What to know about selling luxury, waterfront and other specialty properties

Only certain kinds of buyers are interested in these kinds of homes, so a one-size-fits-all marketing approach will not produce optimal results

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This article has been reposted with permission from Bill Gassett, RE/MAX Executive Realty.

When it comes to selling real estate, it is vital to position the property in a way that shows off its best qualities and puts it in view of buyers who are likely to find it appealing.

With specialty real estate — like waterfront homes, luxury homes, over-55 housing and condos — it is even more important to position the home appropriately. Only certain kinds of buyers are interested in these kinds of homes, so a one-size-fits-all approach will not produce optimal results.

Understanding the buyer “persona” is an essential aspect of marketing to a particular audience.

One of the more critical aspects of selling specialty homes is picking a competent real estate agent who has experience marketing these type of properties.

For example, if you are selling a high-end home, why on earth would you pick an agent who doesn’t do that kind of work. Never underestimate the importance of choosing a top producing agent with a track record of success.

The best real estate agents will have a clearly designed marketing plan to sell a home. Nothing will be taken for granted. Accepting anything less will be a significant mistake.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of specialty real estate to find the keys to getting the perfect sale.

Selling waterfront homes

Understanding how to sell a waterfront home is the perfect example of knowing your buyer and focusing the marketing efforts towards them.

Realize that buyers are looking for a specific waterfront lifestyle and cater to that

Most buyers who are shopping for waterfront homes already have a strong vision of what their lives will be like in their new home. They may plan on fishing every day or taking the boat out. They may just want to sit out on the deck and drink coffee in the morning. While you may not know exactly which of the likely scenarios a buyer is looking for, you can create a general sales plan that encompasses most.

Part of marketing a waterfront home is creating a vision of the lifestyle the buyer wants. Doing so can be done by creating great real estate descriptions, as well as finely crafted photography.

Seaside sunset beach harbor waterfront properties houses luxury resort coastal coast

Parker Amstutz on Unsplash

Make the dock accessible

The dock is one of the key selling points of the house. Buyers are going to want to look at it up close and personal, so make sure they can get to it.

The path to the dock can get overgrown in older homes or if the pier is never used by the owner. Clear the way if possible. If the dock is in poor repair, consider renovating it at least to the point where it is safe to use.

It is advisable, however, to go the extra mile and make the dock look exceptional. Keep in mind that you may have lost interest, but the dock could be a key selling point to the buyer.

Make sure they can get to the water

Just like the path to the dock can become overgrown, so can the way to the shoreline. Try to make it easy for the buyers to check out the shore and take in the full waterfront experience. Clear any overgrown shrubbery, trim the trees, and the bushes.

Clean up the shoreline

As the owner of a waterfront home, you know how messy the shoreline can get. The water tends to throw up all sorts of stuff onto your little beachfront.

You want to present the most immaculate shoreline possible to buyers so they will make an offer on the home. That may mean spending some time cleaning up the shore before you start showing the house.

Clean the windows

The water your home sits on can make your windows somewhat grimy over time. Before you start showing the house to buyers, make sure to clean those windows, or have someone else clean them. That way, the buyers can have a clear, perfect view of the waterfront that they are so excited to live on. It would be silly not to show off one of the most significant selling points of your property.

If the property you’re selling is a lakefront home, it is essential as a seller to understand the questions a lake buyer will ask. Make sure your real estate agent is informed of the answers.

The questions a buyer will ask on an oceanfront property will be somewhat different.

Selling luxury homes

Selling a luxury home fast entails doing several things right from the start. It is no secret that in many locations, luxury home buyers don’t grow on trees. At times the competition for the next high-end home buyer can be fierce.

If you face a market where there is a lot of inventory and few buyers, you better be on top of your game! Sometimes you may not get a second chance for months.

Some of the best tips for selling luxury real estate include the following:

Price the home right from the beginning

Every home will sell faster and for the best possible price if it is priced correctly from the start. The challenge with luxury homes is that pricing them involves multiple extra factors that are not seen in regular homes. You need an agent who knows the value of various luxury features and what price people are willing to pay for them in your area.

Get high-quality photos and video

Good real estate photography can make or break your ability to attract buyers. With luxury homes, it is especially important to get high-quality photos that display the exceptional qualities of the home.

You do not want an agent who is uninterested in real estate photos. You either want an agent who can take great photos personally or an agent who can bring in a skilled photographer.

Video is also a must in selling a luxury property. There are some outstanding video specialists out there who really know how to market real estate well.

Ask your real estate agent to provide this service as part of selling your home. Here is an example of a luxury video tour:

Avoid open houses

Open houses are mostly about helping agents get more leads for additional clients. The majority of people who come to an open house are not primed buyers. Instead, they are curious neighbors, window shoppers, and sometimes criminals looking for an easy score.

