Specialists or not, most Realtors* are familiar with the downsizing trend.
Many Realtors* have helped multiple clients move from large houses to smaller ones. But not until recently have there been people who specialize in helping their clients through the downsizing process. Some have earned the designation “Senior Real Estate Specialist,” a certification granted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As the SERS designation implies (check out the National Association of Realtors site for more information), they help seniors (defined on the NAR site as those aged 50 and older), move from their homes to new, typically smaller homes. Sometimes, their older clients move to assisted living facilities and retirement communities. Other times, their younger clients simply move to new (often smaller) homes — homes in which they can “age in place” — typically single-family homes in traditional neighborhoods, condo or apartment buildings near their children and grandchildren, or active-adult communities for t hose 55 and older.
But as an increasingly large number of baby boomers (those 54 to 74 years old) are taking advantage of the hot real estate market and listing their houses for sale, some real estate agents are self-designating themselves as “downsizing experts,” and they often rely on word of mouth, seminars, direct mail brochures and other advertising to attract new clients. Many work as seller’s agents to help the downsizers sell their homes, and later act as buyer’s agent to help their clients find a new home. As they grow more familiar with the process of helping baby boomers and others downsize into smaller homes and simpler lives, they offer advice and recommendations for their clients on estate sale specialists, professional organizers, moving and storage companies and others who are instrumental in the downsizing process.
“Rightsizing” is the term preferred by many to describe downsizing.
Because the term “downsizing” has a negative connotation in the minds of some people, the term “rightsizing” is often substituted. Downsizing can conjure up images of losing a job or having to downsize because of financial difficulty. Rightsizing, on the other hand, has “smart” connotations associated with it, and suggests eco-friendliness and low-maintenance living.
When considering downsizing, Realtors who have a focus on “seniors” or baby boomers can have an advantage over those who primarily serve first-time home buyers, for example, or people who are interested in building new homes in suburban markets.
*Only those real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors can use the trademarked term “Realtor*.”