Whether you are selling a second home or a vacation rental property, a scenic waterfront view, sand between your toes and the smell of saltwater is sure to sell even during the off-season. While many people search for vacation homes while they are on vacation, serious buyers are looking year-round. Working alongside your Realtor, you can easily attract those buyers to your vacation property no matter the season.
Don’t make the mistake of taking your vacation home off the market during the off-season. “Be a contrarian and sell your home when everyone else is going off the market to eliminate the competition,” says Charlie Buckley, who leads the Mr. Waterfront Team in Long & Foster’s Annapolis, Maryland, office. Most buyers seeking a vacation home are shopping for properties during the fall and winter months because they want to move in and enjoy it during the summer.
“We are a year-round market, so the off-season is a great time to sell,” suggests Mark Marroletti, an agent in Long & Foster’s Avalon, New Jersey, office. During the summer, many of the homes are rented or occupied, making it very difficult to show a property full of vacationers and their belongings. It is much easier to stage and show when the property is vacant.
Make it feel like summer with a little home maintenance and staging. Your vacation property should be in showing condition, even during the cold, winter months. Take pictures while leaves are still on the trees and the pool is still open, recommends Buckley. A photo of a waterfront property with snow on the ground is not as appealing as a nice, bright summer photo. Don’t over winterize and consider keeping the heat on, adds Marroletti. A cold house doesn’t make for a good first impression.
Don’t rely on your buyer’s imagination. Instead, show them. Stage your vacation home as if it were summer. Keep the pool and hot tub open, clean and crystal clear as long as the weather permits. “Adding cocktail glasses, beach décor and brochures of local things to do will help your buyer see the property in a summer light,” says Kaye Wolf, an agent in Long & Foster’s Virginia Beach, Virginia, office.
Keep the property in tiptop shape. Avoid moving your deck furniture inside – it clutters the home and interferes with the overall look and feel. Maintain the beautiful curb appeal with some simple yard maintenance – mulch the beds, rake the leaves and keep the landscape well-groomed even in the winter.
“Buyers are looking for move-in condition because it is a secondary home,” says Wolf. Make sure it is excellently maintained and the season will be irrelevant.
Most importantly, rely on your local Realtor for expertise on selling a vacation home during the off-season. The market varies in every state and jurisdiction, and your hometown real estate agent will know what works best in your community throughout the year.