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Full Version: Speaking of niches - anyone have an SRES designation?
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Karri's thread on seeking out a niche got me thinking (I'm signed up for my pre-licensing course, so that's all the further I am in my new career). I'm intrigued by the idea of specializing in working with seniors, especially given the ever-growing senior population.

After what I've been through in the past couple years with my parents (who both passed away), it seems like there's a real shortage of support for elders and their families who are trying to figure out how to make their housing situation work in their favor while their good health and financial resources dwindle. I gained a lot of insights on the difficulties of procuring funds for assisted living (when there's been on advance planning), equipping homes for wheelchair access, staging an outdated home for sale, and working a transaction from a distance. I helped my mother obtain a reverse mortgage, and I've also made a lot of contacts at the local assisted living communities, who might be able to help me generate referrals. I also like the idea of collaborating with service contractors who could help ease a widow or widower's transition to assisted living.

My area has a lot of young families and townhome/condo developments, but there are also A LOT of newer 55+ communities, a couple nicely maintained modular home communities, half a dozen high-quality assisted living/continuing care communities, and pockets of what I like to call "Old Money" homes---large stately homes that have had one owner for decades.

Here's my question: has anyone pursued the Realtor SRES designation? Is it worthwhile? And is it possible to make a living in this specialty? I think that personally it would be very fulfilling, but these are some of the concerns I have:

--aging couples who don't see eye to eye on their future needs
--elderly clients not having the support system (or the willingness) they need to make their property sale-ready
--delivering a lot of bad news about reverse mortgage payoffs
--listing properties that scream "an elderly person lived here" but are located in neighborhoods that are otherwise populated by young families
--working with feuding family members who are divided over making a quick sale versus trying to make an unrealistically huge profit off their parents' property
--ending up as a specialist in modular home sales with tiny commissions

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts!
I think it sounds like an awesome niche if you have a comfort level (and the patience for) working with seniors (and their families). I definitely think you could make a good business of it, especially if you truly offer special services and do them well. Once you're licensed and up and running, I'd love for you to check out my ACRE (Accredited Consultant in Real Estate) program because I'm thinking this could be a business for you somewhat separate from your traditional real estate business... just a thought.

The secret to making a go of this won't be in creative marketing, though, it will be in your building a sphere of influence that includes "access" to seniors - either by getting involved in senior communities and/or making sure your existing sphere is aware of your specialty.

I don't know anything about the SRES designation, but I tend to not get too excited about such things... anyone else?
Thanks for your response, Jennifer -- I've already looked into the ACRE program information and have it on my long-range to-do list! I would agree that conventional marketing probably will only have limited use with this population. The leasing consultants at the assisted living communities are very aggressive, and I think some of the ones I met would see the win-win possibilities of referring their potential clients to a realtor who understands their needs. In my experience, social workers at hospitals and rehab facilities are TREMENDOUS resources for seniors and their families, and I think they would be a good group to target for building my SOI---provided that I can demonstrate that I can do more than just push for another listing.

Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope to hear more insights from SWSers who work in communities that are commonly sought out by retirees!
I just had to add a postscript to this thread because I've been doing more research on this (I have to find SOME way to pass the time until my licensing class starts!). I've learned that there's a national organization of "Senior Move Managers" that offers certification to people who want to work with families to get older relatives into housing appropriate for their needs -- they even offer training on how to work with people to surrender their pets to family members or shelters if they're no longer able to care for them (or if they're moving to a facility that doesn't allow them). There's a small handful of these certified move managers in the Philadelphia area---all of whom list as part of their service offerings "assistance with selecting a reputable realtor who understands your needs." I think I've got myself a list of names of people I should introduce myself to!
Laura, that is great news! Are the SMMs paid or are they volunteers? Sounds like a great group. I'll have to find out if they are in my area. I also enjoy working with the elderly/retirees and, at some point, will look in the SRES designation. Keep us updated.
That's actually what Mollie Wasserman (the founder of ACRE) is going to be doing - you might want to touch base with her to do some brainstorming!
(06-19-2012 09:52 PM)Cracken Wrote: [ -> ]Laura, that is great news! Are the SMMs paid or are they volunteers? Sounds like a great group. I'll have to find out if they are in my area. I also enjoy working with the elderly/retirees and, at some point, will look in the SRES designation. Keep us updated.

Apparently, it's evolving into a legitimate paid profession! There's such a huge need---the certification also gives you background to build a schedule of fees that can be tailored to the situation. From what I read, you can also work as a consultant to families who are trying to decide whether they can "age in place" by having their home modified (and hiring personal care assistance) or move to a different type of community. The organization's website has a lot of interesting information: http://www.nasmm.org --- you should check it out!
(06-20-2012 04:34 AM)Jennifer Allan Hagedorn Wrote: [ -> ]That's actually what Mollie Wasserman (the founder of ACRE) is going to be doing - you might want to touch base with her to do some brainstorming!

Oh my gosh, I didn't realize that was the direction she had moved into! I will definitely have to get in touch with her to pick her brain---thank you so much for the tip!
Boy have I been missing out. I do not have a good explanation or even a flimsy excuse, but it has been so long since I visited SWS Forum. I read your post about senior designation along with all of your concerns. Since you posted back in 2012, I'm quite sure that by now you have experienced some of them.

I have had my SRES designation for 11 plus years and I've started a foundation PRKS. Acronym for Patience, Respect and Kindness for Seniors. My dad got sick 5 years ago very suddenly and the nightmare that we lived I would not wish on anyone. Since that time, I have made it my life's goal to make sure that others would be prepared and have things in order. I have aligned myself with a team of experts and like-minded professionals including but not limited to:

Estate planning and advanced directives(extremely important)
Housing experts
Moving and packing experts
Medicare experts
At home care
And more

I have sponspored seminars to try to get the information out there. Right now I am in the process of placing myself in situations where I can be available for questions from seniors and pre seniors. My specialty is working with seniors to assist them with all of their needs. And this is whether or not they have a home to sell.

It is very rewarding and there is a great need for this type of service and it is only going to become an even greater need in the near future.

Perhaps there are others belonging to SWS that would like to correspond with each other with new and innovative ideas or just for moral support.

Glad to be back.

Linda
Nice to have you back, Linda! The SWS Forum hasn't been terribly active lately - which I believe to be a function of a shift from forum usage to Facebook... but hopefully some SWS'ers will see this post and want to connect!
Thank you Jennifer. I missed you all.
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