Retirement Real Estate Designations for Agents

Senior couple signing paperwork wtih realtor outside recently sold home
Looking to become more marketable to the growing 55-plus market? Get a retirement real estate designation.

Active adult. 55-plus. Aging in place.

When it comes to new homes in retirement communities, there are a lot of options. Where on Earth do you begin when trying to help clients who are 55-plus?

That’s one of the first things you’d cover in a retirement real estate designation course, a wise decision for any real estate professional looking to expand their clientele … and add another title to their real estate tool belt.

If that sounds interesting to you, here are two retirement real estate designations to look into: the SRES and the CAPS.

Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

The most well-known designation for agents who’d like to focus on 55-plus buyers is the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation offered by the National Association of Realtors.

According to the association, SRES designees are certified Realtors who have demonstrated the required knowledge and expertise to counsel clients around age 50 and up through the major financial and lifestyle transitions associated with relocating, refinancing, or selling the family home.

To meet the needs of these clients, the SRES Council tracks more than 50 lifestyle and housing issues to educate Realtors who are making 55-plus real estate a part of their overall business plan. And with this info in hand, the NAR believes agents are better prepared to approach maturing clients with the best options and information as they tackle these life-changing decisions.

Here are a few of the objectives you can expect to cover in a typical SRES course:

  • Distinguishing characteristics and trends of the 55-plus market
  • Housing options and vocabulary for the 55-plus market
  • Business building and outreach methods
  • Counseling methods for 55-plus buyers and sellers
  • Developing sensitivities to 55-plus issues 
  • Use of pensions, 401k accounts, and IRA in real estate transactions
  • Understanding how Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security impact real estate decisions
  • Recognizing how a home can be adapted for safety, comfort, and aging in place

Along with the SRES certification itself, you’ll also gain access to a network of more than 16,000 designees, customizable SRES marketing materials, social networking, business partners, and more.

To sign up for a course today, visit

Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS)

Next on our list is the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, which you can receive from the National Association of Home Builders.

The CAPS program, the NAHB says, is designed to teach the technical, business management and customer service skills that are pivotal for competing in the aging-in-place segment — the segment of homebuyers who are looking for permanent homes where they can easily and gradually adjust as they age.

While this designation is catered more toward home builders, there are still some points real estate agents can take home for themselves.

For instance, one course in the CAPS certification plan is Marketing and Communications Strategies for Aging & Accessibility (CAPS I). Designed to help builders, remodelers and other professionals that serve the aging-in-place market, graduates of this course will be able to:

  • Describe the three segments within the aging-in-place market that present business opportunities for building professionals
  • Implement a process for promoting new opportunities for products and services in this market
  • Enhance the sales process with effective techniques for aging in place

Not to mention, it will make you a much more marketable agent to the builders who focus on 55-plus homebuyers in your area.

To find a CAPS course near you, visit

The National Association of Realtors writes that the largest and wealthiest group of buyers in the country is over 50, and those buyers are waiting for your advice. With either of these designations in your pocket, you’ll be more than prepared to serve this important demographic.

About the author 

Drew Knight

Drew Knight is a freelance writer for Builders Digital Experience (BDX). He graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2014 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism.

He previously edited and designed pages for the Bryan-College Station (Texas) city paper The Eagle, wrote for the Brazos Valley’s premier arts and entertainment publication Maroon Weekly and worked in publicity at Warner Bros. Records in New York City.

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