Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Smart Phone Searches Is On The Rise For The Senior Age Group"

Recent reports suggest that the number of people age 55 and over are increasingly using their smart phones (compared to their computers and other sources such as advertising found in print media such as newspapers and magazines) to investigate and learn about real estate (new home and existing ones) opportunities for themselves. Think of how that might apply to remodeling also.

There's no question the people can search for homes and information about what is trending on the internet. It's mandatory today that a business have a website - even if it's not very good compared to others - and builders and real estate professionals are no exception. They all oblige the public by putting their properties and community information online.

To illustrate just how important and prevalent websites have become, any new business used to put a sign out front with their name and phone number to announce their upcoming opening. Now, every such business puts the website address on that sign. It's just expected.

While the internet as a resource has expanded to become a substantial part of people's search for information about real estate and the types, locations, price points, and features available for them to select from and possibly purchase, remodeling contractors can advertise and be found in much the same way.

When people are looking for someone to help them with a pool enclosure, patio, deck, or spa, finishing out a basement, creating an accessible entrance, adding living space to a home, or completing other aging-in-place renovation improvements, they use the internet as a resource. Many contractors do not have a showroom for people to visit so they have to tell their story online.

As for why the senior population is embracing technology more, there could be several explanations. For one, it's been such a part of the younger generation for years so it was bound to find its way into older users - partly as it was shared by children and grandchildren and partly as the older adults took it upon themselves to begin participating in it.

Social media has been a big part of increasing internet usage among older adults as they have learned how to post photos, videos, and updates about family and friends and to maintain contact with people the care about - as well as making and connecting with new friends in the process.

Additionally, many older adults are not working as many hours as they did years ago - by choice through retirement or semi-retirement or through physical limitations that have come with aging - and they have the time to learn how to use a computer and to go online and become familiar with it also. While they may have more time, many do not care to drive around to find information and find the convenience of using the internet for their searches to their liking.

With the popularity of the smartphone as opposed to other types of cell phones, people of all ages - but increasingly among seniors - have learned how to text, email, and web surf on their phones in addition to taking and storing photos and making and receiving calls. Apps (for nearly everything and representing hobbies, sports, news, special interests, entertainment, shopping, real estate, and more) have helped people interact with their phones and the internet more easily also.

Last year Goggle mandated that people and companies with websites needed to have them be mobile phone and tablet friendly. This is also contributing to the increased use of smartphones for researching properties, improvements, home decorations, appliances, doors, windows, hardware, and other building materials and items of interest for creating effective aging-in-place living environments.

Rather than just seeing a miniature version of a web page on our smartphones, we now get to see an optimized page designed for viewing on the size screen and format of the smartphone. 

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.