The houses in the nation's gated golf course communities are typically sold without outside realty agents and often without a listing on the Realtors' MLS system, according to an in-depth real estate survey.
Some 79 percent of the home sales in upscale golf course communities are completed by the developers in-house sales staff without an agent from an outside Realtor firm, according to a study by PrivateCommunities.com - www.PrivateCommunities.com
"There is a significant amount of property listed and sold in golf communities that is not showing up on the general real estate radar screen," said Elisabeth Miller-Fox, president of PrivateCommunities.com.
Locating homes inside gated golf course communities can be difficult for the consumer and frustrating for the buyer that desires to search for those homes on the Internet.
"Golf course homes for sale behind the gates are largely invisible to the general public," said Miller-Fox. "We're finally creaking open the gates."
PrivateCommunities.com is opening up the process for consumers with the introduction of golf property listings to its web site.
"Listing golf course properties on our web site will benefit the consumer as well as the developers and sellers who want to attract buyers to their properties," Miller-Fox said.
Developers of golf communities invest millions in infrastructure, staffing and marketing and it is understandable that they want to maximize profits by handling sales through their in-house sales departments.
According to the PrivateCommunities.com survey, 5.9 people staff a typical golf community sales department, 26% of the staff are not members of National Association of Realtors. Of NAR members, 33% listed all new and resale property in the community on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and 45% listed only resale property on MLS. Properties listed on MLS are visible to real estate firms and the general public on Realtor.com.
In 2002, the National Association of Realtors conducted the first benchmark survey of second-home owners and concluded the vacation-home sector appears to be much larger than most analysts believed. NAR Chief Economist David Lereah estimates there may be as many as 7 million vacation homes in the United States.
In 1996, PrivateCommunities.com pioneered the first web site to showcase master-planned communities for retirement and second home buyers. Individual home listings on PrivateCommunities.com are associated with the communities in which they are located and can be searched by price, bedrooms/baths. Many listings have full details including floor plans and virtual tours.
Many times the buyer of homes on a golf course spend much of their time just selecting the right community before they ever begin to select the actual house in the development, says Marie Roberts, the co-founder of PrivateCommunities.com.
"The decision to purchase in a golf community is a complex buying decision; typically, the house is the very last decision made," said Roberts, who formerly was a broker for the "in-house" sales departments at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo and Windsor in Vero Beach, Florida.
PrivateCommunities.com does not receive commissions or take part in the sales transaction.
PrivateCommunities.com is a division of Private Communities Registry, Inc. headquartered in Vero Beach, Florida.