Working with senior clients – Illinois REALTORS
Making seniors your niche
Getting that warm hug at a closing becomes the reward for Paige Hume.
“When I saw the SRES designation, I thought this was perfect for me,” says Hume, broker at Worrell Land Services, Jacksonville. She’s the only agent to hold that designation in Morgan County.
She says the most effective characteristics for working with the elderly population are patience and understanding. Sometimes, she helps widows, who have never made decisions before.
“I always ask myself when I walk into these situations: How would I want someone to treat my grandparents?” Hume adds.
She makes sure clients understand the process and answers any questions. She wants them to have control of what is happening.
If working with spouses, Hume says she tries to be sensitive and watch the dynamics of the couple.
She helped an elderly couple sell the home they’d lived in for decades, a number of outbuildings and the surrounding five acres of property.
“I sold their house within a few days. But we had a time crunch. They had 30 days to get out, and they were in their 80s. I was constantly in communication with them,” she adds.
At the closing, they still needed to clean up the barns. Hume offered the help of her husband, two college kids, and a trailer to finish up the work.
“We got them taken care of. The woman gave me a hug on the closing day. I never expected that. I didn’t know how she was feeling,” Hume says.
Above all, she suggests REALTORS® working with vulnerable clients be honest in a gentle way.
“Your tone matters. Don’t look at their home like a number. Understand what you are walking into. If you don’t have the stamina or stomach for it, then hand it over to a co-worker who can handle it,” Hume says.
Fay-Hart suggests anyone thinking of working with vulnerable clients grow a dream team of trustworthy people who can help your clients. The team can include furniture movers, house cleaners, painters, landscapers, floor specialists, elder law attorneys and senior organizations in your area.
At this point in her career, Fay-Hart enjoys the wisdom that comes with professional experience and knowing she can provide extra help and insight when the situation calls for it.
“At the end of everything, it’s the good works we did when no one is looking,” she adds.