Tips For Selling A Waterfront Property

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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3 Valuable Tips for Selling a Waterfront Property

3 Valuable Tips for Selling a Waterfront Property

When selling a home, a real estate agent and the seller must be on the same page as one another.  This is even more critical for a seller and real estate agent when selling a waterfront property, as it can be more “tricky” than selling a three bedroom ranch in a suburban neighborhood.

A real estate agent who says selling a waterfront property is the same as a three bedroom ranch is not being honest or does not have any experience in selling waterfront properties.  This can also be said for selling a luxury home, a condo, or town home.  Each type of property is marketed and sold differently.

Now that you have decided to sell your waterfront property, what things should you be aware of when selling a waterfront property?  Here are several tips for selling a waterfront property, that if followed, will lead to a successful sale.

Price It Right, From The Start
The biggest factor of whether or not a home sells or does not sell, is price.  The price that a home enters the market at will do the majority of the marketing of the home.  Pricing a home right and it will sell.  Price a home wrong and it will sit.  There are several real estate pricing mistakes that are commonly made by sellers and real estate agents alike.

When selling a waterfront property, pricing it right, from the start is extremely important. Pricing a waterfront piece of property takes experience.  There are several methods to determining the list price of a home that a great real estate agent will use.  The most common method that real estate agents use to determine value is by completing a comparative market analysis, also known as a CMA.  There are several factors a real estate agent should take into consideration when completing a comparative market analysis of a waterfront home.

  • Location – This is a very cliche real estate term.  Location is important when selling any home, however, the location of a waterfront property is even more magnified.
  • Waterfront Size – The body of water that a property is located on is very important.  There is no general formula for determining price based on waterfront size, however, the size of the waterfront can impact the value of a waterfront home, both positively and negatively.
  • Frontage – This is a very important factor that needs to be taken into consideration when a real estate professional completes their CMA.  Generally, the more the frontage, the higher the price.  Is the frontage level or sloped?  Is the water depth conducive to allowing boat access?  Is the frontage able to be used for recreational purposes?
  • Amenities – Many waterfront properties are part of a “community.”  These communities often have several amenities, such as clubhouses, pools, or fitness centers.  These amenities come with a price tag, usually by way of a homeowners association fee (HOA).  In addition to the community amenities, it’s important that a real estate agent knows what amenities the waterfront property has, such as private docks or beaches.

When selling a waterfront home, the most fail-proof method to determining the price is by obtaining an appraisal.  When selling a waterfront home, the cost to obtain an appraisal, which generally costs between $300-$500, is money very well spent.  Waterfront properties are normally worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, so several hundred dollars can mean a return of several thousands of dollars.

Hire a Top Producing Agent when selling a waterfront property...Not a Wannabe!

Hire a Top Producing Agent when selling a waterfront property…Not a Wannabe!

Hire A Top Producing Real Estate Agent
When selling a waterfront property it is critical that a top producing real estate agent is hired.  Selling a waterfront property cannot be done purely by luck.  Some real estate agents will put a sign in the front yard of a home and put the information into the computer and hope that is sells.  These real estate agents are known as a “post and pray Realtor.” 

There is no crystal ball that can tell you whether the real estate agent you hire will sell your home.  There are however several tips for interviewing Realtors that should be followed when selling your home.  

What do top producing real estate agents do to sell waterfront properties?  Here are just a few things that real estate agents with experience in selling waterfront real estate will do.

