Few things can compare to life by the ocean. Some of the world’s most sought after properties are located along the coast where homeowners can enjoy the sights and sounds of the sea.
A home with captivating views and a gentle breeze should sell itself, right? Well, not so fast. Successfully marketing a coastal home takes a special touch, and it comes with its own set of nuances.
They say if you’re lucky enough to live by the sea, you’re lucky enough. I consider myself quite fortunate to not only live in a seaside community, but to also market some of the area’s most extraordinary homes.
A subtle approach is often the difference between a transaction that’s smooth sailing and one that’s dead in the water. Here are my top six tips:
1. Create an experience that inspires buyers
With home and life being intricately intertwined, I fundamentally believe in my company’s mantra that your best life begins with a home that inspires you. For many, owning an oceanfront home is the ultimate reward. You want prospective buyers to imagine what they can achieve or experience by owning the home.
How the property is showcased — both virtually and in-person — can make or break the sale. Be intentional about the way the home is presented. My team often uses drone imaging to capture the surroundings and staging that highlights a water view.
When preparing the home for a tour, don’t forget about all of the senses, even smell. All of the details matter. Here’s a lesson from the wise: You may want to avoid showing a property during low tide.
2. Play into the emotional side
Many home shoppers think they are looking for amenities. They are searching for a house that checks off the right boxes in terms of size, location, number of beds/baths, etc. In reality, the exact details don’t always matter when a buyer has an emotional connection to a property.
The pinnacle of showing an oceanfront home is crossing the threshold to the outdoors and facing the water. This experience tends to have a powerful effect on people. There’s something about looking out at the water and in that moment concerns over small details wash away. Give buyers the time and space to feel the connection. Let them soak it all in.
3. Live the lifestyle
Most would agree that coastal living has a positive impact on one’s well-being. How will the home improve the new owner’s life? Part of your value proposition is being able to tell that story.
If a potential buyer enjoys entertaining, help them imagine hosting dinner parties with the sound of waves crashing on the beach. If a family has dreamed of owning a boat, point out the location of the mooring and discuss how to make that dream come true.
Describe the perks of the community. Where’s the closest yacht club? Which nearby restaurant offers the best seafood? Is there a secluded beach in the neighborhood? Everyone likes to picture what the future holds.
4. Show your enthusiasm
Nobody wants to work with a stiff. Life is good if you are showing oceanfront properties. As a representative of the home and an ambassador of the lifestyle that you’re selling, you want the excitement to shine through. This sort of mindset goes a long way. Buyers pick up on someone who is authentically enthusiastic and tend to reflect that attitude back towards the property.
5. Understand the water ways
Water normally carries with it certain rights. While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, it helps to have a high-level knowledge of potential challenges that could arise related to littoral rights, dock permitting, flood insurance and water access (just to name a few)!
The last thing you need is for a deal to fall apart because a home doesn’t have access to the water or enough depth for a dock. Water rights vary according to federal, state and local law so you’ll need to a have a proper contact for your clients, likely an attorney.
6. Step up the curb appeal
As with selling any home, the devil is in the details. Make sure the windows are washed and the home looks fresh from both the street side and waterside. You never know if your buyer will be coming by land or sea!
Dana Bull is a sales agent and the marketing director with Team Harborside, Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Massachusetts. Connect with her on Instagram or Facebook.