Why Do So Many Buyers of a Summer Home Wait Until Autumn to Buy?
Real Estate agents who sell recreational properties ("summer homes" or "vacation homes") witness this phenomenon every year.
In our service area, the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior (also referred to as the "South Shore") buyers typically begin to come visit us and look at properties in April or May. Buyer interest begins slowly, but ramps up in early summer, with a peak sometime between the Fourth of July and Labor Day. And buyer traffic lingers until late fall, sometimes right up to the end of the calendar year.
But the vast majority of our recreational home buyers tend to wait until they see properties disappearing from the market.
WHY do so many buyers wait until something they wanted to buy is gone?
There may be some type of crowd mentality going on here. Humans often follow what they see others doing. It's a form of "monkey see, monkey do" behavior. Buyers can be filled with insecurity about a second home purchase until they see someone else make a move. We watch others buying something and it validates our own urge to do the same. Some second home buyers have to lose out on a vacation home or two before they realize that these homes actually DO sell. And in a community where we don't have tract homes, where each vacation home is unique, when a home is gone, it's gone.
I've witnessed many, many prospective buyers who called our office about a "Sale Pending" home and who inquired wistfully, "do you have another home that's just like this one?" And almost always, they've been looking at the Sale Pending home for months, driving past it, looking at photos online, lurking and snooping and daydreaming. But they just can't bring themselves to take it seriously until their "dream home" is no longer available to purchase.
Wouldn't you think a buyer would like to enjoy their new summer home purchase in the same season they make the decision to buy, rather than buying in October or November and waiting six or seven months to enjoy it?
Look at it this way. How many folks buy a sporty convertible in November and then put it in storage until next May?