Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Hint for Sellers Up North

It's amazing to me how many times I hear a buyer say something like, "I already have a home...what I really want is something that feels like a cabin." The trouble is, as a seller, this has been your home for many years and you envision a new buyer moving in to use it as their full time residence. When you have those emotional ties to the place you have lived in for a long time - and maybe raised your family there - it's hard to see someone just buying it for a place to go play now and then. You also might think that it is not worth changing carpets or painting because a new buyer might want a different color. Big Mistake!

One thing I learned long ago in this business is that people talk about what is logical for them, but they end up purchasing based on their emotions. Even when buyers are just looking for a new home to live in, they have a hard time seeing through outdated decor. Homes with old carpets and poor lighting are an immediate turnoff for buyers, and they see a lot of them on their house hunting trips. But cabin buyers can be more particular yet in the emotional draw!

Their logical thinking tells them they need to have four bedrooms at the cabin for friends and family to visit, but emotionally they will purchase a two bedroom cabin that has the atmosphere you would expect at a cabin...a fireplace, knotty pine, a firepit, a great deck...and on and on. And I can't tell you how many times I've had a buyer who wanted to purchase all the furniture along with the cabin when it is decked out in great "cabinware."

If you live on a lake outside of a major city in Minnesota or Wisconsin, the reality is that a large majority of your potential buyers are looking for a cabin, or a place that feels like a cabin. So if you are serious about selling, you may only have to make a few improvements to make your place stand out.

Very few sellers will take the initiative to take out old carpets, add more relaxed furniture, or create a more interesting ambience. It may cost a few thousand dollars for you to do some of those things, but I can assure you that if you decide to invest upfront in a few of these improvements, your house will stand out - as a cabin - from the others when the cabin buyers come along. And one good test is to go out and look at other lake properties on the market, and decide which ones would be attractive to you as your new cabin.

1 comment:

craigmische said...

Excellent tips, Dan. Another thought for sellers is to leave most of the blinds open when away. Not only is it more appealing for a potential buyer to walk into a bright, airy cabin but there won't be obvious signs to a potential intruder that the owner is away (and, if they did break in, closed blinds would hide their movement inside).