What are the qualities necessary for a senior relocation expert? There is no such 'designation'
but this is a particularly delicate niche.
The first thing anyone working with relocating seniors must realize is that it is probably traumatic
for the seniors. They are most probably leaving a home they have lived in for some years, full of
memories and 'stuff' that they have kept to reinforce the memories, or just haven't gotten around
to throwing out.
In relocating, some seniors will be going to a warmer climate and purchasing a new property.
The experienced senior relocation person will assist by referring them to a top agent in the area
to which the seniors are moving in to help them find the new property and make the transition as
easy as possible. That's a wonderful scenario for everyone.
Some seniors, however, will be going to retirement facilities for assisted living or nursing care.
This requires a special sensitivity to what the seniors are leaving behind in their minds. One
cannot treat this as a relocation to the 'sun belt.' This requires more time, coordination, and the
ability to listen and empathize. Frequently, this is a very emotional time because while the
seniors realize they must make this move, they feel like it is not wholly under their control. As
people age, control is eroded in the aging process. Their children will tell them what they should
be doing, as well as every book, television program and think they are an adviser. It's not a pretty
What makes the specialist so special?
The ability to listen and separate fact from emotion.
The ability to empathize and understand that while this may be necessary, the move may not be
exactly what the clients want to do.
The ability to find ancillary resources, such as people to help in removing accumulated
possessions the clients cannot take with them, house cleaners, general handymen to bring the
property to a marketable condition, if necessary, landscapers, etc. Frequently, older people fail
to see things in the home that require attention. My own mother, for example, could not see well
enough to understand that the paint was peeling off the walls, so I had to bring this to her
attention carefully. She did not wish to do anything about it, so we priced the property taking
that factor into account.
The ability to coordinate so that the transition is as seamless as possible. We all know that as
people age, they become more resistant to change and change bothers them.
How do I approach senior relocation?
First, I meet with ALL the decision-makers, whether just the seniors or other people involved
with the decision-making process. We discuss the desired end result and methods of achieving
this result with the least amount of upset to everyone involved. I spend as much time as
necessary speaking with the seniors to understand their feelings. Being a senior myself, I can
understand that this change may be earth-shattering to them, especially if it is not their own idea.
We then explore financial aspects. What do the seniors require and is it possible to achieve what
they need? Do they have the necessary wherewithal to make whatever improvements or repairs
are necessary? Do I need to provide resources for these things? Are all the decision-makers on
the same page about bringing the property up to marketability if it is not already so.
With all these things in mind, we go through the property point by point to recognize positives
and negatives. I tell them that I will be bringing in a blue ribbon committee to view the property
so we know how the real estate community at large will see it.
I then go back to the drawing board to create a plan that takes into account the needs of the
sellers, the condition of the property, the desired time frame, and any necessary referrals.
Does it sound like a lot of time is spent in preparation? The answer is yes. I am dealing with a
specialized group that frequently has special needs from emotional, physical, and financial
Once the property is prepared for market and listed, I group showings so that it is less
inconvenient for the sellers to be out of the property. My strategy is not to have the sellers home
for several reasons: 1) they are too emotionally attached to the property and if they hear any
negative comments they tend to become offended; and 2) prospective purchasers need to have
the freedom to talk about what they would change and how they view the property themselves.
Feedback is given to all parties so that everyone remains on the same page. I try to do this in
person whenever possible. If all parties cannot be present, I will do a combination of in person
and telephone conferencing.
When we receive an offer, I meet with all the selling parties to review it and answer questions.
The most common thing one encounters is the desire to delay a response. This is not surprising
and should be treated with respect, but yet firmly. One excellent technique is to have the sellers
put on the 'buyers' hat' for a moment and understand their feelings, too.
Once we have an accepted offer, more coordination is needed for the move. Even though we
may have de-cluttered and staged the property, the final move is the time when many treasured
items may have to be disposed of. This must be done in concert with the seniors and other
decision-makers so that they do not feel that 'everything is being taken away from them.'
Frequently, it will be necessary to have closing documents pre-signed, either because the sellers
have already relocated, they are not in physical condition to attend, or because it might be too
traumatic for them. This is where an attorney sensitive to the needs of seniors is invaluable. The
attorney can explain in a gentle manner why it is necessary to do things in this way. Many
seniors have had attorneys for estate planning and other issues, but it is imperative that for this
transaction they have someone experienced in real estate.
After the closing, it is important that the senior relocation expert remain in contact with the
sellers and buyers to resolve any issues that could arise. This also eases clients into a sensitive
transition period and they do not feel abandoned.
Why work with me?
I've had experience in relocating seniors into all type of situations. Being a senior myself, I feel I
have a better grasp of the issues that arise.
Chicago Lincoln Square
2156 W Montrose Chicago,
with the subject header
"Real In Chicago"
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|Relocation for Senior Citizens