Investors – would you swap time in your second home for stays elsewhere?

23 November 2020 | Investment

A property exchange company born out of the 2008 financial crash has seen its membership grow again as the world undergoes another major shock with the Covid-19 pandemic.

THIRDHOME is described as being ‘essentially a property exchange company based on a reciprocal exchange concept where second home owners can swap time in their second home for stays around the world’. The company’s portfolio features over 11,000 properties worldwide.

Back in 2008, people were struggling to sell or make money on their second homes because of the global financial crisis. THIRDHOME saw an opportunity to step in and provide the opportunity for homeowners to utilise their assets while discovering the world.

The platform believes the recent rise in membership is likely due to people changing how they travel (preferring to stay in private homes rather than hotels), people having to be tactical in how they travel (saving money on accommodation by using this ‘free’ home swapping concept and then using the money saved to pay for private jet travel), and many feeling a financial pressure again (leading to them using assets more wisely). 

THIRDHOME has a number of affiliate partnerships with property vacation managers (such as Quinta do Lago in Portugal and Smiling House in Switzerland), and also property development companies (such as YOO). 

While both partnership types help to expand THIRDHOME’s portfolio and provide more accommodation options for members, the firm argues that the partnerships are also hugely beneficial to property vacation managers (VPMs) and developers.

That’s because VPMs can generate bookings during low seasons in their clients’ properties and offer an exclusive THIRDHOME membership to prospective new clients, whilst developers of residential property that are likely to be second homes can offer prospective buyers exclusive THIRDHOME membership as an added extra for purchasing through them.

THIRDHOME insists it has been going against the grain by aggressively expanding while many travel and property companies are contracting in response to the pandemic. The company has opened a new office in Marbella to reach a more European market, as well as forging new partnerships with leading villa/chalet/yacht companies, such as Privadia in the Balearic Islands, Croatian Villas Holidays, Premier Cottages in the United Kingdom, and San Roque Club in Spain.

The company is largely US-based, but co-founder Giles Adams is based in the UK. His partner in business, Wade Shealy – co-founder, chairman and CEO of THIRDHOME, outlined to PIT why the platform is worth considering for property developers and investors. 

“THIRDHOME offers a fantastic value proposition to developers by providing a complimentary membership and bonus travel credits to buyers of qualified luxury vacation homes. This overcomes objections from prospects and comes at no cost to the developer or buyer. In addition, THIRDHOME members who visit an active real estate development are all qualified prospects to purchase another home.”

He added: “We have special programmes that can offer immediate travel opportunities to their clientele for developments that are still under construction. It’s a nice bridge that helps tide over the anxious buyer who’s ready to travel and further reinforces their decision to purchase with them in the first place.”

But has the business been forced to adapt or change its model due to Covid? “We recently introduced a new feature that allows our hosts more flexibility in their deposits that can go from two nights up to 30-plus nights. Up until now, our club had operated on the traditional seven-night stay. The reason for this new enhancement is two-fold. 1) We have members who own homes with regulations on short-term stays, and this allows for them to be able to participate in THIRDHOME Exchange, and 2) because of Covid, we’ve had our members request lengthier stays because they are working remotely and their children are in virtual classrooms, and can plan longer time away.”

He added: “As different areas of the world are under various rolling lockdowns with quarantine requirements once you reach a destination, a more extended stay is ideal.”

“Additionally, with travellers seeking out the comfort and peace of mind that comes with staying in private luxury accommodations, we are experiencing more demand for drive-to family and small-group vacations off the beaten path. Members with homes located in lesser-known areas are now highly sought out as our travellers want the luxury without the crowds.”

THIRDHOME Exchange features over 11,000 properties worldwide, with properties valued at an average of £1.6 million. You can find out more here.

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.