Best Practices for Realtors Serving Downsizing Clients

Posted On Thursday, 17 September 2020 21:44

There are several reasons a client may want to downsize, but most often, the underlying cause is need-related.  

The client’s home is too large, for instance, or the neighbourhood places a premium on basic services. Perhaps your client is getting older, and rather than living in a large home in a bustling neighbourhood, their needs are better met by a smaller home in a neighbourhood reflective of their demographic. Perhaps they can’t manage the tasks of their large house and garden and require a simpler, smaller and more accessible living situation. 

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that downsizing can be emotionally challenging. Saying goodbye to possessions is never easy. Changing your living situation can take some getting used to. And the process of moving can be stressful for downsizing clients of any age. 

It's important for realtors to understand this and follow simple best practices for facilitating the transition. Here are a few tips you can follow to serve your downsizing clients with care, respect, and attention.

Be Empathetic

Great realtors practice empathy with every client, but it’s doubly important to be mindful with downsizing clients. Downsizing is inordinately motivated by significant life changes – divorce, spousal death, and retirement being three of the main reasons. In other words, your client might feel vulnerable. 

Also, since downsizing typically requires the removal of some possessions, it can be an emotional process. As a realtor, do your best to empathize with them, taking time to actively listen to their concerns and provide gentle solutions. 

Present the Positive

Focus on the positive. There are two sides to every coin. Sure, downsizing means leaving a home that you are attached to, a home where you may have spent the better part of your life. But downsizing is also a fresh start. It's an opportunity to write a new chapter in your life journey – making new friends, eschewing old responsibilities, and enjoying the comfort of a new home.  

As your client's lifeline throughout the transition, it's vital that you present a positive outlook.

Hire a Professional Downsizing Company 

Before anyone touches anything in the old house to sell, dispose of or pack, call in the professionals. Professional downsizing services for seniors will simplify your client’s sorting, organization, and disposal to make moving easier. The best professional downsizing companies understand that your client’s possessions aren’t just things – they can be valuable memories, priceless heirlooms, and testaments to meaningful relationships. 

As a turnkey solution, offering packing, selling, disposal, and moving services, these companies are integral to the downsizing process. They make a realtor’s life much, much easier, and they will make your client feel more at ease about the move. They will also work with you to make the home look its best before you list it. If there’s a single piece of advice to follow in these best practices, it’s this: work with a professional downsizing company. 

Think about Their Future Needs

If you are helping a client move into a downsized home, think about their future needs. Most commonly, clients downsize because they are getting older. To best serve them, consider what they need now, and what they may need in the future

To guide you in this process, let's break needs down into three subcategories: location, home accessibility, and proximity to essentials.

Location

Location, location, location – it’s the evergreen mantra of real estate, and it’s very relevant here. Assuming your client is downsizing because of advanced age, present locations where they can feel safe and sociable. Look for locations with similar demographics where they can make friends. But be mindful of their personal needs as well; one of their key “buyer’s criterium” might be proximity to loved ones. 

Home Accessibility

Here’s a typical scenario: your client is freshly retired and wants to downsize. Right now, they are fully capable of managing a house with stairs, a garden, high cabinets, and maintenance needs. But that won't always be the case. Look to the future with your client and try to choose an accessible home. Look for homes designed with accessibility and “aging in place” in mind, like FlexHousing

Proximity to Essentials

Finally, consider proximity to essentials. Are there nearby clinics, supermarkets, drug stores, hospitals, post offices, parks, etc.? Again, this applies mainly to senior downsizing clients, who may not be comfortable driving. However, it's still an important consideration for any client. 

In summary, when serving a downsizing client: be empathetic, focus on the positive, think about their future needs, and definitely work with a professional downsizing company. Downsizing may be an emotionally challenging process for your client, but you can help ease them through the transition by following these simple practices. And what’s best for the client is best for you too. 

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