Top Insights for Selling Finger Lakes Waterfront Homes in 2021

If you’ve been watching the lakefront market in the Finger Lakes, you’ll notice it resembles the weather this time of year, nearly frozen. There has been little to no movement along most of the Finger Lakes since the new year. The standstill of new listings creates both opportunity and frustration depending on which side of the market you stand.

The Best Time to Sell is…

For those who are considering selling their lake home in 2021, as your lakefront experts we cannot stress enough that now is the best time to list. New listings are likely to continue selling in record time as prospective buyers have been patiently awaiting new inventory. In 2020, lakefront homes across the region sold 11.83% faster than in 2019. Some markets, such as Keuka Lake, reduced its average days on market by 48% in 2020 while increasing the average sale price by 12.45%. Click here to read the 2020 Lakefront Market Report.

These quick sales were a result of pure demand. In fact, in 2020 our agents alone experienced a 167% increase in qualified buyer inquiries specifically looking for lakefront homes. This surge combined with our 27-year database of prospective waterfront buyers allowed us to match new listings with the ideal buyer to result in fast, easy sales for both parties. With the lack of inventory in 2020, many of these home shoppers are still waiting to be matched.

As summer gets closer, these buyers will be more anxious to secure a home. Spring is typically when listings pick up for any market, especially lakefront. The key will be to list prior to this influx of new inventory for maximum exposure and highest return.


What Does Selling Look Like in 2021

When you are ready to list your lake home, we advise our clients be prepared for a quick sale. If you’re currently living in your lake home year-round, we do advise you to have housing lined up. It isn’t only the Finger Lakes market that has a lack of available listings. According to a recent Inman article, across the US, “January sales had actually declined 32 percent month over month, the greatest monthly decline since the start of the pandemic.” The nation is at an all time low for listings, which can make moving especially difficult.

For those who are ready to sell, the good news is it will likely be a quick process. Our homes can be staged, photographed, listed and sold in less than a week. Our marketing department assists clients with optimizing the spaces in their homes so in one day the photography, videography, and virtual tours are complete and ready for online walkthroughs. Once the home is listed, be prepared for our team to communicate multiple and competitive offers for your home. This will be a clear indication that we priced the home correctly and connected you with right buyers for your particular home.

Another popular option that many second homeowners are looking at is utilizing the home as a vacation rental. To many this idea seems daunting. However, demand for vacation rentals, especially in the Finger Lakes region has soared. As the leading vacation rental management company in the region, we provide exclusive insights into the rental market for the region. But here’s a clue, only six weeks into the year and we have 54% more nights sold for 2021 vacation homes than this time last year. Our full circle of management services allows homeowners to reap the financial benefits of the rental demand without managing the day-to-day activities of listing, booking, guest services, and housekeeping. For more information about our rental management services, click here.

How to List Your Home

In 2020, our real estate team put together the ultimate package for our sellers to innovatively attract the most buyers while physically reducing the number of people in their homes. Our team utilized every tool in our digital marketing toolbox from professional photography, videography, virtual tours, and live video chats and walk throughs. These all-inclusive techniques combined with our database of qualified buyers allowed us to sell lake homes 23% faster than the regional market average.

First steps to selling your lake home is to reach out to our real estate team and identify if selling your home now would achieve your goals. Many who previously purchased a second home along the lakes specifically as an investment property jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the 2020 seller’s market. However, those who expected higher than reasonable selling price were not always rewarded. A differentiator with lakefront buyers is they are more patient to find the right home, even in the midst of a pandemic. They are savvy buyers who are not about to overpay an exorbitant price tag. Our experienced lakefront real estate team provides comparative analyses before marketing to strategically list the home at the optimum price for the desired results.

If you have any questions about the real estate or rental marketing in the Finger Lakes, our sales team would be happy to assist you. Contact us today at 855-666-7812 or at sales@flpplake.com.

Financing Your Lake House in 2020

You’ve decided to dive in and buy your dream house on the lake, but how do you finance this life changing decision? From vacation rental income to second home mortgages, you have many options when it comes to affording your lake house in 2020.

