The enduring beauty of Wisconsin can be credited to the presence of 15,000 freshwater lakes. In fact, notable bodies of water are a defining feature of the state’s incredible natural surroundings. Bordered by picturesque Lake Michigan on the east, Lake Superior on the north, and even the Mississippi River on the west, the state boasts miles and miles of exquisite shoreline that provides premium real estate for people who want to indulge in the benefits of waterfront living.
A lot of pride goes into buying and owning a house on a gorgeous waterfront location. At some point, though, you may have to part with your prized property and move on to a new home.
In such a scenario, often the main motivation is to get the best possible returns on your original investment. But does the waterfront setting alone justify a high asking price when you sell the house? What steps can you take to boost the value of your Wisconsin waterfront property?
Let’s dive deeper into some essential tips and options that will help you improve the value of your waterfront home.
What sets waterfront homes apart from other types of real estate?
Before breaking down the steps in boosting the property of your Wisconsin lakefront property, let’s go back to the basics. Why are waterfront homes so appealing to real estate buyers and investors in the first place?
Imagine starting each day with a relaxing view of Lake Superior just outside your window. If you chose your location well, your lakefront house might also have the perfect spot for watching glorious crimson sunsets as they bounce off the water at the end of the day.
Dramatic views are just one feature of attractive waterfront homes in Wisconsin. Here are a few more:
- Recreational opportunities. Fishing, kayaking, boating, sailing, and swimming—all these and more can be at your disposal when you own lakeshore property (albeit subject to your community’s water usage regulations). Best of all, you won’t have to endure a long drive or commute to enjoy them.
- The inimitable “permanent vacation” feel. When you own a lakefront home, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation 365 days a year. Whether you enjoy it in the company of friends and family or on your own, your waterfront abode is the perfect place to unwind.
- Healthy, active living. The allure of the water constantly beckons to you right from your own backyard. With so much natural beauty around you, as well as a multitude of activities you can enjoy in this gorgeous outdoor space, you are bound to maximize the health benefits of breathing in clean air and engaging in more physical activity.
- Higher potential property appreciation. Waterfront real estate is always in high demand because inventory is limited. You might have paid a higher price tag up front, but over time you can count on your property increasing in value at a higher rate than other types of real estate properties, assuming you continue to maintain and improve the property.
Ways to increase the value of your waterfront home
As a home seller, you’ll want to make sure that you get the best returns on your original investment for your waterfront home. Here are useful tips and considerations to keep in mind:
Sell the lifestyle and experiences that your property can offer
When listing a waterfront property, you are essentially selling a lifestyle, not just a house. In addition to listing all the physical attributes and amenities that your property possesses, showcase what these features mean for the next owner’s day-to-day living experience.
- Make the shoreline more accessible
Proximity and access to the water are the main draw for your waterfront home.
Your potential homebuyers will visualize themselves stepping out of the house to enjoy the rest and recreation that your waterfront can provide. Excite them by keeping a clear and clean path leading to the water.
If your waterfront doesn’t have one yet and your local building regulations will allow it, consider adding a dock. This will entice homebuyers to fish, swim, go boating, and enjoy other water activities that are allowed in the area.
- Highlight the views
Real estate buyers are instantly drawn to lakeside homes because of the views. So in addition to providing easy access, make the waterfront the instant focal point from as many areas on the property as possible.
This means potential buyers should be able to catch full views or even just enticing glimpses of the sparkling water, whether they are standing close to the shore, sitting on the living room couch, or simply making a snack in the kitchen.
When staging, thoroughly clean all windows and glass doors and remember to pull back the blinds or curtains to highlight the views.For outdoor areas, add thoughtful staging touches to frame the waterfront and maximize the different vantage points around your property.
- Practical amenities and aesthetic additions
Lakefront living is a distinct experience. Investing in bonus amenities that maximize this lifestyle will go a long way in making your waterfront property more appealing and more worthy of top dollar offers.
Consider features that are not just ideal for personal relaxation, but are also suitable for your entertaining needs and other social functions. An outdoor kitchen or grill adds convenience as well as an aesthetic talking point on a spacious patio or deck. A fire pit or sauna are nice additions for your Wisconsin lakefront home, giving homeowners relaxing amenities to use even during the chillier months of the year.
Other worthwhile outdoor amenities include a gazebo, garden space, stylish walkways or footbridges, and even playgrounds and sports facilities if your lot is large enough to accommodate them.
One important matter to consider is that renovation projects may be subject to local building regulations. Make sure to secure the necessary permits from the local authorities before you get any work done.
Offer the property in its best condition
Buyers are more willing to pay top dollar for properties that are good as new. Ensuring your waterfront home is move-in ready should be your main goal as you prepare your property for a sale. Here are essential steps that you can take to achieve this:
- Pre-selling inspection
While most home inspections happen toward the end of a home sale—often paid for by the buyer in Wisconsin—you can also have your waterfront property inspected even before you put it up for sale. Have a home inspector check for any structural and surface-level issues so you can assess which parts of the house and the property need immediate repairs and improvements.
