NEW YORK – Jan. 10, 2016 – Last year, the National Association of Realtors® calculated that the median age of first-time homebuyers is 31, but 7 percent are in the 55-to-74 age bracket. However, less than 1 percent are age 75-plus.

Older first-time buyers often decide to take the plunge for a number of reasons. For one thing, some inherit money and want to put it into real estate. Others simply tire of being at the whim and mercy of landlords, and some simply realize they're not getting any younger; and if they want to own a home, they need to get started.

"As Phase 3 of life comes, people see things differently, and they're more comfortable about pulling the trigger," says William Raveis New York City managing director Kathy Braddock. "They get to a point where they think, 'I want to own property before I die – and not just a cemetery plot.'"

Real estate professionals say older buyers have very different "must haves" and deal-breakers than younger first-timers, and while younger buyers look for a place to call home for the next decade or so, older buyers typically want property that will see them through retirement.

"There's more 'therapy' involved with older clients," says Nicole Beauchamp, a sales associate at Engel & Volkers New York City. "They might find a space that works, but they aren't familiar with the neighborhood, and it's far from where their friends are. You have to help them decide if they want to reinvent themselves at this point in their lives."

Source: New York Times (01/03/16) P. RE1; Kaufman, Joanne

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