Selling A Vacation Home Vs. Primary Residence

Selling A Vacation Home: Understanding Buyer Motivation

If you’ve ever sold real estate before, you understand that buyer motivation is what sells properties. The home is worth what the buyer is willing to pay. And what the buyer is willing to pay is dependent on the market at the time. When you are selling your primary residence, there are certain aspects that you know will matter to buyers, such as location to good schools and maintenance costs. But selling a vacation home is different. A buyer interested in purchasing property to use as a vacation rental is coming in with different expectations, needs, and attitudes than someone buying a primary residence.

When you understand the vacation rental buyer’s motivation, you are better equipped to market your home effectively.

1. The Importance Of Location

Location is paramount in making any real estate decision, but different buyers are looking for different things when it comes to the location of their investment. Vacation home buyers are interested in properties that put them close to popular area attractions. They want to be near the places and features that made them fall in love with the area in the first place. They’re less concerned about commute times to the closest downtown area and more interested in how quick they can get to whatever it is that inspired them to buy there in the first place. Maybe it is being close to theme parks, or the ocean, or favorite hiking trails through the mountains. Their brain when buying is in vacation mode, so as a seller, you want to emphasize how your home puts them close to everywhere they want to be.

2. Market The Lifestyle

A vacation home is a luxury investment, and most buyers are in the financial situation where they can afford such a purchase. Their vacation home will be the place they escape to when they need a break from work. Or, it’s a place where they want to bring friends and family for memorable and relaxing weeks away. Buyers are motivated by a property that allows them to live the lifestyle they’re used to. Highlight the features of your home that cater to the vacation state of mind. Stunning views and expansive outdoor areas for entertaining are great aspects to highlight. Furthermore, close proximity to the water are all aspects of a house that a vacation rental buyer would be interested in. Think about what your home has that will add to their overall vacation experience. Be sure to focus on that when putting together your marketing strategy.

Some vacation home buyers purchase a second home with the intent to rent it out. This can be an extremely profitable investment and a source of passive income if done correctly. Remind interested buyers that not only could this home be used for their own enjoyment, but that it could also make them money too. Not all vacation home buyers have this intention, but planting the seed could give them the push they need to motivate them to close the deal.

3. Make A Good First Impression


Just like when you are selling a primary residence, there are certain things you must to do prepare your home to sell. You want to make sure that you present your property in the best possible light. Primary home buyers may expect to have some repairs and maintenance to do to make the property their own. Vacation homeowners on the other hand are less enthusiastic about having to do work on a property that is supposed to be their relaxing retreat. Take the time do routine maintenance and repairs before you put your home up for sale. Buyers who see a vacation home that needs a little work may be less motivated to buy. They want to purchase the property and enjoy it right away. Vacation home buyers usually have the luxury of taking their time in their purchasing process compared to primary home buyers. Thus, if they see a home that needs maintenance, they may just move on to the next.

Staging is just as important in a vacation rental as it is for a primary residence. However, the staging for a vacation rental is more about setting the tone for a relaxing retreat. Helping buyers channel their vacation mode vibes is the goal for staging these types of properties. Add details to your home staging strategy that feels more like vacation and less like a typical home.

4. Emphasize Emotions

In your written description for your property, your focus should be on the emotions that this home evokes. Instead of listing square footage and the brands of appliances, focus on the feelings that come with spending time in the home. Emphasize the memories that will be made here, the moments that will last forever. A vacation home buyer is an emotionally-driven buyer. They’re looking for a property that they will look forward to visiting, a place that feels comfortable and safe and will let them relax. Avoid a list of amenities and focus instead on how they will feel owning this property.

5. Create Extra Space

While home gyms and offices are selling points for home buyers, it’s not always the case with vacation homes. Vacation home buyers are looking for every inch of their home to feel relaxing and inviting. Thus, if you have an extra room, converting it into an additional bedroom will make your home much more appealing to this market. Staging your home so that there is an emphasis on the relaxing and comfortable aspects is best. This will encourage buyers to stay in that vacation state of mind. The longer you can keep their brain in vacation mode, the more motivated they’ll be to buy.

6. Keep Taxes In Mind

Many homeowners aren’t aware that there are different tax rules and guidelines when it comes to selling a vacation home. Before you get started, it’s important to speak with a consultant to make sure you have everything you need when it comes to capital gains taxes, ITIN numbers, and other tax-related details. Jovi Realty has experts on hand to help you understand and complete everything related to selling vacation rentals and taxes.

When Selling A Vacation Home: Use Jovi Realty

The Jovi Realty Team has extensive experience selling all kinds of real estate, including vacation homes. If you are thinking about selling your home and targeting the vacation rental market, our professional team can customize our strategies to make sure your home really makes guests feel like they’ve stepped into a “vacation paradise,” and reaches motivated and eager buyers. Contact us today to discuss your next step towards selling your home.