South Tahoe second-home buyers aren’t in a hurry | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Tahoe second-home buyers aren’t in a hurry

Richard Bolen
Special to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – About 65 percent of South Lake Tahoe Homes are second homes or vacation properties.

I often write about, or use the phrase second home buyer characteristics, which makes sense. South Lake Tahoe is very much a second home resort real estate market.

Some 65 percent of area homeowners live elsewhere. This means that about a third of South Lake Tahoe homes are primary residences.

The National Association of Realtors did a specific study on vacation or second home buyers. I thought it would be of interest to look at the most recent findings.

Before looking at the particulars, there are a few key characteristics of the vacation and second home buyer to always have in mind. These are important, especially as it relates to style and manner when representing a buyer:

• The vacation or second home buyer lacks urgency.

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• The vacation or second home buyer is overqualified financially.

• The vacation or second home buyer is looking for a family retreat.

Of these, lack of urgency is really important to understand to best represent a buyer. What I like to do is “mirror” a buyers pace if I can. If a buyer seems to want to move quickly, I quicken my pace. If the buyer moves slowly, I respond in kind.

Sometimes, though, a particular house or situation does require urgency. An underpriced house, or one that is right priced and exceptionally attractive can require immediate action to get it.

n cases such as this, I do recommend that the vacation or second home buyer move as quickly as they possibly can.

If I ever quicken my pace, it is because I don’t want a buyer to miss out on something they obviously really like. I am never in a hurry just to make a sale. Buyer comfort to me is king.

Sales and prices:

• Some 10 percent of U.S. home sales were vacation or second home properties.

• 1 percent more vacation or second homes sold in 2009 compared to 2008.

Buyer characteristics:

• The median age of the vacation or second home buyer in 2009 was 46 years of age.

• 28 percent of vacation orsecond home buyers were older than 55.

• The median household income of 2009 vacation or second home buyers was $87,500.

• 39 percent of vacation or second home buyers had a household income that exceeded $100,000.

• 73 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers were married.

• 49 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyer households had no children younger than 8.

• 86 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers were Caucasian.

Property characteristics:

• 55 percent of 2009 vacation home sales were in a small town or rural area.

• 50 percent of 2009 vacation home sales were in the South.

• 71 percent of 2009 vacation or second home sales were single-family homes.

74 percent of 2009 vacation or second home sales were existing properties (not new).

• The median distance away from primary residence was 348 miles.

Method of Purchase and Financing:

• 54 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers used a real estate agent or broker.

• 10 percent of 2009 vacation or second home sales were a foreclosure or trustee sale.

• 27 percent of 2009 vacation or second home sales were directly from an owner (17 percent that buyer knew, 10 percent that buyer didn’t know).

• 32 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers looked first on the internet to shop for a home.

• 12 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers contacted a real estate agent first to shop for a home.

• 26 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers found the home they purchased on the internet.

• 25 percent of 2009 vacation or second home buyers found the home they purchased with a real estate agent.

• 70 percent of 2009 vacation or second home sales used a mortgage.

Internet use:

• Nine out of ten home buyers use the Internet in their home search process.

• Is our experience that buyers contact us after internet searching first.

• More often we find the home the buyer buys, rather than what they exactly saw on the Internet.

Buyer Motivations and Expectations:

• 89 percent purchased their vacation or second home as a family retreat.

• 29 percent purchased their second home because it was a “good investment” opportunity.

• 25 percent purchased their second home to rent to others.

• 14 percent purchased their second home for tax benefits.

• 26 percent purchased their second home as a future primary residence.

• 80 percent purchased their second home because they believe now is a good time to purchase.