Seniors defy real estate perceptions

January 13, 2004

ERA survey finds senior home buyers more tech-savvy, independent than often portrayed

Inman News

A recent survey conducted by ERA Real Estate highlights some real estate trends and opinions among seniors that may contradict certain long-held assumptions about this growing market segment.

The survey of more than 1,300 people, age 55 and older, revealed that the Internet is an essential tool in researching potential properties during their home-buying process. The Internet was selected by the survey's respondents as the second-most-popular home-buying research method, just behind physically "touring potential neighborhoods." In addition, nearly 70 percent of seniors who may be looking for a new home in the next five years cited "photos and virtual tours" as the most important tools available when looking for real estate property on the Internet.

However, while many seniors view the Internet as a crucial first step in their home-buying searches, they still view a qualified real estate sales associate as "the most influential professional" during the entire home-buying process. Home inspectors finished a distant second in this category.

Another misconception regarding this market is that a majority of seniors are looking to relocate from their lifelong homes to townhouses, condominiums or "adult communities." The survey revealed that most seniors are looking to purchase single-family homes by a wide margin over the residential options listed above – choosing an independent lifestyle over any perceived benefits of communal living situations. The survey also showed most seniors are not looking to relocate to far-away, so-called "retirement meccas." In fact, the number one choice among seniors regarding the "distance they would consider moving for their next move" was less than 20 miles from where they currently live.

"The survey results contradict some popular assumptions about the senior market," said Brenda W. Casserly, president and COO, ERA Franchise Systems Inc. "And, more than anything else, the survey reinforced our belief that seniors represent a unique market segment with particular needs. These needs are best met by qualified, experienced real estate professionals who have been properly trained to service the senior market. As a group, seniors clearly keep up with the latest technological research tools at their disposal, but are also savvy enough to recognize the value of a real estate sales associate in the home-buying process."

InsightExpress, a professional market research firm headquartered in Stamford, Conn., conducted the survey on behalf of ERA Franchise Systems Inc.

ERA Franchise Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Cendant Corp., is a residential real estate company that develops consumer-oriented products and services.

Copyright: Inman News Features

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