What is a Certified Senior Housing Professional CSHP

Seniors and downsizers who are navigating the real estate market have likely seen this designation behind some real estate pros’ names – but what is a CSHP or Certified Senior Housing Professional?

What is a CSHP or Certified Senior Housing Professional™?

For many people, the prospect of selling a longtime home and moving to a smaller residence can be overwhelming. There are literally thousands of decisions that will need to be made during the process, and some of those decisions will have a lasting impact on the next phase of your life.

If you’re selling a longtime home and planning to purchase a smaller residence, some of the earliest and most consequential decisions will revolve around buying and selling real estate.  A CSHP may be a good fit for you.

Finding and Buying Your Next Place

In our experience, the biggest downsizing decision of all is choosing where you’ll live in the future. Whether you’re moving into a home you already own or intend to relocate to a senior community, condominium, or townhouse, you’ll want to be deliberate and strategic about location, features, and amenities that will serve you well for years to come.

If you haven’t purchased real estate in a while, you may be surprised by low inventory or limited options in your desired area. Don’t forget that there are likely a lot of other people in your age group who are looking for the same low-maintenance, right-sized residence that you are! 

You’ll want to have all of your ducks in a row to be in the best possible negotiating position before you start your search.

Selling a Long-Time Home

If you’ve spent decades of your life in one home, you’ll likely have emotional ties to your neighborhood, your home, and your belongings too! Even if you’re looking forward to a new, easier lifestyle, letting go will be difficult. If you’re like most people, your property also represents one of the biggest financial investments of your lifetime. While some people choose to upgrade their lifestyle, others look forward to the simplicity of low-cost living. Either way, you’ll want to sell your home for top dollar and reap the rewards of your long-term investment.

Senior-Focused Real Estate Professionals

The over-65 age group is increasing rapidly, and they are on the move! As an older person facing a downsizing move, your choice of real estate professional becomes more consequential. Older downsizers have specific needs, including the additional burden of releasing 80% or more of their belongings without the strength and energy they had in the past. 

You are probably acquainted with several real estate agents, either from past experiences, neighbors, or social groups. You may even have a licensed agent in your close circle of family or friends. While we value loyalty, we also know that the local resources, education, and experience required to provide the best outcomes for seniors goes well beyond the skills of most standard real estate pros. We’re seeing more and more real estate professionals promoting themselves as “experts” in downsizing and working with seniors. 

When you start looking for help buying and selling real estate as an older person, you’ll quickly notice that many agents carry a certification known as “SRES” (Senior Real Estate Specialist®). While this designation can be a good indicator that a professional is welcoming to older clients, keep in mind that the basic coursework required to earn the designation is minimal, and it’s up to the agents to fully get up to speed on the needs of their senior clients.

Certified Senior Housing Professional

(CSHPs)

There is a growing group of senior-focused real estate pros who are taking their education to a much higher level in order to offer the most informed, specialized services possible for older people in transition. The Certified Senior Housing Professional(CSHP) designation is awarded by The Seniors Real Estate Institute, co-founded over a decade ago by Dr. Nikki and Chris Buckelew, nationally recognized thought-leaders in senior real estate and aging-in-place. In addition to being licensed salespersons, CSHP designees generally have advanced training, strategic resources, and a business capacity to wrap qualified downsizing services and moving support into their real estate practices. Characteristics include:

  • Advanced Training – CSHPs have completed a fairly rigorous curriculum as compared to other programs in the real estate space. Courses are written and taught by PhD level trainers and those who have worked extensively with people having made late-life moves.
  • Downsizing Strategy and Support – CSHPs are trained to manage the entire transition from beginning to end, either through ancillary services within their brokerage or by collaborating with move managers, moving companies, estate liquidators, and more. This one-stop-shop approach is appealing to clients who feel otherwise overwhelmed by the many details involved in moving. 
  • Advanced Communication – CSHPs are keenly aware that selling a long-time family home can be an emotional and difficult process, and they are trained to use more of a coaching or consultative approach to communication.
  • Certified Coaching – Some CSHPs have completed advanced training to become certified as Senior Downsizing Coaches (CSDC). Beyond addressing real estate sales and relocation, CSDCs are trained to walk clients through the entire decision-making process. Keeping the client’s wishes in mind, they start with assessing whether or not their client even wants to move, and if so, where and when. Downsizing coaches may work with clients for months (or years!) prior to their move and home sale. 


If you’re downsizing or making a complex move from a longtime home, look for a real estate professional who has demonstrated high levels of education, skills, and commitment to the needs of empty-nesters, seniors, and downsizers.  Pros with the Certified Senior Housing Professional™ designation have completed the most extensive training requirements available in the business of senior real estate services.

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