Home Trends October 2021: Real Estate

Featuring property guru Terri Bass and her take on second homes


By Janice Carter Levitch Humphrey
Photos by Tom Jenkins


Have you noticed more of a trend for second home purchases? There is a much higher interest in second homes now. COVID forced us to live differently. We realized we could work remotely, so why not mix it up? Second-home sales rose 16% in 2020 and are up 33% through April of this year. The median price for second homes has increased from $416,100 in 2020 to $467,100. Buying second homes has become one of the fastest-growing trends in the US. More than 30 million Americans will enter the second home market within the next decade.

Terri Bass.

Who are the buyers of second homes?

Many people believe second homes are just for high-net-worth or retired individuals, but that is not the case. Second-home sales are soaring, and inventory has shrunk in every price category. Buyers purchase properties in areas of the country that were not previously second home destinations but offer lifestyles different from their home base. Often, the location is within a one-day drive from their primary home. Many buyers are purchasing something smaller now in an area they love to get a toehold in the market. This strategy leaves the buyer well-positioned to upgrade within a very competitive market eventually. “We also see folks purchasing smaller homes that can be rented short term in order to get a toehold in the community, giving them an opportunity to be in the market now without carrying the full cost of second homeownership,” Thomas Maybank, Realtor with the Ussery Group in Palmetto Bluff, SC.

What advice do you have for buyers that are interested in purchasing a second home?

Speaking from personal experience, I strongly suggest working with a Realtor with success and experience in the market. Earlier this year, we decided to begin a search for a second home in South Carolina. I arranged for a knowledgeable Realtor to work with at each destination. They sent us information and properties ahead of our visit and then spent a day showing us the area and prospective homes. Having someone who knows the area well, your requirements, “must-haves,” and budget gives you the knowledge to make the right decision. We ended up finding our retreat in Palmetto Bluff, a community built within a 20,000-acre residential and recreational preserve. Our Realtor, Thomas Maybank, has been involved in 65% of the transactions there this year. His knowledge of the current inventory, sales history and what was coming on the market gave us the advantage needed to locate and purchase our second home in a very tight market. Since then, I’ve referred two Louisville clients to him, and one has already found their perfect getaway. We have connections with top Realtors in most cities across the US and worldwide because of Sotheby’s network and through our clients who have moved to Louisville from other towns. This year alone, we have assisted four Louisville clients with second home referrals. We are always happy to find the best-qualified Realtor in any city and make that referral for our clients. 

What interior design trends are you seeing in second homes?

Second homes should give you a feeling of being removed from everyday life, a welcomed retreat. Décor plays a significant role in creating that feeling. The location invites homeowners to take advantage of different design styles than they’ve used in their primary home; mountainous areas do well with rustic looks, beaches and a low country trend toward coastal styles. Homeowners have fun using design and color that is harmonious with the surrounding area while adding in some of their personal preferences or furnishings that they can’t do without. We are undoubtedly enjoying furnishing our vacation home, inspired by the beautiful nature preserve that surrounds us. Still, we’re also integrating a few well-loved antiques and rugs that make it feel like a home away from home.

Lenihan Sotheby’s International Reality
Terri Bass + Shelly & Bradley Brindardner
3803 Brownsboro Road
Louisville, KY 40207

Terri Bass, Bradley and Shelly Bringardner.