Be A Savvy Seller – Get Top Dollar!

Some landowners never learn. They overprice their land without benefit of clear title, deeded rights-of-way, road frontage, marketable timber and other amenities in demand by buyers.

So, how do savvy sellers manage to get top dollar from their properties? First, they make certain their agent has a history of exposing properties to the maximum number of potential buyers. Next, they make a special effort to offer their land in peak condition.

Most buyers feel it is appropriate for sellers to furnish a recent physical survey of their property, with all corners and boundaries painted and marked. After all, they reason, they should receive assurances that they are getting what they pay for, i.e. in the form of a survey. “Fortunately, for sellers here in the mountains, the buyer is responsible for paying for the survey.  This is not a legal requirement, but nevertheless the custom.  Although it is always a negotiable item, it is both customary, and our experience over the past 26 years, that the buyer, if they want a new survey, pays for it.”

Condition of the property is vital to attracting top dollar too. Fields and meadows should be neatly mowed or bush-hogged with driveways scraped and shaped up for easy riding. Trails and timber roads should be cleared of brush, downed trees, and other obstacles to facilitate buyer showings.

Sellers also understand the value of offering owner financing on their property. This makes it easy for interested buyers to say YES! Unimproved mountain land is not the collateral of choice for most banks. When asked to loan, they often require a large downpayment. Buyers may also face substantial unattractive closing costs charged by the lender.

Landowners often find that two factors improve their chances of achieving the most beneficial sale. First, they must price their property fairly. Second, having done so, they should offer attractive seller financing. Downpayments in the 20-25% range are common with the balance payable over a number of years at below bank rates, i.e. 8%-9%. Seller financing plays a vital role in attracting buyers. Because cash sales are infrequent, many sales depend on it.


Elevations And Their Effect On Value

Why is it that land in Watauga and Ashe counties may sell for hundreds, and even thousands of dollars more per acre than land in Wilkes or Caldwell counties? The answer is elevation, elevation, and elevation.

The higher above sea level a property is located, the more spectacular the views. Also, temperatures drop 3° for every 1,000 feet of elevation. A property at 4,400 feet in Avery County could be as much as 9° cooler than one in Western Wilkes on the 4th of July.

High mountain streams tend to tumble over the rocks with more energy too, and the fresh summer breezes at higher elevations are enough to tickle the fancy of any flatlander. Air conditioning is rarely required above 3,000′.

In short, properties at higher elevations excite the interest of buyers, which in turn increases the demand for such tracts. The higher the demand, the higher the price buyers consider fair.

While elevation is not the sole determining factor of price, it is a major factor.

Dot.Com – Why Buyers Surf The World Wide Web

Infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were once asked why they robbed banks. Their answer? “That’s where the money is!” Land buyers are now saying the same thing about the World Wide Web. That’s where the land can be found!

“We’ve been spending one to two hours every night on the Web looking for property!” That’s what one prospective buyer told us this week.

One property owner has just sold 900 acres of prime mountain land, because the buyer, a Florida developer, found the large tract on the Internet. The owner’s real estate broker maintains a wide-ranging website with complete details and photos of every mountain property for sale.

Buyers understand the Internet, and are quickly learning that they can find their next land purchase right on their computer.

Does the property owner need a computer or have to understand the Internet to gain the benefit of 24-hour-a-day exposure on the World Wide Web? Not at all! Property owners need only be certain their broker can offer this service. Most sellers now ask whether their real estate broker is prepared to offer their land on the Internet. It is fast becoming the most essential element of any land marketing plan.

Take a closer look at the properties on “”. Properties are more likely to sell quickly and at the best possible price when exposed to a wide audience of prospective buyers.

Put Those Ducks In A Row

Most land buyers make their purchase decision based on pure emotion – backed up by factual information. As the seller, you can make it easy for them to be excited about your land, resulting in an early sale at the best possible price.

Try these techniques:

  • Clean up road banks
  • Clear logging roads
  • Offer seller financing on attractive terms
  • Provide a current survey
  • Offer “topo” maps
  • Provide aerial photos
  • Bushhog open areas
  • Provide “out-of-season” photos
  • Provide easy access

When pride-of-ownership is evident, and buyers are provided sufficient facts and figures upon which to base their buying decision, a sale will quickly take place.


