Post by Kim Cedarstrom
These are interesting time we live in. To be sure the real estate market in New Hampshire is in a state of readjustment. There are positive signs-more transactions, and negative signs – lower selling prices. So, the good news is that there are qualified customers out there buying waterfront homes, and a lot of them are paying cash. The bad news is that if you are trying to flip a waterfront you bought before the crash, unless it is a truly unique parcel, the market has made an adjustment in price-mostly in downward direction. If you purchased before the easy money price run up in the mid 2000’s, you should be ok. Prices are certainly down, but not by a crippling amount – in most cases down 10 to 25% from the high. This leaves a lot of room if you have owned your shorefront for say 10 years or more.
No matter when you bought or what you paid there are certain actions that you can take to make the sale of your property happen. The first and foremost thing you can do is present your property in the best light. This means doing all the things that need to be done in terms of maintenance and basic sprucing up. I don’t mean a whole new kitchen if yours is in good shape already. The flashy Viking and Sub Zero appliances add appeal, but hardly ever will return your investment if all you are doing is prepping to sell. Also remember that almost all buyers are going to have a home inspection and will be merciless in using any deficiencies found as a negotiating tool. Doing necessary repairs now will save in the long run and improve the presentation of your property. The best light is also cleaning up the yard and doing any outside maintenance that is obvious. Also (and I think this is the most important thing) when you list your property for sale, highlight all the positive things that will make your property stand out. If you (and your listing agent) don’t bring every special aspect to the attention of potential buyers, you are not doing your job!
Sunrises? Views? Quiet cove? Clear deep water? Protected dockage? Sandy beach for the kids? Great neighbors? Proximity to shopping and major highways? Tax rate? If you don’t claim and make every positive feature of your property known, you are not going to get the best return. I’ve been to showings where the listing agent had no idea what was offshore of the property (rocks? shoals?) and whether the prevailing winds buffeted the shore or not. Waterfront property has that added call it third dimension – the water. The quality of that water – clarity, depth, vegetation or the lack of – is a tremendously important part of the equation here, and a lot of the value. Don’t fail to show all the positives of that. I’ve spent my whole life on the lake and there are still places that surprise me.
The next thing you can do to make the sale of your waterfront happen is that old demon – pricing. The sad but painfully true fact of the real estate market is it is just that – a market. The one good thing is that no two pieces of property are exactly alike (see above re: claiming positives) and are not quite as quantifiable as commodities. But there are general similarities that make comparison possible. If you are comparing used cars to buy and they are the same make, model, and year, there is a price range that will vary based on mileage and condition; but it will be a relatively small range. There will be a price set by the market. Homes are no different. To expect your home to sell, it needs to be in a competitive price range. The trick here goes back to the point made above – show the property in the best light. Claim all the positives, but be sure that you are competitive with your price. Asking a too high price with the idea of negotiating downward will only cause your property to languish and become stale and not generate any interest.
The final point that I make to sellers is – put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. How would you approach buying your property? Buyers are not unintelligent. In fact waterfront buyers are very sophisticated and are usually very wise to the ways of commerce. If you look at the sale of you property like you were buying it, it will bring a better perspective to the process.
These are just some points to consider. I believe that the most important aspect in the successful sale of waterfront is the help of a Realtor with knowledge of the market and especially the area. Hire one who can advise and guide you through the sale using the points I’ve listed above. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me, Kim Cedarstrom, by cell phone # 603-520-6609 or at firstname.lastname@example.org