Long-Time Senior Renters Have Homebuying Options, Too!
Senior citizens who have opted to rent long-term instead of own may assume that they can not qualify for a mortgage since they are retired and perhaps on a fixed income. Other seniors have enough income or savings but may lack the proper credit to qualify for a mortgage. Fortunately, there are programs available that can help seniors make the switch from renting to owning and reap the benefits of owning their own home.
There are many options for seniors wishing to purchase a home, even when they may be first-time homebuyers. Renting may often make perfect sense, particularly for people who do not want the responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining a home. But, renting also means that there is no option to build equity or retain hard-earned investments. Owning your own home not only has tax advantages but can seniors can often buy a place that is nicer or larger than somewhere they can rent, allowing them to protect investments and pensions while living in their very own place.
How to Attract Senior Homebuyers
For seniors who assume they cannot qualify for a mortgage, it is important to be aware of and understand the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which is a federal law prohibiting lenders from discriminating based on an applicant’s age, among other things. Because of this act, seniors have the same opportunities as younger applicants. This legislation allows seniors the option to buy, and stop renting. Baby boomers may be able to buy a smaller home, one that fits their needs, and avoid making the ongoing monthly rent payments that do nothing to provide any protection of investment or equity.
Mortgage requirements are constantly changing. Not that long ago, it was difficult for a senior to qualify for a mortgage without a regular income. Banks did not necessarily consider retirement funds, investments, IRAs, or other assets if an applicant did not receive a regular paycheck. Because the debt-to-income ratio was too high (most banks look for 40% or less DTI), seniors were forced to remain renters. Today, many mortgage products are available that are targeted specifically to seniors, and others on a fixed income, so that they can enjoy owning their own home and no longer renting.
How to Target the Baby Boomer Market
Lenders need to know exactly how to target the baby boomer market. Understanding the specific types of media typically consumed by this population is important. So much marketing today is done online. Many people search online for opportunities, but seniors tend to lean away from this method, as a general rule. Lenders typically offer plenty of online advertising and use the internet heavily to advertise, but this may not be how to target the baby boomer market. Newspaper, radio, television, direct mailings, and other print advertising is much more likely to grab the attention of seniors. Educating seniors about the power of buying their new home is best done with non-technological media.
Younger seniors may be more internet-savvy but still tend to trust those print, television, and radio sources more. They are more accustomed to these media forms and tend to be wary of social media and are much more likely to listen to the radio or read newspapers. Although young adults are far less likely to get the paper news still and get their advertising online, most seniors tend to be comfortable with the habit of reading the news daily and rely on this for current events, advertising, and more.
Strategies for Marketing Your Home to Senior Citizens
Amenities such as a large backyard, a swimming pool, or many bedrooms and bathrooms may not be the ideal product for senior citizens. Instead, having a home with few stairs, options for adding certain accommodations like wheelchair ramps and shower bars may be more appealing. Remember, seniors who are buying homes may not necessarily need these particular amenities at the moment but may be thinking of the future and the reality of staying in a home that they purchase as long as possible before possibly requiring other situations to accommodate their aging-related needs.
If you have a home that is a single level, with a small but attractive yard, and the extra amenities such as central air, open floor plan, and simple but easy-to-maintain landscaping may draw the interest of the seniors who are interested in turning to owning rather than renting.
Home Buying Solutions
Today’s seniors have more options than ever when it comes to getting a mortgage and switching from renting to owning. As with any major decision or purchase, it is extremely important to do the right research and make sure that any lending option is not a scam. Unfortunately, seniors are the most likely demographic to be targeted by scams, so knowledge is power. There are plenty of reputable lenders available to help seniors find a mortgage product that meets their needs, and those lenders who are reputable are going to be available for questions and guidance to help baby boomers make this important decision safely.