Try Something Different With Second-Home Marketing

November 14, 2011

If you happen to bump into Daniel Webster Johnson, you’ll probably remember him. 

The Breckenridge, Colo.-based real estate broker likes to walk around in public places with skis on his back, just for fun. He rides his bike through the snow—something he refers to on Facebook as his “epic winter biking adventure”—and he almost always wear a bright red shirt. 

“Do you notice that I’m a little bit different?” he asked Saturday during the Resort and Second Home Forum at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Anaheim. “I want people to think I’m eccentric.” 

It’s all part of his plan to market himself without spending a dime. “People just walk up to me and talk to me,” said Johnston, RSPS, who sells second homes that average $700,000. 

Johnston was part of a panel that also included former NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President Richard Mendenhall, CCIM, CIPS, of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Mo. Mendenhall urged REALTORS® to expand their definition of what makes a second-home market.  For example, considering tapping into college towns, where many of the students’ parents often purchase a duplex or other property for their child to live for four years. “It doesn’t have to be Harvard or Yale, it just has to be a place where students are going to school,” he said. 

Mendenhall also spoke about the opportunity in appealing to hunters—a group that includes close to 21 million people in the United States. Everyone markets homes to golfers, which number around 27 million, but hunters are barely touched. “Hunters are a big deal, and there’s a lot of money there,” he said. 

Homes near wetlands could be sold as waterfowl property; research duck flyways and see if one is near your market. If you’re close to a flyway but there are no wetlands, consider building a berm that can be flooded to attract ducks, and stage the outdoor area with duck decoys. Mendenhall said he’s seen that strategy dramatically boost the value of property. 

“It’s a whole different way to look at second homes,” Mendenhall said. 

Source: Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine 

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