Placing a waterfront home on the market is much different than selling other real estate properties. Lakefront or beachfront houses are associated with unique selling points that are almost not applicable to any ranch-style houses, apartments, and other in-land houses.
You want to execute every possible selling point and showcase how great your property is to the potential buyers. As such, you’ll get the most out of your sales. To help you with that, here are a few preparations you should do before advertising your waterfront house in the market.
Enhance Curb Appeal
Like any other properties, your waterfront house’ curb appeal is one of the things you should prioritize. It’s without a doubt, one of the major selling points in any house. It typically entails cleaning up the front, mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes or trees (if you grow plants), and landscaping so that everyone (not only buyers) can see your house in its best light.
For any lake/beachfront properties, the front of the house and the shorelines are the two “curbs” that you’re going to deal with. Tidy up your waterfront side the same way as to how you manicure and clean your house’s traditional curbside. It’s somehow related to the ‘what you see is what you get’ psychology. You want to showcase the best of your house to add more value to it and attract more potential buyers at the same time.
Stage the Waterfront
In addition to improving your house curb appeal, showing the full potential of the lakeshore or beachfront is another helpful marketing strategy. Don’t just add pots of flowers. Place some things that can prompt your buyers’ visualization.
For instance, you can set up a grill and other patio furniture to showcase how buyers can throw a BBQ party in the waterfront. Another is installing swings on the trees that can somehow display a children’s playground.
Apart from boating, fishing, or swimming, think about what your potential buyers can enjoy in the waterfront area so they’ll not get bored with the idea of solely watching the waterfront view.
Clean Up the Shoreline
A debris-free and clean shoreline is an influential factor in the overall view of your waterfront house. Floating litters and visible weeds detract the shoreline’s view. They were not included in the dream waterfront house that buyers tend to visualize.
One good selling point is to provide what buyers expect to see, and not the other way around. As much as possible, make sure you’ll clean up the shoreline on a daily basis during the entire home selling period.
Clean your Windows
Cleaning all your windows that face the water is one of the ways to maximize the visibility of your waterfront’s view. Replace or remove furniture like lamps or flower vases that may block the view.
Another reason for cleaning them is that they’re susceptible to getting dirty and dusty. Before showing your house to the clients, make your windows, along with your patios and balconies (if you have), as clear and sparkling as possible so potential buyers can see the full beauty of your waterfront home.
Spruce Up and Repair Waterfront Amenities
Nothing turns away potential buyers quicker than the idea of doing repairs right after buying the property. Again, as much as possible, sell your property in good condition and accessible before marketing it. Replace the broken and worn boards in your docks or decks and boathouse (if you happen to have one). Clean them inside and out.
Consider repainting your dock or boathouse, as well. A fresh coat of paint always goes a long way. More importantly, fix everything around the water. Potential buyers are new to this environment, so they might end up not buying your property for doing this responsibility.
Ultimately, make sure that the path to your waterfront amenities is cleared and adorned. Trim the bushes or plant some greeneries on the way to that path. Let the buyers feel satisfied just by taking a trip down to the dock from the house.
Follow Dock Policies and Procedures
Be aware that owning a dock is associated with a handful of legal hoops that you should jump through. Whether you own a dock but never use it or your realtor suggested installing one to improve your home value, you must know the rules.
Getting a dock permit is one of the crucial actions you should do. It would be normally administered by a responsible agency in your state. Prepare it before meeting up your client because your potential buyer’s agent knows it very well. Otherwise, you wouldn’t only lose the sale, but also be fined with a hefty amount of penalty.
Be Aware of Your Water Rights
Do everything by the book. Your land area in your waterfront house typically carries a specific right that is relative to what kind of body of water it is adjacent to. You should know these rights and let your potential buyers understand them clearly.
The laws and regulations relevant in the purchasing, developing, renovating, and selling of a waterfront property vary greatly depending on different states and even cities within them. In general, the following are the fundamental state or local rules or documents related to your house’s water rights.
- Right of way. An easement allowing other people to travel or pass through your land or water border.
- Waterfront Buffer Zones. Engineering feasibility contingencies for landscaping, building plans, and wetland management, especially when the area is within tidal waters or wetlands.
- Littoral rights. Rights that are given to house owners specifying the mean high water mark that they can access.
- Riparian rights. Rights that are given to house owners specifying the water or even the land underneath the water that they can access.
- Water depth. Utilized for dock placement and fixed height bridges context.
- Docks and piers. Involves a series of local, state and federal agencies’ review permit applications.
- Flood insurance. Elevation certificate indicates the cost of purchasing property’s flood insurance as well as the history of flooding on the property
Even without the presence of your realtor, you can easily get a basic understanding of the issues related to the water rights of your property. Doing so can leave a good impression on potential buyers, preventing a post-purchase regret call from them.
Undergo a Pre-Inspection
Adding up to the dock permits that you should apply or renew, consider getting a pre-inspection to your house before putting it on the market. It would help you a lot as it will reveal hidden or potential issues in your property, financially helping you in the long run.
What’s more, a pre-inspection can also highlight what changes you’ve done, resulting in another selling point. Let’s say that you’re not trying to put a fixer-upper property in sale. Electrical upgrades, new roof installation, up-to-date heating system, and other house improvements can be considered as your home’s asset.
Further, more often than not, many prospective buyers would like to purchase a property that’s formally inspected as it would offer them confidence and peace of mind. Once again, we always wanted to provide what our clients are expecting. It can also serve as your goodwill gesture towards your potential clients, demonstrating your willingness to being upfront about your house.
Price Your House Right
One common mistake that home sellers do is pricing waterfront properties in accordance with inland estimates and the idea of selling a ‘waterfront’ house. It typically happens when house owners sell their properties on their own—without aid from a professional.
For instance, a lakefront house and an oceanfront house have different impacts, despite having the same characteristic of being surrounded by a body of water. Recently, lakefront houses are becoming popular, but not as much as oceanfront properties, yet. Meaning, both aren’t on the same level in terms of costs.
Another example to consider is that not all lakes are the same. Sure, they are all called ‘lakes,’ but they are different in terms of size, slope, substrate, value, and other technical factors affecting a property’s frontage. Apart from it, a house seller should also consider the property’s location, amenities, waterfront size, and so much more.
There’s no doubt that a house owner knows almost everything about the lake surrounding his/her house. However, it doesn’t mean that your lakefront/beachfront house would have the same value as other waterfront properties.
A real estate agent can generate a comparative market analysis that can identify the right price for your house. You can do it as well, but mind you; it’s a very daunting task. Asking for a professional would make everything easier.
When selling your house, nothing is off-limits. Never assume that potential buyers wouldn’t keep an eye behind closed doors or drawers. It is your house, right, but buyers are wondering whether it can be their own. Hence, be sure that you’ve spruced up every single corner of your house premises before putting the property on the market.