When Baby Boomers are on the hunt for a second home, or primary retirement property, outside the United States, it's easy for them to initially be persuaded by the promises of luxurious housing, cheaper living, and/or tropical views.Unfortunately, as they start to dig deeper and do more research online, they often find stories about scams and poor safety and security; or they don't find enough detailed information to reassure them that the promised opportunities can be delivered.In either case, their purchases could be stalled or derailed completely.To help overcome any negative content and to reassure prospective buyers, we recommend that our Active Adult and Senior Living clients, both within the U.S. and abroad, ensure their sales and marketing strategies address these core topics:
- Affordability - Whether it's a second or a new permanent home, in addition to the cost of rent or purchase, buyers need to understand how much it will cost to live in this new country, as well as in their new local community. Is there a retirement incentive opportunity similar to Belize's Qualified Retirement Program that provides tax savings? What are the costs of groceries, to eat out, for entertainment, for basic healthcare, etc.? Providing a broader view beyond the cost of the home will help buyers feel more comfortable about the financial impact and enable them to plan accordingly.
- Purchase Process - The unknown is one of the most significant challenges buyers must often overcome when it comes to purchasing property overseas. Offering a clear and concise overview of the purchase process, as well as offering assistance throughout the process, will help put them at ease and strengthen their confidence in you. Providing Boomers assistance in areas such as tax implications, insurance and banking, and financing options can establish trust and credibility. But keep in mind, they won't just take your word for it, they'll also do significant online research and look at peer reviews to help them verify your reputation, so you'll need to be prepared.
- Community Relationships - Moving to another country is vastly different from moving to another town or state in the U.S. Providing information on who is living in the community and lifestyle they enjoy will help prospects relate and envision themselves there. Successful developers often provide an online forum for homeowners to interact and help determine if is a good mutual fit. It also helps strengthen prospects‚Äô relationship with your brand if they can start to envision themselves living there, before they commit to a purchase.
In addition to your branding and property messaging, your social media plays a key role in relationship building. ¬†Make sure you are posting at the right frequency, with the right kinds of content, and that you are responding to questions and comments. And, make sure your branding and messaging are aligned and consistent across all channels. Inconsistent messages and branding confuse mature consumers, fails to convince them that you really understand their needs, and causes them to lose trust in your brand.
- Personalized Service - For many Boomers from the U.S., purchasing a home or moving into a new rental abroad will be unchartered waters. To help, you might also consider offering personalized or concierge services during this process, to not only provide insights and guidance to answer those non-housing questions, but also alleviate any underlying concerns about their new home and community. These services might take the form of lead specialist dedicated to answering calls, inquiries, and social media feedback.
- Service & Volunteerism - Globally, adults over 50 represent the largest pool of volunteers in any demographic. As a result, there is a growing trend in the U.S. for active adult communities to integrate service and volunteerism opportunities directly into their communities. Some examples include working wineries and farms, which are run by homeowners; inter-generational education program; childcare services staffed by residents; and more. Many international locations offer unique opportunities for active adults to offer their valuable experiences and time to support the local community. Including these opportunities in your development plans and effectively marketing them could be a significant differentiator.
- Healthcare: Providing information on local healthcare providers is important for many buyers. They need to feel comfortable that they will be taken care of if an issue arises. We know that many international countries offer better and/or less expensive healthcare than the U.S. However, general awareness about availability and costs for care in your specific location may not be as widespread as you think. Leverage this benefit throughout your online and offline marketing.
- Wellness ‚Äì Wellness is often even more important than healthcare to many Baby Boomers, yet it's often an overlooked opportunity. The integration of wellness into community has become an amenity that many of these 55+ homebuyers are not only looking for but expecting. While you might assume that the very location of your community infers wellness and staying healthy, make sure you really understand how a 55+ adult might take advantage of these opportunities.
For example, you might assume seniors purchase homes on the golf course, because they love to golf, but our research shows that, at least in the U.S., the primary reason may be so they can walk the paths and trails that surround the golf course, rather than playing 9 holes every day.
So, if you are in the early stages of design, consider integrated a wellness program into your property. Alternatively, you can consider partnering with reputable local providers. In either case, make sure you blatantly address this need in your digital content to ensure your prospects know the breadth of opportunities in your area.
If you are in the early stages of defining your vision for your new development, working with a 55+ homebuyer expert is a good starting point. They can help you with your site-plan and amenities to ensure your project offers the experiences many U.S. seniors are looking for.
Likewise, how you present and market your property will ultimately determine if you attract the right buyers and get them to commit. Leveraging a marketing expert with deep 55+ buyer experience can be imperative to your success.
Want to learn more about 55+ homebuyer experiences and marketing abroad? Give us a call at 301-631-9277 or send us an email