Jul 14, 2022

Tips for Selling a Waterfront Property

by: Reid Buckley

Selling your beautiful waterfront property sounds like a quick and easy endeavor. But there are some things to consider before jumping in. You don’t want to make a bad first impression or leave money on the table. Knowing how to highlight your property’s unique features, finding issues before your buyers do, and putting in the work to attract the right buyers can really pay off in the end. Here are a few tips for selling your waterfront property.

Price it Right from the Beginning

Pricing your home can be a bit tricky. Price it too low and you’re sure to have regrets. Price it too high and your home could be sitting on the market too long, leaving buyers to assume something’s wrong with it.

Waterfront properties are usually worth more than other homes in the same area, but several factors can raise or lower their values. The body of water your property sits on, the views, and proximity to the water are just a few. More often than not, there are no identical comparable sales that you can use as a benchmark, making it difficult to know how to price your home. This is why it’s critical to work with a good agent who is familiar with the waterfront property market in your area.

Have a home inspection done prior to listing

Investing in a thorough inspection before listing your property can make it easier to price your home, sell it faster for more money, and get ahead of all the things a buyer might want fixed before closing — especially something major that could stall, or even kill the sale.

Rather than being blindsided by what a buyer’s inspector might uncover, you can have the freedom to decide whether to make the necessary repairs or to account for them by reducing the list price. If you decide to invest in repairs, you can justify listing your home at a higher price. Something else to consider is that home improvements you carry out before listing your house may be deductible from the profit you make from the sale.

A pre-listing inspection also gives you more time to research and hire the right contractors, gives you leverage in pricing, increases your buyers confidence and can even make for a quicker sale if the buyer accepts yours without insisting on doing their own inspection.

Permit, Construct or Repair the Dock

Boating savvy buyers are willing to pay a premium to avoid the hassles of permitting and construction of a dock or pier. If your home doesn’t have one, take the time to understand your riparian rights in Maryland. Then, if possible, go ahead and begin the tri-part application process for permission to add a pier. Just having these permits in place and saving buyers these extra steps can increase the value of your home. This will give your buyer the ability to add a dock or pier if they want.

If you can, go a step further and add that pier. Adding a dock is frequently listed in top 10 lists of the most valuable home improvements for coastal area homes.

If your home on the water already has a boat dock, make sure it is in good condition. Inspect your dock for algae build up, cracking, splintering, sinking or damage and hire a professional to perform repairs or give it a good pressure wash.

Understand your home’s insurance costs, history of flooding and FEMA zone

Waterfront homes have a higher risk of flooding and wind damage, which makes them more expensive to insure. Sometimes separate policies are required, depending on your location. Make sure you’re familiar with the requirements so that you can inform buyers that they will need to continue coverage. If you have flood insurance, providing two to three years of bills can help ease buyers’ minds about the expense.

Be upfront about any history of water damage or flooding that you know about — honesty is the best policy and no one wants to leave the door open to a potential lawsuit down the line.

Make sure you understand whether your property is located in a FEMA flood zone, conservation area, wetland area, or Chesapeake Bay critical area as you will be required to disclose this to a potential buyer.

You’ll need to follow local, state, and federal laws regarding disclosures when selling your home. If you’re unsure what you’re required to disclose, just talk to your agent.

Make a Great First Impression

When it comes to the presentation of your waterfront property, there are many things you should do to help your home make a good first impression and attract great offers. Here are a few of the top things to take care of before listing your waterfront home:

  • De-clutter, depersonalize, and deep clean
  • Remove any obstructions to your waterfront view
  • Clean your windows and open all of the window treatments
  • Pressure wash the exterior as well as decks, patios, walkways and your driveway
  • Spruce up your curb appeal
  • Make sure the path to the dock or shoreline is clear and easily accessible
  • Consider professional staging (again, a good agent can help advise you)

Use a drone to capture your proximity to the waterfront

Aerial photos and videos can be a powerful tool to highlight your property’s proximity to the water. These videos can elevate your marketing and attract luxury-seeking buyers. When you list your home with the Mr. Waterfront Team, we take drone videos of your home, waterfront, the pool (if you have one), and the neighborhood to show off your property in a dramatic fashion.

Work with an agent who understands the unique arena of waterfront property sales

Most Realtors are “generalists” meaning they sell any kind of real estate. But a waterfront property is unique; your home is unique. It takes an agent with waterfront knowledge and experience to help you navigate pricing, disclosures and finding the right buyer. The Mr. Waterfront Team has 65+ years of combined experience and are true specialists in the local waterfront market. If you’re considering selling your waterfront home, reach out to us, we’d love to help.

About The Author

Reid Buckley
Reid Buckley, MBA, is a licensed real estate agent and waterfront specialist with The Mr. Waterfront Team of Long & Foster Real Estate.

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