You have heard me bragging on 3RD Home on these pages before.
3RD Home (see ad to right) is a web site for second home owners that expands second home ownership by creating a home swap of vetted vacation home owners and properties. It’s like belonging to your very own Exclusive Resorts, only more exclusive. You must already be a second home owner — condo, home, ranch — and then you can exchange your home to stay at a THIRD home for — are you ready? $495 a week. That is not a typo. It costs you $495 to join 3RD HOME, and then $495 per week per stay at a home that matches the value, categorized as keys. I might add this must be full home ownership on your part, no family timeshares like our beach house. All the homes and owners are scrutinized so you know you are not just getting a five star location, you are putting nice people just like yourself in your property.
The genius behind this Nashville, TN -based company (The Southwestern Company is a partner) is Wade Shealy, a veteran second home Realtor who earned his stripes selling vacation homes in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“I sold out my last development in 2006 – Hampton Island off the coast of Georgia,” says Wade. “Uber hot when Ben Affleck bought a home on Hampton Island.”
What did he see coming down the pike? People needing second homes like they need a colonoscopy.
“I was sitting, waiting for it to turn around, and I waited. And waited, ” says Wade. “So I started looking at options for owners to get more value from those homes.”
Truthfully, the second home market is doing better, but not as well as the primary market. According to the latest NAR research,
- The median vacation home purchase price was higher in 2012 than in 2011–$150,000.
- The share of vacation buyers who did not use a mortgage rose slightly to 46 percent from 42 percent in 2011.
- Since there were fewer distressed properties on the market in 2012, there were fewer that could be purchased. The share of vacation buyers who purchased a vacation property dropped to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2011.
- However, the share does remain high—20 percent of vacation buyers purchased a home in foreclosure, while 15 percent purchased a short sale.
- Vacation buyers expect to own their vacation home for 10 years.
More second homeowners are leasing vacation homes for cash flow, and a Realtor I spoke with in Phoenix recently, Walt Danley, told me pre-retirees are buying homes in Phoenix and Scottsdale, for example, at devalued pricing, leasing them and holding them for retirement in 5 to 7 years. Of course, many of them are snowbirds and I hope they can unload those primary homes.
But when you have a second home, when you are dishing out $7000 a month in mortgage, insurance and other second home housing costs, the last thing you want to hear is “let’s go skiing this year” when you own a home at the beach.
But with 3RD HOME, you can trade the beach house for a ski chalet for $495. per week. It’s a way to stretch the vaca home to more than one location without breaking the bank or — horrors — buying another vacation home.
In fact, 3RD Home is more than a home exchange, it’s an estate exchange.
“Its proprietary key system puts you in control,” says Steve Zacks at 3RD Home. “You earn credits, called Keys, each time you make a week in your second home available for other members use.”
With those Keys in hand, which serve as the currency in the 3RD HOME system, you then can immediately reserve any available property and week 24/7 online. There is no direct or simultaneous exchange required with another member.
What makes 3RD HOME truly unique and superior is the quality of the homes made available for your use. There are more than 1550 homes spanning the globe with an average value of $2.25 Million and many well above $5 to 10 million. An example is this gem located in Argentina named La Fortuna. A complete description of this luxurious estate can be found on the 3RD HOME website. And yes, it’s ready for a swap!