How to sell a vacation home with Vacasa Real Estate

What to expect when selling a vacation home, and vacation home real estate insights to ensure you sell for true value

Selling a vacation home with Vacasa is different from selling a primary residence with a traditional real estate agent. In the vacation rental real estate market, your buyers probably aren’t community members, and they may be just as interested in a property’s cap rate as they are in its curb appeal.

In both traditional real estate and vacation rental real estate, location is the number one factor influencing your home sale. But, in vacation rental real estate, you’re not just selling a home on the beach (or in the mountains, on the lake, etc.). You’re selling a business opportunity in a vacation destination, rich with amenities and distinct cultural draws. This distinction changes the stakes, steps, and skills involved in your sale.

Here’s what to expect when you sell your vacation home with a Vacasa agent:

1. Share vacation home selling goals and set expectations

Every seller has their own reasons and their own goals for selling a vacation home. Still, your decision to sell should be as informed as your decision was to buy.

Together, we explore these and other questions:

  • Has your lifestyle changed, suggesting that it’s time to sell the vacation home?
  • Are you looking to divest your portfolio and sell off an investment property?
  • Is the home part of an inheritance, and you’re concerned about maintenance?
  • Are you renting out the home but not meeting your financial goals?
  • Are you looking to do a 1031 exchange for a more comfortable vacation home?
  • What are the advantages and options for making the property available to guests during the sale?

Our vacation home sellers often discover they have more choices, and more potential to earn top dollar, than they initially realized.

2. Prioritize vacation home repairs and improvements

To earn true value for your home, you need to bring it to market ready to rent. Our agents work with you to complete pre-sale inspections, identify critical repairs, and prioritize any improvements.

This pre-work eliminates surprises

85% of home buyers who apply for a mortgage will request an inspection. In fact, many lenders require them (and nearly 75% of vacation home buyers plan to finance their purchase).* Yet, most sellers wait for the buyer to initiate and pay for an inspection, even though the inspection report can make or break your deal. You don’t want to find yourself in a blind spot or hung up on a detail that could have been avoided.

Local expertise pays off

Inspection processes and code requirements in vacation destination markets vary greatly from those in locations where owners reside. Your local agent will have on-the-ground experience with the unique regulations, building codes, and common inspection issues in their markets. They also have valuable firsthand experience with everything from climate considerations (like mold) and severe weather issues (like hurricanes or ice storms), to pest concerns (like termites) and geographical or geological events (like fire, seismic, or tsunami exposures).

Local real estate agents can anticipate or resolve flash points that sometimes emerge during an inspection and assessment of the condition of your vacation home.

Pre-inspections can save you money—and headaches

With a pre-inspection, you reduce the risk factors in your sale before your home ever hits the vacation rental real estate market. Our agents share their expert insights and network of trustworthy vendors, so you can prioritize repairs and improvements—then perform them up front, on your terms. You can even potentially pay for those repairs with guest revenue if your home is operating as a short-term rental during your sale.

an interior decorator placing a painting on a bedroom wall

3. Stage your vacation home for sale

Staging reduces the number of days your home is on the market and protects your list price.

Nationwide, three out of four homes on the market for longer than one month will sell for less than their list price (Source: Zillow, 2017). It only makes sense: the longer a home sits on the market, the less valuable it’s perceived to be, and the price drops.

That’s why staging is so important. Staging invites buyers to imagine the home’s potential in ways an empty space, or an overly personalized space, does not. When done well, staging creates an emotional, human scale to a space, illustrating its usability and value without over-personalizing the home.

17% more

Staged homes sell for 17% more than comparable unstaged homes.

(Source: Washington Realtors, 2016)

1000% ROI

Sellers who spend 1–3% of their home's value on staging see a 1000% ROI.

(Source: Washington Realtors, 2016)

Staging is easy

If Vacasa already manages your property, it’s likely we’ve already staged your home to leverage photos for your vacation rental listing.

If you’re selling with Vacasa, but we haven’t managed or listed your vacation property on, this could be the perfect time to stage your home and begin property management services. Vacation rental sales cycles vary from market to market, and if you can earn income on your property during your sale, you’re in a real position of strength. Plus, according to our 2019 Vacation Rental Buyers Report, 96% of vacation rental buyers prefer to buy in markets they’ve already traveled to. Your buyer could easily be a guest who falls in love with your vacation home and makes an offer during or shortly after their stay.

4. Price your vacation home for sale

Vacation home buyers have all the time in the world to search for their next, right investment. Your buyers know their markets, and they can be unmoved by emotions when homes are priced above market value.

That’s why you’ve got to price appropriately. A poorly priced home can kill your chances the moment your buyers take a closer look. With a properly priced listing, you can catch a buyer’s interest quickly and trigger a full-value offer.

How we reduce risk with vacation home pricing

Our local expertise and data-driven insights inform pricing decisions, so you can attract the most buyers in the shortest amount of time possible. We will also provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), pulling properties comparable to yours in the surrounding area to set proper expectations on pricing, and to support pricing your property correctly the first time.

