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29% of Home Buyers May Be Searching for a Vacation Home: How to Target Them

Think about the last time you were on vacation. Did you peruse the local real estate listings while you were there? Our bet is you probably did. 

Well, you’re not alone - many of your clients are likely doing this as well. Redfin recently reported that nearly a third of their users confirmed they searched for properties while in a vacation destination. 

With Alaska host to more than two million visitors each year, that means huge potential for you.

So, how can you target your listing to attract the attention of people looking to buy a vacation home here?

Research on How to Speak to a Second Home Buyer’s Needs

While creating most of your listings is simply a matter of keying in the facts and figures, it’s the description and the photos that allow you to truly showcase a property. You also already understand that each property caters to a specific client. 

Families like open floor plans for sightlines and room for the little ones to run and play. Empty nesters and retirees want something smaller - less maintenance that way. And everyone comes to Alaska for the picturesque landscapes and proximity to nature.

You already write your descriptions to highlight what’s most likely to draw in the appropriate buyers. We know because when we partner as your real estate photographers, we do the same with our images. 

So what does the research say about the elements vacation home buyers are looking for? What should we focus on when we’re speaking to them?

First, you need to know what they want.

The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing points out that vacation and other second homebuyers are typically making real estate decisions primarily for their own enjoyment.

41% Purchase for Vacations

When nearly half of those looking for a second home have vacations in mind, it only makes sense to include language in your listing that tells a buyer that your property is a place where they can unwind. 

A subtle edit, for example, from master “suite” to master “retreat” could broaden your listing’s appeal without alienating buyers seeking a primary residence. From a staging perspective, the furniture layout in the master bedroom may include a sitting area to play up the retreat idea. 

Our photographers would highlight this staging, fantastic master room views, and any master bath features that lend to the idea of a getaway.

31% Want a Family Retreat

Speaking of “retreat, ” a third of those clients looking to purchase a second home want a family retreat. Most of the time this means a place to make forever memories. So when you think about those best moments with your family, what do they all seem to have in common? 

We think the three most common elements of every family retreat are: 

  1. Meet Together. 

  2. Eat Together. 

  3. Play Together. 

If you have the perfect property for family retreats, you’re going to want to focus on the common areas where these things happen. 

In your descriptions, you’ll want to play up how many family members a given space can accommodate, and what kind of family activities they should imagine happening there. 

Photographs should include both outdoor and indoor family areas that are well-staged to suggest those retreat-like moments.   

28% View the Purchase of a Second Home as Investment Diversification

The other aspect that most home buyers are thinking of - especially those buying a second one - is how it will work as an investment. 

The current value of the home, information on the market and where it’s going, the potential financial benefits from the investment - these are key insights you can weave into a description to begin building confidence that the property they are looking at is the investment they’re seeking. 

We also recommend incorporating important elements like walkability to local shops and restaurants or recreational areas through drone photography. These visuals help a buyer get a real sense of the added value in an investment like this.

If you have any questions about this research or would like to discuss how DMD Real Estate Photography can help you capture second home buyers’ attention through your listings, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Three Websites Where You Should Post Your Real Estate Listings

You’ve put together a great listing with amazing photos (with our help, hopefully!). Now you’re ready to post the listing… but where are you likely to get the best response?

Obviously, you’ll upload your properties to your brokerage home site, which will enable you to include your listings in every digital marketing opportunity that coincides with it. You’re also likely taking full advantage of your agency’s MLS access and enjoying the way those listings automatically feed into key public sites like Realtor, Trulia, and Zillow. (We look forward to hearing Redfin has hit the Alaska market sooner rather than later, too!)

That’s a great start. But are there other websites out there that can help you get an edge over your competitors here in Alaska? If they’re pay sites, is it worth it?

From our experience, the answer is yes. But you don’t just have to take our word for it...

AK Real Estate Consumer Trends Say More Digital Presence Is Better

As you are likely well aware, Alaska’s real estate market is unique compared to the Lower 48. This is largely due to the greater likelihood of working with homebuyers who are willing to purchase sight unseen. 

How do you get someone to buy homes without ever seeing them in person? Make sure they can find them online. About half of homebuyers now find the home they ultimately purchase on the internet, so you need to make sure that your listings are ubiquitous online.

