It’s funny sometimes the questions I get and then when I really think
about them, they make sense. Does that ever happen to you? So, here is
the most recent question I received and my answer after thinking it
“Why are you traveling all over the country teaching and
training, building a company from the ground up, and dealing with all
the headaches of a new business when you could just rebuild your real
estate team and make more money?”
And don’t think that I haven’t considered it more than once. Most days
that option is still on the table and no one ever knows (including my
patient and loving husband and business partner) when I will pull the
trigger and ramp my team back up full speed ahead.
But for now, I have a bigger mission.
an agent, team leader, and coach over the last 20 plus years, I have
had the opportunity – using that word loosely – to refer people to real
estate agents all over the country. Some are buying homes and some are
selling, but the one thing they have in common is they trust my
judgement and respect my choice in the agent I refer. I take the
responsibility seriously and want to insure that I choose the best
possible agent for the job and always do my best to match their needs
with the skills, expertise, and personality of the agent I refer.
When it comes to seniors.
my biggest frustration in making referrals over the years has been when
I needed an agent who understands seniors. This type of referral is
very different – special in fact. Seniors adults, especially those who
are struggling with the idea of moving from a long-time cherished family
home into an assisted living or other more manageable housing option,
need an agent who understands, appreciates, and can navigate the
complexities of this type of move. Families assisting from a distance
also rely on their agent to be a surrogate child and are putting their
faith in them.
Yes, I know, there are thousands of agents across
the country who presumably have training in working with seniors,
however, my experience of talking with them caused me great doubt. I
have spoken with literally hundreds of these agents touting their
credentials and proudly adding a two day workshop to their resume. After
a few minutes of interviewing them, however, it becomes glaringly clear
that they have no clue about senior housing options, downsizing
services, estate liquidation, the challenges older seniors face, or the
process of moving late in life. False advertising? Not really.
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
isn’t that I think these agents are trying to falsely advertise. They
just don’t know what they don’t know. Having assisted hundreds of
clients with late in life moves (our average client was in their mid
80’s) I know what kind of skill set it takes and what to look for in an
agent. This is especially true if the client has minimal or no local
Unfortunately the training models for teaching
real estate agents how to best serve seniors haven’t been updated in
years. They are remedial at best and only skim the surface of the true
issues facing our seniors today. The instructors mean well and many are
very well qualified to teach the material, but once the material is
presented, there is no follow up to insure the student actually
understands and is incorporating their learning into their daily
practices. Most are not.
Wanted: More than a few good men and women.
good news is that there is a percentage of the real estate agents
seeking training and education in working with seniors that TRULY want
to be successful at it and build their practice around it. They get it.
They have a passion for it. Their heart is pulling them in that
direction and they are seeking a way to marry their love for service
with their desire to have a successful business.
This is where we
come in. It is those men and women that we are seeking. The ones who
KNOW that this is what they were meant to do. Real estate professionals
who are willing to go above and beyond the 2 day workshop environment
and do whatever it takes to master the skills necessary to become a
specialist in working with seniors. I am not talking about getting a
degree in gerontology – although that’s not a bad idea either – what I
am really talking about is focus and commitment – becoming a specialist.
Our goal at the Seniors Real Estate Institute over the coming years is to identify, train, and develop Certified Senior Housing Professionals
in every city across the country. When I get a call for a referral, I
want to be able to pick up the phone and call the best of the best in
that area and KNOW that they are equipped and willing to serve the
client at the highest level.
When you consider the massive numbers
of senior adults who will be making changes in their housing situations
in the next decade, you have to also consider whether or not our real
estate communities are equipped to handle it. They are not. I can assure
you. Even if we trained 10 agents in each metropolitan area who
operated at maximum capacity it wouldn’t be enough. The numbers are
Back from my bunny trail.
answer the original question: Why are you traveling all over the country
teaching and training, building a company from the ground up, and
dealing with all the headaches of a new business when you could just
rebuild your real estate team in Austin and make more money?
The answer: It’s my passion – my calling.
I have a heartfelt commitment to insuring that each and every senior
across the country has the best possible experience when making a late
in life move. I can make a small difference in my own back yard, or I
can work with others who share my passion and make a big difference in
the lives of many.