Senior citizens need special help selling their homes

By the year 2050, the U.S. Census figures there will be some 82 million Americans 65 and older living in this country -- an impressive 137% increase from now.

Not surprisingly, more and more real estate agents are opting to become specialists in dealing with the unique situations senior citizens have when it comes time for them to buy or sell property -- mostly to sell!

There is even a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation that Realtors can get after taking a course offered by the National Association of Realtors.

According to a Harvard University study, real estate is the largest single asset class owned by those 65 and older.

And yet, many senior citizens may not be fully aware of what makes them unique when a decision is made to sell their house in order to move into a smaller place, a process that even has coined a name --"right -sizing."

For example, seniors need to know whether their new digs need to be nearer good public transportation in case they are no longer the drivers they once were. Being near a quality medical center or suitable recreational facility can also be not only important lifestyle choices for a senior citizen, but, in an emergency, literally a matter of life and death.

In some states, there may even be special tax rules that seniors can take advantage of should they opt for trading one house for another.

Such things as pensions, 401k's and IRA's may also play a unique role in real estate transactions involving elder homeowners.

And there are the emotional issues that must be dealt with. Often, when a senior citizen opts to sell a family home in order to downsize, it means giving up a place of cherished memories. This needs to be recognized and dealt with openly and honestly.

Even more the reason why senior citizen homeowners need to consult with a specially trained Realtor who understands their problems .There are some 7,000 of these agents nationwide.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."

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