Peaks Or Valleys – Which Sells Best?

What do buyers look for in a large land tract? Most say they want long range views and a valley with a stream through the middle. Few properties offer both.

In truth, most buyers are either “view” people or “valley & stream” people. They make their purchase decision based on one or the other, but rarely both.

If you have property to sell, it is vital that the property be analyzed to determine its greatest appeal. If it offers dramatic vistas from several high ridges, it should be promoted to the “view” buyers of the world.

If the property lies low with numerous hollows, springs, and a stream, it can be presented to the “valley” people as secluded and protective.

The more well-defined the features, the greater the value which may be added as a result. The exception would be rough, severe, and rocky land.

When selling, expect your broker to implement a thorough, effective marketing plan based on careful analysis of your property. It WILL get results.

Big Tract Land Buyers

Want to sell 100 acres or more? You’ll have to attract an entirely different class of buyer than the person who typically buys homes or small tracts.

Here are a few tips for attracting large tract land buyers:

Be Visible

You must expose your property to a wide audience of prospects from many walks of life. Big tract land buyers may be families, timber buyers, non-profit organizations, investors, developers, or bargain-hunters. Newspaper ads, signs, direct mail campaigns, and the World Wide Web are but a few sources of buyers.

Be Accessible

Buyers must be able to reach you 24 hours a day by phone, cellular phone, FAX, and E-mail. They don’t leave messages on recorders, and rarely try a “no answer” twice. When choosing an agent to represent you, make certain they are “wired” for 24/7 service.

Be Informative

Large tract land buyers often make fast decisions, but only when they have enough information to do so. They’re interested in price, terms, topography, elevations, vegetation, property taxes, timber and accessability. Be sure to provide a brochure complete with comprehensive details, maps, topos, and surveys.

Be Available

Be willing to meet buyers anytime of day or night, and be prepared to walk property lines for hours on end – in any kind of weather. Buyers won’t be impressed if they can’t be shown the boundaries.


High Price Promise

. . .If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The promise of a high sale price for your land is a tired old tune. While it can be very tempting to list your property with whomever makes the promise – don’t!

Sure it sounds good when you’re promised the moon, but buyers comparison shop and recognize a fair value. If you’ve listed your property high, three things can happen:

1. The property will attract no offers whatsoever. Remember, buyers comparison shop.

2. Prospective buyers, after inspecting your property, will purchase another property offering greater value. Again, they compare – and buy elsewhere.

3. After languishing on the market for months or even years, your property may attract buyers offering substantially less, possibly taking the final sale price well below fair market value.

List only with the broker who offers written proof of your property’s value, combined with the most innovative, imaginative, aggressive marketing plan you’ve seen anywhere.

The single most important factor in attracting the highest sale price possible is exposure to the greatest number of potential buyers. To accomplish that, your broker must be able to demonstrate a high degree of marketing skill, combined with the use of today’s worldwide high-tech internet exposure.

Yes – please PLEASE, be wary of false promises. Listing at high prices may satisfy you momentarily, but will do little to help you achieve a satisfactory final sale.

Top 5 Questions Buyers Ask About Land

Here are the five questions land buyers ask most often that can have an effect on land value:

1.Does it have road frontage or a deeded-right-of-way? Buyers want easy and unlimited access to their property. Property without road frontage or deeded access is difficult to sell.

2.Has there been a recent survey? Buyers expect sellers to provide a survey. It is required for title insurance. Buyers also reason that boundary lines should be clearly marked and proven.

3.Will the seller finance? Lenders often require substantial downpayments on large unimproved land tracts making purchases difficult. Owners willing to finance are more likely to sell.

4.Does it have a stream or spring? Water on a property is like magic to buyers, whom picture tumbling mountain streams. Springs can be a pure drinking water source, too. The more water the better.

5.Does it have timber? Marketable timber on a property adds value and can be the determining factor to many buyers. Cutover land is less desirable, and invariably invites a lower price offer.

Successfully selling land is greatly influenced by perceived land value, which in turn is affected by factors such as whether road frontage exists, among other things.