Jason Waugh, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, joins Melissa to share the importance of working with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist when you or your loved one is selling a home to transition into a senior living community.

During this time of transition emotions and anxiety can be high. It is important to have a real estate partner that understands how to navigate this time in the senior’s life and can seamlessly work with all decision-makers in the process. In this week’s episode, you will learn how someone becomes a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), why it is important to work with one, and how to find the right SRES near you.


Video Transcript

- Hello, everybody. And welcome into "Senior Living live." My name is Melissa. Thanks so much for being with us here today. Now, if you were looking to make a move to senior living, you're probably in the market to sell your home. Believe it or not, there are individuals out there who focus on helping you do just that and they're called senior real estate agents. And what they have to offer may benefit you in ways you haven't even thought about. Jason Waugh with Berkshire Hathaway Home is here with us to explain. He joins us as part of our partnership with ElderLife Financial, a wonderful company, to help you with all of your retirement needs. Jeff Hudson, he is here from ElderLife Financial to tell us a little bit more about how they can help you. Jeff, good to see you.

- Thanks, Melissa. And thanks again for the opportunity. Hey, guys. Yeah. As Melissa mentioned, ElderLife is here to be a one-stop shop, what I like to compare to a financial aid office at a college or a university. We're gonna help you identify and coordinate all of your different resources to pay for an Arbor Community and make sure that you're paying for senior living in the best way possible. So a big piece of that is maximizing the value of a home. Utilizing that equity to pay for long term care long term. We work with the best of the best agents which Jason's gonna go into detail here in a minute but if you have any questions following today's video, please don't hesitate to reach out to ElderLife. Let's figure out how we can make that move into senior living. Jason, you wanna introduce yourself?

- Yes. Great to be here today. Thank you so much for the opportunity, Melissa and Jeff. So my name's Jason Waugh. I'm president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. My brokerage operates in the Pacific Northwest throughout Oregon and Washington, but I'm also part of a network that expands the entire country in most states in about 50,000 real estate professionals. So Melissa, thank you for the opportunity. Great to be here today.

- Yeah. We're so grateful that you could carve out the time to be with us and to help our viewers. So we all know it is not hard to find a real estate agent right? They are pretty much everywhere, everywhere you turn. Maybe it's difficult to find a good one, okay. So we'll throw that caveat in there, but the search becomes a little bit more difficult when you're talking about seniors, and looking for somebody who specializes in senior-focused real estate. Tell us why these agents are unique and special.

- Well, folks that, I think, one, have experienced navigating these specific transactions and I will contest that they're just uniquely different than a traditional resale. Typically, there's multiple people involved, multiple decision makers. And so as a professional, you've got to be willing to listen and involve an entire family, if you will, versus a traditional resale may only be an individual or maybe partners. So I think, that, you can't underestimate the importance of just being able to navigate a transaction where there's multiple opinions. Sometimes those opinions may differ amongst each other. And I think also, there's typically a higher level of emotion or anxiety. And I think that can't also be dismissed, is you've gotta really be sensitive to what that senior is going through, making the transition from where they are and to where they're going. Beyond that, then folks that secure that senior specialist designation, go through a training that really focuses on that type of transaction, creating that type of experience for that individual homeowner that's transitioning from independent living into again, whatever next stage that they're moving into.

- Great. So it's actually really good to hear that there is actual training out there for people to go through so that they're able to help these individuals navigate this particular situation which as you mentioned, can be difficult and emotions can run high for sure. So what are some things senior-focused real estate agents can do to help make a senior living community move simple and efficient?

- Well, I think, first thing is really just understanding their needs and wants. And so if you go into a situation and maybe that particular homeowner's been, it's been in the family home for 40, 50 years, maybe, potentially. And so just the amount of things that people have acquired through that course at time. So typically, folks with that senior designation or at least, focused in that particular community, they'll have a network of professionals, whether it's related to estate planning or not estate planning, excuse me, estate sales, moving services. So it's more a concierge type of program where it's not just put the sign in the yard, sell the home, and move on. There's typically a lot more involved related to, again, the possessions in the house, getting that home ready for sale, which will probably require some decluttering, if you will. And so typically, those realtors that have that area of concentration, have a broader network of professionals that will assist in that transition. And just, again, I think ultimately, wanna create a seamless experience for the individual homeowner and their loved ones that are helping in that, navigate that transition.

- Yeah. So downsizing, as you've said, that's a big one. Obviously, you've lived in a house for 30, 40 years. You've collected all this stuff and then you're going to a place that's probably half the size where you're currently living. What are you doing with all that stuff? So downsizing, obviously, a challenge. What are some of the other challenges that these particular agents will face and that they're up for the challenge for?

- Yeah. Well, great question. Again, I think the biggest thing is usually, there are multiple people involved in that transaction and it typically could be an adult child. It could be a brother, sister. Typically, those folks are actually not living close by. And so again, you've got to be focused on who the client is and keep that in mind, but also, be willing to accept feedback input involvement from a number of folks, but you really gotta, that's a balancing act between who your responsibility is to versus everybody that may want to weigh in. So I think at the end of the day, it's really what separates real estate professionals that do an excellent job serving this community of folks versus everybody else, they're just hypersensitive to the emotion, maybe anxiety or stress related to that. And so they just really sensitive to that sort of process, from a pricing a home, getting a home ready for market to ultimately sell it, navigating the sales cycle from beginning to end, that's not really that different, but what is different is just, I think how you engage and interact with the customer. And again, probably more people involved than a traditional resale type of experience. And I think that's really what separates folks that really do an excellent job creating exceptional experience for the group of folks that we're talking about versus any other type of transaction.

