The market for second homes is ever-growing. Despite the recent economic recession, vacation-home purchases have remained at a constant rate through it all. Maintaining an average of 9 to 13 percent of the market, vacation homes are a constant. Cabins, beach houses and desert retreats have almost become an addition to the American dream.

As a broker, it’s important to take advantage of this constant. Gearing your agency toward second-home purchases is an important step for growth. Through the following suggestions, you’re bound to start your path toward future investment.

RSPS certification

One of the first steps in helping steer your agency toward specializing in second-home purchases is ensuring that several of your agents attain the Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist Certification from the National Association of Realtors (if you are active members, of course). Through the classes and webinars, your team will become knowledgeable with the process and gain confidence in selling to these specific needs. Building your team’s knowledge base never hurts, and by choosing the online webinars, you can focus each person’s interest and form a strong wealth of information.

Knowing the market

According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, 41 percent of all properties bought in the South were bought with the intention of being vacation properties. Typically these are detached single-family houses, but there is a market for townhouses, apartments and condos as well.

Over the past 10 years, vacation property purchases have regularly made up about 9 to 13 percent each year. This is a sizable amount of people searching for new vacation homes, and knowing where to push them is key to success. Knowing the client is key, too. The average age for second-home buyers is 43, a bit younger than most would probably think.

Over a third of vacation-home purchasers buy with all cash, and if they are taking out a loan, they make a sizable down payment. Many buyers purchase properties a median of 180 miles from their home, making it a bit of a drive — but not too far. This means those who have bought a house from your agency in the past could also be in the market for a vacation home.

Building relationships

Most people need a house, and thus first homes is a fairly easy market. However, second homes are an option. Building relationships with clients is where turning an option into a reality really comes to play. Creating lasting connections with clients is what sets the best second-home agencies apart from others. Learning how to convey tax incentives and keeping in close contact are the building blocks to success.

If you decide to become RSPS-certified, part of your training will include tax incentives — something you will definitely want to read up on. Most vacation homes are within a few hours of a purchaser’s primary residence, which makes helping a client search pretty easy. By keeping in touch with past potential clients, you never know when a second-home opportunity might arise.

In the end, it’s up to you as the broker to set the stage for your agency. Guiding your agents toward increasing their knowledge base is an excellent way to begin pushing second-home purchases. These new skills can help maximize your current efforts and push your agency forward.

Anna Horn takes care of online public relations for Haig Point Club, a private community on Daufuskie Island in South Carolina.

Email Anna Horn.

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