Robert Calloway

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Best practices: Helping Senior Citizens with Housing Needs

Posted by Robert Calloway on Apr 12, 2019 4:53:33 PM
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By Robert Calloway

As real estate professionals, it’s our responsibility to provide wise counsel about housing needs in the best way possible with our clients, including clients who are senior citizens. It’s been said that senior citizens represent the real estate industry’s greatest, untapped and under-served market. And, a growing market means opportunity. Serving most senior clients is likely to become a niche for a growing number of agents.

I believe agents have an obligation to understand and learn about the housing needs of seniors so that we can do right with this fast-growing and often vulnerable group. We need to be better listeners to their needs, wants, frustrations and fears. We need to understand the empathy and support needed from day one to establish trust.

It should come as no surprise to you that America’s population is aging at a rapid pace. People are living longer than ever before. None of us are getting any younger.

By 2030 (about 10 years from now), 1 of every 5 Americans will be retirement age, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections. By 2035 (about 15 years from now), seniors will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history; it’s estimated there will be 78 million people 65 years and older, compared to 76 million people under the age of 18. The current median age of Americans is about 38 years old, up from 30 years in 1980 and 24 in 1970.

Consider these insights from the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report:

Buyers age 52-61: “The Young Baby Boomers”

-- Make up 16 percent of recent buyers.

-- Higher median household incomes.

-- More likely to have children under the age of 18 in their home.

-- More likely to buy multi-generational homes.

-- Buy for an array of reasons, such as job-relocation, downsizing, and being closer to friends and family.

Buyers age 62-70: “The Older Baby Boomers”

-- Make up 14 percent of recent buyers.

-- Often moving due to retirement, downsizing, and being closer to friends and family.

-- Typically move the longest distance.

-- Least likely to make compromises on their home purchase.

Buyers age 71-91: “The Silent Generation”

-- Make up 8 percent of recent buyers.

-- Often moving due to retirement, downsizing, and being closer to friends and family.

-- Least likely to purchase a detached single-family home.

-- 24 percent purchased in senior-related housing.

-- Tend to purchase the newest homes.

-- More likely than any other age group to find their home by visiting an open house.

So, when dealing with the housing needs of clients who are senior citizens, our goal should be to add value based on our experience, trustworthiness and knowledge as we work through various challenges.

To that end, keep in mind that senior citizens represent a large and diverse group of people. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for housing. Some seniors in their 70s and 80s prefer living in walk-up apartments with stairs because they admit the exercise keeps them strong and healthy. Other seniors have no children or grandchildren to move closer to. Other seniors would do well in a densely population walk-able areas that would require no driving and easy delivery of household goods and meals. Most seniors don’t want to travel far to the grocery store, gym or their doctor.

Also, keep in mind the following housing options so you can provide your client with the best housing solution, depending on their individual situation, as well as their social and health needs and available budget:

-- “Aging in place” refers to people who prefer their current residence and don’t want to move in their golden years. This option is perhaps the most comfortable option for seniors, but the downside is that many older homes are not equipped with built-in features for disabled people. A reverse mortgage could be an attractive way to pay for repairs and remodeling that could improve the home’s accessibility.

-- “Co-living” refers to living arrangements with roommates or group homes. This option can reduce loneliness but can mean less privacy when everyone wants to use the kitchen at the same time.

-- Living in retirement communities with rented condos or apartments for people over age 55 is another option. Common areas for group meals and social activities can give residents a built-in social network.

-- Moving-in with relatives is another option. Advantages of multi-generational households include a build-in support system with loved ones who can care for the elderly.

-- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also called granny flats, is another option. ADUs are second homes built on the same lot as an existing single-family house. Often, these smaller, secondary units are constructed by homeowners in backyards or above garages of single-family residences. They can be used for family members or rented out as a source of income for homeowners. PSAR has been a strong advocate for ADU’s this year. They are ideal for seniors and their children.

-- While seniors should consult a tax adviser, they should ask about Propositions 60 and 90.  Prop 60 gives homeowners 55 and older a way to move or downsize without greatly increasing their tax bills. There are restrictions in order to receive this benefit. Proposition 90 refers to property tax transfers from certain counties like San Diego to other select counties in California. Many seniors are not aware of this generous tax break.

Clearly, the future is old. I recommend you consider attending a class to earn your Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) professional designation from the National Association of REALTORS®. The SRES program is designed to equip you for serving the senior market. You will learn more about housing options and trends for older Americans, along with typical senior financial situations and how Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security can affect real estate decisions. PSAR is looking forward hosting classes for this designation later in the year.

