Some real estate agents have got the idea into their heads that senior citizens prefer houses, and that there is really no point in trying to sell apartments to them. This is not so. An apartment may be much easier to manage than a house, particularly if the senior lives alone. This way, the entirety of the property would be much more convenient to clean and access. Furthermore, an apartment building with good security may be quite appealing to a senior citizen. It is a sad fact that criminals like to target senior citizens. Of course, the apartment should either be on the ground floor or be in a building with a reliable elevator.
Though many seniors today are still rather active, and may not even be fully retired, mobility is certainly an issue. Stamina and strength naturally decline as a person gets older, so even the healthiest senior citizens might be hesitant about a place that is located too far from hospitals, work, relatives, entertainment facilities, or other places they like to visit. Never assume that just because a buyer is a senior that you are marketing to a person who only wants to sit at home all day. For all you know, that person may be quite active and multi-talented, and even a community leader. You will have better chances through marketing a property that is either located in a not-too-remote residential area, or is located near convenient transportation, such as a bus or subway stop. Furthermore, it certainly helps if the property is in an area with a low incidence of violent crime.
Another unfortunate fact about seniors is that the marketing world in general (not just real estate) does not always treat them well. Many swindlers assume that seniors are stupid and gullible, so it is possible that the senior citizens you are marketing to have decided to put up their guard against all agents and salespeople. You do not necessarily have to be stiff, but do ensure that you and your office do not look sloppy. Even more importantly, make sure that the senior knows that you know what you are talking about. Brush up on your information and be prepared to answer questions. Being able to show certification or that of your firm will also be helpful.
Check Your Attitude
Whatever you do, do not make assumptions about seniors. Or rather, even if you do make assumptions, do not display them in a way that might seem too vulgar, rude, or pushy. For instance, do not go up to a senior and say, "You will want this apartment because cleaning a house is too hard." Rather, mention that other clients were interested in its convenience, particularly after a long day of work or studying.
Also, while it is possible to make a few generalizations about marketing to seniors, always remember that you are talking to an individual human being, not just a member of the cohort of Old People. This person has his or her own tastes, values, and cultural background. Try to get to know him or her a bit-just as you would with a younger client.
About the Author:
Beverly Manago is a freelance writer focused on the real estate industry. She is also a consultant for My Single Property Websites, a web 2.0 marketing tool that lets real estate agents create stunning virtual tours and single property sites easily, with a free version available for listing presentations. She also contributes to the Online Real Estate Disclosures there.