The homebuying experience for seniors in the current Pleasanton real estate market is full of challenges and opportunities.
The process of purchasing a home in Pleasanton for a senior may be different than for other homebuyers. "It depends on so many factors, are they selling a house and downsizing, are they a first-time buyer, what exactly are they looking for," said Tina Hand, 2021 president of the Bay East Association of Realtors, who has recently worked with senior clients.
Hand said a real estate professional can narrow down the search for them based on their needs and wants. "Part of what a real estate professional may ask a senior homebuyer is if they have children nearby and are they part of the conversation," she said.
Hand explained that children of senior homebuyers should be part of the homebuying process, "so they know exactly what their parents want to do so they don't feel their parents are being taken advantage of. I can't reiterate enough the threat of fraud that seniors face during a real estate transaction. I want to make sure their kids are there every step of the way, so they know what we're talking about and what we're doing."
For seniors wanting to purchase a home in Pleasanton now, Hand said, "I think it's going to be a shock because of the home prices, however, with Proposition 19 they may be able to keep their tax base." California voters approved Proposition 19 in November 2020. It allows homeowners aged 55 and older to transfer their property tax rate to another home anywhere in California.
Asked if a senior homebuyer should be prepared to purchase a condo or townhome, Hand said, "That's a tough one because they may not want to deal with stairs. In some of the older neighborhoods, there are still a lot of single-story homes in Pleasanton, and they are not all 2,000 square feet; you can find plenty of them that are 1,300 to 1,500 square feet and single story."
Seniors may need to check a few extra boxes compared with other homebuyers, when preparing to purchase a home. Hand said "having a will and a trust is so important and I recommend that they get one. If they do have a trust, they will need to have it updated."
While their homebuying to-do list may be a bit longer, Hand said seniors may have an advantage over other buyers if they have current real estate assets.
"I think they would be able to compete because it comes down to not just the purchase price, but the terms of the offer and a lot of seniors have lots of assets," she said. "They may or may not have a home to sell which could be cash they can use in purchasing another home. I think they can compete pretty well with the techies."
For those seniors currently living in Pleasanton, Hand said there may not be many reasons to look elsewhere for their next homeownership experience.
"I don't see a lot of seniors moving out of Pleasanton," she added. "They might be downsizing going from a two-story to a one-story, but I don't hear about a lot of them leaving Pleasanton. There's a lot of activities, parks, senior centers where they can be active, the weather, the transportation close to 580 and 680. The amenities are what's keeping them here."
Editor's note: David Stark is the chief public affairs and communications officer for the Bay East Association of Realtors, based in Pleasanton.