We’re sure you’ve read about it: baby boomers aren’t moving and they’re wrecking the real estate market. They’ve decided to age in place, just when so many buyers want to buy a home.
To read real estate news about the baby boomer generation one would think the entire generation is passively aggressively thumbing their nose at both home buyers and real estate agents.
However, that reporting may not be entirely accurate. After all, who was it that kept the housing market afloat during the recovery from the Great Recession?
And, while it’s true that Millennials have a large presence in the housing market (39 percent of homebuyers), the two older generations (anyone 55 and older) make up 37 percent of home-buying pool.
If you haven’t bought or sold a home since the kids were in diapers, you’ll need to brush up on the basics if you plan to sell or buy. And we would love to help you.
1. Carefully reconsider aging in place
“Aging in place.” It’s one of those buzz phrases the media came up with to describe older Americans who “stubbornly” refuse to move and plan to live out their lives in their current homes.
And, many of us do. But many of us haven’t thought through that process. As the knees start creaking, the arthritis sets in and we become winded carrying groceries up a flight of stairs, reality sets in.
It turns out, many of us boomers are realize that aging in place doesn’t necessarily mean aging in this place. According to a recent study by Home Instead Senior Care, one in four boomers are planning on selling their current home and buying a smaller, more age-appropriate one.
You know: one story, less square footage and low-maintenance, inside and out.
2. What will you do with your current home?
Your choices here are limited. You can sell the home (which many older, downsizing Americans plan to do) and use the equity you’ve built up for the new home. Or, you can rent it out and, if the home is paid off, enjoy the monthly income from your tenants.
Renting it out does come with drawbacks, however. Being a landlord, even if you do hire a management company, comes with many downsides. We always recommend that our boomer clients speak with their financial planners before making the decision.
3. Hiring the right real estate agent
If you decide selling is the choice for you, we hope to be among the agents you interview to partner with you during this life transition. And, please, interview several. Don’t lower your expectations because you are in the driver’s seat.
High expectations for those you hire to assist you are good. Be sure that each agent you interview understands your expectations, listens to you and lets you know exactly how he or she will help. Things to ask about include marketing plans and what the process of listing your home will entail. Do you want your agent to hold open houses? What types of pricing strategies does the agent use? Definitely ask for current comparable sales for your area—sites like Zillow are helpful as an estimate, but a good agent knows how to use actual sales in order to help you set your price well.
There are many factors to consider when choosing an agent to help you, whether you decide to sell or if you choose to keep your current home as a rental and buy a smaller primary residence. Contact me and I’d be happy to email you a list of questions to ask.
We all get older. It doesn’t have to be complicated by feeling stuck in a home that no longer serves your needs. Let us help get you home.