Shop Talk: The Real Estate Agent Blog

Master the art of selling to snowbirds.
August 17, 2018

How to Successfully Sell to Snowbirds

by The CE Shop Team

Master the Art of Selling to Snowbirds

As Baby Boomers get closer to retirement, more and more of them are looking to settle further south and out of colder northern states they may live in. Whether they’re looking for permanent or temporary housing, these “snowbirds” are a boost to many real estate markets in the warmer climates. Some of the most popular southern locations include Florida and Arizona, both for their lower land costs and their typically sunny climates, but snowbirds will consider a variety of southern states as well. If you're going to sell a home to someone who is intending to live in it for just the winter or someone who is leaving their home later in life for a change of scenery, there are several tips you may consider to help market your listings more effectively.

Insight Into the Snowbird

The market is noticing a demographic shift in those purchasing homes in warmer areas during the winter season and it’s trending younger. Some Millennial homebuyers and Generation-Xers are looking to get ahead in their home ownership and hoping to have these vacation home properties paid off before they enter retirement. ABOVE Magazine found that younger southern home buyers may purchase a vacation home and look to rent it out until they're ready to live in it more long-term. Nevertheless, the typical snowbird will be someone who is nearing retirement age or is well into it. And CNBC’s recent study revealed that “more than 80 percent of people age 55 and older in 17 major real estate markets who moved during the past seven years remained in the same county or state.” Meaning if a snowbird chooses a home in a more southern region, they’re likely there to stay.

Location, Location, Location

With the rise of applications like Airbnb allowing homeowners to bring in a second revenue flow, you may see an increase in snowbirds or vacation home buyers if you're listing a home in an area where property values are relatively low and it's a dry, warm climate. Because of tourist interest, many snowbirds will want the option to rent out the homes they're purchasing in order to help pay off the property more easily. As Holly Henbest indicated, the increase in these kinds of buyers depends less on specific state and more on region. If you're selling homes in the southern half of the country, you can probably expect to see these buyers.

Reaching the Right Clients

With a demographic that leans toward the older generations, it’s best to use a wide variety of methods to make sure your property is getting plenty of exposure through a multitude of marketing formats. If you're listing several properties, you might consider getting an advertisement on a billboard along the highway to attract retiree snowbirds as they travel. eCommission Financial Services also suggests reaching out on social media to reach the younger crowds and giving out brochures in local marketplaces to add a personal touch.

The fall and winter timespan is the perfect time to list a property for the snowbird market. Listing your home on the brink of cold weather could help your property get more attention. As retirees and snowbirds approach bitter temperatures up north, they will likely begin to consider a more appealing option for the second half of the year. As people start researching warmer escapes during the fall months, your listing will get more traffic than usual.

Highlighting the Perks

It’s important to market to snowbird clients in a specific way, appealing to warmer weather benefits, such as the home’s proximity to a beach or golf course. When you’re listing one of your homes, be sure to highlight the essential perks that retirees might be looking for. Florida REALTORS® suggests finding common ground with potential buyers from the north. Golf and beaches are both drawing factors for southern states, but you might also advertise convenient transportation to get into town, art galleries, or list some exceptional local restaurants. These factors could help keep potential clients at the table when looking at properties. Ultimately, showing how comfortable your property will be in the winter is the goal, and so accentuating fun, warm attributes are tactics you will want to use.

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