.
Agents without an SRES designation may not know where to look for Universal Design communities and homes that check these boxes, but SRES agents do. As such, an SRES agent can provide their clients with housing options that are compatible with their needs, which saves time.
Senior-focused knowledge of financing
Seniors have additional options when financing a real estate purchase, like reverse mortgages. Seniors also have additional resources when buying a property, such as 401(k), IRA and other retirement accounts.
SRES agents are familiar with how these resources can be leveraged, so they can help their clients save money during a transaction and ensure their clients don’t enter into a risky financing arrangement.
Familiarity with other senior-focused moving experts
Seniors require additional support when moving to a new home, and SRES agents, as helpful as they are, can only provide part of this support. Seniors also need professional movers and move managers to see the process through. An SRES agent is connected to these experts professionally, so they can provide help with a search for other experts.
A sensitive approach that seniors may need
More than 50 percent of moving seniors have spent at least 10 years in the home they are moving from, so it’s not just leaving a space—it’s leaving a place where many memories have been made. That’s a challenging transition for many seniors, which is why SRES agents are trained to understand and empathetically respond to the emotions that may arise during a move.
How can seniors find an SRES agent?
SRES agents are one part of a larger network of senior moving experts, so they can usually be located through other senior services providers. Ideally, the SRES agent you choose will have plenty of experience working with senior clients, so they can specify what they do differently for their senior clients. Further, SRES agents should be active members of the National Association of Realtors and the SRES Council, as these professional networks provide agents with continuing education.
Moving to a new home is a big change for anyone, but for seniors, it may mean transitioning to a new way of living. SRES agents know what their clients face during this time, as well as what their clients can do to ensure the transition is stress-free and ideal for the long term.