BY KELLY CALDWELL, REALTOR® TRILLIUMWEST | kellycaldwell.ca
‘No two homes are alike’ is a common saying in the world of real estate. The same can be said of home buyers. We’re all unique – and we all come to the house-hunting process with our own needs, desires, challenges, and quirks. That’s why realtors need to be able to relate to people coming from all walks of life. Many of us have trusted systems and best practices, but we also must be ready to adapt our regular ways to meet some clients’ needs. A great example? The neurodivergent buyer.
Neurodivergence refers to a natural variation in the way some brains function, impacting patterns of thinking and behaving. Many conditions fall under this category – including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and dyslexia. Neurodivergent people – and I’m one of them – often have challenges that play out as they interact with the world around them. We see the world differently, so, naturally, we approach the home-buying process differently.
Neurodivergent buyers have unique needs. For them, for example, sensory issues while touring homes are not unusual. Social interactions can be challenging, and emotional sensitivity is common during what
is, after all, a stressful process. There’s so much to learn during the home-buying process, and neurodivergent buyers can struggle with information overload. To properly serve these clients, we must lead with empathy and patience.
What does that sort of leading look like, in practical terms? Perhaps booking private showings for neurodivergent buyers instead of suggesting they attend a public open house. Or requesting additional time for viewings so these clients don’t feel rushed. And it’s communicating effectively, taking extra time to ensure they’re fully informed. Our aim is to create a supportive, inclusive environment that helps them feel empowered during the buying process.
Of course, individual preferences and needs vary greatly within the neurodivergent community. Home elements that might be of particular interest to neurodivergent clients include:
• A sensory-friendly environment: many neurodivergent individuals are sensitive to sensory stimuli. They might appreciate a home with adjustable lighting, soundproofing, and good insulation to reduce noise.
• Organizational spaces: neurodivergent individuals often benefit from clear organization and visual cues designed to help with planning and routines. Closet and cupboard organization systems are beneficial, as is plenty of storage to ensure clutter is minimal.
• Quiet spaces: access to a quiet space to retreat and recharge is valuable. This might include bedrooms with soundproofing or designated personal spaces.
• Natural elements: plants, natural lighting, and access to relaxing outdoor spaces can all have a positive impact on mental well-being.
• Light: those who struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) might find comfort in a home with an abundance of windows facing south.
I find that working with other neurodivergent people is a lot of fun. They tend to bring a unique perspective to the process, and very little slips past them. By understanding and appreciating the unique experiences of neurodivergent buyers, we can ensure that everyone who buys a home enjoys the process and also experiences a successful outcome.