It’s not a Ph.D

My ‘Why’ Determines My ‘What’

Did you ever wonder what all those letters are after some real estate agent’s names? I didn’t think so.

Real estate agents are marketed all the time for services that are supposed to shortcut or improve our prospecting. We are also bombarded with certification programs that are advertised to make us believe, You, the client, will seek out only those of us that hold said designations. I’ve forever found it odd that I receive emails about the importance of a designation, though I never see that same company advertising to the general public as to why it’s so important to choose a real estate agent who has that designation. Doesn’t that just inspire your confidence in my industry?

I knew I didn’t want to go after designations just for the sake of it or to assume I’m impressing someone with all those letters. Until now. I’m currently studying for my Senior Real Estate Specialist. The SRES is a designation I’m pursuing because I have a personal calling to serve the elderly and it felt important for me to learn as much as I could professionally about all the issues that families face when taking care of older loved ones.


You probably know that a niche of mine is helping people sell their homes when they would benefit from updates, upgrades, repairs or even a remodel without coming out of pocket for the construction costs. When a home shows its best, my seller is most likely to put the most money possible in their pockets when escrow closes. (If you didn’t know about this service, let’s talk!) Having a home in top condition will become more and more important if this market cooling continues.

This “Premodel” service is most helpful when someone has lived in their home a long time and they haven’t been able to keep up on maintenance, or simply hasn’t updated their home to keep with current styles. This also comes up often when a parent needs to move into assisted living and is selling their home, or if the child(ren) has inherited the home.


Having a parent that needs to move into assisted living is something I am very familiar with. We moved my mom into assisted living in 2017, 3 years after my dad died. It became too difficult for my two older sisters and me to provide the kind of care my mom was needing. My mom lived in Leisure Village in Orange County, and the 3 of us lived in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.


Selling a home in this circumstance is so different from the sale of a home for other traditional reasons and each has its own unique set of circumstances. The SRES designation makes me uniquely informed to help my clients answer these difficult questions and make informed decisions.

* When is the right time to make the move?

* When will the parent be ready emotionally to leave their home?

* Do you wait for a crisis, or move in advance of a crisis?

* Which is the appropriate facility for the parent?

* Where is the best location?

* What legal paperwork is needed?

* Are there siblings or other decision-makers, maybe even trust beneficiaries (everyone needs a trust!), that place their own interests first?

* What are the family dynamics?

* How does someone help their parent pack if they live out of the area?

* How do they help their parent prepare their home for sale if they live out of the area?

* How do they avoid leaving money on the table if it will cost a lot of money to make needed repairs or to update certain features?

This last question brings me back to Fred, a man I met before I offered my “Premodel” service at no upfront cost, and who remains a motivating factor for me. Fred was in his 70s or 80s and wasn’t as mobile and agile as he was in his younger days. I met Fred while making my usual rounds knocking on doors in his neighborhood. Fred mentioned his interest in moving to Idaho, to be close to his son. He also wanted to downsize from his two-story home, into a single-level home, to help his wife who was frail and was living with dementia, and to help him from going up and down stairs. His reason for not selling and making this important decision was because of all the deferred maintenance on his home. He felt he’d leave too much money on the table if he sold it in its current condition. Fred and his wife passed within 5 years of this meeting, and he didn’t get to spend those last years with his son.

These and many similar circumstances and concerns that are involved with seniors, along with my personal experience with my mom, and circumstances that my friends and clients will inevitably go through is the driving force behind my decision to achieve the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation. I’m studying for my exam this summer and soon you’ll see SRES after my name. But don’t worry, you won’t have to call me “Dr.”.