Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)

FACT: 1% of Realtors® in Ontario is qualified to work with Seniors.

As a Senior Real Estate Specialist I help seniors navigate the sale of their home by providing a patient, specialized, and compassionate one-stop service from start to finish. My full team eliminates all of the extra phone calls, interviewing, hiring, stress and costs that you’ll have to endure. 

A Realtor who knows how to help seniors and their family through this transition of selling their home and downsizing is very important.

The National Association of Realtors created a special designation for Realtors who work with seniors. The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES)  credentials guarantees that a Realtor has learned how to be the best best serve the needs of seniors who are selling their home.

To qualify, a licensed real estate agent must complete a training program that helps them learn more about the challenges of moving when retired.

Seniors Downsizing

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This video shares some of the details on this page. 

Why Michael Shuster Offers More To Seniors Than Other Realtors (including other Senior Real Estate Specialists)!

As an award-winning Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I provide a full-service team of trustworthy, patient, and caring professionals [who I hand-picked] to provide the unique & superior level of service that Seniors need & deserve!

When you hire ANY other Realtor you will also have to interview & hire someone different to help with all of the services listed below. And you have to find movers who you can trust.

I’m the only Seniors Real Estate Specialist who offers ALL of the services you need – including movers – at no extra cost.

The result I provide for my Senior clients is LESS STRESS, LESS WORK, LESS TIME, … and LOWER COSTS!

My one-of-a-kind service package designed exclusively for Seniors will save you THOUSANDS!!!!

My team of professionals who are trustworthy, patient, and compassionate include:

  • Movers,
  • Experts in Decluttering & Purging, 
  • Experts in Donating, Recycling & Disposing,
  • Experts in Packing & Unpacking,
  • Real Estate Lawyers,
  • & More!

And … if you need help finding & choosing a Senior Lifestyle Community or Retirement Residence I also have a “Senior Living Advisor” Specialist on my team with 20 years experience working for various companies within the Senior Lifestyle Industry. My “Senior Living Advisor” can help you find the perfect new place for all of your needs, expectations and requirements.

Seniors Move Transition Team

Who is Michael Shuster?

A multi-award-winning Realtor specializing in working with seniors. Michael offers the highest standard in Toronto real estate with unparalleled expertise, unique skills, integrity & compassion. Michael has been changing the real estate industry to a service oriented business focusing on the unique needs of each individual client. Michael offers proven strategies, hands-on service, attention to detail, superior negotiation skills, compassion & empathy.

Michael Shuster Toronto Real Estate Specialist, Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) Re/Max Realtron

Michael’s Mission For Seniors:

Caring about the safety, security, comfort, and happiness of seniors, my mission is to provide specialized skills, full service, & special expertise when selling a home for seniors, combined with the highest level of integrity, patience, and care … all uniquely tailored to the custom needs & expectations of seniors!

Michael Shuster's Mission as Seniors Real Estate Specialist

A Beautiful Senior Client Named Mavis:

On May 2nd Kristen asked me to meet Mavis (her 89 year old MOM). Mavis needed to sell her home and was moving to an assisted living care home. Mavis was scared and overwhelmed. It was a big change for her. Before her husband died he was a professional and made all of the big decisions. Mavis met with 3 Realtors but none felt right. They all focused on the sale of the house but didn’t seem to care or understand what Mavis was feeling, her anxiety, or limitations.

We had a lovely meeting. I asked Mavis questions, got to know her personality, and learned her goals regarding the sale of the house. I learned what she was  anxious about. I addressed all her questions and concerns and Mavis hired me.

Mavis didn’t know how to get the house ready for sale so I brought my Stager and my whole crew to get it done. I sold the house in 3 days. Mavis wasn’t expecting multiple offers. She thought she’d have a few days to consider an offer when it was received. Suddenly, she had four offers to consider with only a few hours to decide.

Realtor For Seniors

I assured Mavis that as (her agent) I’d make sure that she is always in control – not the other demanding agents with their Buyers. I suggested that Mavis & I have tea and take our time discussing the offers. Mavis felt calm again and ultimately confident accepting one of the offers. She was amazed it went so fast, so smooth, and I was able to calm her nerves and explain everything she needed to know so calmly and easy for her to understand.

Then Mavis felt anxious again because she realized she didn’t know how to find a real estate Lawyer or movers. She actually didn’t know how to hire anyone. She didn’t have a car and couldn’t drive. I told her I’d have my real estate Lawyer come see her at her house to ease her concern.

