Challenges in Selling a Lakefront Home

When it comes to selling a property, there’s no shortage of advice to be found; that is, for a traditional single family landlocked in a traditional Americana neighborhood. When it comes to more “specialized” properties, such as condos on the beach or a lakefront house, information become scarce.

The single largest reason for this is inventory. There are a lot more single family homes than condos, townhomes, and many times more than lakefront. Waterfront properties represent a small share of residential homes; yet, some of the most expensive. Experienced real estate agents and brokerswill tell you that you sell the sizzle, not the steak; or, in this case, the lake and not the home. However, serious buyers are going to consider a lot more than just the lake, they will look at other properties on the water and then make a decision.

Biggest Challenges in Selling a Lakefront Property

The biggest challenge in selling a lakefront house is not to make it all about the lake. There are several other homes around the water; and, at any given time, at least a few for sale. Because each home has a lakefront view, buyers will look to the house itself to decide which is the right one. Another way of putting it is the old cliche, it’s wise not to put all your eggs in just one basket.

It is [a selling agent’s] job to make sure that individual attributes, (whatever they may be) is featured so as to bring as many potential buyers as possible to preview it. —San Francisco Chronicle

It’s very important to remember that while buyers are looking specifically for a lakefront property, they are not looking for just any home on the lake. They want their proverbial cake and be able to eat it too; and, if you were the buyer, you would feel the same way. Though the water and surrounding landscape might be breathtaking, buyers will eventually train their attention to the interior, the decor, the exterior, and the structure–just as they would any other house.

Another challenge is to market the value of the property without highlighting all the costs which come from owning a waterfront home. Buyers will likely be concerned about insurance costs, maintenance costs, and expenses from uncontrollable circumstances such as flooding and shore erosion, weed control, and more.

Marketing Your Waterfront Home Properly

Okay, so the lake itself is going to be a huge selling feature, but it certainly isn’t the only consideration potential buyers will have. They will look to the home, evaluate the space, the decor, the construction, and of course, the price. Let’s look at some creative ways to best market a waterfront home:

  • Highlight the views. Speaking of views, don’t make the mistake of leaving the blinds or curtains closed when potential buyers come to tour your home. Let them see the views in all of their glory.
  • Make any necessary repairs. The vast majority of people in the market to purchase a lakefront house won’t be looking for projects. Instead, they will want a home that is turnkey and ready to move-in.
  • Set the stage for a great lifestyle. The very fact the home is on a lake means there ought to be plenty of recreational toys. Kayaks, a boat, skis, a volleyball net, and picnic area complete with a barbecue will do the trick nicely and set the stage for true lakefront living. In addition, make sure there are chairs and tables on the back porch as well as furniture facing the lake inside the home.
  • Clean, clear, and repeat. This is where it gets back to the basics. Do a deep, deep-clean inside and out, from top to bottom, declutter the entire space, depersonalize, and spruce up the curb appeal. You want to create a sense of openness and allow them to see themselves in the home.