Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Anresa Davis, the senior residency counselor at Park Springs, a continuing care retirement community in Stone Mountain. Anresa has been with Park Springs for 14 years, but she entered real estate after a 25-year career as a nurse, and her unique background allows her to bring a unique blend of clinical expertise, administrative experience and passionate concern to her position.
Atlanta Agent (AA): You work with a very interesting clientele at Park Springs; what are the typical preferences that you encounter, with your clientele?
Anresa Davis (AD): When someone expresses interest in Park Springs, there is usually a reason, and sometimes, it’s just that they would like to know more about what their options are; for others, there is something within their home that is not working, and they need to make a change.
So, the first thing I have to do is plunge into their history, and have them tell me about themselves, their current living environment, and what’s working and what’s not working. What I find people are looking for is either a change in lifestyle, or a piece of mind, and sometimes, they’re looking for piece of mind and a nice lifestyle it is just a cherry on the sundae. So it’s really through the discovery process that I determine whether this is going to be a lifestyle purchaser, or a piece-of-mind purchaser.
Before coming to Park Springs, I was a registered nurse for 25 years, but I was also an adult daughter, and it was my experience working in intensive care – and more importantly, the emergency room – that I saw lives change on a dime. Dad may have been outside riding the John Deere mowing the lawn, but now he’s had a major stroke and he will never return to his home again. And then with my own family, my parents were aging, and my mother came to understand that she no longer owned her house – her house owned her, and she needed to have a simpler, more inclusive timeline that freed up her time.
AA: What trends have you observed in continuing care retirement communities? Has the market been relatively static in recent years, or has it changed at all?
AD: What continuing care retirement communities offer to people is an idea of that cruise ship that never leaves port, that you can move in and live a very active, happy, independent lifestyle and yet have peace of mind knowing that should there be a need, you have available, on-site healthcare.
Often, people ask me “Anresa, what do you do?” and I tell them “I’m in the business of keeping families together,” because the beauty of a continuing care retirement community is you move in and enjoy an independent lifestyle, but you know that if you have an incident, if life throws you a curveball, we are here to support not just you with medical attention, but also to support the spouse and the family as they go through those changes.
And those core details have been very consistent. I’ve been with Park Springs for 14 years, and even when we were in pre-sales looking over 54 acres of trees, people consistently said, “I took care of my parents, and I don’t want my children to do that for me.”
AA: Finally, the Baby Boom generation is entering retirement age; though they are not quite in your market’s general age bracket, how do anticipate Baby Boomers shaping your market?
AD: What’s interesting is, we put Baby Boomers under one umbrella, but if you look at that generation, you have Baby Boomers in the 1940s all the way to Baby Boomers born in the 1960s; so there are some generational distinctions among those groups, and I think that retirement communities are going to have to be sensitive to the fact that one size will not fit all Boomers. And the research is showing that more so than our parents, Boomers will choose to move into more multifamily developments, such as condos and apartments, versus staying in their homes as our parents did.
What Boomers are looking for is the lifestyle. They want to have intellectual life – this is not your grandmother’s bingo game anymore – they want to know that they can move forward with intellectual pursuits. They want to make sure that the total environment has a youthful vibration to it; that’s not to say that the Rolling Stones are cranked up every night, but that the programming, whether it be physical, social or intellectual programming, has a youthful spin to it.