I assured her I have movers who are honest, trustworthy, safe, and careful with her belongings.
I also assured Mavis that I would supervise the move.

As offer night was getting late and business was complete, Mavis walked me to the door to get my coat. As I put on my coat, in her soft voice Mavis said;

“Michael, I don’t know if this would be appropriate but I would like to give you a hug for all you did for me.”

Of course I agreed to the hug. Mavis confessed to me that she hadn’t slept in days and after the way I handled everything for her (and how I treated her) she told me that she never felt more at ease and safe since her husband passed.

As I left her home and got into my car I had a revelation – I’m not in the real estate business, I’m in the “people” business. I can sell homes with my eyes closed. But knowing I make a difference in someone’s life, and knowing someone vulnerable feels safe and cared for dealing with me, rather than possibly being taken advantage of by other professionals who only care about money or commission – that’s why I love what I do!

Picking a Seniors Real Estate Specialist

How To Pick a Seniors Real Estate Specialist or Accredited Senior Agent:

The time has come to sell your home. One of the first things to do is find the right REALTOR® for working with seniors.  

You might start your research online or asking friends and family for referral recommendations. But finding a REALTOR® who is properly trained & qualified to provide the best experience possible for the unique requirements & expectations of seniors is VERY different than a typical REALTOR®

Here are some things to remember when looking for a Realtor to sell a home for seniors who are downsizing & transitioning..

Agents who specialize in selling seniors’ homes:

There are REALTORs® specially trained to fill the real estate needs of the “mature” community. The few REALTORS® who work with boomers and mature clients [and have the designation of SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist, and/or Accredited Senior Associate], are better qualified to understand seniors and provide the additional services when selling their home.

The process for seniors has its own unique set of requirements that must be met. A REALTOR® specially trained to serve the fifty-plus market with the sale of their home and transition have additional services and systems to make the experience for seniors as smooth, comfortable, safe, and stress free as possible.

Some of these services and systems may include:

Extra help & guidance. Many seniors are widowed and living alone. They aren’t sure of the next steps. If they don’t have local relatives to help them then as a REALTOR® trained to work with seniors, I provide consultations to explain the entire process. I patiently ask everything I need to know about them. Then I offer all the options for their transition. Even if it requires multiple consultations to be sure they are 100% informed and comfortable.

Slower pace

The home selling experience is complicated – for anyone. Many topics, ideas, and contracts are discussed during the process. I make sure I get to know my client(s). If necessary, I present everything in a slower paced format. I help my client to relax and feel they always have ample time to process the things we discuss without feeling any pressure.  The result is better understanding and reduced stress & anxiety for them.

Real Estate Contracts in plain English.

Real estate documents are written by Lawyers. They can be long & confusing Before we list the home for sale I sit down with copies of all usual contracts, in larger type if requested, and written in layman’s terms. This extra consultation helps my clients feel more comfortable with the paperwork required during the actual transaction and allows them to ask questions or explain their concerns with me early.  Then, when an actual offer is made they clearly know what they’re signing, without feeling anxious, confused, or overwhelmed.

Supporting professionals.  The home selling process involves MANY professionals. As a full service REALTOR® I’m your ONE-STOP professional. I offer a safe, smooth, and stress-free experience for seniors. I have a full team of professionals specializing in helping seniors.

These are proven & vetted professionals I’ve worked with successfully in the past for other seniors. This may include professionals to help with packing, unpacking, decluttering, donating, movers who treat seniors with respect, compassion, and patience during the move, and more.

In the next section you’ll see the competitive advantage when you hire Michael Shuster [me] over any other REALTOR®. I offer every service you might need for your move & transition – all specializing in providing a calm, safe, stress-free experience in for seniors.

Choosing Potential Real Estate Agents

Most people don’t have a strategy for hiring a Realtor.  Many people just go with someone who is popular in the area or a relative/friend in real estate hoping to save money. While that can be disastrous for seniors (like hiring a part-time Lawyer or a Lawyer that specializes in a different type of Law), more and more seniors are realizing the importance of hiring a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Someone who understands the intricate details specific to moving seniors, as well as the emotions seniors deal with and how to make the process more comfortable for seniors. 

