One of the key advantages of downsizing is the freedom it affords Baby Boomers to travel extensively without concerns about home security. It’s an aspect of downsizing that real estate agents cannot afford to overlook.
Baby Boomers have travel on their bucket list. A report by Merrill Lynch/Age Wave in the US describes boomers as “time affluent” and not surprisingly, 95% of Boomers say they would prefer to enjoy experiences such as travel than to buy more things. The research also shows that Boomers are looking for longer travel experiences than the holidays they experienced while in the workforce*.
Excitement tempered with concerns about home security
Undoubtedly, the same travel aspirations are shared by Boomers here in Australia. The typical worry for over-55s planning to tick “driving Route 66” or “snorkelling in the Maldives” off their bucket list, is the risk of leaving their home unattended – and potentially open to burglars, while they explore the world.
It turns out their fears are well-founded. Figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology show household burglary is one of the nation’s most widespread crimes, and one in three Australians (across all ages) believe their home is likely to be burgled in the forthcoming year*.
Worries about home burglary highlight the vulnerability of ageing households to fear of theft or even home invasion.
These concerns give real estate agents a key selling point because home security is a significant advantage of living in a lifestyle or retirement village, or similar over 50’s community or development.
Village or over 50’s living enhances home security
Security features can carry a great deal of clout among buyers making the decision to downsize, and most particularly for older women living alone. Indeed, security tends to be a major consideration in the design of lifestyle and retirement villages and other over 50’s property developments – though one that may not always be spelt out in marketing material.
This provides agents with an opportunity to engage Baby Boomers in conversations about their travel plans or any concerns they may have regarding home security. Then follow this by pointing out to buyers the security features of a downsizer property.
PIN-coded entranceways for instance, provide an overarching level of security for the resident community. A high level of maintenance ensures residents don’t have to sweet-talk neighbours into emptying their mailbox (or pay Australia Post to hang onto mail) lest burglars twig to the fact their home is unoccupied while they’re travelling.
There is no need to wear the cost of kitting out a home with costly, and sometimes invasive, security features such as back-to-base security systems or cameras.
As many over 50’s developments provide secure parking, residents can even head off on the trip of a lifetime, free from worries about the safety of their car. Some even offer secure boat and caravan parking too, to make a lock up and leave lifestyle even easier.
Sharing the community spirit
Sure, even in a village environment, plants need to be watered, and there’s no doubt, other residents are happy to lend a hand. Equally, like-minded neighbours will likely prove an enthusiastic audience to share stories of overseas travels.
It can all add to the spirit of adventure – one that village residents can enjoy with peace of mind knowing that whether they head off for a weekend or several weeks, their home is safe and sound in their absence.
For real estate agents it makes sense to explain these security features to buyers, and note that all it takes to enjoy a trip is to love it, lock it, and leave it, knowing all will be well on their return. It could be the clincher that delivers a sale – after all, no price is too great when it comes to the safety of our home.
Author: Greg Oddy, from specialist retirement property website Downsizing.com.au