RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

DEC 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE December 2018 111 course and called on Jupiter, Fla.-based REALTOR® Jeff Berger, founder of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Es- tate Professionals (NAGLREP), for assistance. In fact, it was Berger who reached out to NAR and ad- vised the association that there was no LGBT content in the SRES® course, and offered his help to provide such content. "They immediately liked the idea and said their course was due for a refresh, and we began working together within a matter of months," says Berger. "The U.S. popu - lation is aging, and it's important to raise awareness to concerns of the LGBT community." Berger pulled in personal contacts and resources from SAGE (Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders) and AARP and was instrumental in helping NAR revive the course, especially as it related to information and guidance re - garding LGBT seniors. "LGBT seniors grew up in an era that witnessed the LGBT rights movement, an era when LGBTs be - came more visible, many married, and more and more are out as their true selves at work," says Berger. "LGBT se - niors are less likely to have chil- dren than their younger peers, re- sulting in higher rates of isolation than non-LGBTs. There's also con - cern for adequate family and social support." According to NAGLREP's 2018-19 LGBT Real Estate Report, 38 percent of REALTOR® member clients are ages 45 and over, with 13 percent 55 or older. "Our goal as real estate professionals is to serve our clients the best we can, and we continue to provide ed - ucation to members and REALTORS® at large to teach the needs of the growing LGBT senior community," says Berger. "In 2018, we partnered with AARP, and there's much insight to be learned from their recent research, 'Maintaining Dignity, Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans.'" The revised SRES® course now has LGBT cultural com - petency as a key point, with the course material explain- ing the cultural nuances of the LGBT community. "For example, the terms 'sexual preference' or 'alter - native lifestyle' are often used to describe the LGBT com- munity. These terms should be avoided, as they both im- ply that sexual orientation or gender identity are a choice or can be changed," says Berger. "Also of note is the fact that in a recent NAGLREP survey, 78 percent of respon - dents said that being LGBT-friendly is more important than a real estate professional's years of experience." NAR recently recognized two SRES® designees with its 2018 Outstanding Service Award (OSA), which honored those who showed exemplary performance and leader - ship in their local senior markets. One of those honored was Peter Crouch, a broker with McEnearney Associates in Alexandria, Va., who began specializing in working with seniors after helping his par - ents with a real estate transaction. "I realized that there were a lot of people who were in need of a little more than what a traditional real estate person offers in terms of helping them digest what's go - ing on and what options there are for housing, declut- tering, donating, etc.," he says. "What that led me to do was volunteer for a couple of our local senior villages." Over the last five years, Crouch has helped oversee some construction work and make sure seniors weren't being taken advantage of. He's also helped people age in place. "If I can offer some value-added stuff, as well as a trusted person in a time when it's stressful for many, it gives real estate a much higher purpose in my mind, which is why I do it," says Crouch. "Hav - ing the SRES® Designation adds cre- dence to me and all of NAR." Lisa Stover, managing broker/owner of Presto Real Estate Services in Mari - etta, Ga., was the other 2018 OSA winner. "I've been in real estate for 14 years and in 2011, I moved my mom and realized that this is a big deal," says Stover. "There are so many mov - ing pieces when working with seniors, and it dawned on me that I couldn't be the only one who needs help with this." That's why Stover launched into working with seniors, and the SRES® Designation was a big part of that. "The key to working with seniors is patience," she says. "They don't like change and they can't make deci - sions quickly. Sometimes there are extenuating circum- stances, like a health issue or some cognitive decline, that forces us to involve other people. You want to make sure there's a total awareness of what's going on." While Stover notes that there's still much to learn about the senior demographic, she recommends that others who obtain the SRES® Designation better em - brace the population. "We need more agents to get involved and champion that senior client because it's bigger than just the money we can make or the homes we can sell; this is a popula - tion of people who need so much help and understand- ing," she says. For more information, please visit http://seniorsrealestate.com.

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