- Essential repairs and replacements
As an owner of a lakefront property, you should already have made regular maintenance a habit. Proper upkeep always pays off in the long run because proactive care minimizes potential issues and drastic repair needs.
Despite regular maintenance, however, you should still be ready to address minor repair and upgrade needs as you prepare your home for a sale. Neglecting to fix leaky faucets, updating light bulbs, or oiling creaky doors or window hinges can leave a negative impression on potential buyers.
Take the initiative to fix anything that needs fixing. Don’t wait for the buyer’s inspector to reveal any issues. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to rush to have repairs done before the deal can be closed, or your buyer could renegotiate for a lower price—or simply walk away from the deal.
- Practical enhancements and reinforcements
Does your waterfront have the necessary structures to prevent soil erosion and other serious effects of water damage? Investing in these measures before listing your home maximizes your appeal to buyers.
While you might have to put out more money up front for retaining walls and supporting hardscapes, these reinforcements will significantly improve the integrity and durability of your lot. Buyers will be more confident in purchasing your property at a higher price as a result.
Turn heads with an impressive and carefully planned presentation
After you’ve prepared your property to sell, it’s time to plan how you want to wow your target buyers. If your waterfront listing is structurally sound and well-maintained, then you might only need to make a few cosmetic changes to attract high-value offers for the property.
- Boost curb appeal
First impressions can make or break a deal so pay close attention to how your house will look when an interested buyer drives up to your curb and sees it for the first time. Are the exterior walls, windows, and roofing clean and free from any damage or stain marks?
Think beyond the house, as well. Lakeside homes have a 360-degree curb appeal that stretches out as far as the eye can see. From the façade of the house and the backyard, to the landscaping all around your property, everything should be pristine, thoroughly cleaned, and thoughtfully arranged or decorated, especially before showings.
- Stage with a purpose
Impressive photos and videos are crucial to any successful property sale, and even more so when it comes to waterfront real estate. And the secret behind your most captivating shots should be well thought-out staging.
Remember that selling waterfront property is more about selling the experience, rather than simply just the property itself. So create and follow a clear plan that ensures that your staging and styling efforts are consistent and complementary to the lifestyle that you want to spotlight.
That said, some general staging tips are always helpful and relevant, regardless of your planned staging themes. Consider the following:
- Feature breathtaking sunrises or sunsets in your photos and videos to capture the irresistible, dreamlike feel of your waterfront location.
- Set up lounging areas close to the water. Place coffee mugs beside deck chairs for early morning photos and wine glasses and bottles for late afternoon or evening shots. Some fishing rods near the dock would also be a nice touch.
- Inside your house, place plants and furniture strategically so you do not block any picture-perfect views. If possible, use these elements to frame the views instead.
- If you have a clear schedule for putting your waterfront property on the market, stage for the season. Showcase appropriate activities that will help buyers visualize what they can do on and with the property at that time of the year.
- Invest in professional services
Remember that you don’t have to do all of the staging and photography on your own. In fact, you might be better letting professionals do these jobs.
Investing in professional staging and photography—and perhaps also landscaping and cleaning services—is a worthwhile step if you want bigger and better offers for your waterfront home for sale. These may be upfront costs, but if they elevate your listing to a higher level, you could see bigger returns for your property as a result.
Finally, consider using drone photography for an aerial view of your property and the surrounding areas, especially as it relates to the lake or water element you’re keen to show off.
- Get creative with your listing descriptions and materials
While this step does not directly improve the value of your property, it can certainly help you draw bigger offers. Don’t just list features, statistics, and descriptions in a dry, boring fact sheet. Capture the imagination of your target buyers with engaging stories about the experiences that they could have if they owned the property.
Do your homework
Doing your due diligence and planning strategically will help you determine the best upgrades that will provide you with a higher return on your investment. If you want to make sure you’re taking all the right steps to make your waterfront home attractive to premium buyers, dig into some local market research and find out what else is out there.
Get assistance from your local real estate agent to review similar listings in your region. Look at homes that are currently on the market, as well as properties that were sold as recently as the last three months. Pay close attention to the features and specifications that are highlighted in these listings.
With help from your agent,analyze what buyers are currently looking for in a waterfront property in your location. How does your listing compete with others that are currently available? Does your waterfront home have similar amenities? If not, what can your property offer that other listings cannot?
Ready to compare the latest and best lakefront homes in Bayfield, WI? Start browsing Windseeker Realty’s featured waterfront properties here.
Sell your Bayfield, Wisconsin lakefront property with help from Windseeker Realty
If you’re considering selling your waterfront home, it’s never too early to consult with a lakefront real estate expert at Windseeker Realty. We’re here to help you assess current market conditions for lakeshore properties on Lake Superior and in Northern Wisconsin and ensure a seamless and rewarding experience if you choose to sell. As proud residents and experienced real estate professionals we are the ideal team to work with if you are ready to sell your waterfront home in Bayfield, Washburn, Cornucopia, and more.