Interview with Jo-Ann Sloan, Real Estate Professional, and Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), and National Association of Realtors (NAR) Instructor, Pinellas Realtor Organization, Clearwater, Florida, April 2, 2012
1. Why should Real Estate Professionals be trained as Senior Real Estate Specialists?
There are many advantages to making the Senior market a niche, and I will emphasize two distinct reasons to attain the SRES designation. First, the boomers are coming and we need to be ready for them. The largest and wealthiest buyer’s group in the country is made up of Baby Boomers. Understanding what motivates this mature demographic can make a Real Estate Professional’s business boom.
Another reason is that a real estate professional facilitates a major life changing event, especially when it comes to seniors. For the elderly it may be their last move and a lot of consideration and compassion is needed. Training and education can help the real estate professional develop understanding and empathy for 55+ real estate clients and customers.
2. What are the unique skills SRES Real Estate Professionals have that others would not?
A SRES designee has a heightened awareness of the issues and factors that go into community and property selection. They can do a better job of evaluating a market area’s attractiveness to the 55+ market.
In addition to a deeper understanding on senior issues, the SRES Real Estate Professional is able to identify key life stages, viewpoints, and transitions in relation to housing choices.
The Real Estate Professional can recognize how a home can be adapted for safety, comfort, and aging in place. And with respect to finances, the Senior specialist can work with other professionals to help customers integrate disposition of real property into estate plans. And the SRES is taught to stay focused on the transaction and avoid inappropriate involvement in family matters.
In short, the SRES designee is taught to develop sensitivities to 55+ issues and priorities when counseling buyers and sellers, showing properties, and managing transactions.
3. What continuing education must SRES Real Estate Professionals seek and how often after they’ve achieved the SRES designation?
To earn the SRES designation a real estate professional must attend the 2 day course, pass the test, and submit an application. No additional education is required to maintain the SRES designation once those requirements are met. Thereafter, membership dues are paid annually to maintain the designation, however these dues are a nominal investment for a very big return. The toolkit available to SRES designees contains marketing materials, including flyers, letters, seminar materials, presentations, newsletters and postcards. It’s a robust toolbox.
How would you recommend SRES Real Estate Professionals to work with senior move managers to facilitate their client’s relocation?
The course addresses the need to work with experts. I spend considerable time on the practice of teamwork because it not only helps increase market share for the Real Estate Professional, it also creates a better experience for the customer.
SRES designees are encouraged to assemble a team of experts to help serve 55+ customers. They are taught to develop services that win and sustain customer relationships and position the designee as a trusted real estate advisor, and to develop business building outreach methods for communicating and gaining 55+ market share.
The senior move managers are critical team members. A transaction can drag on for a very long time, or not take place at all, because the senior and/or the family cannot work out solutions around the physical and emotional move. This is where the move managers shine. They have the skills and tools to manage the change for the customer, especially for the elderly and their families. The move manager is an integral part of the process.
4. What are some of the key training points you emphasize for realtors who want the SRES designation?
The SRES course helps the real estate professional develop knowledge and understanding of and empathy for 55+ real estate clients and customers. It also supports the Realtor’s commitment to develop the business-building skills and resources needed for specialization in the 55+ real estate market. The curriculum is excellent, however, the more meaningful education comes from the personal insights and shared experiences of others as we realize the positive impact we can have on others by handling their moves with care and concern.
Jo-Ann Sloan, Broker Associate is on the Board of Directors of the Pinellas Realtor Organization of Clearwater, Florida. As a Sales Associate for Coldwell Banker, Jo-Ann went from Rookie of the Year to the top 1% of sales professionals worldwide before assuming the position as Regional Training Manager in 2006. She is a Broker Associate, a business coach specializing in sales and marketing, a life coach who advocates balanced living in the pursuit of real estate riches, and a mentor to real estate agents, brokers and managers. In the past five years, Jo-Ann has trained and coached thousands of real estate agents in the State of Florida. Through her creativity, communication skills, energy, and passion she encourages and guides others to successfully navigate the maze of change. firstname.lastname@example.org