What To Look For In A Vacation Home Real Estate Agent?

It’s no coincidence that the best places to retire to are often the best places to buy a vacation home too! Buying a vacation home can be a great investment.   There are even some advanced tax strategies that allow you to buy a home, use it as a rental and move into it.

If you’re considering a place to retire then you might want to consider vacation homes as an option that could allow vacationers to pay for your retirement.  You get a permanent place to go to when the vacations begin and don’t have to worry about finding a place to rent, pay a deposit, and spend hundreds of dollars every day. 

Unlike trying to DIY your home purchase or sell in your local area it’s always good advice to hire a real estate agent to help you with a vacation home.  However, not all real estate agents are experts on investments, vacation attributes and other things that go along with having a 2nd home.   Here are six ways things to look for when hiring a vacation home real estate agent:

1. Proven Track Record

When you look for an agent find out where they have sold.   Websites like Realtor.com often will show you where the agent has sold the most recent homes.  You want agents that have sold homes in the areas you want to purchase in.   Agents that sell in the suburbs might be excellent real estate agents, but they might be novices when it comes to vacation homes.

2. Recent past clients from websites

There are several real estate websites you can check. All you need to do is actually check.  Statistics suggest that 80% of home buyers don’t interview or review their agents!  Filter your search according to reviews. Read reviews and distinguish between ones that are paid and real. A real review will have pictures and spelling and grammatical errors. Talk to these people about the real estate agent and get to know more. There are chances that the person bought a vacation home recently and would suggest you a nice neighborhood with an amazing view.

3. Check out current listings

Go to a vacation homes listing website and check for current listings from real estate agents. If they’ve posted a good house, it means the agent is reputable and genuine. You can learn a lot from their bio data as well. If the person’s write up is too dreamy and makes you feel like you are reading a romantic novel, close the window because that’s not someone you are looking for.

4. Licenses and certifications

All real estate agents need license and certification to be able to practice their profession. They have to take certain classes, which are subject to the local authority. Other add-on certifications to look for include

  • Certified Residential Specialist – required to handle residential real estate
  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative – certification for representing buyers in real estate transaction
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist – assisting buyers or sellers that are over 50 years of age.

If the real estate agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors, they’ll use realtor with a capital R.

5. The Process of Mitigating Risk

A good real estate agent will tell you the risks associated with buying a vacation house in a particular area. Be very attentive while they talk.

Someone who gives facts and knowledge is a genuine professional and has your best interests in their mind. You should expect them to talk about investment analysis, long-term impact of your purchase, and neighborhood market performance. If they don’t, ask clearly. If the person is hesitant about discussing these things, he surely isn’t prepared to offer you the service.

6. Property Management Experience

Property management experience is not the most important thing to look at, but could be very helpful if you plan to rent out the home.

Ultimately, the best real estate agent is one that is a professional and listens to you, with some experience in the vacation home niche.   One final note, you’re likely to find more vacation home specialist when the vacation area is smaller vs areas that are essentially an entire state.   Florida comes to mind.  It’s entire plausible that a Realtor could be an expert at vacation homes and surburban homes when they live that close to coast.   For the rest of the realtors, choose someone that knows what they are doing.