Looking to Sell a Waterfront Property? These Tips Can Help

An uninterrupted view of the ocean. The ability to have your toes in the sand in mere minutes. Access to plenty of nightlife, top-notch seafood restaurants, great shopping and more. What’s not to love about owning a waterfront property?

While there may be plenty of perks, the reality is that, for myriad reasons, homeowners who formerly fell in love with the locale might be looking to move. Maybe they’re just looking to relocate nearby to someplace a little smaller. Maybe they’re moving to be closer to their family. Or, maybe they’re taking the trek inland for a job opportunity.

As a real estate agent, this is a prime opportunity. The market is almost always hot for coastal homes or rentals, and while these properties sometimes sell themselves, it’s helpful to know a few talking points you can turn to when showing one of them to a prospective buyer. Let’s explore more.

1. Understand your buyers’ interests.

Many interested buyers fall in love with the idea of living so close to the water. They’re likely people who enjoy being outside, don’t mind a little sand in their shoes, and want to be surrounded by nature. Yet, not all people looking at a waterfront home will be there for the same reasons.

Some might just be looking for a place where they can dock their boat. Others might want privacy and seclusion from the seasonal tourist crowds. Still, others may be looking for quick and easy access to water sports or other activities. As the realtor, it’s critical that you understand the selling points for your property, and how to connect potential buyers with them. For instance, does the home feature a dock? Highlight that to someone who owns a boat. Is it within walking distance to nightlife, cinemas and fine dining? Make sure you tell that to young couples looking for a place to meet others.

2. Help the seller set a strategic price point.

Everyone wants top dollar for their home. This is especially true with waterfront properties, which can often carry sentimental value for their sellers. Yet, when determining a selling point, it’s important to keep it within realistic boundaries. Price the property too high and it doesn’t matter how fantastic it is, it could sit on the market for months without a bite.

When this happens, even if the property is in prime condition, even the most interested buyers might wonder if there is an issue with the home. Why isn’t it selling? Alternatively, keep in mind that the opposite also holds true. Be wary of underpricing a property as well, as this could mean leaving valuable money on the table. Performing a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the local market can help you land on that sweet middle ground. Of course, appraisals can help you figure out a starting point if there is any gray area.

3. Understand the ins and outs of the property.

To properly sell a waterfront home, you’ll need to understand it forward and backward. This means taking the time to learn its quirks, its bonuses, its histories, and any issues that require attention. You’ll also need to come to any meetings or showings equipped with key property data, including the home’s exact square footage, lot size, amount of water frontage and more. It’s also helpful to develop a quick pros and cons list that can help on-the-fence buyers quickly discern whether or not the waterfront property is right for them.

It’s also helpful to be well-versed in the waterfront community at large if the property for sale is part of a more comprehensive neighborhood. If there are any amenities or special features, such as a local pool membership or access to a nearby fitness center, that come with the home, this could be a major plus to highlight to interested buyers.

4. Clear the clutter away from the waterfront.

Even the smallest sliver of a water view can make an otherwise-mediocre property appealing. Yet, if it’s covered with tall shrubs, overgrown bushes and wild grass, no one will be able to notice it. It’s worth convincing the seller to take the time and invest the money in having the property professionally landscaped before it goes on the market.

As this happens, be sure to highlight and capitalize on any waterfront access the home has. This might mean planting a row of flowers on either side of a sidewalk leading to a dock, cutting down some overhanging trees that cut into the view, or planting a natural privacy border to conceal unsightly fences or neighboring spaces. Think of this as “staging” the home, only focusing on the outdoors. You could even set up a small outdoor living space to give prospective buyers an idea of how the space could look once they’re in it. A few strategically-placed Adirondack chairs, a small table and some comfy beanbags facing the ocean offer an immediate glimpse into home life on the beach.

5. Up your marketing efforts.

If you’ve performed the above steps and your waterfront property still isn’t selling, it might be because buyers aren’t getting a clear enough picture of exactly what the home has to offer. In this case, your marketing efforts might need a little polishing. Today, there are myriad software programs and tools you can use to take high-quality photographs and video of a property.

If your listing is muddied with fuzzy pictures, shaky video and hard-to-hear audio, you could lose buyers from that aspect alone. Take the time, spend the money, and if necessary, hire the people to help you showcase your listings in the best light possible. While you’re at it, you may need to make over your descriptions as well. Do they detail everything you want to mention? Are they well-written or full of grammatical errors? Don’t discount even the smallest details, as they can make the biggest difference.

Selling Your Waterfront Property Successfully

While a waterfront property might be one of the most desirable types on the market, selling one isn’t always a walk on the beach. Yet, with the right know-how, a little time and plenty of research, you can help improve your odds and find the right buyer for your space. The key is understanding the best features of the home and knowing how to relay those to the people who will appreciate them the most.

Courtney Myers
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