Land sales have been an investment lure that paid off for many buyers over the centuries. A tract in the middle of the desert became Las Vegas. A swamp in Florida was turned into Disney World. Selling rural land successfully takes more than sticking a For Sale sign into the ground. A landowner with foresight and a willingness to produce a sales package that is market-oriented and accompanied by a logical price, will find success in selling his rural land.
Make sure everyone who’s on title for the land agrees that selling is the best option. Understand your financial objectives and purposes for the sale. Designate one person to handle the sale and be the go-to person, if several owners are involved. Agree that a consensus must be reached before proceeding with the sale.
Meet with a local land sales real estate agent to get a sense of the market. Get his opinion of price, how many parcels he’s sold the past year, what negatives may affect the land market and what he’s heard about future land development. Speak with your local land bank and tell the lender what you’ve learned. Ask if he agrees with the agent’s opinion or if he has suggestions of other agents who may accomplish your sale. Attend a meeting of local landowners, the Chamber of Commerce, or other community groups to hear their predictions and suggestions.
Hire an independent land appraiser to evaluate the property. Speak with your local zoning board to understand the possibilities your land may hold, or actions that may derail a buyer. Ask the local utility boards what the cost would be to install gas, electricity and even roads, if development is your intention.
Consider financing the sale of the land yourself. Speak with your lender to get guidance on this and an attorney to protect your interests. Use local guidelines for land acquisition and seller financing.
Select a real estate agent who is comfortable to work with, agrees to do the marketing and offers proof of what he’s done. Clear the land of debris and make it presentable. Post a professionally designed sign with appropriate telephone numbers. Meet with the agent every two weeks to discuss progress on the sale, or changes that must be made to encourage buyers.
Consider the existing timber or other income-producing vegetation growing on the property and decide whether you want to clear the land, sell the timber, or sell the land with the vegetation. Do the same if mineral rights are involved. Get soil, geology and groundwater studies done to add to the property profile. Understand your tax consequences of the sale as land is not depreciable.
Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.