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Second homes have become increasingly popular as buyers seek to capitalize on record-low mortgage rates and find a respite from the big city, especially after a year like 2020.

Here are three things you should consider when working with second-home buyers and sellers.

1. Location
In Portland, Maine, Chris Lynch, founder and owner of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, advises buyers to watch the market and be ready to pounce if a property comes on the market in a location they desire.

Lynch says his state has become “the hottest cold place in the United States,” as owners of second homes look to upgrade and make Maine their permanent base, and seasonal renters try to become owners. This influx of buyers has caused a shift in demand to larger properties, or those that can be expanded.

2. Price
Home prices have risen dramatically, partly because Maine has historically lacked a high inventory of larger properties, says Lynch.

“It’s more important than ever for agents to educate their buyers and sellers,” says Lynch. “Buyers need strong agent representation to aggressively find one or two properties that might be available in the neighborhood they want to live in. Sellers need to price their property to attract a broad pool of buyers. Properties that come on the market at prices that don’t reflect current values will sit on the market, despite low inventory.”

Mikki Moore, vice president of sales for Chicago-based d’aprile properties, notes that with multiple offers now the norm, developing a coherent strategy is important.

“When looking for that extra space, we help our clients define what that space is and the inventory available—as well as staying open to the idea of building,” she reports. “Our agents use visual designs from Pinterest to help clients understand the possibilities for the space and then pair up the client with carpenters or builders who can discuss those goals well before the showing.”

3. Setting Proper Expectations
A seller’s rep should encourage the client to create clarity about the value and benefits of the space, using decor, staging and color, Moore advises. The space should look “whiter, brighter, bigger, better.”

“Make sure the professional photography maximizes the value of the space,” she urges, “and include the 3D floor plans in your listing.”

Setting proper expectations (and managing them) is vital whether you’re representing the buyer, seller or both, Moore says.

“Correct pricing and market positioning is more important than ever, despite strong buyer demand,” she concludes. “As a buyer’s agent, the best practice in aiding families in search of a second home is to articulate the market conditions and the value of the property.”

As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their career via continuing education and professional development courses. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate.

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