Karen Hickman and Helen Coen are the Hickman-Coen Home Team at William Raveis realtors. Karen, along with husband Barry; and Helen, along with husband Jim have been offering end-to-end real estate services in the greater Boston area for over 20 years. We asked Karen and Helen what they’re seeing in terms of older women buying and selling properties, and what advice they have for us:
Are women in their 60s and older buying properties in the greater Boston area? What types of properties are they buying?
We frequently work with women reaching their early 60s. There are a variety of reasons they’re looking to move. We have recently worked with downsizers. We have a few clients who find themselves alone or with children in their 20s, and they still need some space for them. Mostly they are looking for condos that have some amenities like parking, snow removal and security.
What are the hot neighborhoods where women are looking to buy?
Actually, the city of Boston is very popular. Jamaica Plain is very hot, and we’ve had buyers looking and buying in the South End, Back Bay and Seaport. Many buyers like the convenience of being near public transportation.
What’s the biggest mistake women in that age group make when they’re buying, or selling real estate?
Women selling homes they have lived in for years can be anxious. The idea of sorting through and discarding a lifetime of personal items can be daunting. Sometimes they don’t take our advice on what could help sell the property. Another issue we find is that after inspection exhaustion sets in and someone might just want to throw money at the problems, even though there usually are other solutions. As with anything, if you hire a professional it’s wise to take their advice. But overall, women are savvy buyers.
What’s the most important piece of advice you can give a women over 60 when she’s buying or selling real estate?
In any situation it’s always best to hire a professional. Talk with a few agents, ask questions, find out how committed they are to your process. Get their stats. Ask to speak with former clients. Make sure the person you’re working with knows the market. It’s really important to have a chat before you sign a contract.