  • Know The Competition – When selling waterfront properties, a real estate agent must know the competition.  Every waterfront property is unique but a top producing real estate agent should be able to determine what the competition is.  By identifying the competition, a great real estate agent will know how to market their listing and get it sold!
  • Know How To Sell The Waterfront Lifestyle – Selling a waterfront property is more than selling a piece of real property.  When selling a waterfront property, a real estate agent needs to sell the waterfront lifestyle as well.  Real estate agents who have experience in selling waterfront properties will make suggestions such as staging the shoreline with beach chairs and umbrellas or staging the outdoor patio with furniture and a grill.  A buyer who can envision themselves having a relaxing day on their private beach or a BBQ on their patio is more likely to make a solid offer.  Another creative lifestyle selling tip that real estate agents should suggest to their clients who are selling waterfront properties are water “tours.”  What better way to sell a potential buyer on a waterfront property than taking them out on the water for a “tour.”
  • Know How To Sell Your Home With Words –  Real estate agents are limited to the number of characters they can use for their properties descriptions.  There are some real estate agents who do not use any of the characters and others who use them all.  A top producing real estate agent should know how to sell your waterfront property with the description.  Since over 90% of home buyers are using the internet to shop for homes, it’s critical to sell a waterfront property and lifestyle with the limited characters provided.
  • Know How To Sell Your Home With High Quality Pictures & Videos –  The saying “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” is very true when it comes to selling waterfront properties.  High quality photos and videos are imperative to selling waterfront properties.  Taking photos of waterfront properties is different than showcasing that three bedroom ranch in the ‘burbs.’  The quality of the photos are very important but also are the angles in which the photos are taken.
  • Know The Waterfront Properties “Ins-and-Outs” – When selling waterfront properties, there are specific things that a top producing agent will need to know about the property.  A very important thing for a real estate agent to know is whether the waterfront property will require flood insurance or not.  If so, this can drastically change a potential buyers monthly mortgage payment and should be disclosed to any potential purchaser to eliminate problems with financing at the last minute.  A top producing real estate agent will also know to ask about the waterfront properties waste disposal system.  Is the property on public sewers?  Is the property on a septic tank?  Does it have a holding tank?  If so, when was it last pumped?

Prepare The Waterfront For The Sale!

Prepare The Waterfront For The Sale!

Prepare The Waterfront Home For Sale
When selling a home, it’s important that a home is prepared properly before listing it for sale.  When selling a waterfront property, it is very important as well and there are some specific things that should be considered.  Buyers who are considering a purchase of a waterfront home will have very particular things they will be looking for in each potential property.

  • Waterfront Visibility – When buying a waterfront property, the view is one of the most important things to a buyer.  Before listing your waterfront home for sale, triple check on the view of the water.  Seems like a very simple and obvious thing, but it is common to see waterfront property with an obstructed view of the water.  Take the time to ensure all trees, bushes, and shrubs are trimmed nicely and they are not left obstructing the gorgeous waterfront view.  Also, cleaning the interior and exterior of all the windows in the home is a easy way to increase the visibility to the waterfront.
  • Dock Accessibility – There is no doubt that when selling a waterfront property, a potential buyer is going to want to see the dock.  Before listing your waterfront property for sale, make sure it is relatively easy to access your dock.  If it is difficult for a potential buyer to access the dock, it is possible they may pass on your home.  It’s a good idea to also ensure the stability of the dock is of high quality.  The last thing you want to kill the sale of your waterfront home is an unsafe dock.
  • Shoreline Cleanliness – This may seem cumbersome, but the cleanliness of your shoreline at your waterfront home is important to prepare before selling. For example, a seaweed infested shoreline can be a major turnoff for a potential buyer and can be avoided.  Take the time to evaluate your waterfront properties shoreline and if there is something that can be corrected, it is worth correcting!
  • Curb (“Water”) Appeal – When selling a home, the homes curb appeal is extremely important, as it is often a potential buyers first impression.  It becomes even more important when selling a waterfront property.  When selling a waterfront property a seller must now also be aware of how their home looks from the water.  Waterfront properties that are being sold are often inquired about from a boater who maybe taking a ride around the lake.  A great real estate agent should have a for-sale sign in front of the waterfront property but also on the shoreline.  If a waterfront property looks run-down from the water, it can turn-off a buyer right away.

Selling a waterfront property does not have to be rocket science.  With the proper preparation, execution, and by following the above tips for selling a waterfront property, you can be assured the process will seem relatively stress-free and successful.

Other Home Selling Resources

Are you thinking of selling your waterfront property in the Greater Rochester, NY area or your waterfront property on one of the finger lakes?  Contact us as we’d love the opportunity to discuss with you how we will sell your waterfront property for top dollar!

About the authors:  The above article “Tips for Selling A Waterfront Property” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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