A more resilient economy and competitive housing market in vacation home areas have led to a seasonal home buying boost.
Follow these guidelines for providing great service to buyers looking for vacation homes.
1. It’s all about amenities and turnkey living
“If someone’s interested in buying a seasonal or vacation home, they’re looking for lifestyle,” says Sindy Ready, an agent in Scottsdale, Arizona. “We find out what people do with their free time so we can match them with the right area.”
Snowbirds tend to invest in lower-maintenance properties such as condominiums, townhomes and smaller single-family homes that they can easily lock and leave.
2. Younger generations are planning ahead
Although adults ages 55 and older comprise the bulk of the snowbird market, seasonal homes also appeal to a growing number of Gen Xers. “We’re seeing a lot of people in their 40s buying now so that they can pay off the property before they retire,” Ready says. “Sometimes they’ll rent out property or make it available to family and friends.”
Agent Claire Ackerman of Phoenix, Arizona, sees a lot of younger buyers from California who are priced out of their home states’ booming real estate market. “People understand that Arizona is a solid investment right now,” she says. Many East Coast residents make a beeline for Florida for the same reasons.
3. Connecting with out-of-state agents is key
Many agents increase their snowbird marketing efforts in the fall and winter to target not only prospective clients, but also out-of-state agents.
“We touch base with agents year-round in hopes that when their clients start to look for a second home, they’ll keep us in mind when they’re looking in Arizona,” says Ready. “If agents trust you to take care of their clients, they’re going to send others to you.”
4. Relationships should be both near and far
Social media is a cost-effective way to build and maintain these relationships. Ackerman uses her personal website, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep her name in front of agents and prospective clients. Client referrals are another important avenue. “I have a large tier of personal clients who have relocated or bought second homes, so by giving them a superior experience, they trust in my expertise and they refer friends and family to me when they’re interested in buying a second home.”
5. Marketing is necessary on multiple fronts
Traditional marketing tools, such as e-newsletters and postcard mailings, work well for agent Joyce Bertagna of Florida. She mails postcards to her target market and past clients year-round. Ready conducts a quarterly social media and e-mail campaign.
Of course, face-to-face connections, either during personal trips or business conventions, always help build relationships with prospective buyers and agents across state lines.