Your listing price comes together by balancing these elements:

  • Your Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
  • Your home’s title information and property insights
  • Historical short-term revenue data (for homes managed by Vacasa)
  • Short-term rental income potential
  • The current condition of your home
  • The value communicated through home staging
  • Seasonal influences

If you’re currently a Vacasa homeowner, we also use your data to optimize the timing of your sale. There’s a sweet spot in your local market where you can sell your home at the right time—and keep the most revenue in hand.

Remember, in the end, buyers decide on the value of your home. You decide how to set up your home to compete, and win, against other homes for sale.

5. Win with targeted vacation rental real estate marketing and exposure

We’re here to help put your home’s best face forward and attract more vacation home buyers ready to offer your property’s full value.

Your unique target markets

Remember, vacation rental sales are different from traditional primary residence listings. Typically, your buyers come from two market segments:

In-market visitors

Remote investors

Your in-market visitor is more driven by emotion. They may own a primary residence within driving distance to your market. Or, they’ve traveled to your market once or more, and they’d like to take more vacations (or retire) there.

In-market visitors are often short-term rental guests themselves, they get excited about the vacation homes they’re staying in, and they’re ready to buy your home (or another one like it).

Remote investors are more driven by logic. They live some distance away and may rarely, if ever, come stay at the home. For them, this is more of a financial investment that supports other lifestyle goals while adding a nice vacation property to their portfolio.

The most important details are proof of historical revenue, professional photos, and a pre-listing inspection report with receipts for completed repairs.

Vacation rental real estate marketing exposure

As a global brand with local, on-the-ground market expertise, our marketing is beautiful, targeted, and effective. We manage an exclusive list of vacation home buyers in both U.S. and international markets, and we keep those leads engaged.

Here’s an outline of the real estate marketing exposure that Vacasa is proud to offer:

  • High-quality For Sale yard signage
  • In-home property flyers
  • Historical rental data
    • Note: we have this data at our fingertips; it can take other brokerages two weeks to bring this data (of dubious accuracy) to market.
  • MLS listing syndication
  • Vacation home-focused MLS listing
  • Free professional photography
  • Showings coordinated to optimize sales opportunities and vacation rental bookings
  • Global and local networks of vacation rental real estate experts and partner vendors
  • International brand recognition and real estate team support
  • Targeted vacation rental buyer marketing, including event, digital, print, email, content, and direct mail marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Digital marketing

Maximizing vacation rental buyer exposure and proving value

In a vacation home market, it’s key to expose guests and tourists to your listing. After all, they’re often the people more likely to buy your home. At Vacasa, we maximize this exposure by marketing your property to the guests staying in your for-sale unit, as well as to guests staying in other homes in or near your market.

As the largest vacation rental property management team in North America, we host over a million guests in properties like yours every year. Our property management team seamlessly coordinates with you and your real estate agent to customize your booking calendar for maximum income, while still allowing showings and avoiding bookings that might take place post-closing.

With no long-term contracts and no caps on personal use, it’s easy to open your home to short-term vacation rental guests and increase your property’s visibility to those potential home buyers. After all, your property management team will keep your home in top condition while seamlessly integrating guest bookings with showings. And the property will not sit vacant, reducing possible risks to your home (theft, squatting, weather damage, unseen HVAC or plumbing issues, etc.).

If you decide to keep the pipeline of vacation rental bookings open and your buyer decides to continue property management services with us, these reservations will simply transfer to the new owner (if they work with Vacasa) as part of the turnkey sale. If a new buyer is not interested in renting out the home, talk to your real estate agent about negotiating the cost of moving reservations into your closing costs.

6. Negotiate the vacation home sale

With the guidance from our expert vacation rental real estate agents, your home is positioned for negotiations based on your decision to accept, decline, or discuss counter offers. Vacasa agents are accustomed to negotiating deals with buyers and sellers both in your local market and in remote locations, and we are proactive, committed partners from start to finish. We’re here for you and will always work to get you the best price possible.

But remember, negotiations don’t start once you receive an offer. Negotiations start before your home is even listed—by having your home ready to sell before it hits the market, you have created a strong starting negotiation position for yourself.

7. Manage contingencies and finalize your vacation home sale

There can be several contingencies when working with a non-cash offer, and a few twists and turns during the escrow period. Your real estate agent can guide you through this waiting period, advise you on the pros and cons of managing contingencies in a certain way, and keep you in the know as the deal moves from agreement into escrow and, ultimately, closing.

It’s not uncommon for there to be contingencies around buyer financing, appraisal considerations, any unresolved titling issues, and, of course, your inspection results. (This is the time when your pre-inspection can really pay off, and your local agent’s expertise will prove invaluable. With agent insight into local regulations, building standards, and community infrastructure, it can be much easier to reach agreements and resolve contingencies swiftly.)

8. Sign paperwork and hand over the keys

When it’s time to close the books on the sale, we’ll be there to guide you through the final paperwork, including signing over your mortgage (if there is one), transferring the deed, and handing over the keys.

Congratulations, the deal is closed! We’ll look forward to supporting you (and your kind referrals) with vacation rental real estate or property management services in the days to come.

Sell your vacation home smarter

Ready to list? Our certified vacation home experts are ready to showcase the full value of your home, attract the right buyers, and earn you top dollar.

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.