What is a senior citizen?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

What is a Senior Citizen?

Unless you are a senior citizen, as I am, you may be tempted to think that “Senior Citizen” = “old Oops!person.” And if you’re thinking “old person” you may be putting us all into a category of real estate clients who are ready to:

  • Downsize
  • Move to a retirement community
  • Move to a retirement home

You may also think we’re necessarily in poor health and / or have diminished mental capacity.

While those statements do apply to some, if you paint us all with the same broad brush, you’re sadly mistaken.

If you stop and think about it, it's insane to lump everyone from 55 to 95+ in one group, even if we didn't all have individual personalites, likes, dislikes, states of health, dreams, goals, etc.

  • Some seniors want to move to a location with more opportunities to attend concerts, plays, sporting events, etc.
  • Some want to move to a condo, where someone else will take care of maintenance and they can be free to travel, pursue hobbies, do volunteer work, etc.
  • Some want to move somewhere that they can raise a garden or keep some livestock.
  • Some are happily starting new careers as entrepreneurs. (Yes – some are becoming real estate agents!)
  • Some are perfectly happy to stay in a house that’s become “too big,” so they’ll have room for children and grandchildren to come and visit.
  • Some want to sell the house, buy a motor home (or mount a horse), and hit the road.

Senior horseman traveling cross countryWhen we met this senior, he and his horses were traveling from the Pacific Coast to Minnesota.

In other words, senior citizens are just like any other age group – diverse.

Aside from being past the age of 55, about the only thing most (NOT all) of us have in common is that we’ve accumulated too much “stuff.” When we get ready to move, we face a huge job of sorting, packing the things we want to keep, and disposing of the rest.

That’s why, when I wrote the Senior Relocation prospecting letters, I was careful not to assume anything about the homeowner’s circumstances or future plans.

They’re filled with “you might” and “If you” statements. Many do mention the huge chore of packing and moving – while they offer assistance in the form of a list of trusted vendors who are available to help. They also offer to put the homeowner in touch with advisors who will show them how a sale will affect them financially.

If you’re interested in assisting senior citizens, these letters will help position you as a person who will help and advise – and never assume.

So get your set today – and get prospecting!


This post appeared first at: https://copybymarte.com/what-is-a-senior-citizen/

"Oops" courtesy of digitalart@freedigitalphotos.net


Comments (45)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Thanks for making these excellent points. They are really good to keep in mind. You write such great letters. Anyone who needs some push in their marketing should just call you!

Jun 02, 2017 03:26 AM
Marte Cliff

Thank you for the kind compliment Lise Howe - I appreciate that.

Jun 02, 2017 04:09 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is similar to a post I just read regarding the reasons why millenials are not all the same. Neither are those above the age of 55. I think "senior" citizens should now be those above 80. Isn't 80 the new 60? 60 the new 40?

Jun 02, 2017 03:38 AM
Marte Cliff

Yes Kat Palmiotti - I believe you're right. I'm not sure about 40 being the new 20, however. Hopefully by 40 we've all learned a bit more than we knew at 20! Perhaps 40 is the new 30.

Whatever it is, Americans as a whole are more eager to stay active, working, and having fun much longer than we did 70 years ago - when "old" was 45.

Jun 02, 2017 04:11 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte Cliff ,

As usual you knocked it out of the park on this one! Congratulations on a well deserved featured post. Every senior  is unique, and it's only by listening carefully that we will be able to discover how we can help them in "rightsizing". Never assume about anyone!

Jun 02, 2017 04:29 AM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Dorie Dillard - The truth is, every one of us is unique, at every age. We should never presume to know what someone else is thinking or feeling.

Jun 02, 2017 04:13 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

When I think senior I think of many things - none of which are old!

Jun 02, 2017 06:03 AM
Marte Cliff

What do you think of Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC?

Jun 02, 2017 04:14 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great post and it should remind us to stop putting everyone in a nice convenient box. Every person is an individual with their own quirks and needs.

Our job is to find out Who they are and What they want from life.


Jun 02, 2017 06:16 AM
Marte Cliff

Absolutely, John Wiley - and when you're working with couples, your job is to try to find the balance so they will both be happy with the home they choose.

Jun 02, 2017 04:15 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

You certainly can't judge by age.

I have relatives the exact same age and based on their activity you would never know it. 

Jun 02, 2017 06:53 AM
Marte Cliff

Sharon Tara We had tenants in our son's duplex that my husband and I referred to as "the old folks," and I know darn well they were both younger than us.

Jun 02, 2017 04:16 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Marte, about time someone brought home the point that we senior citizens are not a homogenous group... we are very diverse. I am well into my senior years, as is my husband who'll be 79 on his next birthday. We still and will continue to live in a two story, 3,500 square foot home (we already downsized from 6,000 square feet). We have no desire to live in less space or in an adult community or in a patio home. And then there is the idea that people of my generation are not technologically savvy when looking for homes... HA!

Jun 02, 2017 07:29 AM
Marte Cliff

Nina Hollander How right you are! I do know seniors who won't touch a computer - but I also know young people who want nothing to do with them.

As for housing, I can't imagine living in a small space and liking it. I love that my office is in the basement and I run up and down the stairs more than a dozen times a day - it's good exercise for someone who sits at a computer most of the day.

Jun 02, 2017 04:19 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The longer I live, the more fortunate I feel. Passed the “Senior” thing a few years ago. I used to think that people who are my age were awfully old. Guess it depends on your point of view.

Jun 02, 2017 02:32 PM
Marte Cliff

John Juarez When I was a young teen my family ran a resort on the lake. The cook one summer was a little gray haired "grandma lady" who often bragged that she was 50 - "I'm half a century old, did you know that?" She did seem old to me at the time. Now I think of it and laugh.

