What’s the best way for a Realtor to get started in the second-home market?

by Chicago Agent

Bonnie Smith
Seller Direct Real Estate
Kalispell, Montana

The second home market was a natural transition for me. After being a Chicago-area Realtor for 14 years, I moved to northwest Montana. People flock here from all over the world to vacation and, naturally, many of them want to move to such a glorious place. After selling suburban homes, city condos and office buildings, I find selling second homes is by far the most fun. All the buyers are on vacation and are here to have a great time. What could possibly be better than that? Selling second homes is a simple transition for anyone who wants to enjoy a stress-free life and do business at the same time.

Lili O’Day
RE/MAX Results
Marco Island, Fl.
RE/MAX ‘10’
Oak Lawn

The second home market is both domestic and global. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has great reports and statistics available to Realtors that spot trends and note where the second home buyers are buying. With this information, you can decide what to target. Many are can be found at realtor.org. International second home expos, such as SIMA held yearly in Spain and the NAR convention in Las Vegas, attract developers from around the globe and provide Realtors with a smorgasbord of second home offerings. In the United States, many second home markets have second home expos along with agents who are eager to network with you.

Maureen Culp
RE/MAX Harbor Country
Union Pier, Mich.

I, like the large majority of successful agents in my market, started out as a second homeowner. It gives you a better understanding of the needs of a second-home buyer, you are already familiar with the area, and you still have plenty of contacts back in the city for referrals. There is absolutely no urgency with vacation home buyers, and shopping for several years is very common. A cash reserve is a must.

Sue Causey
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Racine, Wisc.

Make sure you do your research. You have to know who your buyers are and what they want. Understand the challenges that come with second homes. Conduct research to find out where properties are for sale. If the buyer’s dream is a full-on view of Lake Michigan for a giveaway price, your work is cut out for you. Lake property is rare and expensive unless you move into an up-and-coming area. The good news is that you have the Web on your side. Almost all listings are on realtor.com, and most resorts and condo projects have their own Web site.

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