Pivotal Master Accredited Senior Agent (ASA) Program
The value of working with a properly accredited senior real estate agent
The Pivotal Master ASA Program™ is a ten-year old comprehensive program that trains Canadian real estate agents in everything they need to know about selling real estate for people 55 and older. Recently (January 2017), Pivotal Aging Innovations acquired the ASA and MASTER-ASA Programs and promises to make this into an industry disruptor. For anyone involved in real estate transactions involving seniors, this all-Canadian course should be mandatory.
The ASA™ is a two-day information-intensive program. Real estate agents who go through the program call it "packed" and "thrilling." Professional agents acquire knowledge in legal matters and other straightforward information but they also have their eyes opened to understanding seniors better. The course features key insights into the psychology of older Canadians and how that differs markedly from what might be considered "common sense" when dealing with typically younger clients. No real estate agent should deal with seniors without taking the course. And last time buyers and sellers should not deal with anyone other than a Master ASA.
Paul Cutajar of Pivotal says, "There's a heavy emotional component to an older person making a decision to transition out of their family home to… whatever it is they are moving into. This transition almost always involves the whole family and family history that long predates this huge transition. There are Essential Conversations™ that may be needed and that a realtor may have to activate. Agents can best serve clients when they understand as much as possible about what has preceded the transition. ‘What is the story that has led you to this point.’ This is just one component of the course, addressed as 'Choice or Circumstance.'" Some real estate agents with aging parents find the course helpful in understanding their own parents, not only personally but in how to handle difficult financial discussions and other delicate matters. In the end, the process for the client is not just about selling the home; it is really all about helping seniors make the best decision for themselves – which might mean staying put, in fact.
Agents can best serve clients when they understand as much as possible about what has preceded the transition. ‘What is the story that has led you to this point.’
The course is taught by real estate agents with years, even decades, of experience in dealing with seniors and their families first hand, and who have transacted many hundreds of sales involving older families. That accumulated wealth of knowledge is poured into course materials, and into the teaching of the course. Chris Newell, one of the ASA teachers, says that "the untrained [agent] encounters situations where they are not aware [of signs of problems]. And if they figured out the signs, they probably wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to help people fix things so everyone can communicate better and move along the path of their journey."
“Realtors who work alone are caught in a fractured attempt at marketing themselves and understanding senior clientele. We don't think they'll be able to maintain the effort.”
Realtors® who take the course and become members also benefit from membership in the association. "Realtors® who work alone," says Cutajar, "are caught in a fractured attempt at marketing themselves and understanding senior clientele. We don't think they'll be able to maintain the effort. As we further develop the ASA and the Master ASA we will grow in our ability to assist older adults. We'll bring more and more seniors-focused realtors under one roof, share more knowledge, create better tools, and offer better analysis for clients. As Pivotal offers several senior related programs, our efforts become far reaching as we develop relationships with retirement homes, adult lifestyle communities, care providers, senior marketers and community advisors. When you connect with other people who are impassioned, great things happen beyond the business model."
Not the Seniors Real Estate Specialist
The Pivotal Master Accredited Senior Agent (ASA) Program is very different from the Seniors Real Estate Agents' (SRES) course because it is all-Canadian, very senior-focused, and inclusive of the Pivotal model. The Seniors Real Estate Specialist gets more press and recognition because of its American origin, and this is an unfortunate oversight. All ASA course curricula is written by Canadians for Canadians. It's entirely Canadian in orientation and all related materials that go along with membership in the program.
More than just REALTORS®
The Pivotal-ASA™ program offers a basic understanding in working with older adults while the MASTER-ASA™ program offer substantial advancement on those basics. More importantly, MASTER-ASAs offer an enriched understand of the importance of person-centred service and the unique story each client or family member brings. It is with these Essential Conversations™ that solutions may be offered to clients – sometimes without even involving a real estate transaction. The Pivotal program allows REALTORS® to engage with clients at several points throughout their transition, such as the following:
- Initial consultation
- Review of goals
- Action plans
- Solutions available and additional professionals as required
- Aging in place
- Rightsizing living space
- Lifestyle and retirement transitions
- Moving into or out of adult lifestyle communities
- Reverse mortgages
- Leaseback program and estate sales
For the MASTER-ASA™, real estate is not necessarily the goal. Rather, the intention is to educate clients so that they can make the best decisions for their unique circumstances.
Although we have been discussing the Pivotal-ASA program as relating to REALTORS®, the program lends itself to many other professionals working in the senior marketplace. The Pivotal-ASA and MASTER-ASA programs are constantly discovering new opportunities and relationships with these organizations. Therefore, everyone greatly benefits from being affiliated with the programs. The Pivotal programs are open to:
- Estate planners
- Financial Advisors
- Care providers
- Administrators and others who work in retirement residences
- End of life advisors
- Many more.
History of the program
The Accredited Senior Agent Program™ was founded in March of 2007 by Barry Lebow, an already highly respected agent, practicing since 1968; he is "one of Canada’s most recognized real estate professionals." Chris Newell, also a well-known real estate personality, was then brought in to expand the program. Both Newell and Lebow remain in advisory roles for the Pivotal-MASTER-ASA.
In 2017, the program was acquired by Pivotal Aging Innovations, Inc., operated by Paul Cutajar and Denise Bedard. The program now has witnessed 3,500 graduates across five provinces. Cutajar continues to innovate and expand the program, and evangelize its value to both agents and the consumer public.
Since its inception, the ASA™ has striven to be the premiere provider of education and opportunities for REALTORS® who work with seniors and their families. Its acquisition by Pivotal signifies a great leap forward in the visibility of the ASA™ as an organization and in opportunities the ASA™ can bring to members. Learn more at PivotalAgingInnovations.com