Posted in: Selling a home, Lakeshore homes

Staging your lakeshore property to sell

Stage lakeshore property to sell

Key insights

  • The waterfront area is the key to selling the property. When staging, be sure to start at the dock and work your way in.
  • Kitschy items are a lake cabin staple, but you want to be sure you’re not distracting from the home’s best features.
  • Stand out from other local sellers. Show off how the home can accommodate guests and share your favorite things about the area.

Even if you live on the most gorgeous lake in the state, it's still important to stage your waterfront property for potential buyers. Follow these tips to showcase the best qualities of your lakeshore property as you list it for sale.

Staging the water and outdoor areas

Lake home buyers are usually most interested in the water, so that’s where you should begin the staging process. Start at the docks by replacing any broken or aging boards, and paint or stain the dock to give it a little more appeal. If your boats are docked, make sure they are sparkling clean and properly secured in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Second, make your way to your beach area. Get rid of any weeds in the shallow areas of the water and the shore. If you have sand, rake it before every showing.

Durable items like kayaks or canoes can help stage the beach area, but items that may deflate (like big rafts) should be put away in a shed before a showing. The same goes for beach toys. If they’re in good condition and look straight out of a Pinterest page, you can arrange them to show how much fun kiddos can have on the beach; if they’re old and faded, they should be put into a storage container out of the way. Finish it off with some beach chairs and sun umbrellas for a relaxing vibe.

Last, head toward the house. Whether you have a gorgeous wrap-around deck or a low-key fire pit and grilling area, make sure your outdoor entertaining areas shine. Rearrange lawn and deck furniture into small groupings so it looks more intentional. Create a festive feel with throw pillows, lanterns, and outdoor potted plants.

Stage the interior

Once you have finished staging your lakeshore area, move indoors. Follow our basic home staging tips to ensure the interior of your home is looking sharp. Then, go a step further to emphasize any and all views of the water. Wash all the windows and keep the curtains open during showings. If you’re thinking of selling in the winter, print and frame large photos of what the lakeshore area looks like in its prime summer months.

What to do about your cabin kitsch

When staging a traditional home, your REALTOR® will usually recommend you remove family photos and other personal items. In a lake home or cabin setting, this may be less necessary — after all, filling up a cabin with funny signs and “Up North” kitsch is a rite of passage for most lake dwellers.

Still, it’s important to look around your property and determine which knick-knacks are adding to the charm, and which are distracting from it. While you may love that all 50 of your birthday party flamingos are still proudly displayed along the winding driveway to the property, they’re not the best first impression for potential buyers.

Go from room to room, looking at the items that first draw your attention. Whether it’s your uncle’s first (and only) attempt at carving a grizzly bear from a fallen tree or 40-year-old watercolor art that’s long faded in the sun, you may want to consider removing some artifacts before you try to sell your lakeshore property.

Keep in mind, too, what kind of property you are trying to sell. While all properties should be impeccably clean, you can likely get away with more kitsch and clutter in a smaller lake cabin than you could in a luxury lakefront home. And if your cabin is used primarily as a hunting or fishing cabin, the decor may not be as important as the property’s location. (In other words, the kitchen antlers can stay!)

Show off its guest potential

Many lake home buyers are interested in hosting family and friends, so you want to be sure you show off your property’s potential for accommodating guests. Your Realtor can advise you on the best tips for your space, but common practice is to add bunk beds, pull-out couches, and pop-up cots to larger rooms. If you have creatively hosted many guests at once, you can also print up a floor plan flyer showing how you managed to “sleep 10” in a 1,200-square-foot cabin! You may also share how outdoor space accommodates tents, campers, and trailers for overnight guests.

Share local insights

Think about what a buyer would want to know about the area. In the main entrance, place an overhead map of the lake with your property circled so they can get a better indication of the layout of the area. Include additional brochures or information about the nearest town, including directions or mileage to nearby grocery stores, shops, and other local attractions.

People who are purchasing a waterfront property are often prioritizing leisure — give them an indication of the lifestyle they’d enjoy if they purchased your home.

Ready to sell your lakeshore home?

Our lakeshore experts help you stage your waterfront property to sell quickly and for top dollar. Reach out to Edina Realty or your agent to get personalized staging tips for your lake home or cabin.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings