Property & Finance
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Bringing Curb Appeal to Your Cabin

Ensure your dream home finds the perfect new family.
By Ericka Olin
Published: April 16, 2010
Photo by © Elena Elisseeva,

Selling a home can be a challenge, and selling a cabin can prove even more complex. However, with a little preparation, you can successfully sell your second home – no matter the market.

The Wow Factor
Realtor Marjorie Nolan, co-owner of Kurilla Real Estate in Brainerd, Minn., attests to the importance of general maintenance, adding that presenting the “wow factor” is the most crucial part of selling a cabin. “Creating a winning first impression is the key in preparing to sell your property, regardless of what kind of property it is,” Nolan says. “First impressions are impossible to reproduce.”

Nolan recommends a number of cost-free ways to boost the appeal of your cabin as it goes on the market, including washing windows overlooking your view of the lake, woods or mountains, presenting inviting Adirondack chairs, putting the dock in and making the cabin feel open by clearing out clutter. Nolan advises her sellers to set up the cabin as though they were going to continue living there.
Three Things
Randy Robertson, owner and Vice President of Rush Creek Realty in De Soto, Wis., agrees with Nolan about the importance of first impressions. He says the key is not changing, but rather enhancing the ‘curb appeal,’ and even the ‘dock appeal’ in the case of a lake property.  

Robertson sees many similarities between selling a home and cabin, but says the biggest difference is the focus on cabin exteriors rather than home interiors.

The two most important exterior maintenance elements Robertson recommends to sellers are: re-staining or painting the cabin exterior and doing landscape maintenance.

Robertson says that staining, applying a fresh coat of sealer or painting is critical, especially for log cabins. “Buyers want to know that the seller liked the cabin enough to take care of it.“

When clearing brush, trimming trees and removing dead branches, lakeshore or riverside cabin owners may want to give equal attention to the water side of their retreats for those passersby who are checking out properties by boat.

And there’s a third maintenance project Robertson recommends to his clients: take care of the creepy crawlers that tend to find their way in while a cabin is vacant and on the market.

Both restaining or painting your cabin exterior and pest extermination should be done professionally, Robertson says, noting that these procedures can be relatively inexpensive, ranging from $300 to $400 – money that will come back to them at the sale.

Some of his clients who are selling are reluctant to spend money on a second home that will soon be someone else’s, but Robertson looks at it another way: “You want to put your best foot forward in selling something you love so much.”

Ericka Sell has known since her childhood that a little bit of cleaning can go a long way – especially when cookies and milk from Mom were at stake.

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