How not to sell your lake home – SE Michigan lake home selling tips

Selling a lake home is different than selling a regular house.  First of all we are selling the lake lifestyle and the lake first.  The home is very important but sometimes the lifestyle and lake the home is on will overcome some minor deficiencies.  Today we are going to talk about major issues, or issues that you should not ignore when selling your lake home.  After all my goal as a realtor is to help you get top dollar for your Oakland County waterfront home.  If we can avoid some of these issues it will bring you more money and help sell your lake house quicker.  Many times as a seller we live with issues in a house.  We become blind to smells, and things we have put off for years.

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There are many ways to hinder the sale of your lake home.  This is a quick article to wake you up and help you think like a buyer.  Yes, I am being a smart aleck, but these items below can cost you a lot of money.  Money that you could have in your pocket.  Like I said above how to make more money on your home.  THAT IS MY GOAL….MORE MONEY FOR YOU!

Here are the things to do if you want less for your SE Michigan lake home.

1.)  Forget about the smells.  If you smoke in the house keep smoking.  Michigan lake home buyers do not like houses that smell like smoke.  Do not repaint to cover up the smell.  Do not do a good washing and cleaning of the house.  After all you want to keep the smell that drives buyers out.  Do not have the carpets washed.  In fact right before a showing you should light a couple up right inside the front door to really let the buyers know this is a smoking house.

You love your friend, but make sure there is no smell of dog or cat

If you have a cat do not worry about the urine smell or the dirty litter box.  Cleaning it once every two weeks will make it just about right enough to keep that noisy buyer out of the kitty litter box room.  It is the same with Fido’s favorite bed.  Your dog loves his bed or sleeping on your comforter.  I know it doesn’t matter to you that he is sometimes a little wet when he lays down.  That nice aroma of wet dog lingering in your master bedroom will give the buyers something to talk about.  You don’t want to take the time out of your day to take that big bulky comforter to the laundry mat.  Whether the cat or the dog has had an accident or sprayed on the walls doesn’t matter either.  Shout out that you are an animal lover and the smell shouldn’t bother the buyer if they really want to buy your home.  What’s a little smell from our furry friends.

Yes, you had a leak a few years back, and now you have that musty, mildew smell in the basement.  Don’t worry about it.  Nobody will notice.  The buyer will just think something is wrong in your basement and that the leak is still going on. That really won’t deter them from buying your home.  Unknowns and unknown costs to the buyer are a blessing to you….you will get to live in your home longer.


Here is another way to drive away buyers when selling your  lakefront home

Forget about de-cluttering the extra bedroom that has become a junk room.  The buyer can stick their head into the room and realize how big it is.  There is no sense starting to pack or clean up before the house is really sold.  Sure the buyer has to snake their way through the living room and dining room because there is so much furniture.  It’s like a one way street and two people shouldn’t be getting up at the same time and walking around.  You have your favorite chair, you wife does too, then the dog has the couch, plus grandma’s dresser is in there because there was no place else to put it.  The TV is on top of an old entertainment stand from the 1980’s.  Having all the furniture all the way around the room covers up the marks on the walls.  The buyer doesn’t need to walk around everywhere.  They can see how big the room is from the measurement on the listing ticket.  It really doesn’t matter that they think the room is smaller.  Nor does it matter that they think you do not take care of your lake house because of the clutter you have around.



Is this something you would like in your home. It was one person’s preference.

3.)  Absolutely do not paint or remove that old wallpaper .  The marks on the doorway of how big at what age Ralphie was is fine.    So are the marks from the basketball that Ralphie used to bounce off the wall.  Little Angela went thru her Goth phase so the room painted Black and dark purple remind you of those times.  Keep the memories and let the buyer know that they are going to have to repaint.  The buyers are just adding up all the costs in their head and then thinking about the hidden problems and costs.    Your wife’s favorite pink flowered wall paper is still up in your bedroom from the 1980’s.  It was too much to take down 10 years ago….it won’t be a problem for the buyer to do it.  The buyer just walked thru your house thought of the smell in the basement, the couple of windows with broken seals, having to repaint, and take down wallpaper.  This buyer just crossed your lake home off the list.   They are not coming back.   For you it was just a couple of items that the buyers could take care of, but to the buyer your home became a fixer upper or needed a lot of money to fix.  The  estimate of the buyer’s repairs are always going to cost more than what you could have done it for.