Your luxury home is even more attractive to these types of visitors than the average home would be. People from all over will come to check out how people live the high life in you’re exquisite home — which will do nothing for helping you make the sale. An impressive property will really draw in the “looky lou’s.”

You don’t need an open house to sell your property. Any real estate agent who tells you that they are necessary should be avoided. Open houses don’t sell homes. A “real” buyer will always schedule a showing to view a luxury home.

What many unprofessional real estate agents will never tell you is how common theft is at an open house. Don’t become a victim of this awful practice.

Sell at the right time

Many luxury homes are located in areas where they are only at a peak during part of the year. If buyers are interested in your luxury villa in a ski town it can help to sell the home when the snows are deep—or during the middle of summer when the weather is fantastic. Selling in the dark, dry fall or the cold, wet spring might not be as effective.

Ask a local real estate agent when the best time is to sell the property. Don’t accept the answer that “now is always the best time.” An agent who says that is probably looking out for their best interests and not yours.

Over-55 housing

Selling over-55 housing again comes down to knowing what a buyer wants. There are many features of a 55 and older community that could appeal to a particular buyer. First and foremost is the type of home. Do you own a house or a condominium? Are you part of an association that makes decisions for you?

These will be some of the initial concerns of a buyer who is attracted to this kind of housing choice. After the type of specific housing, a buyer will then move towards features and amenities. The option to purchase will come down to as much as the community and its surrounds as the home itself. All three conditions will be a paramount decision point.

Here are a few examples of what an aging buyer will be looking for:

  • First-floor bedrooms with easy access around the home, including larger doorways set up for future wheelchair accessibility.
  • The major conveniences nearby, including shopping, banking and restaurants.
  • The ability to reach major roads quickly and easily.
  • Can you have a pet in your home?
  • Stable fees if there is an association.
  • Regularly planned activities for owners.

If you are selling an over-55 property, it will be of paramount importance to market the strengths of the home, the neighborhood and the community. There are always going to be things that should be accentuated over others.

Selling condos

Understanding how to sell a condo is a bit different than a single-family home. There will be things about living in a condo that needs to be emphasized. Remember the buyer who wants a condominium is probably not interested in the upkeep associated with homeownership. Many downsizers, in fact, go to a condo for this specific reason — no more work!

ddmirt / Shutterstock.com

Know the limitations imposed by your condo association

Every condo association has rules and regulations that you must adhere to as an owner. These rules may include whom you can sell the condo to. Some associations require the association approve the buyer before the condominium can be sold, for example. The association may also limit things like signs in the yard for the sale or open houses.

Create a list of your selling points

Condos tend to be quite similar to one another, which can make it more challenging to come up with distinguishing features like you would with a single-family home. That is why you want to do your brainstorming ahead of when you want to list the property.

You can work with your agent to decide on what makes your condo stand out. It could be things like storage space, a large garage, new appliances and so on. Emphasizing the area where the condominium is located is another strong selling strategy that can make a condo seem like something more than those surrounding it.

Other selling points could include a lower than usual condo fee or an association that is very strong financially. As a seller, you should be prepared to answer a buyer’s condo questions.

Get FHA mortgage approval if possible

Getting your condo approved for an FHA mortgage will require working with your association, so the decision is not entirely up to you. However, it is worth the effort to try and convince the association because it will make it much easier to sell your condo.

Many first-time buyers look to the FHA loan program to get the financing they need to buy their home. Many of those buyers are interested in condos because they offer an excellent entry point into ownership. But the FHA will not approve the purchase of just any condominium.

The organization has rules and requirements that must be met before the option is on the table. If you can meet those requirements, it can make selling more likely.

Not having your condo FHA approved will eliminate a significant percentage of buyers who might otherwise be interested.

Final thoughts

Selling specialized real estate is a bit different than selling a traditional three- or four-bedroom colonial. If you are going to be selling a luxury or waterfront home, over-55 housing or a condominium, it makes sense to do just a bit more due diligence before putting the for-sale sign on the lawn.

Make sure you are picking the very best real estate agent for your type of housing. Ask a lot of question. Do your research. An educated seller will increase their odds of having a timely sale without any hitches.

There will always be some common denominators to a successful home sale, and they include the following:

  • Making sure your home is in the best possible condition for your budget.
  • You are pricing your home accurately from day one.
  • Doing an exceptional job of picking the right real estate agent.
  • Making sure your property is marketed well online and off.
  • Allow your property to be easily accessible.

If you follow these five selling points, more than likely success will come easy.

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