Here are some tips to make buying a lake house a sound financial decision.

Finance during a year of stability.

mortgage interest rates to consider when financing your lake house

The real estate market experienced a year of declining interest rates in 2019. With few economic risks and low inflation, borrowing costs are expected to remain low, making 2020 a great year to take on debt for a long-term purchase.

According to Bankrate, the rate on a 30 year note fell from an average of 4.68% at the beginning of January 2019 all the way down to 3.9% by Christmas. This is really good news for homebuyers.

The lakefront real estate market ended on high note in 2019, with average sales price for lakefront homes projected to continue increasing this year. If you haven’t read our analysis of last year’s lakefront market, start hereand learn why 2020 is the year to finance your lake house.

Consider your use and classify appropriately.

how will your lake house be used?

When financing your lake house, you will need to classify your property based on how it will be used. Typically your lake house will fall into one of three categories for financing: primary residence, secondary residence, or investment property. The type of home you buy will affect your interest rate and may require you to have a higher credit score.

Secondary Residence vs. Investment Property

If you plan to use your home as a short-term rental, you can still classify the property as a secondary residence instead of an investment property, taking advantage of lower interest rates and qualifying for mortgage interest tax deductions. This will vary by lender, but typically your lake house can remain a secondary residence if your home is rented no more than 180 days a year and you occupy the home at least 10% of the time you would rent it. You will have to report rental income on your taxes if you rent for 15 or more days. Learn more about mortgage classification here.

Look for niche lending options.

Niche lending options for financing your lake house

With vacation rentals gaining popularity over the last few years, most lenders should have a base level of knowledge when it comes to financing your lake house for short-term rental use. If possible, seek out a finance professional familiar with the vacation rental industry. You lakefront sales specialist may have recommendations for you.

If you don’t intend to rent out your lake house, there are plenty of lending options to meet you where you are financially. Many banks, such as M&T, offer bridge loans to help you purchase a new home before your existing home sells. You can also tap into the equity of your primary home to fund the down payment for your second home (cash-out refinance). Learn more about your lending options here.

Determine your Vacation Rental Income Goals

If your lake house is a second home or investment property, vacation rental income could factor into what kind of lake house you can afford. Your rental rate is determined by the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, and updates your home has. The larger and more modern the house, the higher the sales price – but also consider that you’ll most likely be able to rent it out more often and for a higher rate.

Our real estate team can provide a vacation rental income analysis for any lakefront home in the Finger Lakes. We provide income projections for the lake houses you’re considering and you can compare side by side how much each will earn, making it easy to determine the level of financing you’ll need.

Consider the extra costs.

Costs to consider when financing your lake house

Your lake house will incur higher costs than a traditional or primary home. Here are a few expenses to budget for when determining how much lake house you can afford:

Flood Insurance

Being so close to the water might warrant purchasing flood insurance. Though not required by New York State, your mortgage lender may mandate that you purchase a policy in addition to homeowners insurance. Flood damage isn’t typically covered by homeowners insurance and less than 50% of flooding incidents are covered by federal disaster assistance.

Maintenance

You’ll likely need a larger maintenance budget for your lake house, especially if it’s a second home or investment property. Lakefront property components, such as docks, decks, boathouses and beachfronts, will need routine maintenance, pressure washing, replacement, clean up, and more.

If your lake house is a secondary residence or investment property, consider hiring a management company to perform these tasks for you. In addition, property managers having a year-round presence at your home can reduce the chances of a break-in and quickly address storm damage or pests to avoid long-term issues and higher costs later on.

Lifestyle

There’s a reason you’re buying a lake house – you want the lake lifestyle! You’ll want to set aside some funds to buy that boat you’ve always wanted, and don’t be surprised when the family asks for a couple kayaks and a jet ski! Prioritize which gear you’ll need once the house is yours – and plan for more fun purchases later on.