Jun 02, 2017 04:21 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I remember getting really upset when Kroger gave me the senior discount when I was still in my 40s, but stopped coloring my hair. Sigh.  But my opinion of "old" is a sliding scale... it keeps going up.  

I have long worked in a climate and area where people retire and I feel a lot more equipped to do a good job for them now that I want a one level house myself.

Jun 02, 2017 02:46 PM
Marte Cliff

Tammy Lankford, - as I said in the last comment, when I was 13 or 14, 50 seemed very old. Now that sounds pretty young.

When I look around now, I believe that "old age" is more about attitude and activity than years.

Jun 02, 2017 04:23 PM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

I probably am but refuse to admit it!

Jun 03, 2017 01:33 PM
Marte Cliff

Good for you, Paul McFadden!

Jun 03, 2017 04:57 PM
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

I'm coming up on 77 this monrh, but as far as I;m concerned if that's a problem, it's a problem for others, not for me.

About five years ago, my church --- which I lover very much --- sent me a goofy form letter that told me that I was a Senior Citizen.

I wrote the minister who included me on the Senior Citizen Mailing List that I was not a senior citizen, and that I would be glad to let him know when and if I ever became one.

There is nothing that I was able to do at 30 that I was not able to do when I passed 70, and that holds true as I prepare to turn 77.

I continue to work full time, for an example, and I have no intention of stopping. Boredom is what makes the brain evaporate into an old folks module.

The only time I'm willing to allow myself to be included in a Senior Citizen List is when to do so means I get a significant price discount.

So I suppose my point is that it is best to let the person you think qualifies as a Senior Citizen, tell you that he is..don't address him as that before then.

Jun 03, 2017 04:48 PM
Marte Cliff

Well BILL CHERRY -  I can't say everything is just as easy now as it was when I was thirty. Things like bales of hay and bags of grain do seem a bit heavier!

As for my brain - it's probably better now than it was then.

Meanwile, I agree. The discounts are fine, but don't ask me if I want it. Let me ask you if it's available.

Jun 03, 2017 05:01 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign


                      Thank you Marte Cliff 


Jun 03, 2017 05:17 PM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Kathy Streib - although I don't think I said anything you didn't already know!

Jun 03, 2017 09:48 PM
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

You got it Marte! Now that I am of a certain age-62- there are definitely senior options on Metro North and the movies - but I am still active, live in a house and feel like I have much of life before me.  Diversity is the key with any market segment!

Jun 04, 2017 09:29 AM
Marte Cliff

Joanna Cohlan Aside from people who are chronically ill and have been for many years, everyone I know in their 60's and 70's is busy and active. My 89 year old neighbor is slowing down a little - he plans to sell his cows this fall - but he rides is 4-wheeler down every night to have a drink with my husband.

Jun 04, 2017 01:36 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

These 55+ communities in my area are not appealing to many that qualify to live there. Different people want different things, no matter what age group they are in.

Jun 04, 2017 09:41 AM
Marte Cliff

Chris Ann Cleland The only reason I can think of for living in a 55+ community would be that you just didn't want children around. While I do know a few children and teens that I don't want around, that sounds pretty dull.

Jun 04, 2017 01:37 PM
Beth Bromund
Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel - Rochester, MI
REALTOR (248) 651-3500

AARP sends membership info people when they turn 50!  Mine will be in the mail soon.  You make very valid points about not lumping all people into a single category of preferences based on a broad age category.  That's important to remember.

Jun 04, 2017 12:44 PM
Marte Cliff

Beth Bromund Not all seniors are alike - just as not all Millenials, gen X, gen Y, etc are alike.

Jun 04, 2017 01:38 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I've been struggling for  a while as to how to refer to retiring and downsizing baby boomers. 'Senior Citizen' sounds too dated. 'Older adults'--maybe that's not offensive.  Usually I end up using a phrase specific to the situation as in "I work with many adults who are ready to move to an easier lifestyle in terms of home maintenance' So long!

Jun 04, 2017 12:46 PM
Marte Cliff

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR It's long, but it works. Of course, you could just say you would with people who are ready for a change of place.

Jun 04, 2017 01:39 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Marte Cliff 

When you say senior citizen I think people in the 60s working a realtor. I came across an agent and thought he is really aging. He closed 10 deals last year 1-3M range. He told me he was born 1933. He is 84!

Jun 04, 2017 06:39 PM
Marte Cliff

Sam Shueh Three cheers for that agent!!

Jun 04, 2017 07:21 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Oh my, I can relate to this. We deal with many "senior citizens"  in our business, and you are so right. None are the same. Different interests, different goals, different wants and needs. While many want to downzise, we just worked with a 55+ who only want a 6,000 sq ft home for her and her cats!

Jun 07, 2017 01:23 AM
Marte Cliff

Oh my Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 - that's a real "cat lady!" Maybe she never lets them go outdoors, so they need plenty of space to run and play.

Jun 07, 2017 07:00 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So true!  Senior citizen is a vague term that doesn't necessarily put everyone in one category!

Jun 09, 2017 04:05 PM
Marte Cliff

Some try, Jan Green, but we don't all fit one pattern.

Jun 09, 2017 08:47 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Age is simply a number and regardless of your age, it's how we feel that ultimately could affect our journey of life. In a way, we're all seniors as we age IMO, so with age comes knowledge, experiences, and wisdom. 

A senior, I believe is a person who identifies themselves as a senior, so at what age is that? It depends, doesn't it, on how they feel and how they define a senior.

Jun 18, 2017 07:21 AM
Marte Cliff

Yes, Kimo Jarrett - and how they define a senior can vary. Some might equate that with experience, knowledge, etc. while others equate it with "old."

Jun 18, 2017 10:27 AM