Prices for lakefront and waterfront properties vary considerably. It is a common mistake for folks to study lakefront values by dollar per square foot, “average” selling price, or an estimate from an otherwise helpful internet property search site like Zillow. Waterfront property pricing is so strongly affected by factors that don’t necessarily relate to the house itself. Florida’s waterfront real estate values have been in decline just like other properties since the market peaked in 2005-6. Lakefront property values have definitely held up better than other types, but they were by no means insulated from the housing bubble.
A few factors that influence lake home values include:
- Location, location, location – cliched, but true
- Lake size – Ski lakes will typically command higher prices.
- Lakefront lot acreage and home square footage
- Amenities – both in the community and on the property itself
- Lake characteristics, including water quality, ecosystems, etc.
Be wary of real estate agents who may tempt you by offering a high listing price just because your home is located on the water. There has to be a marketing strategy in place to back up that price. I cannot emphasize this enough — it’s absolutely crucial that your agent knows the nuances of selling waterfront property. Keep in mind that, if you need to sell your home quickly, it may be necessary to focus attention on making the necessary repairs to ensure proper staging, and the selling price may need to be set lower to attract potential buyers faster.
If you are thinking about listing your lakefront home for sale, please do not hesitate to contact me today. I will be happy to speak with you about our past and current experience selling Central Florida lakefront. I can also prepare a comparative market analysis tailored specifically to your needs and discuss marketing strategies that will ensure the best possible success in selling your home.
Cleaning and Repairs
While it is probably not necessary to spend a lot of cash on a full remodeling job, do keep in mind that buyers may balk at a selling price if the home needs major work or a bunch of small repairs. It’s best to keep focused on the most immediate cost-effective and “do-able” improvements that will add value to your home.
Some of these basic improvements include:
Don’t stress over painting all your walls plain white, but do paint in neutrals or pastels, rather than bright/bold colors. You may love your fuchsia kitchen, but some buyers may have trouble visualizing themselves eating there if that color isn’t their “cup of tea”.
Other small projects such as hiring a service to thoroughly clean carpets, blinds, walls and woodwork, resurfacing cabinets/counters, or investing in closet organizational systems can add visual appeal.
Pressure clean driveways and home exterior to remove stains, or paint the exterior white, beige or light gray – If your home is looking dingy on the outside, this could be a valuable investment. A new door or shiny new house numbers can also be eye-catching features.
Patio / Yard
Trim shrubs and trees, and make sure grass and garden features look as well-kept as possible. If you have a pool or deck area, make sure it’s clutter-free and inviting.
Repair boards in docks, paint/stain seawalls, remove weeds from frontage/beach area, and clean and/or paint boathouses, both inside and out.
Staging for Photography / Showings
As is with all home sales, the appearance and condition of a lakefront property are always important factors. Here are some important tips regarding preparing your home to be photographed and shown to potential buyers:
Remove clutter and unnecessary furniture
The more open and spacious rooms appear, the better.
Maximize waterfront views
Clean and remove obstructions such as lamps, blinds, etc. from windows facing the water. During showings, make sure curtains are open so the view of the water frontage is evident from as many rooms as possible.
Stage the property
Create areas for entertaining around the exterior of the home. Examples include setting barbecue areas with picnic tables, lawn furniture facing the waterfront with flower/plant pots arranged nearby, etc.
Provide area information for potential buyers
Potential buyers may find a map of the lake or aerial photograph/survey of the property useful. Some lakefront buyers may be looking for vacation or investment homes. If they are new to the area, it is a helpful gesture to provide brochures featuring local restaurants, shops and amenities.
Buyers may want to have access to local government permits for any work that has been done on the property, especially regarding structures relating to the water frontage, such as docks, boathouses, septic tanks, etc. Any permits already in place add value to your home. If you are concerned with additional laws being enacted restricting waterfront construction, apply now for permits to ensure that value stays in your property in the event of a future sale.