Luring The Empty Nesters

If you want empty nesters to flock to your property, you’d better know what they’re looking for – and be sure you can provide it. Active adults, those 55 and older, are drawn to places that emphasize amenities, convenience, and a feeling of community.

Many adults, especially those whose children have recently left home, are ready for a change, says Mildred Thompson, marketing manager, Overture, for Greystar, a national property management company whose active adult 55+ portfolio includes some 25 Overture apartment communities designed and built for grownups ready for their next chapter.

“One of the biggest reasons has to do with maintenance-free living,” Thompson says. Residents are ready for that. “If a door needs to be fixed or the washing machine breaks, they want someone else to take care of it for them. They want to be free and carefree.”

Savvy companies like Greystar make sure this “we’re on it” atmosphere is combined with plenty of amenities and activities and a welcoming staff.

Thompson ticks off a list of Overture offerings: continental breakfast, cooking classes,  theaters, coffee bars, fitness programs, wellness instruction, educational programs, concierges, even yoga studios.

All this adds up to a sense of community for the residents. “Everyone wants to be a part of something,” she says. And people are especially drawn to the idea of neighbors who enjoy each other’s company and look out for one another. “These are neighbors, not just people who live next door.”

Having that kind of community in an amenity-rich resort atmosphere, she says, is a big draw.

So is the convenience factor. “Residents like to have the feel of a vacation getaway without leaving home,” Thompson says. Most Overture properties are built in walkable neighborhoods, close to shopping, restaurants, parks, and entertainment venues.

Thompson says the demand for the kind of community Overture offers is growing. But marketing to empty nesters is a lot different from marketing to younger folks.

“Active adults, 55 and older, don’t always need an apartment,” she says. Many of them are still living comfortably in homes they have occupied for years. “They’re not like the 20-somethings who need to get an apartment to get out of Mom and Dad’s place. Empty nesters are looking for a different lifestyle, different amenities – but they don’t have to have it.”

Often the appeal — and the selling point — is the emotional connection they feel when they visit a property and see themselves living there. “They are ready to move up and move on and right-size their lifestyle in a more carefree, maintenance-free environment,” she says.

Word of mouth, Thompson says, is usually the best way to reach empty nesters ready for a change. She directs marketing to active adults and to those she calls influencers – their children, people they work with. She believes in getting the word out within the larger community, so people are talking – creating a buzz.

Many potential residents come for a tour and leave feeling they have found their next home, Thompson says. Now that they have raised their families, there is an empowering  sense of  “It’s my turn.”

–Susan Percy, Contributing Editor