- Yeah. And Berkshire Hathaway, obviously your company, you guys, this is something that you do. This is something that you are up with the challenge for, but do you recommend, you mentioned sort of areas in which you kind of hone in on nationally. We have people that watch from all over the country. So do you have any other groups or entities that specialize in senior-focused real estate nationwide that you can perhaps share with our viewers?

- So I think, if folks are in this situation and looking, I think the first thing you have to do, and the senior realtor designation is actually sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. So that is actually a national designation. If it was me, my advice and counsel would be, if you're interviewing realtors for the job of marketing, getting your home sold, the first question is, "Do you have that senior specialist designation?" And because at that point, you know they've gone through a unique, special training at a national level, sponsored by or promoted by the largest trade association in the world, which is the National Association of Realtors. So you know that they've gone through that and they just appreciate and understand that uniqueness of that sales cycle. I think if you're interviewing folks and they don't have that, maybe a great realtor have all the experience and credentials, but if they don't have either that designation or experience helping folks transition like that, then you probably move on to the next candidate that has that. I think once you've identified an individual that or maybe it's a team of realtors, but have that designation, then it's really about, "Share your network with me. Do you have folks that will help us declutter this home? Do you have relationships with a a group that will come in and whether it's in estate sale or maybe it's just moving items out of the home to wherever?" But if they've got that network of professionals that ultimately can create a seamless transition, because that's ultimately what we're trying to accomplish. And typically, there's some time sensitivity. I will say on a percentage basis, it's more times than not, it's more of an immediate need than a well-thought-out, planned out strategic 12-month, nine-month, 16-month move. And so you've got to, I think then have those resources because your time is kind of crunched a little bit typically. So again, I think it's really starting with, "Do you have that designation? 'Cause that at least then tells me that you've gone through a unique, special training to serve this community of folks. And if you did, then ultimately, then you probably have that network of professionals that are gonna assist in making this a seamless transition."

- Yeah. And before we find out a little bit more about your company and ways that people can contact you, do you feel that this need, as we've started to see over the last couple of decades, senior living needs have grown so much. Is this a need that is currently being fulfilled appropriately, you feel like? Or do we need more people in this role?

- No, I think it's a growing need. Let's face it. The baby boomers, second largest population of people, and so now, they're making that transition. And so I think it's a growing need, but I do believe that it's been an area of concentration, at least from the designation at the national level and to our industry the opportunity. So there is a lot of emphasis and a lot of folks that have that designation that really enjoy serving this community of folks. And so one, I think it is a growing need, has been growing, will continue to grow, but there's an awful lot of seasoned professionals that have the experience to navigate it and navigate it successfully. So I don't think that there's a gap, if you will, in the industry. It's really just a matter of connecting the right people with the consumer and then really just better understanding what is the timeline, what are your needs? And speaking to the relationship with ElderLife, and that's been a phenomenal relationship with our network because items like their bridge loan can be used for getting the home ready to market for sale. So if there's some deferred maintenance or there's some, we wanna maximize the equity in home and you can do some cosmetic things, they can tap into that resource and apply it to that process. So it's really, I think, a growing need but there's an awful lot of professionals that are already experienced serving that community.

- And that bridge loan's so special and unique to ElderLife. I'm glad you mentioned that. It does go hand in hand with this conversation. Now, if somebody wants to find out more about this or all of your services provided by your company, how can they get in touch with you, Jason?

- Well they could feel free to, my email address is jjwaugh@bhhsnw.com. Our direct office number is area code 503-646-7826. Our web address is bhhsnw.com. Now, our network, as I said, is national. And so I think working with ElderLife, that was really one of the criteria that they were really looking for in terms of servicing their clientele. They really wanted a partnership with one, a reputable organization, but two, had a national footprint just to serve the the community and clients. And we offer that. So Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is in, I believe, almost every state in the country. I think I know we just, we're in South Dakota. I don't know that we're in North Dakota yet.

- Okay.

- But we're about 60,000 realtors strong throughout the country. And, but either through ElderLife or myself, we really do have a very strong strategic relationship. And we're pretty easy to find. Proud to say that we're also, our parent company is HomeServices of America. For the last three years, we've sold more homes than any real estate company in North America. And so the one thing we're really good at is helping people buy and sell real estate. And so I thank you for the opportunity to share that with you today.

- Yeah. That's a good closing line right there, a good one to walk away with. Jason Waugh, thank you so much for your time and for helping our viewers here today.

- Thank you so much, Melissa. Appreciate it.

- Yeah. Thank you. Now, if you, those of you watching, you found this video informative with Jason, please head on over to our website. We've got a whole lot more, www.seniorlivinglive.com. All kinds of videos, all about senior living, just like this one, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the best part, it is all free. We thank you so much for being a part of "Senior Living Live". Have a great day, everybody.

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