What’s the best thing you can do when purchasing your lake house? Work with a professional that specializes in lakefront real estate. With 95% of our sales being on the water, our team is ready and excited to answer your questions and find the right lake house for you! Call us today (855) 683-8429.

2019 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Each quarter, our sales specialists analyze real estate trends across the region’s lakefront market. We compile our findings into a complimentary report to make your decision to buy or sell an easy and informed one.

Here is our analysis of the 2019 lakefront real estate market:


Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes in 2019.
Statistics aggregated from MLS.

Overview

The lakefront market experienced smaller gains in 2019, compared to 2018. This can be attributed to the average sale price for lakefront homes continuing to tick up, while the number of sales decrease.

Lakefront homeowners are holding onto properties longer, riding the wave of YOY value increases and the popularity of operating short-term rentals. Investors continue to enter the market, looking for homes not only for personal use, but for profit. Our region has seen a 25% increase in vacation rentals over the last few years.

Challenges

On lakes where the number of homes sold dropped 50%, we saw a correlating drop in total sales volume. Honeoye and Owasco Lakes were challenged by algal blooms and low inventory this year, but homes on both lakes continue to sell faster. Lower price points could transition these lakes deeper into a market that favors buyers in 2020.

HAB’s and Red Tide continue to challenge the nation’s lake and oceanfront real estate markets. Educating new homeowners on lake friendly living practices will be a focus in 2020, to ensure the health and safety of our waters for years to come.

lakefront market real estate agent

Successes

Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes saw the greatest increase in overall sales volume last year. High-end buyers are attracted to Canandaigua Lake for its luxury amenities and close proximity to the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. We expect the upward trend to continue in 2020, as transportation options, like seaplane routes, lakefront development, and amenities continue to expand.

Seneca Lake enjoyed a 33% boost in sales volume last year, with the highest overall gain in average sale price and greatest overall drop in days on market. Seneca is the largest of the Finger Lakes, and arguably the lake with the most opportunity. While Geneva revitalizes its downtown and gains national attention for its dining and tourism, Watkins Glen continues to yield some of the region’s largest events. Seneca Lake home prices still come in below the regional average, but with an 18% price gain last year, don’t expect the lakefront bargains to last. 2020 is the year to buy on Seneca!

Seneca Lake Real Estate

Market Trends to Watch

Mortgage rates are projected to continue trending downward in 2020. This is particularly great news for those looking to purchase a vacation home or income property. With low inventory and no pressure from the fed, lakefront buyers have the luxury of waiting for the right house to come on the market.

In general, the heat is off, with bidding wars at a 10 year low across the nation, but a limited inventory of starter homes is pushing first-time buyers into new territory. Rather than pour their assets into a primary residence, first-time buyers are investing in vacation homes in less expensive destinations, like the Finger Lakes. These homes have the potential to pay for themselves with vacation rental income or allow buyers to save up for their next investment.

Family saving for real estate

Focused on Lakefront in 2020

While the lakefront market flattened out in 2019, the Finger Lakes Premier Properties team experienced a 58% increase in lakefront sales. Our team led purchasing sales on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes and continues to be the leading real estate team servicing the entire region. Lakefront sales accounted for 95% of our 2019 sales, higher than any other real estate team in the Finger Lakes.

Our 2020 focus is lakefront real estate. If yours is too, call us today (888) 441-0079.

Lakefront Real Estate Report: Q3 Highlights

How did the lakefront real estate market perform in the third quarter of 2019? Our team of highly knowledgeable lakefront sales specialists have compiled a complimentary analysis of market trends for the Finger Lakes to explain.

Lakefront Real Estate Report for Q3 2019
Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes in Q3 2019.
Statistics aggregated from MLS.
  • Average days on market continue to drop on all lakes as the region transitions into a strong buyers market.
  • Lakefront inventory is still low, leading to a decrease in homes sold and total sales volume overall.
  • Low interest rates are feeding more buyers into the lakefront market.
  • Interest in short-term renting and investment homes is fueling demand for lakefront property.

