By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
You believe it’s time to sell your farm, and you want to make sure it’s done quickly and easily while maximizing your return and lowering your stress.
Farms.com has nine great tips that can help make that a reality.
1) Research the lingo
By research, we mean performing your due diligence to learn the language of real estate, which has its fair share of technical definitions.
If you know what escrow or tenancy is, or what a reverse mortgage is, you are better armed when talking with a real estate professional.
For the record, an escrow company is one acting as a neutral third-party to collect all necessary monies and documents involved in a closing process. Escrow, itself, is defined as the funds held in trust for a third-party.
It’s also okay if you do not know the lingo—but please discuss in advance with a real estate professional to inform you of all aspects of the sale.
Do not be afraid to ask questions.
2) Gather your property information
This means having a detailed list of everything on your property that will factor into the sale of your property. Since you, the seller, are unaware of just what is pertinent, think about everything.
Acreage, of course, but also the number of barns or storage areas while noting the size of each (W x L x H - always in this order) and the number of access doors, weatherproofing, an approximate but accurate description of condition, and the substrate materials, etc. If you know the date a structure was errected, even better.
1 - wood frame barn on stone base, 50' x 100' x 38', red with grey roof, one main double door 20' high, 1 - side access, loft for storage with ladder access at rear, rebuilt in 2005 with yearly upkeep. Has electrical set up and water capabilities. Used for tractor and equipment storage. Excellent condition.
In the above example, the barn does provide an electric power source, but not water, even though it could with a bit of work.
It also means compiling all water and electrical supplies and capacity, windmills, farmable land, noting if there is separation by a road or river or other properties. It should include fencing—by type and upkeep—as well as vehicles, tools, animals, crops, types of trees etc., with exact numbers of each.
Note any tenant or liens or even any problem issues such as flooding—basically anything you would want to be made aware of if you were purchasing any type of property. Obviously not everything will be used by a realtor, but it is best to be prepared.
Yes, taking detailed notes of a property to sell is the realtor’s domain, but making things easier for them provides a clearer path for them to get things rolling to sell for you quicker.
3) The Makeover
As soon as you decide you want to sell, it's also the time to begin fixing up the things around your property that could negatively affect a sale.
No one is telling you to get all new roofing on all the storage shed and barns, or to update the farmhouse kitchen. However, if property buildings are badly damaged or have termites, you should resolve the issue.
The same for tidying up the area. If you have stored rusting and partial vehicles all over your property, maybe now is the time to finally dispose of them properly.
Ensure fencing is at least passable. Get rid of brush. Mow the roads or areas near it.
Key to this endeavour, however, is to only fix things that absolutely need fixing that will provide value to a buyer.
You want to create curb appeal and you only get one chance to make a great first impression.
4) The Price is Right
This can be tricky, but you should have an idea of just how much your property is worth even before you plan on selling it.
You should already be aware of farm profitability and the value of any farm equipment you own. The location of the farm is also a factor.
To help you, there are specific farm valuators who will examine all aspects of your property to whet your expectation for future real estate dealings.
5) Size Matters
For those looking to sell their huge farmland and have an expected price in mind, note that it can limit the potential number of buyers.
The larger or even smaller the property can negatively affect the number of buyers interested in purchasing.
For the smaller farms, it's not that much of a problem as there are people from urban areas looking to partake of the country lifestyle. What property they choose not to use can be leased to local area farmers.
But for those with really large tracts of property, it can be a longer selling process.
Instead, consider selling multiple tracts of your land. It will slow down your efforts to divest yourself of all the property—so forget we mentioned it. But it is an option to gain more interested buyers.
6) Survey Says
You may think you know just how far your property extends and where it extends too, but your neighbours may have differing ideas.
For the sake of future family feuds, having a professional land survey performed shows a level of commitment to possible purchasers who are able to see the full scope of the property on a map, be it old-school or digital.
7) How to Sell
The obvious answer is to let the real estate agent worry about that, but this is your property, and you get to have an opinion. Do you want your property to be sold via auction or by a listing?
Each has its advantages.
An auction could be a quicker sale, then again you may not get the best price you envisioned. Placing a Buyer’s Premium on the sale may help stem off those hoping for a low-hanging fruit bargain.
Listing can be slower, but like an auction bidding wars can ensue, and you still maintain the right to sell when and if you choose.
Your real estate agent will be able to provide you with the best course of action to take.
8) Technology of Marketing
Although this sounds like the domain of the real estate professional, you can help yourself in your quest for a faster sale by utilizing technology.
How about applying drone aerial photography to show some of the scope of your farmland?
If you have access to a drone, and place the footage into a realtor’s hand, this could be a great way to visually stimulate would-be buyers.
9) Bring in the Professional
You are ready to sell, and have prepped the property to look its best—now it’s time to hire a real estate professional that a) your are comfortable with and trust, and b) knows the business of selling agricultural real estate.
It should never be as simple as doing an online search—you also need to talk to several professionals to get a better feel of how you believe they will work for you.
Word of mouth is also good. A positive experience achieved by someone you know can go a long way to allaying any trepidations about finding the right person to work with you.
Oh, and make sure you look for someone who knows your local part of the world.
Farms.com has a Canada-wide list of ag real estate professionals: https://www.farms.com/farm-real-estate/farm-real-estate-companies-and-agents/.
To help you get started, input your Postal Code or City, and our database will provide a listing of localized agents and/or companies.
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash