Called the Second Home Specialist Certification, the curriculum will expand agents’ knowledge of the unique nature of selling high-end homes in destination markets including the concept of co-ownership.

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Second-home purchasing platform Pacaso has developed a certification program for the real estate industry to help agents learn and leverage expertise in the vacation home market.

Called the Second Home Specialist Certification, the curriculum intends to expand agents’ knowledge of the unique nature of selling high-end homes in destination markets including the concept of co-ownership, according to a press release. The completion of the program will entitle the agent to what Pacaso calls, “exclusive benefits.”

“Agents will have the knowledge they need to create further trust with their clients on home ownership options,” said Vice President of Industry Relations Marnie Blanco in a statement. “I cannot wait to be at the next industry conference and see agents sporting their Pacaso Second Home Specialist badge.”

The five-step program, which is free, includes exploring the benefits of co-ownership, how to discuss it and other best practices gleaned from the Pacaso Agent Playbook, a central resource that has collected lessons and expertise from existing agents in Pacaso’s network. A live virtual tour of a Pacaso home will also take place during a course webinar.

The company pays agents who sell shares in their homes a referral commission of three percent and 500 RSU (restricted stock units). Once considered typical, that rate of commission is consistently challenged in traditional transactions, usually from reluctant sellers. In some cases, buyers ask for significant rebates at closing.

On top of that commission percentage, earning Pacaso’s certification will give agents eligibility for a one percent commission on every resale for life and a no-cost subscription to Access, a service that provides advanced notice of upcoming home shares and for buyers, closing cost credits tiered according to percentage of ownership, ranging from $2,500 for a one-eighth share to $10,000 for a half share. Access is delivered through the Pacaso app.

Certification will also allow agents to market a digital badge on marketing collateral, websites and listing materials.

Real estate certifications range widely and help differentiate an agent from the always-there threat of competition. From environmental stewardship to staging, the list of acronyms on an agent’s email signature can be as long as they like. There is great value in ongoing education, especially in a field that demands consistent learning to remain abreast of law changes, consumer trends, advertising standards and sales practices.

The company also recently rolled out a new software interface, according to the announcement. The Pacaso Agent Referral Dashboard enables agents to seamlessly refer potential second homebuyers and track the status of their referrals and commissions.

Pacaso reported in its 2022 second-quarter market analysis that luxury second-home transactions increased 25 percent year-over-year. Despite that corner of the market’s continued performance, Pacaso was unable to sustain its current level of operation under the looming threat of economic lag, which forced the company to reduce its staff by 30 percent in early October. The third-quarter report offered further support for that decision, Pacaso said.

Brian McGuigan, Pacaso’s director of corporate communications, told Inman at the time that the Fed’s rate hikes, made to curtail the rate of inflation, created too much strain. “It’s just a completely different environment now,” he said.

The company remains bullish on its model and will seek to expand in its existing markets. Pacaso has homes on each coast of the United States, in many of its resort mountain communities, in Marbella, Spain, London and Los Cabo, Mexico.

Jeff Kennedy, vice president of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, said in a statement that this is the ideal time for real estate agents to bolster their marketing acumen.

“Successful agents are already creating business plans for next year,” he said. “The best plans always include continued education and exploring new ways to grow their business, making this certification a ‘must have’ for agents.”

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Email Craig Rowe

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