NAR Teams With AARP to Help You Serve Older Clients

November 17, 2020

What do older homeowners want?

“The vast majority want to live in their own homes and in the communities where they raised their families,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP. “Our goal is to make homes more age-friendly. People want to focus on living—not on aging.”

Jenkins joined Bob Goldberg, CEO of the National Association of REALTORS®, for a discussion Monday during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. The two CEOs announced a partnership between the two organizations that will give REALTORS® access to AARP’s Livability Index.

Beginning next spring, the data will be available and regularly updated at the REALTORS Property Resource® website and mobile app. The tool will offer a wide range of useful insights into the preferences of older property owners, including important topics like transportation and health care.

The index covers seven broad categories—housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity—scoring communities based on how the available services and amenities affect everyday life.

“[The index] will help you find neighborhoods with features that will best serve the needs of your clients,” said Jenkins. “It’s a tool that will empower people to choose how and where they will live as they age.”

Because life expectancy has risen dramatically­­­ in the last 50 years, people these days can expect to live “another 20, 30, or 40 years after they retire. And their home shouldn’t be a roadblock” for how they want to live, said Jenkins. “We need to make housing more adaptable as people age.”

Goldberg noted that the aging population means that about one in every five home buyers is over 65.

“Our research shows that they are experienced home buyers who know exactly what they want and what they do not want.

“For example, they want smaller, cozier homes that are near family and friends,” Goldberg said. “They want to live in newer, high-quality neighborhoods with healthcare facilities, restaurants, and shops nearby.”

Integration of the AARP Livability Index into RPR will make it easier for real estate professionals to glean information to help their clients with home buying decisions. The 18,000 REALTORS® who’ve earned the SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) designation have a head start in their ability to counsel clients over 50 through the financial and lifestyle transitions that come with relocating, refinancing, or selling a home.

In developing expertise with this expanding niche, it’s worth remembering that the fastest-growing age group in the country is people over age 85, said Jenkins. The second largest is people over 100.