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What Real Estate Agents Can Learn From a Surfer

I can’t think of a better metaphor for what we as Certified Seniors Housing Professionals must do in order to master the massive wave of our future market, aptly titled the silver tsunami. 

As I sat in the airport in Miami headed to Kansas City to deliver another 5 Essential Strategies for Serving Seniors with co-trainer Elaine Gustafson Scheelk, I overheard the HBO sports special featuring Kelly Slater, World Surfing Champion. Kelly, now 41 years old, holds the title of both the youngest and the oldest competitor to win the ASP World Championship at age 20 and again at age 39. 


Kelly Slater: Photo Credit – Rabejac/Quiksilver

What interested me the most about his interview was his laser focus on mastering what he was most passionate about…the ocean. It became clear that one of his secrets to success was that he not only loved surfing and did it often (usually daily), but he made it his life’s work to understand the water, waves, wind, and weather. Kelly became a student of not just surfing, but the ocean. 

In our Success in Seniors Real Estate courses, we teach that the number one truth of the 7 Fundamental Truths of a CSHP is to be “all about seniors.” We believe, like Kelly, it’s not enough to just know the basics of your craft (i.e. how to help people buy and sell homes), you must master the forces surrounding your chosen specialty. 

Just like Kelly Slater is a student of the ocean waves, for you to be in the top one percent as a seniors real estate and housing expert, you must become a student of the wave — the age wave. 

Track with me for a moment through a big leap 

in this metaphor 

Kelly surfs big waves — no doubt. But I would bet that if given an opportunity to catch the biggest Kahuna of all waves, a tsunami, Kelly would do a little bit of homework first. To be able to surf a tsunami would take a different kind of skill, attention, focus, strategy, and yes, acceptance of risk. With the growth of the aging demographic, not just in the U.S., but around the world, gerontologists have re-labeled what Ken Dychtwald originally deemed the “Age Wave” as the Senior Tsunami (or Silver Tsunami). 

Studies show that seniors will move out of an estimated 11.3 million housing units between now and 2020 and that number will double in the following decade. 

So, what is it going to take for you, the seniors real estate and housing professional, to master the Senior Tsunami and ride this massive wave of senior home sellers? 

Focus, attention, and intention

Mastery comes from spending time on task. 

How many hours a day or week do you spend on your seniors niche? Are you blocking time to study, read, and explore the issues that downsizing seniors face? 

Collaborate with subject matter experts: Surround yourself with professionals. 
Specialists know that solutions are created in a vacuum. When you align with people who share your values and your passions and who bring additional expertise to the topic, you expand your thinking and your resource network. 
Become a student of your specialty: Hire a coach, take classes, and study. 
Slater says that from the age of eight onward, he consistently sought out the best surfers on the beach and observed them, questioned their technique, and asked them for advice. He later had mentors and coaches who took him from his current level to breaking his own records. As they say, natural talent only takes you so far. 

Here’s to riding the wave and riding it well!

At the Seniors Real Estate Institute, we’re all about showing real estate agents and other housing professionals how to hang 10 and ride the wave of the Silver Tsunami. Contact us here for help or just to have a few questions answered.

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