From snow-covered mountains to lakefront resorts, several second home markets have recently experienced a surge in activity. To understand how to adapt and thrive in these luxury specializations, we chatted with three top-producing agents who have dedicated their business to selling postcard perfect properties in some of the nation’s most sought-after ZIP codes.
KW Luxury agents Jonathan and Alyce Vining have specialized in Lake Oconee – a midrange luxury market in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia – since they began their real estate business 17 years ago. And halfway across the country, atop the picturesque Colorado mountains in Breckenridge, KW Luxury agent Jen Chambers has been selling multimillion-dollar second homes for 15 years.
For both the Vinings and Chambers, their markets are experiencing significantly low inventory and increased sales volume. What is more, whereas clients would normally spend six months to more than a year planning the purchase of a luxury second home, with rapid closings and multiple offers on the table, clients are moving faster than ever. To accommodate this accelerated pace, these agents are leaning into their referral network and database, going back to basics, and entrenching themselves in the communities they sell and live in.
Deepen Your Referral Network
No doubt a destination location one would never want to leave, Chambers says growing her local business required her to occasionally do just that.
“With 40% of my business coming from feeder markets, I have been very strategic with my outreach and engagement with referral agents,” she says. “I began by visiting market centers beyond my area for Keller Williams training opportunities and attending Luxury Masterminds.” Both have yielded high returns for Chambers who continuously seeks opportunities to network. The next event she will be attending is KW Mega Camp, a virtual conference which will offer three powerful days of training, dedicated luxury breakouts, and unique ways to socialize and grow her network.
In addition to building her database through referrals, Chambers gets to know her clients and caters to their communication preferences for maximum effectiveness. Using KW Command, Keller Williams’ end-to-end operational system, Chambers plugs in her contacts and sets up calls, texts, emails, and mailers to deliver at the frequency which she knows each person prefers. With SmartPlans, a workflow management tool within Command, you can automate everything from listing checklists to marketing touchpoints.
Lean Into Your Database and Get Back to Basics
The Vinings found themselves abundant with business as an unexpected surge of people left crowded cities to retreat to their resort community to safely social distance. “After the first month of adjustments and moving to mostly virtual, we put our energy into letting our database know we are still here,” says Jonathan. The result equaled sweeping up more market share, as many agents had put their businesses on hold.
One way they did this was by visiting a local restaurant each week for takeout and featuring them on social media. Beyond local business support, the Vinings continue to serve on local association boards, including the Greene County Planning and Zoning Committee, and the Planning and Zoning for Citizens Involvement Committee. “You have to know more about the town you are selling than your client does,” Jonathan says. “That’s what they rely on you for.”
Even in the luxury market, buyers and sellers still expect the basics. Chambers stays focused on the real estate fundamentals and recommends others do the same:
- Be a market expert.
- Know the homes you are selling inside and out.
- Conduct a stellar first interview to identify your clients’ needs and desires.
- Be comfortable talking about financials.
- Ask questions and never make assumptions.
Never Stop Learning
To stay on top of trends, Chambers participates in as many Luxury Masterminds as she can and swaps ideas with other top-producing agents. Combined with KW MAPS Coaching, her mindset of lifelong learning has assisted her professional growth tremendously.
The Vinings emphasize client education, especially as business has gone mostly virtual. With properties moving rapidly, leaving multiple offers on the table, the Vinings are ensuring their clients are completely educated on the market trends and property specifics from day one and ready to go.
Breaking Into the Market
For agents looking to break into the second home market now, the Vinings and Chambers all agree; you need to know it and live it to sell it. “You’re going to have to know the market and be a part of it,” says Jonathan. The same is true for Chambers who is immersed in her community. “My next client might be on the ski lift right next to me,” she says. “You have to treat everyone like a luxury client because many are unassuming, especially in resort communities.”
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