Earning the Trust of Seniors in Real Estate Transactions Newton, MA. Real Estate Sotheby’s Realty Newton, MA.
Last year my 87-year-old mother-in-law decided it was time to go to an Independent Living Community. She had a few falls, which resulted in a broken hip from one fall and broken ribs from another. We tried to convince her that living alone was no longer a viable option but she would have none of it. One day I said to her wouldn’t you rather go on your own terms, pick the place you are going to live instead of us deciding? A few weeks later she decided to take the plunge, but bear in mind this conversation had been ongoing for well over a year. My husband and I went down to NJ and visited a few places that she knew about. It’s amazing how you know as soon as you walk in the door! It also didn’t hurt that her 91-year-old “friend” lived in this complex.
We met with management and we were shown a few apartments. She already knew which building she wanted to live in and why so that was a huge help. After the viewings as they were called, (seemed like a term for a wake to me) we were led back to an office. I want to caution you here – make sure you or your parents understand that this is a hard sell! My mother–in– law is no slouch but wow, she was flustered. This is a buy in option Independent Living so the dollars we are talking is not chump change. My mother-in-law wanted a specific apartment we saw and she was pressured into making a decision right there to secure her apartment. We told mom that we would go to lunch and talk it over and come back in 2 hours. Since they had no viewing appointments scheduled we thought it was unlikely that ‘her” apartment would be gone.
Mom took the apartment, has moved in, and loves it! She says she was sorry she hadn’t done it sooner. She also says she never could have made the move without us. Mom is fortunate that she could buy her new place without having to sell her current condo. Since I have lived in Boston for 20 years I didn’t know a Realtor in Morristown, NJ but the Independent Living Community recommended a Broker for mom. The Realtor showed up at the appointed time, took as mom said, the nickel tour, and immediately whipped out her measuring laser! As she was relaying this story to me, I was dumbfounded! Mom said she was very efficient! She brought her into the kitchen and handed her a contract to sign before she even did an analysis. She told her that they would fill the price in later. I was so relieved she didn’t sign! When I asked her if she liked the broker she kept saying that she was very efficient and seemed capable. I pressed further do you trust the broker? The truth was she didn’t, she said there was something pushy about her as if she just assumed she would be selling the condo. I told her to sleep on it but that she should interview other brokers. I made a call to the manager of an office in Morristown, told him where Mom lived and her personality. He immediately mentioned a Broker: Maggie Sellers.
Maggie went over to meet with mom and they hit it off beautifully. Maggie understood mom’s needs and most importantly knew the neighborhood, the complex and the town. Maggie had the analysis in 36 hours, she went over and sat with mom to make sure she understood the comps and how she came up with the price. It was now 5 days since pushy broker came and mom still didn’t have the analysis. Mom called pushy and was told she was a busy broker and highly respected by the Independent Living Community and she should be assured that she would get to her, her house would be sold and she should relax! What? After 10 days pushy dropped the analysis in the mailbox! It was considerably higher than Maggie’s analysis. I had Maggie and pushy e-mail me their comps and tried to figure out the discrepancy. I have not lived in NJ for 20 years and I never lived in Morristown but it took me two minutes to figure out the problem. Pushy used comps that weren’t comps for mom’s unit. She used new construction and single-family homes along with similar condos There had been enough sales in Mom’s complex in the past 6 months and there were two units currently listed. Pushy did not understand the market or didn’t think she needed to. After all she is the recommended broker for the Independent Living community for sellers in the greater Morristown area of which she gives 25% of her commission back to the IL Community not to the seller!
The point is mom felt an immediate connection with Maggie. Maggie asked mom if she could involve me in the process. Maggie had worked with seniors and had an elderly mother of her own. Maggie cared about her; Maggie had a list of people who bought items that the children didn’t want. (My basement is loaded with china and silver that she hopes her grandchildren will want.) Maggie recommended movers, and when an unknown problem was revealed at the inspection, she had trusted people to remedy the problem.
I asked Mom what she liked about Maggie and she was very clear. While she felt the other agent was competent and successful, she didn’t necessarily think that they were a good fit. She said she probably would have hired her if I had not gotten involved because she did not know any better. She had a list of what she liked about Maggie.
- Asked Me what I wanted
- She was prepared and did what she said she would do
- Treated me like an adult who was still capable of making decisions
- She wanted to introduce herself to my kids
- Let me make the final decision
- Had a list of companies to help facilitate the move and she had already vetted them
- Thoroughly explained the process without rushing me to sign paperwork
- I LIKED HER
As a Realtor serving seniors, it is important that I understand that what makes a great partnership is in the eyes of our clients. If you are not comfortable, there are many agents out there who will make you comfortable.