Unfortunately most people don’t have an HR degree so they don’t interview Realtors with a strategy or specific questions to see if a Realtor is the perfect fit for them to hire. Obviously I would love to be your Realtor & transition specialist. 

But just in case you want to interview other Realtors, here are 8 important interview questions for seniors (and their families) when interviewing Realtors.

  1. Do you have a real estate designation for working with seniors?  
  2. Do you have experience helping older adults/seniors sell their homes?
    If yes, how many seniors have you worked with?
    * (get specific here – don’t just accept “lots” as a reply)?  
  3. Can you give me some examples?
  4. What are some of the varying needs of seniors? 
  5. Do you do anything differently when selling a senior’s home (compared to selling a home belonging to someone younger)? 
    If yes, what do you do differently? 
  6. Do you ever deal with seniors’ family members who wish to be part of the selling process?
    If yes, how do you work/include them in the process?  
  7. Do you have local contacts who specialize in senior services like moving and downsizing, etc.?
  8. Do you provide any other services (different from a typical Realtor) to help make the the process as smooth and stress-free as possible? 
Choosing a Realtor for Seniors

Red Flags When Hiring a Realtor For Seniors:

The truth is that most people don’t have a strategy for hiring a Realtor.  In my book I published in 2014 I highlighted most people just go with someone who is popular in the area. And let’s face it …everyone knows someone with a real estate license. 

But let me ask you a question. If you were involved in a lawsuit involving lots of money would you hire some who practices law part-time? 

Or would you hire a criminal lawyer to handle your divorce instead of a Family Law Lawyer? Obviously not. It amazes me that people don’t have a strategy or put more effort into choosing a Realtor with specific qualifications and specific personal character traits when selling their single largest asset – their home!

Just because a relative has their Realtor license doesn’t mean you’ll save money.  Just because a Realtor has many signs in the area doesn’t mean they know how to create a smooth & stress-free experience for Seniors. 

But just in case you meet seniors who want to interview more than one Realtor, here are 5 major red flags to watch out for when interviewing Realtors.

Pressure.  The agent pressures you to sign a contract with them without giving you ample time to reflect or think about the decision.

Lack of explanation. The agent does not take the time to explain absolutely everything you sign in as much detail as needed for you to completely understand. They may even brush it off.

Failure to provide supporting documentation.  The agent suggests a price for the home but does not prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to share with you about the price opinion.   Although it is illegal and unethical, it is unfortunate that there are some that will see an opportunity to take advantage of a senior by pricing the home lower than market value, sell it to a buyer that is connected to them and then quickly re-sell it for the actual higher market price to make a profit.  Why seniors more often? They have lived in their homes for decades sometimes and even a low price can seem high if they haven’t been keeping tabs on the market over the years.

No references. The agent will not provide references of past clients for you to contact.  Past performance is generally an indicator of future performance and they either don’t have good references, or don’t feel it’s important to provide them. Neither is good.

Isolation.  The agent discourages you from having friends, family or other support during any part of the transaction.  This is an attempt at isolating you and you should ask yourself why they might do that. It should always be cause for concern.

Realtor for Seniors SRES ASA

Secret To Ensure Seniors Feel [Cared] For When Moving To a Retirement Residence

We all know talk is cheap. When you hire a professional they have to walk-the-walk. 

Here is the SECRET to showing seniors I really do care about them and their experience when moving & transitioning.

Moving For Seniors: The Four (4) Biggest Challenges!

Moving for seniors is a very different experience than for most people.
There are several critical differences in the type of services & characteristics of professional service providers that seniors need when they move into a seniors community, assisted living, care homes, or simply downsize from a house to a condo.
Here are four (4) of the biggest challenges for seniors when moving.

Choosing The Right Retirement Residence, Senior Lifestyle Community, or Seniors Care Home.

When it comes to finding a Retirement Residence, Seniors Lifestyle Community, Care Home, or Assisted Living Residence the process for seniors & their families can be very overwhelming. There are so many different companies like Chartwell Retirement Residence, Revera, Sunrise Senior Living, Amica Senior Lifestyles, Verve Inspired Senior Living, Sienna Senior Living, and more. Many options available. So many different services offered, different amenities, and of course different prices. Finding the “right” place for you to call “Home” can be challenging & stressful [on your own]. But you don’t have to do it alone. Unbiased help & guidance is available to you.

