Saturday, October 21, 2017

"Real Estate Agents Can Be Great AIP Resources"

Shopping for homes is a great past time - even for people who aren't interested in moving. For those who are, there are many resources available that describe and show properties available - from driving neighborhood streets looking for something appealing, to the personal touch of meeting with a real estate agent, to watching a TV program or searching online. There are plenty of home for sale by owner as well.

When people shop for a different home (new construction or not), they generally do some homework first to determine a location they want to live in, how much they think they can afford to invest (many people meet with a lender to get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage loan), and what features or layout they would like. Then, they begin to match what they are looking for with what the market has to offer. They can look on their own or use the services of a real estate sales professional, who generally will help them locate, see, experience, and select a home that meets their expressed needs and budget better than other available choices.

When it comes to finding a home - again, either an existing home no matter what year it was built or what relative condition it is in, or a brand new, never-before-occupied home - that real estate agent has hundreds of choices to recommend to a potential home buyer.

The search for a home starts by determining an area of the town, city, or community where the purchaser would like to live. It might be the same neighborhood where they live now or something completely different. It might need to be closer to the airport, to freeway access, to mass transit stations, to their work, to family, or to favorite recreational activities.

Often people will do their own preliminary searches before involving a real estate agent - sometimes, the agent is the best place to start. Then, the agent will suggest possible properties for the purchaser to view. They may look at just a few or several, depending on how many homes meet the expressed needs of the purchaser or how easy it is for the purchaser to make a decision on a home they want to live in and enjoy.

As people are experiencing the marketplace, and depending on their reasons for shopping for a new residence to begin with, the real estate agent will be asking them about what they want in a home, how long they think they might want to live in that home, or how complete they would like the home to be now as compared with improvements they might want to make later to enable them to find a home at a better price now. This brings us to the discussion of aging in place and how the real estate agent can help people find a long-term home that will be relevant to them over time.

This is where a knowledgeable real estate agent can play an even larger and more important role than just helping the consumer sort through the myriad of properties that might be available. By knowing what to look for with their purchaser in terms of accessibility, visitability, convenience, and similar environmental factors that might be important or fairly obvious, they are going to be able to understand why certain properties work well or what can be done to enhance or modify a property that comes up a little short in these aspects but has other things going for it. 

They should determine if there are special conditions or needs that must be addressed in finding a suitable home and if other family members, such age aging parents, will need to occupy the home also. If or when this is the case, knowing how to accommodate everyone's needs is important. Having contacts in the remodeling, design, and OT industries is a real asset for agents. They can bring the buyer, the potential properties, and the resources to modify it together to create a win for all parties involved.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.