Many financial planners, insurance professionals, and other business people are now obtaining special designations that speak to their ability to deal with seniors’ issues. Realtors are also taking courses to better understand the senior market. In many instances these professionals will then advertise their designation, hoping to attract older clients. What you need to know is that there are great, helpful, professionals who have these designations, and great, helpful professionals who don’t. Conversely, having one of these designations is no guarantee that you’ll be dealing with an ethical person, although many of the organizations do have some kind of a Code of Ethics and will expel a member for contravention of their standards.
The education being provided by organizations like the Canadian Academy of Senior Advisors is helpful and inspiring. While it is impossible for younger people to really experience what it is like to be a senior and deal with life at an older age, this education does help professionals understand and even empathize with some of the basic issues seniors face. Patience, understanding, respect. Perhaps it shouldn’t take courses to foster these qualities in our business community, but if that’s what it takes to better understand and serve senior clients, it’s better than nothing. Teaching business people the housing options seniors have, the downsizing issues seniors face, the decision-making challenges with regard to a move, and the health issues that may necessitate these changes, generally makes for a more helpful professional, be they a financial planner or a realtor.
The best way to find a professional you trust is usually by a referral. Ask your friends. Ask your family.
And if you don’t trust yourself to make the right choice, ask a friend or family member to be there when you meet the professional. Ask them if they have experience dealing with seniors. Ask them how helping a senior move is different than helping younger people, and ask what services they provide that might be especially helpful to you.
The biggest danger in listing your house is in listing your house at a price that is far too low. To avoid this, ask for a Current Market Evaluation from several realtors and, if you are still unsure, pay to have your home appraised. Do not base your price on the ‘assessed value’.
If you are ever approached by somebody who wants to buy your home as part of a ’private deal’, especially if they are a financial professional or a real estate agent, get third-party advice from your lawyer. Even if they are a trusted friend, neighbour, or family member, obtain third-party advice from your lawyer on ‘private deals’, and seek out professionals who can provide you with an independent appraisal of your property.
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