It starts with the major players we mentioned above, obviously, but once you’ve got that covered, we believe there are three other “must-have” digital real estate listing locations for Alaskan realtors.

Here’s a little about each:


Cost: Memberships start at $39/month

Features: Unlimited photos, direct client contact, easy social sharing, advertising options, mortgage calculator

DMD Opinion: This network seems to be a no-nonsense kind of listing tool. It appears you can list at no charge, but the paid memberships with HomeFinder.com include priority placement - something which can be key to getting noticed in a cluttered market. 

We especially like the idea of being able to include as many photos as you need to tell the property’s story. Here in Alaska, it can often be a grand one!


Cost: Free to Claim Your Profile

Features: Unlimited photos, direct client contact, easy social sharing, advertising options, mortgage calculator

DMD Opinion: We look at including this site into your marketing mix as a matter of housekeeping. Some have compared the user experience to online dating. Buyers key in property criteria, and each search result listing is assigned a unique match rating. 

There are currently close to 5,000 Alaska properties listed, and creating your professional profile allows you to claim both listings and consumer leads. It also provides its own conversion tools - which can possibly incorporate into your overall conversion calculations.

Facebook.com (and Instagram)

Cost: Free | Set Your Own Budget

Features: Unlimited albums, Built-in Personal Audience, Geo- and Demo-targeted ad placement, easy crossover between platforms.

DMD Opinion: For those Alaska realtors already utilizing Facebook and Instagram to enhance your real estate business, consider adding paid, targeted ad placement to drive more users (ahem, leads) to your broker site listings. 

This kind of placement is great because you can invest as little - or as much - as you want, and you can double down and run multiple campaigns separately targeting local buyers’ agents and potential clients at the same time.

Even better? DMD can help you tailor your ad images and album galleries to appeal to the specific audience you are trying to reach for a given property!

In sum, we believe you can further increase your visibility by tapping into these three key online opportunities. Additionally, we suggest maximizing your exposure through photo add-on and enhanced placement packages for proven channels.

If you have questions about developing listings for your Alaska properties on these sites or are ready to work on some amazing expanded galleries together, we’re here for you. Call DMD Real Estate Photography anytime!

Real Estate Photography: First Image, First Impression

We all know that photos are crucial to creating a real estate listing that sells. This is especially true in Alaska, where so many out-of-state buyers are purchasing homes without ever setting foot in them.

But recent studies show just how important those photos are — and which photo is most important for buyers. 

Specifically, a low-quality or missing photo of the exterior of your home could make the difference between whether a buyer is interested in your property or if they move on to the house next door. 


You Have 20 Seconds to Make a First Impression 

When homebuyers look at a real estate listing, they spend 60% of their time looking at photos. Property descriptions can certainly have an impact on whether a buyer is interested in attending an open house or making an offer, but photos show buyers what it will feel like to look at their new home. 

Do your photos show off your clients’ home? 

Eye-gazing studies took these statistics even further to see which photos are most important to buyers. Out of the 56 seconds that buyers typically spend looking at the photos, they spend 20 seconds - more than a third of the time - looking at the exterior. 

In contrast, buyers usually speed through photos of the interior, spending no more than nine seconds on each subsequent photo. Moreover, they are most likely to remember the photo of the exterior when making their decision about a house

For this reason, an excellent exterior shot should be the first photo that buyers see. 

Do you have a photo that properly shows off the property’s curb appeal and size?

If you don’t, the buyer is likely to move on within two seconds. Two seconds! Most buyers won’t get through reading a whole sentence of your property description before they decide to click away.

However, if you have photos that show off the quality of the listing, the property will sell 32% faster and with a 47% higher asking price per square foot on average. 

The stats don’t lie. Investing in a real estate photographer will pay off when you sign your home over for a higher price. 

Sell Your Home Faster with Alaska Professional Real Estate Photography

At DMD, we know how important high-quality photos are to your listing. Moreover, we know how to help you create a cohesive “story” of sorts with those images, taking prospective buyers on the journey of the home you want.

We offer a full range of photos and videos to sellers and their agents throughout Alaska, and our team consistently delivers effective images that work to sell homes in Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, and Fairbanks.

Reach out to our team for more information on our packages and how we can help you sell your home for a higher price.