Interview with Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills Real Estate Agent Jade Mills

Interview with Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills Real Estate Agent Jade Mills
As one of the world's top brokers and Estates Director of Coldwell Banker of Beverly Hills, Jade has been ranked by the Wall Street Journal – Real Trends list as one of the singularly top producing residential real estate agents in America. We speak with Jade about the hottest destinations to buy vacation summer homes, how to keep or improve your resale value, and the trend towards buying homes "all in" from the linens to the plants to the plans.

In your line of work, where are you seeing an influx of vacation home sales this year?

So far this year we are seeing people flock to Lake Arrowhead, CA. We recently purchased a very small home there ourselves. We not only think it's a great weekend spot, but we think it is becoming a great investment. The lake brings us back to family values. Everyone wants to be there spending time on the lake and enjoying the peace of the natural surroundings.

In addition, there is always a steady stream of families investing in vacation homes in the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area. Location and climate are the biggest draws for vacationers who need a relaxing environment for either a weekend trip or weeklong stay.

What emerging destinations do you recommend buyers to purchase in and why? For couples? Families?

In Lake Arrowhead, you have the lake in the summer, skiing in the winter, and an amazing climate year round. Outdoor activities attract fun-loving families, while the tranquility draws young couples out of their busy Southern California lives.

Internationally, we are seeing an increase in activity in the Baja California and Pacific Mexico areas – specifically areas around Cabo San Lucas. In less time than it takes to fly to the east coast, residents of the western United States can travel to beautiful Mexican towns like La Paz or Cabo San Lucas. With plenty of activities and endless relaxation, these vacation towns are suited for a two-week stay, or quick weekend jaunts. Investing in Mexico can be done with ease and our Coldwell Banker affiliates in Mexico are seeing a definite increase in US investment.

What should buyers look for in a vacation home to ensure it's a good investment?

The reason we purchased in Lake Arrowhead is because we think it is a well-kept secret. We feel the real estate there is going to greatly appreciate in the next few years. Lake-house properties are in supply now, but in three or four years may be untouchable.

When you meet a vacation home seeker, what questions do you ask to determine what the best fit for them is?

Time with my family is of utmost importance. I have three grown children with families of their own, and a son in college with a social agenda to match. I try to maximize the time we all have together, so for us that means a vacation property close to home. Lake Arrowhead is less than two hours away, which means we don't lose entire travel days; but we still feel the peace needed for a great vacation. When clients are looking for vacation properties my first goal is to determine whether their needs warrant a quick get-away destination or a longer-term retreat.

How much do you think buyers should spend on their vacation home? Half the cost of their primary residence?

We look at vacations homes not as personal hotels, but as investments. I work with my clients and advisors to determine what role a second home would play in their portfolio, like you would with any other hard-asset.