Marketing the Waterfront Property

Recently we received a research request from a REALTOR® on how to market waterfront properties. Read on below for our resources, tidbits, and data findings.

From REALTOR® Magazine:

Marketing top-line features for luxury buyers, (REALTOR Magazine, Jan. 2011): “For Vanderbilt Residences, a year-old residential waterfront development in Newport, R.I., figuring out the defining luxuries inside each of the 16 furnished units was an important first step. There are a lot of vacation homes in the area, and an equally high number of listings along the water.”

Own your niche, (REALTOR Magazine, Jul, 2009):  “He built an intricate database of people who owned homes or vacant lots there and then categorized properties by waterfront, lake view, and golf course. He launched a postcard campaign that gave home owners an Apple Valley State of the Market Report, he advertised in the community’s monthly newspaper, and he snapped up a memorable URL, The year after developing his niche, his team’s sales total climbed to 322. The next year, it surpassed his sale-a-day goal, with 380 transactions.”

Get creative with our listing, (YPN Lounge Blog, Feb. 9, 2011).  “We’ve been in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on every online venue we should be.  We’ve targeted the agents selling high-end waterfronts with glossy mailers and e-mails. We spent a lot of money having two video tours done – the client didn’t like how the first one came out, so we had to hire a second videographer from New York for a reshoot.  The new video came out great and really captures the essence and value of the property being a waterfront.  The next step was to make sure people actually see the video. My partner created a killer website for the property.  Our listing has a Facebook fan page and Twitter account where I upload new photos and host online contests, etc.”

The prospect warm-up, (REALTOR Magazine, Mar. 2011): “DeBord does that through his Web site and blogs. “We publish as much relevant and useful data for our clients as possible, from market updates to neighborhood guides,” he says. DeBord also writes a monthly blog post for his local newspaper analyzing price trends and reporting significant waterfront home sales.”

Multifamily attracting foreign investors, (REALTOR Magazine, Jun. 14, 2012): “It’s going to be a hot market for the next 18 months to two years” Fisher says. “If you can secure a multifamily property, it will bring off-the-charts money because that’s what buyers want in today’s marketplace […] Waterfront properties are also in high demand right now — I literally receive one or two calls a day from investor pools looking for waterfront multifamily properties.”

Man tries to sell not just home but life on eBay, (REALTOR Magazine, Aug. 13, 2012): “A man is offering up not just his Florida waterfront home and rental condo, but also basically all of his possessions and investments together on eBay, with the asking price of $3.5 million. Shane Butcher decided that instead of dying owning a bunch of his investments, he wants to cash out now so he can reap the financial benefits earlier. He’s offering up a waterfront Tampa Bay home, a rental condo, three cars, kayaks, video games, his gaming business called “RU Game?” with three chains, Blu-Ray players, kitchen appliances, paintings, TVs, and more. Butcher says his homes, cars, business and everything else is all paid off in full. He says he’s looking for a fresh start.”


Stebbins v. Wells: Serious Erosion Problem Could Require Disclosure, (2001)

Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Dept. of Env’l Protection: No Taking Found in Florida Case, (2010): “Florida law provides that the state owns all submerged land under navigable waters and the land between the low tide line and the mean high-tide line. Waterfront property owners own the land up to the high-tide line. These property owners have the right to access the water, right to receive “accretions” from the water, and the right to an unobstructed view of the water. A property owner receives ownership of land gradually added to his/her land through accretion (i.e., land created by deposits naturally added from the water source); however, sudden changes causing additional dry land on a beach is an “avulsion” and the state retains the ownership of that property.”

Lopata v. Miller: Maryland Court Holds That Subagents of Seller Did Not Have Duty to Verify for Buyers Acreage Information Provided By Seller, (1998)

Articles in the ProQuest database:

Heinrich, J. & Kashian, R. (2010). Pricing the homebuyer’s proximity to open land. The Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 11.1: 80-88.

Wyman, D. & Sperry, S. (2010). The million dollar view: A study of golf course, mountain, and lake lots. The Appraisal Journal, 78.2: 159-168.

Clark, C. S. (2012). Hard sell. Government Executive, 44.5: 29-33.

Hoen, B., Wiser, R., Cappers, P., Thayer, M. & Sethi, G. (2011). Wind energy facilities and residential properties: The effect of proximity and view on sales prices. The Journal of Real Estate Research, 33.3: 279-316.

Cazzin, J. & Chapin, A. (2011). Dream city deals. MoneySense, 13.3: 69-72.

eBooks* in the NAR Library for free 21-day checkout to NAR members:

We also have numerous eBooks on sales and marketing topics, including this book, Selling Luxury by Robin Lent (2009). If you’re interested in checking out eBooks, first download the free Adobe Digital Editions software required to view/read eBooks.

Inman also has a few articles related to waterfront properties.

Books in the NAR Library’s print collection (accessible to all REALTORS®; order up to 3 at a time for a shipping fee of $10):

Remaking the urban waterfront (2004)

Waterfronts : cities reclaim their edge (1994)

Improving your waterfront: a practical guide (1980)

Kate Stockert

Information & Web Content Specialist at the National Association of REALTORS®

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  1. Waterfront property is not that common here in Scottsdale. But because it’s so unusual to see waterfront homes in the middle of the Sonoran desert it makes them that much more special.

    The uniqueness is reflected in both price and demand. Out of state buyers especially are enchanted by our beautiful lakefront homes.

    The main keys to marketing is to make sure the photography, Internet and print materials really capture the beauty of the lake. And help to set the lifestyle the owner can create for themselves.

    Hopefully I’ve achieved that goal with my latest Scottsdale waterfront home for sale.

  2. Kate

    Very cool insight, thanks for sharing Marta!

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