If you could rename the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation what would it be?

We asked readers that question a couple of months ago and received more than 100 suggestions and comments. The reasons for the initial inquiry vary, but the main point is that many seniors simply don’t like to be called “seniors.” In addition, seniors and baby boomers are now largely commingled to include any person over the age of 55, while there are different buyer types such as move-down, empty-nest, last-time, retirement and second-home.

The topic also surfaced because earlier this year the SRES designation left its 10-year California roots to officially become an active part of the official National Association of Realtors’ family in Chicago. So, we thought it would be an appropriate time to reconsider the name that identifies real estate agents who complete a specialized educational program targeting persons over the age of 55.

The SRES course includes topics such as distinguishing characteristics and trends related to the 55-and-older population; housing, finance, and retirement income considerations of these consumers; outreach methods for building 55-and-older clientele; and counseling strategies to help clients and customers plan ahead for life transitions.

We received more than 60 moving notes and helpful tips in additional to the designation suggestions. Here are a couple of examples:

“I’m 59 and am developing housing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to replace the 70,000 units that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I refer to the folks I work with as ‘stakeholders,’ which implies a number of traits that positively reflect age, life experiences and good citizenship. It has been heartwarming to be involved with so many people in my age group who are “fully invested” in the recovery process and take ownership and responsibility for their personal challenges and still have the energy to help their neighbors! I believe that there are similar “stakeholders” all across our country that could be marketed to by the same acronym that would now stand for ‘Stakeholders Real Estate Specialist’ ” –Mac M.

“A couple of comments … I would consider extremely important to an older person looking to downsize and shrink maintenance/upkeep responsibilities … Noise heard inside through the walls or even outside due to inconsiderate use of home theater and sound systems by others. I would fear moving to my last residence and being trapped for the rest of my life having to listen to others’ music and annoying ‘bass’ tones even at low decibels. This aspect doesn’t seem to be addressed in the literature I’ve gathered (e.g., sound proofing and enforceable covenants on behavior). –writer’s identity withheld

” … Adequate and very WIDE parking spaces. Nothing can spoil a day more than discovering that a person parked close to your car and now makes it difficult to enter your own car while working with a cane or walker. And at another time discovering that an inconsiderate slob just dented the side of your new car with his door. These frustrations are real showstoppers to someone who has spent the last 40-plus years having a private driveway (and peace). –Lincoln S.

“My young-adult grandchildren refer to me as part of the ‘Older Gen.’ My 12-year-old grandson refers to me as ‘older than dirt.’ I don’t care what I’m called as long as there is some respect shown. We’re still needed … an active old guy on Social Security who went dancing Sunday night.” –Greg G.

“Mature” was the most-used term in the suggestions we received. Here are the five finalists we felt the most appropriate:

  • 55+RES — (55-Plus Real Estate Specialist), submitted by Gil C.

  • PRES — (Pinnacle Real Estate Specialist), Lincoln S.

  • SCRS (Silver Certified Residential Specialist), Chris V. “This is the winner, you know it! … Add it to the CRS class work for existing CRS agents.”

  • FPCP (Fifty Plus Certified Professional), Maria J.

  • GRES (Generations Real Estate Specialist), Mary S.

The Senior Winner, as judged by our neighborhood panel, who showed a curious sense of humor and creativity, came from Melissa F.:

  • MARES — Mature Adult Real Estate Specialist

” … And the marketing message could be ‘We are a horse of a different color,’ ” she added.

Many thanks to all of the Realtors, housing industry representatives and readers who took the time to write.

To get even more valuable advice from Tom, visit his Second Home Center.

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