Would you like to receive $5,000 or more for a single telephone call? If so, there’s a great way to make more money if you’re willing to step out of your normal real estate market area.
The market may be in the doldrums, but there’s one part of the market that seems to be going strong — that’s the second/retirement home for the baby boom generation. If you’re willing to make a referral outside your area, you can make a substantial amount of money for doing nothing more than making a phone call.
Baby boomers are flush with cash. In 2006, boomers between the ages of 50 and 60 reportedly spent $1 trillion. We also know from the demographics that people are most likely to purchase a second home between the ages of 50 and 60. If you examine the birth statistics, the peak of the baby boom occurred in 1960. Peak spending occurs at age 46. Consequently, the demographics suggest that the market for second or retirement homes should be hitting its peak over the next 10 to 15 years.
Because of the substantial increase in property values and corresponding increases in property taxes and insurance, many older clients are wondering how they will live on a fixed retirement income. In many states, property taxes go up as properties appreciate. This poses a difficult situation in that many owners will be forced out of their current homes because they cannot afford the increase in property taxes. A second issue is that many can no longer afford the increased rate of insurance. Consequently, many retirees are looking for opportunities to find great places to live that have appealing amenities, a warm climate and a lower tax burden.
I recently spoke with John Chin of Land Resource. They have an intriguing model that is attractive to both brokers and clients. The Land Resource model is designed specifically for people who want a second home or a home for their retirement. The Land Resource developments are located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. According to Chin, they’re selling “a lifestyle — coastal, mountain or lake living in warm-weather climates with health and financial peace of mind.”
When Land Resource selects a property to develop, it must meet a number of important criteria. The most important is keeping the cost of living at a minimum. Consequently, their developments are in relatively warm locations where residents can minimize the amount of money they spend on heating and air conditioning. They also look carefully at minimizing the total tax burdens their owners have to pay. Their current developments have both low state and property taxes. They also select locations with “medical friendly” services and prices. An additional requirement is that each of their developments be no more than 30 minutes from a major airport and city. Residents have the benefit of enjoying a relaxing lifestyle with access to major services.
Another important criterion is conservation. “With each of our properties, we strive to strike a perfect balance between master-planned-community design and the natural areas that surround it. By protecting natural, open space on our properties, we help maintain stream and water quality, as well as providing habitat for plants and wildlife in the area.”
From a brokerage perspective, Land Resource properties are quite appealing. Their referral fee is a full 5 percent to the referring broker. Like the Ginn Co., they require a $1,000 refundable deposit to visit their property. They cover up to $350 of your clients’ airfare, and provide hotel accommodations, a guided tour of the property, and a concert or other fun event. If you have a number of clients in your local market area, they will host a dinner in a nearby fine restaurant. You can invite clients who may have an interest in a second home or in relocating when they retire. Their current conversion rate is 40 percent.
If you serve the luxury market, the Ginn Co. is niched specifically in the boutique or luxury market. The Ginn properties are located in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and St. Thomas. Plans are on the books for future resorts in Eagle-Vail, Colo., Grand Bahama Island, and Burke, Vt. Ginn provides lots for custom building and a wide variety of custom homes. The referral fee for the Ginn properties is 2.5 percent. Agents must register their clients prior to showing them the property. Ginn also invites agents to tour their properties prior to referring clients to them. Clients are invited to a Ginn event where Ginn picks up most of the transportation, hotel and entertainment costs. Like Land Resource, Ginn clients are asked to post a $1,000 refundable deposit. The broker referral is protected for 365 days.
If you have people in your sphere of influence or past clients ages 45 to 60, it’s easy to ask them about whether they are considering purchasing a second home or a different home when they retire. Thinking outside your local area can be an easy way to earn a sizeable commission for doing little more than filling out a Web site form or making a phone call. That’s about as easy as real estate can be.
Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of “Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters” and “Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?” Both are available online. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.