Sellers: Preparing Your Lake House For Sale
#1 Tip: Remember, you are not just selling a home, you are selling a lake.
A buyer can change the structure around, but they can’t change the location. So focus your efforts on the buyer’s priorities…the lake, shoreline and lifestyle. There’s no shortage of articles on how to prepare a generic home for sale, but there are none specifically for lakefront homes. Here are some helpful tips:
- Define the destination: Lakefront buyers will first want to go right down to the water. Be sure there is a welcoming, defined and well-lit pathway leading to the water’s edge/dock.
- Dock & Deck Safety: If you have docks, decks and/or shoreline walls, be sure they are sturdy and safe. Replace / repair any loose boards. Floating docks should be roped off…not everyone is used to walking on them.
- Shoreline Curb Appeal: Clean all debris, leaves and dead fish from shoreline. Rake all aquatic weeds and bottom muck as far out into the lake as you can reach. Have photos displayed on a flyer that show the shoreline conditions in ALL seasons, particularly summer.
- Lifestyle Staging: Buyers are buying a lake home for the lifestyle it will provide them. Help them understand by neatly staging your shoreline and lakeside yard with lifestyle items: kayaks, fishing equipment, swim towels, fire pit, etc. Don’t over-do it….but let them know how they will be spending their days. Provide a great lakefront “experience”.
- Lake Tours: Have a kayak, canoe or pontoon boat at the ready (with life jackets). There’s no better way to secure a lakefront sale then to get the buyers out on the water! Again, reinforce the lifestyle.
- Market the Lake: Create flyers that have EVERY detail on the lake itself. Size (in acres), depth (maximum and average), allowed recreation, boating rules & regulations, Lake Association information, aquatic weeds, public access, boat launches, fish type, etc.
- Lake Visibility: If a buyer enters the home first, they will immediately walk to where they can see the lake. So be sure any window glass and/or sliders are perfectly spotless.
- Marketing Materials: 95% of buyers start their search on-line. Photos and video must “tell the story” of the home and lakefront location. Assume the buyer knows nothing about the lake and area. Walk them through your location virtually. Panoramic shots of the lake, as well as photos showing the home from out on the water, are critical.
- Share Your Experience: One of the most powerful tools you can create is a letter to the future owner. Talk about your lakefront experiences, raising your children, the benefits of that particular location of the water, the wildlife, the neighbors, your favorite lake activity, etc. It also helps you to remove yourself from your own emotional attachment. This will be critical to the future success of the sales process.
- Special Agents: Most Realtors you speak with will be a “generalist”. They sell any type of real estate. But lakefront property is unique, your home is unique... and it takes an agent with lakefront knowledge to sell the “lifestyle”. Ask any agent you are interviewing about their lakefront experience (# of sales, time on market, etc.). Ask them to describe your lake as they would to a prospective buyer. If they can’t sell the emotional appeal, move on!