What Our Agents See in the Lakefront Market

“We’ve seen an increase in out-of-state clients looking for lakefront homes in the area, many from PA. This is a great time of year to buy, especially for investors. Close on your home by 2020 and make updates to see a higher ROI in time to open your calendar for peak season.”

Dave Lucchesi, Buyer Specialist

“It’s a good time to list because of the number of buyers in the lakefront market. With interest rates continuing to drop, more buyers are comfortable with investing in a second or third home, staying in the market longer.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services

Top Performing Lakefront Markets

Canandaigua Lake

Total sales volume on Canandaigua Lake jumped almost 50% year over year. Lakefront property is in demand, with average sale price up 11% and homes spending an average of 10 days less on market. Our agents note that appropriately priced Canandaigua Lake homes have moved quickly this quarter.

Seneca Lake

We continue to see opportunity in the Seneca Lakefront market! With a near 50% increase in total sales volume, led by the FLPP team, and consistent growth in the number of homes for sale and average sales price, the largest Finger Lake shows no signs of slowing down going into Q4.


Download your copy of the full Q3 Lakefront Real Estate Report here.


For more information about buying or selling lakefront property in the Finger Lakes, call our real estate team today! 833-915-1259

How to Buy a Lake House

Maybe you’ve had the dream to buy a lake house for a long time. Maybe you’ve heard success stories about owning a vacation rental. Regardless, you’re ready to own your very own slice of lake life, but where do you start?

We caught up with our buyer specialist, Dave Lucchesi, to answer this question and to learn more about the steps his clients take to buy their lakefront home in the Finger Lakes. He broke it down for us in 5 easy steps:

Continue reading How to Buy a Lake House

Q1 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Advise for lakefront buying and selling in the Finger Lakes

It’s here! Download our full report to see how the lakefront real estate market performed during the first quarter of 2019.

What you need to know

It continues to be a seller’s market. A decrease in the number of homes sold and an increase overall in average sale price means that supply is not meeting lakefront buyer demand. Lakefront homes on average are also spending less time on the market – our average is only 8.6 days!

If you’re on the fence about listing your lakefront home, spring is the perfect time to test the waters. Contact our Real Estate Team today for a free assessment of your home! (844) 464-0949

First Quarter 2019 Lakefront Real Estate Report | Finger Lakes

Our Real Estate Experts explain:

“Every lake that we work is down in overall volume of sales, many of the lakes by very large volumes. Less homes are selling on the lake, because less homes are on the market. The average sale price on the majority of the lakes is way up as well, while the days on market continue to go down. Very strong seller’s market right now.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services

“It’s all about being prepared. First, make sure you have your pre-approval letter ready. Then, get on our buyers list, receive our emails, and make sure you’re ready to move quickly on new listings. When we know exactly what you’re looking for, we can be agile – even preview houses before they hit the market. There’s a lot we can do to get you into your lake house for summer!”

Dave Lucchesi, Buyer Specialist

Exciting Announcement!

After tabulating the first quarter lakefront real estate sales on the Finger Lakes, it looks like Finger Lakes Premier Properties ranks #1 in total sales volume! Not only were our sales 5.4% higher than our second place competitor, but we earned the first place spot for lakefront purchasing sales on both Canandaigua and Cayuga Lake.

6 Reasons to Sell your Lake House this Spring

Spring signals the awakening of the housing market, especially for buyers looking for lakefront property. If you’re considering selling your lake house, now is the time to list! Here’s why:

1. The Cabin Fever is real. We are just now starting to see the first signs of spring and for many, the only thing that got them through the long, snowy months was the dream of spending sunny days on the lake. Those who spent the winter browsing lakefront listings for inspiration now have the opportunity to get out and see what’s really on the market, especially if they’re coming from out of state. Make sure your home is one of the first ones they see!

2. Average sales prices are up 23%. According to our 2018 Lake Front Real Estate Report, the average sales price for all Finger Lakes increased 23%, with the largest gains occurring on Keuka and Seneca Lakes. It should also be noted that total days on the market are down 10%, meaning lakefront property in the Finger Lakes is selling for more and in less time.

