Downsizers And Empty Nesters: A Real Estate Niche

Agent Advice

Written by

Andrei Geist

Published date:

Updated: Feb 23, 2024 by

house sitting empty nest isolated

Up until a certain point in their lives, most homebuyers cite size as a primary priority when purchasing property. Many start with a small, modest house that comes with small, modest mortgage payments, and then work their way up through the real estate world, buying larger and larger homes as they accrue more wealth and financial stability.


There’s a curious phenomenon that has come to the attention of researchers, however. Researchers and authors have found that, at a certain point in their lives, many homeowners inexplicably choose to downsize and move to a smaller, less opulent dwelling place. Giving up the luxury and status of a sprawling mansion for the humble confines of a bungalow seem strange and uncharacteristic considering current trends in the housing market. So what gives?


For many homeowners, the decision to downsize is attributable to the proverbial “empty nest”. After the kids have grown up and moved away, a big house simply feels empty in comparison to how it felt when it was filled with exuberant toddlers, tweens and teens. For these homeowners, downsizing offers a chance to escape the memories and responsibilities of a larger home and exchange them for a smaller, more manageable property.


Other homebuyers downsize out of necessity, rather than choice. The loss of a job, change of careers or other unexpected events can cause financial instability such as a drop in credit score or a foreclosure on a home. In situations like these, downsizing is a sensible way to reduce one’s personal cost of living and cut down on spending. 


The downsizing niche

For real estate agents and realtors, downsizing isn’t just a smart financial decision. It’s also a lucrative niche market! There are a lot of reasons why you should consider setting yourself up in the downsizing market, so that’s what we’ve set out to tell you today: how and why you should get started selling real estate to downsizers!


Now, you might be wondering “why choose this niche?” What is so special about those who want smaller houses instead of larger houses? Well, there’s a surprisingly long list of reasons why you should consider setting yourself up in this niche! In the following section, we’ll tell you some of the reasons why selling to downsizers is actually a better idea than you might think. 


Easier sales

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One of the most compelling reasons to consider selling real estate in this niche is how easy it is to sell real estate that would typically be considered less desirable. For downsizers, smaller is better, so you don’t have to spend time making the idea of living in a smaller space more palatable. These buyers come looking for exactly what you’re selling!


As a real estate agent specializing in selling homes to downsizers and empty nesters, you’ll secure an impressively large client pool. The vast majority of downsizers seek smaller homes due to financial reasons, but this isn’t to say that there aren’t any other reasons someone might move into a more modestly sized dwelling place. Who knows? Maybe the only beachfront home they could afford only has two bedrooms.


Then there are empty nesters, who primarily seek smaller homes because they simply don’t need as much space as they used to, now that the kids have moved out and started their own lives. These are just some of the many demographics that you’ll be able to tailor your marketing approach and selling strategies towards, likely making a pretty penny in the process!


The best part of this is that you’re not doing anyone a disservice. You’re not selling inferior properties; you’re helping buyers find the home of their dreams! With this knowledge in mind, you’ll be able to hone your sales pitch to a razor's edge, and sell listings with absolutely no guilt or remorse whatsoever. That’s more than some realtors can say! 

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More clients

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As we mentioned earlier, specializing in selling smaller homes to this niche clientele will open up a wide range of new options when it comes to sellers. As a real estate agent with this specialization, you’ll be working with a unique demographic whose members often have different priorities during the sale or purchase of a home.


If you’ve ever struggled with the process of finding listings, you’ll struggle no more. The thing is, downsizers often seek out smaller, more minimal homes to live in. Whether their goal is to escape the headaches and annoyances that characterize life in a big home or simply buy a home in a more niche location, the end result is the same: these clients actually want homes that are smaller.


Once you set yourself up in this niche, you’ll quickly realize that downsizers aren’t your only reliable customers. There are a lot of positive aspects of living in a smaller home, and people are starting to question the notion that one has to own a large house in order to be considered successful. 


A unique marketing pitch


To a great extent, how successful your marketing is depends on what it is that you’re actually selling. If you’re selling something that’s in high supply and low demand, it doesn’t matter how great your marketing strategy is; you’ve still got lower chances of successfully selling whatever service or product you offer.


While it is true that small homes are not at all uncommon, real estate agents specialized in selling small homes are very much a rarity. You can use this to your advantage by emphasizing this in your conventional and online marketing materials! By stressing the many benefits of living in a more modest home, you can devise a marketing campaign that’s honest and successful.


What are these benefits, you ask? We don’t even know where to start! Smaller homes are more eco-friendly, cost less to maintain and carry lower property tax rates. There are virtually no downsides to living in a small home. There are many more advantages to this way of living, so get creative; get people asking themselves whether they’d be happier living in a smaller home! 


How to sell to downsizers

excited senior couple buyers sign paper

Here comes the million dollar question: how do you actually go about the process of specializing in real estate aimed at those seeking a smaller house than they owned previously? Well, the process is very similar to establishing yourself in any other real estate niche such as seniors real estate or real estate for millennials.


The most important thing is to tailor your marketing towards your target market, who in this case are downsizers. If you rely primarily on conventional marketing to draw in clients, choose your lawn sign, billboard and flyer distribution so that they’ll be seen primarily by residents of wealthier neighborhoods. For the digital marketing connoisseurs among you, try targeted ads that favor those between the ages of 45 and 60.


Of course, if you’re going to be selling homes to downsizers, you’re going to need something to sell. This means finding home sellers who are seeking to sell their small- to mid-sized homes. Since you’ll be working primarily with people buying down instead of up, you’ll likely be able to secure an above market price for the sellers; don’t forget to mention this salient detail!


Ultimately, selling real estate to downsizers is not one of the harder specializations to establish yourself in. With a bit of time and some good old trial-and-error, you should be able to sell these listings to these clients with your eyes closed. If you run into any trouble, you can always find a real estate agent with more experience in this niche and ask them for advice; chances are they’ll be more than happy to help!



While you may have never considered the possibility of establishing yourself in a niche most real estate agents write off as a beginner’s game, we hope we’ve given you some nourishing food for thought. While this niche is hardly the easiest to get set up in, we think that you’ll agree with us when we say that it has a lot of potential.


So what are you waiting for? Put yourself out there, take some small steps towards catering to downsizers and make sure that those trying to find a real estate agent specializing in smaller homes find you before they find someone else. Before you know it, you’re likely to be raking in the big bucks in a niche that you never previously even considered specializing in!


Did you enjoy this article? Want to leave some feedback or ask a question? Leave us a comment in the comments section below, and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. As one of our readers, you are our top priority and it is of the utmost importance that you have the best possible experience on our platform. Thanks for reading!



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