Guides to Retiring
The Best Time To Get Connected With An Agent
Over the last few years we have spent countless hours talking with people who are starting their journey of finding a 55+ community and home. We listened to the same set of challenges from person to person and worked with talented brokers, agents, and software engineers to craft a model and platform that makes it easy to explore 55 plus homes based on any buying criteria—home prices, HOA fees, amenities, and more. For many of our customers this was an amazing tool in their search. That impact fueled us to expand to multiple new areas and communities, and there’s even more on the horizon.
As we added more communities and rolled out new features we brought to light many community data points that either didn’t exist or were segmented across the internet. However, as we continued those conversations with people in the buying process we learned that one thing still wasn’t clear and wasn’t being leveraged to its fullest—our agents. We still hear this today, most people don’t know when they should get connected with an agent. They feel skeptical, they aren’t sure how an agent can help, and they are worried that they are too early in the process to talk to an agent.
More than any videos or web pages we can create we believe a knowledgeable agent is the most valuable asset you can have in your retirement home search. We wanted to address some of the biggest misconceptions we’ve heard about getting connected with an agent, what they do, and how they can help.
We call them community experts for a reason
One of the biggest misconceptions about what we do is that we are a traditional ‘lead generation’ company. That real people who are looking to buy their dream home are “thrown over the fence” to any old agent who is willing to take it on. That isn’t our style, and what makes us radically different from others is that our agents are a part of our team and most are under our brokerage. We partner with them just as they partner with you in your search. We work together every day to aggregate high quality information and to make our processes better.
Internally, we jokingly call them community experts instead of agents. Together, they represent 100’s of years worth of knowledge, passion, and expertise in the 55 plus market and they understand our customers more than anyone else. Most of our community experts actually live in the 55 plus communities that they help people to tour and find homes in. It is one of our favorite parts of partnering with them. They are so close to the details that they become a champion for the community and can tell you all about the good and the bad. There isn’t a question they can’t answer, an amenity they couldn’t show you, and an open house that they couldn’t help you explore.
We recently grabbed coffee with a few of our expert agents and asked them when they think someone should connect with them during their search.
When you are 3 years out from buying a home
Overwhelmingly, all of our agents seemed to agree that you should connect with an agent and start forming a relationship about 3 years out from buying that dream retirement home. It is for a good reason, this isn’t just any home and it isn’t like any previous search. For many, living in a 55 plus community is like going back to college and it represents an exciting time in your life. However, understanding the process, finding a great fit, and making sure you are getting everything you want in a community can be extremely stressful. This requires a lot of involvement. This is where an agent can really help you to get started and feel confident that you are beginning your search on the right foot. An agent can answer those early questions about the process, help you to set expectations, and give you insights and tips that will make your search much easier.
It is okay not to have made concrete decisions at this point. You can be looking at multiple areas, even multiple states! There is no pressure to have it all figured out. Your agent is there to help you to find what is best for you and at your own pace.
When you are 2 yearsout
Around this time you are likely getting a better idea of what you are looking for. You may have narrowed it down to a couple areas and may even have a handful of communities that you think are a great fit. It is starting to feel real and hopefully it has been stress free! Now is the time you want to start planning a trip to see the area and even tour some communities in person—especially if you are moving from another state.
This is the right time to talk with your agent and work with them to plan that trip. They can help you to create an itinerary of community tours, open houses, and things to see and do in the area! An agent can get you access that you could not get on your own. The majority of 55 plus communities are gated and have an onsite security guard. Amenities are also restricted by key fob or other technology so unless you have an agent with you, you might not end up seeing very much.
An agent can also help you find short term rentals that are perfectly positioned close to the communities you are planning to tour. In some instances, an agent could even help you reserve a short term rental directly in a community on your dream sheet.
When you are 1 year out
By now you and your agent have worked together to understand your requirements, budget, and they have helped you to narrow down your search to a handful of areas and communities that you think are a great fit. You have taken a trip to explore everything in person and met your agent one-on-one to tour the area and communities. You are close to the finish line and can’t stop thinking about margaritas by the pool reminiscing about the days you had to shovel snow up north.
So what is next? If you have chosen your perfect community, the last step is finding your dream home. For some, this is where they plan on a second (or even third) trip to the community to tour open houses and even make an offer if they find something they love. Others choose to do this remotely and work with their agent to see photos, video, and even 3D tours of the home prior to making an offer. Either way, this is where things start to feel pretty standard. Your agent can help you negotiate and make an offer and guide you through the paperwork and closing process. Before you know it, your keys will be on one and maybe even that margarita in the other.
We are changing the way people just like you search for and buy homes in 55 plus communities. You will have a lot of questions about what we’re doing and how this all works. We are excited to help. We hope that now you know that if those questions are a right fit for one of our expert agents that they would love to talk with you.
It is the stories of everyday people who are moving on to that next exciting chapter in life that inspire us. We’d love to hear yours!