Six Hard Truths About Selling Your Vacation Home

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90

Six Hard Truths About Selling Your Vacation Home


Here are six important truths that many sellers overlook in their quest to sell a second home. Ignore these at your own risk, but remember that you've been warned!


The more time your home spends on the market, the worse it looks to prospective buyers. Fifteen years ago, we would see quite a few "perennial listings" here on Madeline Island which remained on the market year after year without a sale.  Being on the market for more than a year can be risky. After a long time on the market, such properties become "shopworn" in the eyes of a buyer. Overpricing is the number one reason behind listings spending too much time on the market.


If you offer your home for sale without cleaning or making necessary repairs, expect to negotiate on price.  I'm not saying your home won't sell.  But I am saying that the vast majority of buyers are not looking for a fixer-upper and even if they are willing to buy a place that needs work, they expect the seller to pay for that requirement.


Don't expect your vacation home to sell as rapidly as your primary home would.  By primary home, I mean a home located in the community where you work and live most of the year.

A primary home is a necessity.  A second home/vacation home is a discretionary purchase. Need I say more?  


Lawn signs and open houses don't work as well in most vacation home communities as they do with primary homes.  It takes more marketing to sell a second home.  Putting a "For Sale" sign on the lawn and then waiting for the phone to ring is the mark of a very lazy agent.

It's tough to get much in the way of results from holding an open house in a resort community.  Your visitor traffic is limited to whoever happens to be on vacation and visiting the area at the time you hold your open house.  There's far less urgency among second home buyers and more impulse buying.  There are better ways to sell a second home than sitting at an open house.


Overpricing your listing and then lowering your price slowly is not  your best selling strategy.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has published results from its own studies which show that overpricing at the time of listing almost always results in a lower sold price than what you would achieve by pricing correctly from the beginning.

I have watched many sellers make this same mistake, hoping to "start high" in pricing their home, in the hopes that it will pay off when an offer comes in.  Then they agonize over each price reduction, fighting for every penny and lowering their price in tiny increments.  The result can be a very long time on the market, with discouraging results that include a lower price at closing. 


All real estate agents are not  alike.  This is probably the most frequent mistake that sellers make. Most sellers don't take the time to evaluate an agent before hiring one.  And if they do  take the time, most sellers lack the ability or the knowledge to make an informed comparison between listing agents.



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John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Eric - These are very helpful tips about selling a vacation home.

Jul 31, 2015 02:17 PM #1
Ronald DiLalla
Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824 - Anaheim, CA
No. Orange Cty Real Estate

Hi Eric,  for those sdelling vacation homes..great info here...t.ks for sharing.

Jul 31, 2015 03:38 PM #2
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Good Morning Eric Kodner 

All good points. The one that resonated with me was "Overpricing your listing and then lowering your price slowly is not a winning strategy." This is a winning strategy for all Real Estate.

Jul 31, 2015 09:59 PM #3
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

All homes in my area are sold "AS IS".   The contract says so, subject of course to price location and condition.

Ah.  The Devil is in the details.

Aug 01, 2015 12:26 AM #4
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Eric -- as Lenn Harley commented our California purchase agreements also state properties are sold in "As Is" condition but that doesn't stop buyers from asking for credits, repairs and price reductions.

As your very well-written post informs readers there are certain expectations that buyers and sellers should be aware and most important is to contact you as you certainly have the knowledge to guide homeowners to a successful sale.  

Aug 11, 2015 09:05 AM #5
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Eric Kodner

CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
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