15 Smart Ways To Attract Retiree Home Buyers

15 Smart Way to Attract Retiree Home Buyers was the topic for discussion on the Forbes Real Estate Council.

I had the privilege of being able to participate in this article published on Forbes.com:

In the Real Estate world, baby boomers are a vital part of the buying and selling of homes here in United States.  So, how can we attract these clients?  Here is the summary of what Forbes found out:

1. Low-Maintenance Homes

We find the new developments that resonate with baby boomers are low-maintenance homes. Amenities within and outside of the community are a given. A comfortable, compact space that includes maintenance for the yard or exterior will go even further to attract homeowners near retirement age.

2. Skilled Nursing Or Quasi-Assisted Living 

One of the fastest-growing segments of real estate in the country is assisted living. The actual boomer population is retiring and will eventually need elder care. Developers catering to the transitional adult that isn’t ready for or doesn’t want assisted living can work to develop projects that allow for people to be self-sustaining longer into their later years.

3. Ample Storage Space 

Older buyers frequently have a demand for larger storage spaces. While additional closets in the main living areas are a must, these buyers also look for oversized garages and detached storage buildings. Those spaces may be for an RV, boat, trailer, spare car, holiday decorations, golf cart, etc. In general, they have accumulated more items to store or they need space to hold their children’s stored items.

4. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) 

Baby boomers who are active in the real estate market want to maintain their independence. Developers who are adding separate suites for caretakers or other family members to live in are offering a feature that is currently hard to find. With a single-story layout, boomers don’t have to worry about mobility as they continue to age and typically have that as a top priority in their search criteria.

5. Age In Place Floor Plans 

The most important feature developers can use to entice older buyers to new developments is age in place floor plans. Generally, baby boomers want a property that caters to one-level living with extra space to accommodate visiting family and friends. Key features that will attract people in their 60s are a main-level master bedroom and a garage that is adjacent to the kitchen.

6. Ground-Floor Living 

Many baby boomers prefer to avoid stairs. As such, options with a ground floor master or single-story homes tend to be more desirable to them. In addition, many multi-generational families reside together now. We’ve seen new developments that offer a home within a home options do very well with those models selling out much quicker than the rest.

7. Community Convenience 

Both of these demographics have a lot in common, but it boils down to convenience. Baby boomers and millennials share an affinity for health and wellness and want modern fitness centers that are easy to access. For example, package locker systems are another amenity that residents of all ages like a lot, as well as programs that offer grocery delivery services.

8. Financial Consistency 

Consider promoting the financial consistency in monthly expenses for an owned home vs. in a retirement community. Many boomers I deal with are frustrated with rising rents in their retirement communities. In smaller markets communities seem to keep a waiting list, so they are free to raise rents without a negative impact. The rising costs can be detrimental to a retiree’s budget.

9. Features That Allow For A Reserved, Private Lifestyle 

Be aware of how the “norms” have changed and don’t assume anything about your buyer. Each buyer and their needs are unique. Millennials often look for modern properties that are less secluded and offer more in amenities. Boomers gravitate towards a more reserved and private lifestyle, so they look for assets that reflect this mindset. Not all trends are important to all buyers.

10. Large Lots And High-End Finishes 

Baby boomers are looking for new construction that is lower in maintenance and on a large enough lot so that they don’t feel boxed in and are surrounded by trees. They want a single-level home with high-end finishes, natural light and enough room for their family to visit. Don’t count out the fact they want to be near grocery stores, restaurants and places allowing for a community feel. – Anna Morrison LeeAnna Morrison Lee, Broker Associate, Moreland Properties 

11. Reverse Mortgage Programs 

The important part is understanding in advance what HUD will and will not allow. Determine if those requirements can be accommodated with CC&Rs and closing requirements as it relates to the final certificate of occupancy. Once you know the rules and if they will work for you, it opens up a whole new market and opportunities for greater purchasing power for senior buyers.

12. Lifestyle Support 

Baby boomers have different lifestyle needs than a first-time homebuyer. Safety, walkability, local amenities and maintenance are key factors to be considered. Developers can attract baby boomers by providing features that support the lifestyle they want. Fewer stairs, higher countertops, walking trails and proximity to banks and everyday amenities are great selling features.

13. Enrichment Programming 

Beyond the brick and mortar of the new development, the most important feature would be community enrichment programming for older buyers. This encompasses entertainment, special events, outings and mind, body and spiritual programs. These enhance the daily experience of the buyer and provides a warm and fulfilling sense of community.

14. Flexibility For Changing Familial Situations 

New developments should keep in mind the ever-changing face of familial situations. Some communities that restrict age limits on residents should consider circumstances where grandparents might have to be in a position to raise their grandchildren. In 55-plus communities, age restrictions prohibit life-changing events and that can have an impact on consideration of where retirees might want to live.

15. A Place Of Belonging 

The key to attracting baby boomers is providing a sense of belonging outside the home, whether it be through a “downtown” feel, community events or waterfront dining. We’ve seen a trend toward prioritizing an active and inclusive lifestyle over maintaining a lawn, garden and expansive home, even at the sacrifice of square feet. Developing multifamily residential around the above is a recipe for success.

Are you someone who is looking for your retirement home in Austin?  Call me today!  I would love to find you a perfect home.

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