Professionals who understand the ag industry can help expedite the farmland sale process
By Kate Ayers
Given the high financial and emotional stakes involved, it is important to prepare thoroughly for the sale of a farm. As a result, producers should consider working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can provide the necessary expertise and support along the way.
“Real estate agents provide very valuable services for the marketing of your property and are bound by the code of ethics established and governed under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (2002),” said Erwin Meyer, a sales representative with Culligan Real Estate Ltd. in southwestern Ontario.
“Hiring a professional realtor gives you the peace of mind that you will be afforded competent, professional service for one of the most important transactions of your life.”
When a family considers selling their farm, this decision can be a difficult and sensitive one.
“Selling the farm can be a huge step for many families. It is where the family was raised and has usually been built up over the span of an entire lifetime,” Meyer says.
The farm “could very well be the family homestead going back generations. This decision can be a very emotional experience and careful thought needs to be given to the whole process. Find an agent who suits your personality and who understands your needs in order to help you navigate this delicate journey.”
As the sale of ag properties is a unique process, farmers should find agents who are familiar with these types of deals, Meyer said. Some agents may further specialize in specific types of farms, he added.
“Almost everyone has a relative or friend who deals in real estate. A very important question to ask is whether this particular person possesses the tools and specific knowledge to market your farm,” Meyer said.
Real estate agents should have “market knowledge of the industry you are in and have familiarity with your type of property as these aspects are very important to achieve the best possible result.”
An experienced agent can help farmers realize the full value of their properties.
“Your realtor can work with you at positioning your farm properly in the marketplace based on recent sales and current competing listings,” Meyer said.
“A good agent will be able to give you a comprehensive market evaluation of your property and provide you with guidance on how to prepare your property for marketing.” The agent “will also discuss different marketing options and approaches, as well as provide promotional material and venues.”
Farmers can contribute to the success of the process by doing some homework before meeting with their real estate agents.
“Having information on your property when you meet with a realtor can expedite the process,” Meyer said.
Detailed and “reliable information is important, as it enhances the agent’s ability to communicate the key specifications on your property to potential buyers. The more information that you can provide about your property, the better.”
Farmers can provide such information as tile maps, building measurements, recent tax bills and crop and herd production records, Meyer added.
An experienced agent can also ensure that farmers face minimal disruptions to daily operations and that visitors follow biosecurity protocols.
Overall, ag realtors can facilitate successful transactions.
“Once the team finds a qualified buyer, a farmer’s agent is there to guide him or her – in collaboration with his or her other professional advisers – on how to structure the deal,” Meyer said.
“In most cases, a farm sale is the disposal of your main asset and, since most people only do this once in a lifetime, it is vitally important to have an Agreement of Purchase and Sale that results in an exit strategy that will fulfill your goals and keep your transaction as tax efficient as possible.”