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Real estate is for people of all ages. As we age, sometimes our lifestyle and living situations need to change. Today's guest, Bobbi Decker, joins Monica on the show today to talk about the Seniors Real Estate Specialist Designation® (SRES®) and what kinds of things you will learn in the class when you get the designation. As we work with our mature clients, it's not about the transaction — it's about helping them with their next lifestyle.

Bobbi, who has now been in real estate for 35 years, got started working with mature clients when some of her first clients came back to her looking for new solutions as they began to age. For many of her clients, she’s been part of their story as she's helped them with their lifestyle changes. One of the things that are important to her is to help make sure that as her clients age, they don't get ripped off and lose what they've spent a lifetime building.

As a REALTOR® working with mature adults, you'll likely encounter some from the GI generation, the silent generation, and the Baby Boomers. Having been raised in different times, they are each looking for different things and approach transactions in a different way. Those in the silent generation are generally stoic and reserved, and risk-averse. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are really redefining what it means to retire.

While Bobbi doesn't plan on ever retiring, many Baby Boomers are getting to the age of retirement, turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day. Some of them have saved up their money, but others have spent their funds traveling, supporting kids and grandkids, and their finances aren't quite what they hoped going into retirement. Bobbi has a friend who is developing retirement communities in Central America that will offer affordable retirement housing for mature clients. Bobbi has been traveling around to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Nicaragua to see some of the locations for these retirement communities.

Bobbi shares some of the things to be aware of if you're interested in purchasing some of this international real estate. The biggest thing is the infrastructure in some of these countries: making sure the water gets connected, and you actually have hot and cold running water. You also want to make sure you know of the local customs and expectations, as well as tax laws. Getting help from a REALTOR® who is connected with NAR can help you get the answers you need.

Not everyone wants to retire outside of the United States. There are still many options for people wanting to change their lifestyle after retirement. Many of the older clients are looking for places where they can get a little extra help, like nursing homes or assisted care. These types of communities have really come along as well, and they're changing for the older generations because of the Baby Boomers who are worried about their parents. Some of these new facilities are very nice, but they can be expensive. Some people will use the money locked up in their current house to help pay for retirement living.

Where Monica lives in Tennessee, there are several different options for senior living — independent living, assisted living — and these are financed in different ways. If you're looking for a place to live after retirement, don't be afraid to ask questions about what's going on in your community. There are affordable options for everyone. Being surrounded by some kind of community can also help increase quality of life in retirement.

For agents, when you're working with mature clients who are looking for senior living, there usually isn't payment for agents to help in these situations. But the marketing departments at assisted living and retirement centers are very nice and are usually willing to work with REALTORS® to answer questions and learn about options.

The SRES® coursework is meant to help teach real estate professionals how to help their 50+ aged clients. It's not always about age — it's about a stage of life and need of the individual. When you're consulting with your clients, make sure to listen to the needs and desires of your clients and make suggestions that would work best for them. There are many places and universities that are offering opportunities for these clients to be involved in the community as well. These extracurricular activities also can help the quality of life for our mature clients. SRES® also lets REALTORS® make these people like family before clients, as you sit down and discover where your client wants to go, what they desire, and most importantly, what they need.

Both Monica and Bobbi share some stories of solutions they've found for their clients, from staying in their current home, finding assisted living or independent care, or living with your kids or a caretaker and having a daytime option for socialization. If you're a client that's ready to start looking for a place of living for your next stage of life, look for REALTORS® with the SRES® designation! They are trained to look at the options and the bigger picture.

Another benefit of the SRES® class is to get access to the vendor list to help build a team that will help their clients. They may need an elder care attorney, a finance person, or someone who can help them sort out their stuff. This stuff is their memories, and you have to be very careful and respectful in how you deal with this. Your clients can take the opportunity of the services these vendors provide.

The longer you wait when you're looking at options for assisted care, the fewer options you have if your health deteriorates. Older people can still feel rejection if they are unable to live in a community they wanted to live because of their health condition. It's important to think about this and help aid your clients in finding a place that is going to accept them and provide good care.

Some of Bobbi's final thoughts on today's topic are to get the experts involved; get the people involved who know what they're doing. If you're trying to do legal things yourself, there could be tax ramifications involved and other expenses for your clients. An SRES® designation will give you the list of vendors that can help provide expertise in some of these situations. Your clients will notice when you take the extra time to care for them during the whole transition to their new lifestyle as they age.

About Bobbi Decker

Bobbi Decker has excelled in the field of real estate for over 33 years. She lives in Burlingame, CA. Her education, experience, designations, and achievements exemplify her skill and leadership as a REALTOR® and Broker Associate. In addition to her professional virtues, she is a dedicated and generous contributor to the community. As a talented video producer and host, Bobbi also enjoys creating video programming for the community on her favorite subjects including real estate, Bay Area women’s achievements, and the senior population, as well as creatively weaving it into her professional work as a REALTOR®.

Bobbi, a dedicated problem solver, and motivational leader, passionately approaches and accomplishes her many professional and community opportunities. Some of the highlights of Bobbi's career are:

  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)
  • Certified Real Estate Specialist (CRS)
  • Graduate Real Estate Institute (GRI)
  • Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS)
  • SAMCAR Board of Directors 2007-2013
  • REALTOR® of the Year – 2008
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Sales Production since 1990
  • American Business Women’s Award of Achievement
  • Santa Clara County Woman of the Year Nominee for Communication
  • San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Commendation Award for Service to the Community
  • Real Estate with Bobbi Decker – Host/Co-producer
  • Bay Area Women – Host /Co-producer
  • Living Longer Living Better – Host/Co-producer
  • Television and Global Live Streaming – go to PenTV.TV for on-air and streaming schedule
  • Radio – Wall Street Business Network, Real Estate Radio LIVE every Friday, 3-4pm, 1220 am radio, live streaming worldwide at KNOW.biz