Vacasa, a vacation rental startup that has grown to become a serious Airbnb competitor, just announced it’s launching a network that connects real estate agents with buyers and sellers of vacation homes.
The company, which launched in 2009 in Portland, Oregon, manages more than 9,000 vacation homes and raised $ 104 million in Series B funding in 2017.
But after finding that nearly 5 percent of the homeowners using Vacasa sell their properties every year, the company decided to expand to offer a service specifically for those who want to buy or sell a vacation property.
“We’re always looking at ways to provide more value to our customers,” said Eric Breon, who founded Vacasa after inheriting a small cabin on the Washington coast. “If they’re ready to buy or sell, connecting them to the industry’s top real estate agents is a natural next step in the Vacasa experience.”
The new platform, titled Vacasa Real Estate, will connect a pipeline of vacation homeowners with agents and people looking to buy both for themselves or as an investment. So far, 250 real estate agents from more than 80 brokerages have signed up to participate. Those in the program get exclusive access to Vacasa’s properties.
“With a pipeline of motivated sellers combined with guests interested in buying vacation homes, Vacasa Real Estate is positioned to be a leading source of referrals for agents across the country,” the company said in a press release.
As part of the service, Vacasa will provide agents with information that will help clients specifically looking for investment properties. Agents will get market insights, a rent predictor that calculates how much income a property can generate and one-on-one consultations with Vacasa’s team to give agents information for clients looking to buy vacation properties, such as suggestions for home improvements that could generate more rental income.
“That’s expertise that’s going to help the agents and, ultimately, help the buyers,” Breon told Inman. “People are looking for information on what makes a good investment.”
To better market the homes, Vacasa will also give agents access to 3D tours and professional photography that can then be used to list the property. Vacasa is currently looking for more agents who want to sell vacation homes through the platform to join their network.
“We can help the agent by finding the best market,” said Shaun Greer, Vacasa’s senior director of real estate and a licensed agent. “Every single aspect of the buying process, we can help them with.”