4 – More services
Empty nesters have accumulated 30 years’ worth of possessions in just one home, and they might not know that the sparser the possessions, the better the house shows. But that’s just one example, Lebow says.
“You’ll need to bring in a lot more services,” he says. “You’re going to have to work with people about de-cluttering and downsizing and packing. You can’t list, sell and walk away. You need to walk in with 40 or 50 additional services.”
Outside of the typical listing and selling of the home, Lebow offers his clients services such as appraisal for valuables, organizing charities to remove some items the family doesn’t want, the disposition of heirlooms to family, as well as financial planning and transition management.
5 – Location
As it is with most any buyers, you’ll need to consider location for down-sizing empty nesters. Lebow says empty nesters usually want to stay in the neighbourhood, so you’ll need to know that particular community and what is available there. For clients who want to move away, it’s usually for one reason: “A lot of people move out because they want to be near the kids,” Lebow says. “So they’re either buying a bungalow in a smaller community or they’re buying a condo in another town.”
6 – Don’t buy?
Lebow says he can’t stress it enough: working with empty nesters requires agents to put a lot of thought into what’s best for the client, and sometimes that means renting instead of buying. For boomers who need to survive on the equity in their homes, it doesn’t make sense to be house rich but cash poor.
“If you sell a bungalow for $600,000 and buy a condo for $300,000, you only have another $300,000 to live on for the rest of your life,” Lebow says. “In that case, you need a good financial planner who might say it’s better [for your clients] to rent. Otherwise, they won’t outlive their money.”