As you may have noticed, most of my articles are targeted at BUYERS of Naples/Southwest Florida golf community homes. In an effort to somewhat “even the playing field”—and, more importantly, because we still have another couple of key-season months for owners to market their homes for sale—I want to devote this article to some tips for our local golf community real estate SELLERS. But, BUYERS, you can also learn from this article…so please read on.
Selling a home in a SWFL golf community can sometimes be a little more complicated than the normal home sale. Why? Because their selling prices and annual carrying costs are most often higher than in non-golf communities, and their community amenities are normally more extensive…so they require additional marketing expertise.
As with the sale of any home, your asking price is the paramount factor in how quickly your golf home will get sold. But, determining the correct asking price for a home in a golf community may require some additional evaluations and decisions. Here are some key considerations that you will need to address…
- What is my home’s “market value”? Make sure that your real estate agent reviews the most recent 3-6 months’ “comp” sales in your neighborhood. After adjusting each of these “comps” for your home’s advantages and/or deficiencies, you’ll be able to get a realistic feel for what it’s worth, i.e. its “market value”. This is the key decision that you’re going to make, so don’t get greedy…price it no more than 5% over your agent’s calculated “market value” in order to maximize showings and potential offers. The most critical period for getting the attention of other agents and prospective buyers is when your home is initially listed, so don’t start high with a plan to reduce it if you’re not getting showings. Starting out too high will just result in more discounting and additional days on the market…and will cost you many opportunities.
- How much inventory is available? Most SWFL golf communities currently have about a 6-month to 1-year inventory of homes on the market. But, there are some that have as high as a 3-year inventory based on their current sales velocity. An abnormally-high inventory in an entire golf community typically indicates problems that go far beyond over-priced homes…possibly reflecting unacceptable membership and/or HOA requirements; high annual dues/fees; excessive special assessments; mandatory golf memberships; developer/member problems; lack of available golf memberships; etc. These conditions tend to get worked out over time, so it might be best to hold off on selling your home during this period, if you can. However, if you have to sell right away, your primary options are lower-than-normal pricing on your home, special incentives, and/or extraordinarily-creative marketing.
- What are the advantages of my home? In my opinion, golf course homes require more promotion, marketing, and advertising than non-golf homes because they have a bigger story to tell. Golf course view is the most important feature of your golf community home, and it needs to be emphasized in MLS, as this is the vehicle that feeds all of the major real estate websites (realtor.com; zillow.com; etc.). It also needs to be featured in all magazine ads, handout brochures, postcards, etc. Make sure your agent promotes all of your home’s advantages, but put your focus on your view of the golf course…that’s the #1 priority of golf community home buyers. A big, panoramic golf course (and lake) view will get you additional dollars for your home; but, if you’re located on a cart path, tee box, or green—in an area that golf carts and 5:30am lawn mowers frequent—you may have to settle for a little less than normal. In addition to the quality of your golf course view, realistic pricing of your home also requires objective input from your agent regarding the extent of outdoor road noise and the status of indoor updates/upgrades…especially, kitchen appliances and counter tops, baths, floors, window/door storm protection, and air conditioning.
- What are the strengths of my golf community? In order to maximize the attractiveness of your home, make sure that your real estate agent also aggressively promotes the major advantages of your golf community. Does it have lower golf fees and annual costs than its competitors? Does it have a championship length golf course? Does it have newer and better amenities, and/or additional amenities…i.e. pickle ball, bocce ball, walking paths, etc.? Does it have fewer golfers; hence, easier access to the golf course? Does it have less road noise from major streets and highways? Stress your community’s advantages in all marketing materials.
- What are surrounding golf communities doing? Quite often, you’ll have to make your pricing decisions based on what’s also happening in nearby competing golf communities. If they’ve gotten aggressive in attracting new buyers, you may have to match their “incentives”—ie free membership transfer fee; free annual golf fee for the first year; etc.—or, come up with your own incentives, in order to get your home sold.
All of the above considerations are integral to the success of selling your home in a Southwest Florida golf community. Hiring a qualified, professional real estate agent to help you make sound “business decisions” will ultimately SAVE YOU TIME AND MONEY!