Testimonial From Peter & Sophie:

Michael, we owe you a HUGE THANK YOU for all that you did for us. From selling our house and dealing with the other realtor who you caught trying to pull a fast one on the paperwork without us noticing, to getting us the closing day we needed for our sale, to providing us with all of the different professionals we needed to help us along every step of the way. You were amazing through the entire process. We are eternally grateful for your amazing service, compassion, patience, and amazing negotiating skills.  ~Peter & Sophie

A Very Kind Testimonial From Jan:

When I asked another realtor what he would do for my Mom to sell her house, he simply said: “everything”. That’s like saying “trust me”. We didn’t have a good feeling. But, your approach Michael was completely different from the start. You took the time with me and Mom to explain exactly what you would do to create a great experience from start to finish. You explained everything from your team helping us pack, to decluttering & donating Mom’s things & furniture she won’t need anymore, to providing movers who are patient and understand seniors, to getting her home sold for top dollar. You were even knowledgeable about the different care homes. When we asked the other Realtor he had no idea. Michael, you have been the most kind, caring & thoughtful professional we could have hired. Every aspect of the different services that you and your team provided was professional, patient, caring, and above and beyond what we expected. ~ Jan

Another Great Testimonial From Mike & Sal:

I want to extend our deepest gratitude to you Michael. You’ve truly been a superstar Realtor and true “specialist” for Myself and my ill father. It’s very difficult for me living overseas because I’m not able to help Dad with all of the details of selling his condo and moving into the care home he needs. My fathers health has been declining rapidly and you have far exceeded your duties and quite honestly my expectations. You not only listed and sold our house for more than we expected in less time that we expected. But you also assisted us with the necessary renovations  and staging to get it sold. I was speechless when you went to the hospital to see my Dad when his signature was required. Your team did all the packing and unpacking, moving, junk removal, and many things my Dad couldn’t have done himself. You have done so much more than  the duties or services provided by an ordinary Realtor. You definitely understand the complexities and needs of seniors and their families when they move. Your personality, care, and full list of services made everything easier than I was expecting it to be. Thanks Again! ~ Mike A. & Sal A.

Beautiful Words From Sue-Ann:

Dear Michael. It was an absolute joy to work with you on the sale of our Father’s home. You took time to understand our situation & helped make everything go so smoothly. We could see that you genuinely cared. You were always patient & Dad never felt pressured by you. All of your suggestions, from getting the house sold, to preparing for the stressful move were amazing. Dad was very impressed that you handled negotiations with such skill, confidence and you always kept him feeling calm through the process. We saw you always had his best interests top priority. Thank you for your patience and keeping us focused. You were honest, supportive, compassionate, and your services covered every possible thing we could possibly have needed for selling and moving him to his senior home. Thank you so much for everything. Dad says he’s going to tell his friends you are the only Realtor they should consider because your personal style, professionalism, and customized service is exactly what seniors need. ~ Sue-Ann

Another Great Testimonial From Muriel:

Michael is the only agent who has a true understanding and genuine interest in helping Seniors move and transition. Today’s busy lifestyle of the adult children of seniors (like me) often requires seniors to handle the many tasks of moving on their own. Especially when family lives out of the area. Michael felt like he became a surrogate brother during this process as he was always readily available for all selling and moving related tasks. And thanks to his full team of movers, packers, and transition specialists, he always had immediate solutions. He was simply amazing at handling the sale of my parents’s house. He was patient, understanding, and he explained everything slowly and clearly. There was never any pressure. In fact he relieved a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. And thanks to his full “Seniors Package” we saved money. ~ Muriel R.

Beautiful Words From Linda:

I’ve known Michael for years. When it came time to selling my Mom’s house I knew he was the perfect choice to work with. It took quite awhile for preparations of the home and Michael was there every step of the way to help. He was always patient & understanding. There was never any pressure to list quickly or take short-cuts. Whenever I needed advice or had questions he replied to my emails & voicemails immediately. It seemed selling a house was natural for him, but more importantly Michael always focused on service. He always had our best interests top of his mind. He made every step of the process smooth and stress free and always focused on keeping the most money in our pocket, when getting the house ready for sale. When it came to negotiating offers, Michael certainly lived up to his reputation and didn’t disappoint. Michael has the skills, personality, compassion, & patience every senior needs from a Realtor when selling their home. Thanks for the great service & experience Michael. Keep up the great work. ~ Linda.