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The Short List: Diane Butts on Working with Clients Who are Downsizing

by Atlanta Agent

diane-butts-halter-realty-group

Diane Butts is an agent with Halter Realty Group.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Diane Butts, an agent with Halter Realty Group, on how to work with clients who are downsizing.

As we all know, those we used to call “seniors” are now not only younger than ever, but also very active and, oftentimes, are in a stronger financial position than their younger counterparts. By now, they have purchased and sold a number of homes, leaving them with a good idea of their “wish list” for their next move as they consider “downsizing,” or “rightsizing,” as we like to call it. With that in mind, I found over the last several years some key elements in successfully helping them to make such a move:

5. When welcoming them to a property as the on-site agent, take care to ask how you can help before you start a monologue of features and benefits of your property. Not only listen, but let them see you making notes of their needs, wants and motivations for what they likely consider their last home move.

4. Now, share the “fit” with what you have heard, i.e., if they are moving to be near grandchildren, the convenience of pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, watersports and whatever your unique lifestyle has to offer them. Be knowledgeable about the book clubs, chess clubs, exercise classes, shopping and transportation – any and everything that would trigger their interest and allow them to see themselves in your community. Whenever possible, introduce them to residents already living in the property, as they are often your best salespeople!

3. In addition to arming them with floorlplans, pricing and community layouts, have marketing materials that actually allow them to make notes on your community and encourage their comparison shopping skills when looking at comparable areas. Such a piece should have pre-listed all the features and benefits of your community and lifestyle. That approach encourages the purchasers to “sell themselves” rather than feeling only that they are being sold.

2. Certainly follow up with an email, phone call or handwritten note cards. This group does not like to be pushed, but do not be surprised if they are back more than once prior to actually being ready to sign the contract. Patiently allow them to place furniture mentally as they walk through the home, and offer options when challenges arise as to what other homeowners have done about built-ins, additional refrigerators and finding space where it is not obvious. Always be prepared with suggestions for interior designers, electricians, custom closet installers and painters. It is always best to have more than one to suggest, and let them select the best fit.

1. Do not be discouraged if this sales process is longer than with a younger buyer. Remember, this is likely a higher price point, is often all cash, and they bring rewards by talking to their friends and bringing even more buyers for you. Additionally, down the road, should they decide to sell, you would likely be their most knowledgeable resource.

One of the greatest rewards in selling to this group is that of making good friends with people who truly appreciate your assistance, expertise and support in this transition. After the sale has closed, remember to nurture that relationship, as it reaps more than monetary rewards.


Diane is an agent with Halter Realty Group, and has been licensed since 1983. A top-producing agent, Diane sold $19.5 million in sales in 2013, and has worked with some of Halter’s top new construction developments, including One Vinings Mountain and One River Place.

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