Don't just list your rural land with an agent in 2011, sell it! If you own rural land in Alabama and are thinking of putting the property on the market, here are a few things you can do to increase the odds of a sell in the new year.
I believe that in the current market of rural land sales, at least in Alabama, there are two main considerations that will help you sell your land: price and marketing.
1. Choose the right listing agent. Do your homework when selecting an agent to list your rural property. Interview a couple of prospects and ask them questions about properties in your specific market. You want an agent that has the pulse of the rural land market in your area.
In Alabama residential agents are allowed to sell rural tracts, but not all of them have the expertise to guide you to a successful close. Hire a land professional when selling rural land. I have had residential agents ask me what a "perc test" is because their client wanted to know if the property was suitable for building a home. If you are dealing with an agent in matters of rural land and they don't know about "perc tests", you need to find a new agent.
People ask me if I list houses. I tell them emphatically that I would make a horrible residential agent. If they could hear how much my wife gets onto me for wearing muddy shoes into my house, they would know what a bad decision that would be. I focus on what I know. Find an agent that does the same.
2. Pricing– Buyers in this market are extremely savvy compared with purchasers from a few years ago. People are spending time researching prospective properties, comparing prices, and seem to understand more about the rural land market in general. They are educating themselves on all aspects of a deal by reading articles on websites like landthink.com.
In this market it is important to list your property at the right price as soon as it comes on the market. I have heard numerous times, "Let's price it here and see what happens." The problem with the "wait and see" mentality is that it adds days on the market, and often there is a stigma attached to hearing that a property has been on the market for 18 to 24 months. Prospective buyers want to know, "What is wrong with that land for it to be on the market that long?"
It is better to come out of the gate with a fair and accurate price, than to try to test the waters with an unjustifiably high pricetag. I tell my clients that we will know within a few months what the market thinks about our price, because I can guarantee their property will get exposure to buyers. How buyers respond shows me what they think of the value relative to the price. We need to be prepared to adjust the price according to what the market dictates.
3. Marketing– Exposure is everything right now. Your land needs to be in front of every potential buyer of rural land to make sure that you get the best chance at making a sale. Agents need to have a multi-pronged strategy of marketing your land. The most essential element in a marketing plan is how extensively the property will be advertised on the Internet.
Recent National Association of Realtor and Landthink.com statistics reveal that over 85% of land buyers begin their property search online. Your agent needs to spread a wide net to catch the attention of everyone who is looking for properties similar to yours. There are websites devoted exclusively to advertising rural land, and your tract needs to be on these sites.
Ask an agent how they will advertise your land. Then find out what specific land sites your property will be on. You will get the most exposure for rural land on landsofamerica.com, landwatch.com, and landflip.com. Additionally it will help if you choose an agent that has a web log or blog about rural land in your general area. You want someone who knows how to be an evangelist for your land.
These are some key considerations for getting your land on the "sold" list in 2011. Don't just list it, sell it. If you need help selling your rural land in Alabama, please contact me. AlaLandCo has the "know-how" and the tools to help you sell your land, even in a slow market. Trust Alabama's land professionals with your next land transaction.