By Brian Salgado
An Expert in Chicago and Hawaii Markets
As a top producer and high-end luxury agent for Coldwell Banker, Jennifer Ames is an expert on the competitive residential market throughout the Chicago area. However, when local clients call on her expertise to find a second home elsewhere, Ames has to research these areas and markets to offer the best perspective possible.
“Part of what I do is look for great opportunities in real estate for my clients,” Ames says. “I don’t pretend to know what is happening all over the country, but I do research to find out.”
What that means for Ames is spending substantial time in second homes hot spots and taking in all they have to offer. Ames just returned from Kahei in the southern part of Maui, the hottest area of Hawaii, that is booming with luxury townhomes and single-family homes surrounded by golf courses and pristine beaches. While those nearby amenities are a strong draw for Chicagoans itching to shake the winter blues, Ames hypes the region’s relative obscurity when compared to other destinations in Maui, which was named the best island in the world for the 16th time in 2010 by Conde Nast Traveler.
“This is the last frontier on the island, but a very desirable one,” Ames says. “This is a little more open with long, beautiful, wide beaches, not resort after resort built on top of each other.”
Ames first heard about the Kahei through a contact she made while networking. After visiting the region herself, she has referred many Chicago-area clients interested in Hawaii to the Ho’olei at Grand Wailea.
The Ho’olei at Grand Wailea has 70 luxury villas (studios start at $100,000) with access to two golf courses – the blue course and the gold course, which hosted The Champions Skins Game PGA event from 2001 to 2007.
There are plenty of logistical advantages of buying a second home in Kahei, as well; in other traditional destinations, like Mexico and the Bahamas, homes are not as desirable because of violence and unpredictable government policies.
Since Ames is not licensed to practice real estate in Hawaii, she cannot sell these properties directly to her clients. Instead, she relishes the role of “ambassador” to Kahei, referring her Chicago buyers to a local agent who specializes in the region.
“I can’t list the property, but if I think it is a great property, I’m excited to introduce clients to an agent who can work with them anyway,” Ames says. “This lets me introduce my Chicago clients to some of the luxury resorts around the world by saying there are some great opportunities going on around there.”
Buying a Second Home Internationally
For Chicagoans looking for an international getaway for their second home, John Goldsworthy is the man to ask. Considering his experience with international developments for @properties, when he sings the praises of a development like Sailrock, developed by CMK Companies in Turks and Caicos, potential buyers should listen.
Goldsworthy has international real estate experience as the former director of sales and marketing for the Chicago Spire, and his first foray into international real estate was with a successful development in the Bahamas. Today, Goldsworthy is guiding Chicago clients to Sailrock, a 2,500-acre resort destination with improved home sites that start at $30,000, two-bedroom villas ranging between $595,000 and $1.2 million, as well as hotel condominiums that start at $325,000.
Sailrock will feature a number of amenities for its guests, including tennis courts, a full-service marina, an 18-hole championship golf course and numerous restaurants. Located just northeast of the city of Cockbourn Harbor, South Caicos, a historical fishing city, the development is surrounded by miles of white sand beaches and waterfronts that lend themselves to a variety of water sports, including fishing and diving. There are also miles of hiking trails for nature lovers.
This development is an ideal second home for Chicago buyers looking for an international location for several reasons, according to Goldsworthy. Unlike other destinations, Turks and Caicos has few barriers to entry for foreign investors. Goldsworthy says that as a British overseas territory, there is a strong political system in place, which ensures every home’s title is guaranteed by the British crown. Turks and Caicos is also considered a tax haven where homeowners are not taxed for their properties in any way. The proximity to the United States is a major draw, as well, with countless flights from coastal cities like Miami and Charlotte, N.C., bringing visitors to the region in about five hours.
Goldworthy also says the time to buy in Sailrock is now, according to market indicators. Not only has 60 percent of the development been pre-sold, but the prices of properties in the area are beginning to rise as the recession eases its grip on the market. For those looking to invest in the development, its appeal to a variety of foreign tourists is another reason to buy before costs begin to climb.
“There are direct flights there from London, and Canadians make up a big portion of buyers, too,” Goldsworthy says. “There is a lot of international allure as far as a client base that wants to go to Turks and Caicos to invest. We’re seeing prices starting to increase and sales volume is increasing, as well.”