Selling land or small lots? Would you like to get more for your property and sell it faster? Then there are three important things you should do.
My very first piece of real estate was two-and-a-half acres adjoining some state land in northern Michigan. I paid $3,500 for it. Land was cheap back then. I sold it for $4,750 just two weeks later. I'm convinced that selling land so easily, and for 35% more than I paid, was due to three things.
Prepare The Land
I carried the broken branches off to a corner of the property, out of sight. I put together a simple wooden bench from used lumber, and set it up overlooking a valley behind the property. I raked leaves away from the front of the property. Finally, I took several logs that were laying on the land and arranged them as borders where a driveway might go. I raked out this area, and even spent a few minutes leveling it with a shovel. When I was done, a car could easily pull in.
Perhaps real estate investors can see beyond the piles of old stumps, the garbage on the ground or the rusty fence. They may imagine what the property will look like. However, do you want to limit your market to those who have good imaginations? Why not help potential buyers see the properties potential. All it took in this case was a few hours, and even if you pay someone to do these things it will be worth it.
Mark The Property Lines
When I was first looking at land to buy, I clearly remember that if I wasn't clear what the boundaries were on a piece of land, I often just dropped it from my list. Are those bushes on the land, or is that gully? Sorry, but I can't visualize from a legal description, and I am certain that others have the same problem too.
Selling my own land, I resolved this issue by finding the corner markers in the ground. Two sides of the land were along roads, but it was hard to see where the other two property lines were. I cut thirty sticks and, using my own crude surveying tool, tapped them into the ground along the lines and quickly spray-painted the tops white. I put them several feet inside the lines, just to be safe. I also let the buyer know these were not official survey markers.
The purpose is clear. I wasn't there when the buyer walked the land, yet he clearly could see the markers, and he knew what he was buying. It took me a couple hours. You could do it faster with sting, perhaps, with little flags tied to it. On a larger piece of land, pay for a survey, and let the surveyor know you want the markings to be obvious.
Sell Land With Financing
The secret to getting that 35% bump in value in two weeks wasn't just the afternoon I spent preparing and marking the land. It was also the way I sold it. My hand-painted sign said "For Sale: 2.5 acres. $4,750, $250 down, $100 per month." The couple who bought the land thought it was overpriced. Of course, they also fell in love with it and paid my full asking price. What choice did they have with only a few hundred dollars in their bank account?
Offer financing when you sell (if you can). It's the single easiest way to add value, and get a higher price. In fact, you can make money just buying lots, marking them up 25% and selling them on easy terms. A house sold this way can be trashed and worth less if you have to take it back, but land is safer. Also, selling land this way means you can get 11% interest on the balance, as I did in this case.