3. It’s a seller’s market. There are far more buyers looking for the lake life than homes on the market, giving an upper hand to the seller in negotiations. It may seem that lakefront property is shielded from fluctuations in the housing market because of affluent buyers, but a recent study found that 55% of prospective vacation rental buyers make under $150k a year. Our advice: sell while the market is strong.

4. Buyers are eager to use their home THIS summer. Listing your lakefront home in the spring gives buyers the appropriate amount of time to tour what’s on the market, make an offer, negotiate, and close with enough time to actually enjoy their new lake house. Summers are so short in upstate New York and buyers want to make good use of their investment. And the sooner you list, the sooner your home will be seen by the thousands of visitors to the Finger Lakes that start pouring in once the weather get warmer.

5. Vacation Rental Potential. Buyers who are looking to purchase your home and make it a vacation rental will want to secure bookings for the summer in order to earn as much income as possible for 2019. Our real estate team provides rental projections for all of our listings, so you might even consider joining our rental program in the future!

6. Spring Cleaning. Chances are you’re going to be cleaning debris from the beach, considering upgrades to the décor, and doing minor repairs around the house this spring. With a minimal extra effort and suggestions from our lakefront real estate specialists, it will be easy to get your home in the ideal condition to sell.


Our real estate team specializes in lakefront home sales, providing you with the top advice, up-to-date market research and years of experience necessary to sell your home to the right buyers and for the right price. Call us today! 844-248-3917

Maximizing Your Property’s Potential with 3 Simple Steps

Every seller wants their home to sell quickly and for top dollar but believe a professional overhaul is needed to maximize their listing price. Because of this uncertainty, sellers often feel overwhelmed and don’t do anything before listing their home.

Spoiler: You don’t need a comprehensive overhaul… instead, its careful preparation and regular upkeep that sends home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Without further ado, here are the steps to prepare that irresistible, and highly marketable home:

 

1a) Dissociate Yourself with the Home

First and foremost, you have to distance yourself from the house. Yes, learning how to let go is difficult, but in order to capitalize on the most possible gains, you must say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house – a product to be sold no differently than a bushel of apples.”

 

1b) Objectify

The first step in disassociating yourself is to pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. You want buyers to imagine their own photos and mementos on the walls. The heart of the buy is constructed in the buyer’s mind, but these personal sentiments will not emerge if your personal belongings are sprawled all over the home. Simply put, you don’t want the mind of buyers to linger on who was living there; you want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”

 

2a) Minor Repairs

In some seller’s markets, you can sell a home in its current state without much objection. In normal markets or buyer’s markets, repairs can win or lose a sale.

So let’s looks at the essentials:

Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.

Patch holes in the walls.

Fix leaky faucets.

Amend jarring kitchen drawers.

Replace burned-out light bulbs.

Consider painting your walls neutral colors (You’re looking to attract the masses, not the exotic).

 

2b) Housekeeping

Cleaning your home should go beyond the usual weekly or day-to-day cleaning job. Like the maintenance work, this could take all day to complete so allocate your time appropriately. Consider doing a deep clean of each room including:

Wash windows inside and out.

Vacuum daily.

Wax floors.

Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.

Bleach dingy grout.

Remove cobwebs.

Re-caulk showers, sinks, and tubs.

Polish chrome mirrors and faucets.

Clean out the refrigerator.

Replace worn rugs.

Hang up fresh towels.

Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.

Bathroom towels look marvelous affixed with ribbon and bows.

Click here to view our professional housekeeping checklist!

 

3a) Don’t Assume Anywhere is Sacred

Buyers are… let’s say, curious. They will open closet and cabinet doors to examine every crack and crevice they’re drawn to. Think of the message it sends if miscellaneous supplies and are jam-packed in storage closets, cupboards, sheds, and garages; the buyer will instantly lose faith in you as an owner, and perhaps the home altogether. This is a huge commitment on their part. You need to be just as vigilant in preparing the home as they are with examining it.

