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Seniors Look to Real Estate

Knowledge of the local market and lots of friends and family to use for connections and referrals provide seniors with a quick way into the real estate field.

| BY Kent McDill

Many older Americans these days find themselves wanting to remain in the workplace but having no place to get a job.

Many of those Americans end up working in real estate, and there is a reason for that.

U.S. News and World Report published a list of reasons why real estate has become a great second career for seniors who find themselves out of their original workplace but needing or wanting to remain active in the business world.

One of the reasons real estate is considered a good choice to start a new career at an older age is that it does not take much time, effort or money to become a licensed realtor. In some states, there is a required amount of hours of education, but many states offer the necessary education courses online.

Realtor groups urge seniors to do as much education research as possible for diving in, and notes that almost all the information they need can be found online or at local libraries.

The second part of the job requires the ability to communicate in the modern world, which means an operating computer, internet access, a dedicated phone line and a fax machine or scanner. Knowing how to use that equipment is key to dealing with agents and customers, according to Steve Goddard, vice president of the National Association of Realtors. “You need to have the ability to fax something from home,’’ he said.

The third reason real estate appeals to older Americans looking for at least some level of employment and income is that the job offers the ultimate in flexibility. For the most part, you work when you want to work. In order to be successful, however, a certain number of hours a week and a certain amount of effort to stay connected and viable are required.

The flexibility angle does require the need to work off-hours, like weekends and evenings when buyers are off work themselves.

A fourth reason real estate works for older Americans is that the business requires contacts, and seniors often know people who are looking to buy larger homes for growing families (like their own children or friends of their children) or know other seniors who are looking to downsize. At the same time, seniors often know their towns and neighborhoods so well that they require no education in local real estate trends.

“As a Realtor, you need to know your area," Goddard said. "Seniors may have been in an area 10, 15, 20 or more years."

The biggest challenge facing seniors getting into real estate is finding a broker with whom to work. While some brokers encourage part-timers who are motivated to sell, others prefer full-time employees. Brokers can offer office space for meetings with buyers and sellers, but will require a part of your commission for offering those services.




About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.