There is a quickly growing population of folks over the age of 50 in the housing market these days. Known as senior buyers, this huge segment of the population is as widely varied and diverse as you can get. But it does take a certain know-how to handle the concerns of the 50+ market.
For instance, many elder seniors who have retired want to sell their homes to reduce their costs and capitalize on the equity in their current homes. REALTORS who assist them must remember to counsel them about the hidden costs that may exist some of the housing choices they are considering. For instance, if they buy a condo with the proceeds from the sale of their home, they may still have substantial HOA dues, fees for assisted care, or monthly fees for offsite storage if they don’t purge their belongings when they downsize.
REALTORS should also be prepared to be pulled into the issues involved when their sellers are purging. Adult family members might create havoc arguing about who gets certain heirlooms. Sellers may not have time or interest in going through old boxes that have been in storage for years. It’s a good idea to have some good references for senior movers handy to help in these situations.
When affordability is a concern, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does fund a variety of programs that provide rent assistance, home ownership, and assistive services for seniors and the disabled. Keep in mind that these programs often have waiting lists that can be years long, so you’ll have to plan ahead and be patient. HUD programs are primarily focused on independent seniors, and are limited when it comes to assisted living programs.
One of the largest HUD programs is the Housing Choice Voucher Program. HCVP provides rent vouchers for low income individuals, families, the elderly and the disabled. There are two types of voucher. Tenant-based vouchers move with the renter, while project-based vouchers are assigned to a particular property and stay with the unit. Note that any income from pensions, retirement accounts, etc. are counted when assessing eligibility for these programs.
For first time home buyers, HUD can provide home-buying vouchers to help cover monthly expenses. There are also programs for current homeowners in need of assistance through HUD and the Department of Treasury. These programs can be used to lower monthly payments, lower interest rates, help with a second mortgage and avoiding foreclosure, among other things.
These are just a few of many assistance programs available for seniors. For a more complete list of resources, go to https://www.usa.gov/housing-help-audiences. If you’re interested in working more effectively with this growing market, it’s a good idea to earn your Senior Seniors Real Estate Specialist Designation. Watch the MetroTex course calendar for upcoming dates.