Old flooring is one way to turn off the home buyer

Do not replace flooring, or fix the flooring.  That lovely linoleum that has the burn mark from the pan you dropped is just fine.  Put a little duct tape over it like this guy did to keep the tile down.   The buyer can put a rug over it like you do.  There is no sense in buying peel and stick tiles and wasting a day doing it when the buyer can do it themselves.  Getting the carpet shampooed or replacing worn carpeting is too much work too.  It’s only a few hundred dollars to get the carpet cleaned… the buyer can do it.  And of course you do not to replace the carpet where Fido has urine stains or where Aunt Marge dropped the whole bottle of red wine.  There is no sense doing that.  It is fine you have lived with it that way for 10 years now.

“The buyer is going to want to pick the color and is going to change it anyway”.  That’s one line you can use for many of these repairs and updates.  Why paint, the buyer is going to do it anyway.  Why put in new tile in the kitchen over the linoleum, the buyer will want to pick the color.  You can get out of all this work by using that line.  Sure you may lose 40 or 50% of the buyers but sooner or later the right buyer will come along.  It just may be a lower offer than you expected.  But by then it will be too late.  Your home will be on the market for over a month.  You will be getting tired of showing it.  You will be mad at the real estate agent because it is their lack of marketing that is hindering the sale.  The condition of your home doesn’t matter to you, but it does matter to the buyer.

Yes, I am not recommending that you do any of the above items if you really want to sell and get the most money possible.  I wanted to point out what buyers think when the house needs work.  By not doing repairs, painting, or updating you are only going to cost yourself money.  Your home will take longer to sell.  However I do sell many, many homes over the years because the sellers do not want to fix them up.  The seller may not have the time, energy, or money to do it.  Or want to deal with contractors.  The homes do sell, just not at the top dollar.  Many estate homes are like this.  It may just cost too much to do all the repairs and updates.  It really may not be worth the time and money.  Call me over for your free consultation  (248) 310-6239 

Time for a new air conditioner

By doing all the things above you have saved some money, it may not be as much as you are losing on the sale of your lake house.  That low ball offer really does not hurt….after all you have made it rich in the stock market this year.  You haven’t had to put out one ounce of energy or do any work and it shows.  After all 20 buyers said they weren’t interested, but 3 of them bought other homes on the lake for higher prices.  None of that matters though.   So if you want to sell your Metro Detroit lakefront home for less, or want to keep it on the market for a longer period of time.  Do the items above.

Here are some more information about our local lakes.   Lakefront homes on Voorheis Lake in Orion Michigan have a subdivision feel to it.  Nice paved road for the kids to ride a bike on and for you to walk your dog around the sub.  Now if you are looking for lake homes and a lake that is not all upper end then  Pontiac Lake waterfront homes in White Lake MI may be for you.  There are many smaller lakes and many different styles of Lake houses in Highland MI – highland real estate selling tips  Check out that page for more lake home selling tips

Want to be close to the high schools in the area, then Bogie Lake homes White Lake MI is one you should check out.   Bogie Lake is just a stone throw from two different local high schools.  Lotus Lake homes & Maceday Lake waterfront homes in Waterford MI range from small cottages to big beautiful colonial homes.  Maceday Lake is one of the deeper lakes in the area.


My quote of the day is

Christmas is far and away my favorite holiday. I love everything about it, from the event that inspired it, hoping for a white one, to wrapping presents. But mostly I love having family and friends gathered, and sharing traditions.



Clarkston area lake homes for sale

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