 

3b) Input Equals Output

Even if you’re not a neat person, create the illusion: alphabetize spice jars, turn coffee cup handles the same way, hang shirts together (buttoned and facing the same direction), and line up shoes. This may sound extra and unnecessary, but buyer’s (and all human beings) cannot help but pick up on their immediate surroundings. Remember, the financially-sound Zestimate only gets them in the door, the image you create makes the buy.

 

We Get It, You Have a Life

If you work a full-time job or have similar daily obligations, tackling some of the easier projects on your own and outsourcing the rest to a company with maintenance and housekeeping packages may be worth the investment. In particular, consider a real estate company like Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP) that not only have full-time maintenance and housekeeping staff to suit client’s needs any time of year. Not only will FLPP help revamp your home, every remodeling effort is carefully prepared through the lens of a prospective buyer; this is the perk of utilizing an all-in-one company.

 

Once again, if you’re feeling ambitious and want to tackle these projects on your own, hit up a couple YouTube videos and have at it! But if you need a little help, consider outsourcing some of the more tedious tasks to a specialist like FLPP.

To learn more about our property management services, visit FLPP’s webpage here

If you’re already past that step and ready to roll, contact our real estate team today at (844) 277-5709.

 

Q3 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is the region’s lakefront specialists for sales across the region. Our team of highly knowledgeable, experienced, and successful Buyer and Seller Specialists provide a complimentary analysis of lakefront market trends each quarter.


The real estate market continues to be strong in the Finger Lakes Region. Lakes such as Cayuga and Seneca, where homes are selling faster and at a higher average price.

Here at Finger Lakes Premier Properties we have seen an increase in quick sales this year. For example, two listings on the west side of Seneca Lake, Anthony Beach Road and Arrowhead Beach Road, sold in less than 2 weeks. The reason? It is because the number of homes available on these lakes is down, while the interest is up.  While Keuka Lake has had very little change over the last year, it remains to be  a strong seller’s market, especially in the price range between $300,000 and $600,000. We have also had homes on both East and West Lake Roads sell in under the 2 weeks.

Canandaigua Lake remains steady year-over-year, maintaining its position as one of the highest priced lakes to purchase a new home. Whereas Honeoye and Conesus Lakes, even though they are located right next to Canandaigua Lake, offer buyers the best pricing with average sale prices between $230,000 and $275,000. These Lakes offer first time lake buyers and those looking for a bargain, great buying opportunities.
Overall, each of the lakes have their own character and offer buyers different specifities, which makes using a lakefront specialist even more vital for your purchase. Interest rates will not stay this low forever! Take advantage of the unique buying opportunities and low interest rates and find the right lakefront home for your family.

Check out our latest real estate blog post:  Buying and Selling in the Finger Lakes this Fall, for real estate tips from our team of lakefront experts.

For more information about buying and selling lakefront property in the Finger Lakes, contact our Real Estate team today by calling (888) 465-5175.

Watch the Virtual Tour of a Keuka Lake Listing

Follow Zak as he navigates the virtual tour of our Keuka Lake listing on West Lake Road. This beautiful 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, 2,600 square foot home sits on a highly coveted section of Keuka Lake. The first thing you’ll notice stepping in is the custom wood flooring throughout with natural light and lake views pouring through the open layouts. The newly remodeled lower level provides a blank canvas for your new home. Turn this space into an additional bedroom, office or game room to fit your needs. Step outside and enjoy the multiple decks that provide ample space for outdoor entertaining with picturesque views of Keuka Lake Bluff. Want to take full advantage of the lake lifestyle? This home is in the perfect location to explore Keuka lakeside dining by taking a quick boat ride to nearby restaurants such as the Switzerland Inn.

This home is also in our rental program and comes with an established rental history, ideal for anyone looking for an investment home in the Finger Lakes.

For more information about this listing, click here.

To contact our sales team to schedule a personal viewing today by calling 888-599-4810 or email them at sales@FLPPlake.com.