Topics: Education

REALTORS® Empowered by PSAR, Prepping for March on Sacramento

Posted by Robert Calloway on Mar 22, 2019 2:12:45 PM
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By Robert Calloway
2019 PSAR President

I’m proud to report that legislative advocacy continues to be an important activity at PSAR. Advocacy plays a critical role in supporting property ownership throughout our communities. A powerful alliance can be formed with other REALTORS® and affiliates when we speak in solidarity with one voice and work together with elected officials to protect and promote homeownership and property investment.

The result can be public policies that uphold private property rights and build strong communities with a vibrant business environment and free enterprise system.

Indeed, whether or not your clients know it, or the average homeowner realizes it, government relations can influence the price of real estate and affect the state of the economy, level of interest rates and nature of demographics, along with a host of other variables that can ultimately determine a property’s value. 

Currently, a number of PSAR members are preparing to travel to Sacramento on May 1 for the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Legislative Day 2019. The event, the 47th annual, will include opportunities to meet and discuss real estate issues directly with state legislators and their staff members, as well as hear from California’s political leaders and the leadership of the state association.

As a follow-up to C.A.R.’s Legislative Day, several Association members also are planning to attend the upcoming National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2019 Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, May 15 in Washington, D.C. NAR is widely considered one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the country.

I am very proud to say that the majority of attendees to Sacramento and the nation’s capital will be committed and dedicated members of PSAR’s Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC). The GAC focuses on all things governmental and how public policy can affect real estate issues. In it is role as an advisory committee to the PSAR board, the GAC provides a forum for political advocacy and policy discussion.

GAC members are diligent in keeping track of proposed city and county ordinances that could have a potential impact on the local real estate industry. Their savvy political advocacy efforts have prevented the passage of detrimental laws that could have hurt PSAR members’ business activities. GAC members communicate with their local government officials to help stop government agencies from finding ways to tax and regulate real estate transactions.

Statewide, it’s an incredibly busy year because our real estate industry has emerged as a major player in the current legislative agenda.

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) recently announced its recommendations for the 2019 legislative session, including bills that address California’s housing shortage through increasing supply and removing barriers to development. C.A.R. said it stands ready to work with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Legislature and key stakeholders during the 2109 legislative session to advance innovative solutions to ensure all Californians can realize the American dream of homeownership.

“California is at a tipping point, and the housing crisis threatens to permanently impede the state’s economic growth,” said C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “It’s time for California’s leaders to take the necessary bold action and support legislative solutions to address the housing shortage and answer the governor’s call earlier this year to ‘build housing for all.’”

C.A.R. is proud to champion the following measures aimed at addressing the housing crisis:

-- SB 50 (Sen. Scott Wiener) Housing Development Around Transit: Boosts housing and apartment development in and around major transit hubs and employers, and provides developers with a “density bonus,” or authority to build additional units in exchange for building below-market units, and other incentives or concessions.

-- AB 1568 (Asm. Kevin McCarty) Housing Accountability: Holds local governments accountable by withholding gas tax revenue if counties do not meet home building benchmarks verified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

-- AB 1074 (Asm. Tyler Diep) Accessory Dwelling Units: Increases housing supply by selling bonds to provide loans to homeowners to construct accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

-- AB 1020 (Asm. Jacqui Irwin) State Housing Agency: Establishes a state Housing Agency with a cabinet-level Secretary of Housing to oversee all housing-related initiatives and activities throughout the State of California.

-- SB 509 (Sen. Anthony Portantino) Affordable Housing License Plate Program: Establishes a housing crisis awareness program through the issuance of aspecialty license plate by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The license plate would generate revenues for affordable housing programs throughout the state.

These measures, along with other bills that C.A.R. is supporting this year, are intended to increase housing construction as the solution to California’s housing shortage.

“We are encouraged by Gov. Newsom and the Legislature’s leadership to focus on solving the state’s housing deficit,” said Martin. “Californians deserve policies that make housing more available, affordable and accessible, and we believe that will be accomplished by these bills. To do anything less would put our state’s economic future in peril as more and more Californians are priced out of the housing market.”

You can be assured that PSAR remains committed to reaching out to elected officials, motivating and mobilizing the real estate community and keeping our members involved and informed about legislative issues in an effort to protect private property rights and homeownership.

Topics: Leadership, Industry