10 WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF SELLING YOUR VACATION HOME
By Rochelle Mortensen
If you are thinking about selling your luxury vacation home in 2018, it’s a great time to sell, but it is important to proceed with caution.
LUXURY REAL ESTATE
The market for luxury vacation homes can be difficult to predict. Buyers have different priorities when it comes to buying secondary homes than when they buy their primary residences. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), less than half of vacation property buyers were in the market to use the homes solely for a personal vacation residence. Many planned to use the home as an investment or for future retirement.
If you are ready to sell your luxury home, here are 10 factors consider:
1 SELL DURING PEAK TOURIST SEASON
Put the natural benefits of your home’s location on display. If you have a beach or lake house, sell it when vacationers want to be there. Show off that amazing patio, the master bedroom views, or the soft, sandy beach. You will get potential buyers and bidders more excited if you sell the house when it is showing off everything you loved when you bought it. Unlike selling real estate using traditional methods, auctioning your vacation property allows you to time the sale to precisely the moment when the interest in the area is at its peak.
2 PUT YOUR (HOME’S) BEST FOOT FORWARD
Just as you would do for selling your primary home, make sure your vacation home is in great condition when you market it for sale. Check off all those items on the honey-do list and tout the recent improvements you have made. Make sure gutters are cleaned, screens are in good condition and windows are sparkling. Freshen up paint on trim, doors and shutters if needed. Minimize any sign of wear and tear. Buyers love to look at vacation homes that do not look like they will require (or need) a lot of work. You will create more interest on auction day if the house looks turn-key and hassle-free.
3 FRESHEN UP THE DÉCOR
Now is the time to pack away personal mementos, family photos and collections. You will want to appeal to the most buyers, so it is best to present the home as a neutral space for them to personalize. If you have lots of patterns in the curtains, bedding or rugs, consider swapping them out for simple solids in trendy neutral colors. Think gray, taupe, cream or crisp white. Make your home look like a magazine and give buyers something to crave. Add pops of color with flowers, throw pillows or contemporary art pieces.
4 EMPHASIZE WHAT DREW YOU TO THE HOME
When you first bought the home, what was it that drew you in? Was it the beautiful rose garden, the stunning beach or that great ski-in/ski-out spot on the slopes? Remind buyers of the home’s best features with props or vignettes. Set up a chair next to a ski locker with ski boots and gloves. Stage a gardening bench with a watering can and sunhat. Leave a bit of tack in the stable. Place a jar filled with sand and shells on a bookshelf. Do not go overboard – one or two minimally staged scenes are all you need to set a mood. Look online or flip through some décor magazines for ideas.
5 REMOVE ITEMS YOU WANT TO KEEP
Because vacation homes are often sold furnished, be sure to take out things you wish to keep before potential bidders view the property. Removing these items will avoid confusion and can also help depersonalize the home. Let the bidders see the space and imagine how they would use it.
6 SHOW OFF EVERY POTENTIAL
If your property has historically been a great rental, provide the rental and occupancy rates to bidders. Include the contact information for your preferred management company or handyman if you use one. Bidders like to know the property from every angle when they are bidding. If there are local plans to develop more amenities nearby, provide that information, too. When homes are seen as seasonal (as in a ski or lake property), give bidders an idea of things locals like to do in the area in the off-season.
7 GIVE BIDDERS A VISION
If the home needs updating, or your neighbors all have a certain feature that your home is lacking, consider having preliminary sketches drawn by a designer to show buyers what they could do with the space. For instance, have a landscape designer draw up a pool or outdoor kitchen. Ask an interior designer to create a board with suggestions for kitchen updates. Think about what you would have added or changed if you were keeping the home. Show bidders the possibilities and give them a reason to dream.
8 REACH THE RIGHT MARKET
When you partner with an auction house like Heritage Auctions to auction your property, you gain exclusive access to a pool of highly qualified bidder members. You also gain the expertise, research and data skills of the auction house’s marketing department, which can determine who the buyers are in the area and where they own their primary homes. That knowledge, coupled with a professionally designed advertising and marketing campaign, will reach the most potential bidders at the precise time they are thinking about buying.
9 LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS
When it comes to selling your vacation property, it pays to listen to market analysis data from professionals who monitor these things daily. Expected selling prices can vary widely between vacation properties. Differences in things like location, custom finishes, functionality of the floor plan, condition of the property, nearby amenities and the solvency of the HOA can have a big impact on the marketability of the house. A careful analysis of these and other factors will help you understand what you can expect from the sale.
10 SELECT YOUR SELLING PARTNER CAREFULLY
A quality auction house will take pride in their hard-won reputation for integrity and transparency. When you partner with a company like Heritage Auctions to sell your luxury property, you can rest assured that its staff will keep you apprised of the level of interest in your property and that you are getting expert marketing from a team dedicated to a successful sale. You may choose to use Heritage’s real estate expertise exclusively to sell your home, or Heritage may partner with your local broker to market and sell the home.
ROCHELLE MORTENSEN is manager of Heritage Luxury Real Estate.
PAY ATTENTION TO MARKET TRENDS
American buyers do not tend to buy vacation homes in times of uncertainty.
Traditionally speaking, the market for second homes drops sharply close to presidential elections and picks up again between election cycles. Indeed, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey reflected precisely that trend: vacation home purchases in 2016 fell 21.6 percent from 2015 and were the lowest since 2013. The good news for sellers in 2018 is that buyers are more active when the stock market is trending upward in the long-term and when interest rates are low, as they are now.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says of 2016 sales, “In several markets in the South and West – the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers – home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale.
“The volatility seen in the financial markets in late 2015 through the early part of ,” Yun continues, “also put a dent in sales as some affluent households with money in stocks likely refrained from buying or delayed plans until after the election.”
Experts from Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist predict that high net worth individuals will find new incentives to pull money from a more volatile stock market and buy second, third or fourth homes in the coming months as tax reforms begin to take effect. Remember that your bidders could come from all over the world, so even if the local housing market is not ideal, there may be a market for your property with buyers who live in a booming economy.
READY TO SELL?
If you are ready to sell or just want expert advice on your property, call Heritage Luxury Real Estate at 855.261.0573 or email LuxuryEstates@HA.com. Heritage’s Luxury Real Estate team has sold hundreds of millions of dollars in luxury properties across North America, and can help you get the maximum return for your luxury vacation property.
This story appears in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.