Saturday, August 20, 2011

Selling an Acreage Home? Mark a TRAIL!

Earlier this month, I was out showing homes to clients looking for acreage that would work for having horses. One home on a 20 acre parcel was perfect so we started to walk the land. On west side of the home was the mound septic system an a bit further west was a large pond that was at the very least 3 acres of the property. The backyard looked dry so we started there. Just a few feet beyond the trees the yard got boggy. So we couldn’t assess how dry the acres were. We assumed this property was mostly wet and made mental notes to check the aerial view from google maps. I noted the problem in the feedback and the agent responded the land had a huge and accessible meadow beyond the pond. My clients, after getting wet feet and seeing lots of swampland on google had no further interest.
This reminded me of a property I sold last year. I met with a homeowner to re-list his 35 acre, Anoka County property after being under contract with another agent for a year. As part of my job as an acreage REALTOR®, I walked with the seller around the house, through the barn and looked out the barn’s backdoor at the 35 acres of woods and wetland. Looking out the door, I asked if there was a path that goes through to the perimeter of the land so buyers could walk the property. He confirmed that there was but then said something else. “The previous agent never stepped one foot further beyond where you are standing now to see the land. I don’t think he wanted to get his shoes dirty. Wow! How do you sell a home on acreage without seeing what you are selling? Especially when you have had 12 months to take that walk! It was no surprise to me that the home did not sell.
Selling a home on acreage isn’t rocket science. But like rocket science, there is research and work involved. From getting the septic compliance checked to understanding what a Minnesota unique well number is, there are details that need to be reviewed when an acreage home is listed. It is kind of like staging the inside of the home. Marking a trail for the potential buyer to follow sets the stage for the buyer to fall in love with the entire package. A significant portion of an acreage home’s total value is often tied up in the value of the land. Buyers need to see the land, online and in person, in order for the home to sell.
When I listed that home, the photos I took were not only the basic interior and exterior shots, I took additional time and walked the land with the seller. During the tour of the land, I took photographs that showed the appeal of the acreage. He pointed out landmarks and details that would buyers would want to know about the property. I took photos from various points along the path. Interestingly, many of the potential buyers also walked the land with me and remarked that they remembered the shots as ones they saw on the internet. These pictures were important as they created excitement about the property and were photos that could never have been seen from the backdoor of the barn or home.
A short time later, the home was sold. Not to a buyer that I brought through the home and walked the property with. It was sold by another REALTOR® who was able to take his buyer along the mapped and marked trail through the acreage. the buyer’s agent thanked my clients for having a clearly marked trail and for providing a map at the home that showed the trail and property corner markers. He said it was a big help for the buyer to make his decision about the property.