What Is My Northern Michigan Waterfront House Worth | How to Determine the Value of Your Property Plus Tips on How to Raise It Before You Sell

Navigating through the real estate market, especially in sought-after locations like Traverse City Waterfront Property and Leelanau County Waterfront Property, can be a complex journey. Understanding the value of your home and how to enhance it before placing it on the market is crucial for a successful sale. Let’s delve into the essential steps and strategies to ensure you get the best possible price for your waterfront home.

Understanding Property Value in Prime Locations

When it comes to Traverse City Waterfront Homes and Leelanau County Waterfront Homes, the value is often significantly influenced by both the property’s intrinsic qualities and its coveted location. The proximity to water, the tranquility, and the potential for recreational activities are just a few factors that can inflate a property’s worth.

To determine the value of your waterfront property, consider the following aspects:

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Analyze the sale prices of similar properties in your area. Pay attention to homes with similar square footage, amenities, and nature of the waterfront property (for example, these factors influence waterfront property valuation)
    • Does a road separate the home from the waterfront property?  
    • Is there a sizable sandy beach?
    • How many feet of frontage on the Lake does the property have?, etc. 
  • Professional Appraisal: Hiring a professional appraiser who has experience with waterfront properties in areas like Traverse City and Leelanau County can provide an accurate valuation.
  • Online Valuation Tools: While not as accurate as a professional appraisal, online tools can give a rough estimate of your property’s worth, especially when you’re in the initial stages of considering a sale.

My dad used to have a warning for me.  He’d say, “Sander, you’re taking that tool beyond its intended use.”  It’s important to understand the respective “intended uses” of the previously mentioned valuation tools.  Appraisals are great for when you need a valuation to “prove value” to the IRS, in the case of inheriting property (check out my Inheriting Real Property (Real Estate)?  How an Appraisal Can Save You BIG $ in Capital Gains). But if you’re thinking about selling your property, a Comparative Market Analysis by a Real Estate Professional is likely to be more useful.  Realtors just have a better pulse on the market today and where it’s going than appraisers.  Plus, real estate agents usually perform a CMA for a client for no cost.  Lastly, an online valuation tool’s best use is if you’re really not serious about selling your home but rather want to compare your home’s value against your neighbor or if you want to just look at general trends.  Online valuation tools are not accurate enough that it makes sense for people to base important decisions about their home on them. 

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Tips to Elevate the Value of Your Waterfront Property

1. Enhance the View and Accessibility to the Water

The primary allure of Traverse City Waterfront Property and Leelanau County Waterfront Property is the proximity to the water. Ensure that the view is unobstructed and that there is easy access to the water. Consider adding a dock or a boathouse if one does not already exist.

2. Invest in Landscaping

A well-maintained garden and outdoor area can significantly boost the aesthetic appeal and value of your property. Consider incorporating native plants and creating outdoor living spaces that allow potential buyers to envision themselves enjoying the surroundings.

3. Update and Repair

Ensure that all parts of the home, especially those exposed to the harsher waterfront weather, are in excellent condition. This might involve repairing any water damage, updating the exterior paint, and ensuring that all structural elements are sound.

4. Highlight Waterfront Living in Your Marketing

When it’s time to sell, ensure that your marketing materials emphasize the benefits of waterfront living. High-quality photos and descriptions should highlight not only the property itself but also the lifestyle that comes with living in Traverse City Waterfront Homes or Leelanau County Waterfront Homes.

5. Work with a Specialized Real Estate Agent

Engaging a real estate agent who specializes in waterfront properties in your area can be pivotal. Their expertise and knowledge of the market will guide you through pricing, marketing, and negotiating the sale effectively.  Be sure to explore whether the realtor uses target marketing as part of the overall marketing campaign for your property.


Determining and enhancing the value of your waterfront property, especially in prime locations like Traverse City and Leelanau County, requires a strategic approach and an understanding of the unique factors that influence waterfront real estate. By focusing on the view, ensuring the property is in top condition, and leveraging the expertise of specialized professionals, you can maximize the return on your investment and navigate the selling process with confidence and success.

Remember: The allure of waterfront living is timeless and consistently sought after. Ensuring your property encapsulates all the beauty and convenience that buyers are seeking will position you favorably in the market.

Turn Your Dream Home Into Reality with Sander Scott!

Contact us today to discover unparalleled service and expertise in finding the property that perfectly matches your lifestyle.