Expert in Selling Land
If you could give someone looking to sell their land 5 pieces of advice, what would they be and why?
Hire a Commercial Real Estate Broker that specializes in Land.
It is a unique and complex type of Real Estate, and most Real Estate agents know very little about it. A Commercial Agent that specializes in Land will understand better how to evaluate the land, how to confirm availability of utilities, they have a working knowledge of zoning ordinances and possibilities for rezoning, and they can look at the land through the eyes of a Developer to see what expenses are involved in making the property work. I have developed subdivisions, I can see the land and it’s issues through the eyes of the Developer/builder. As an example of hiring the wrong agent, I’ve seen listings where the agent is talking about how the beautiful streams on the property enhance the value…in fact the opposite is true, creeks are typically a big negative to developers due to loss of buildable land and the expense to cross one, provided you can get permission to cross it.
20 acres on one side of the street can be dramatically different from 20 acres on the other side. For example let’s say Mr. Smith has 20 acres on the South side of the road is relatively flat, has no creeks or streams, and all utilities are on site, including sewer. Let’s assume his property is zoned R20 and is in a desirable location where houses are selling in the 500s, and his land just sold for $80,000 an acre. Now, Mr. Johnson owns the 20 acres across the street and gets dollar signs in his eyes, thinking his land is worth $80,000 an acre. Well, Mr. Johnson’s 20 acres slopes dramatically from the road to the back of the property, with no access to sewer. He also has a beautiful creek dividing his property on a diagonal, and it has the most beautiful picnic spot with these big flat rocks you can picnic on jutting out into the creek…His land is also zoned R20…but it’s not worth $80,000 an acre. The land won’t yield as many lots because it has to be septic instead of sewer, there’s obviously rock on the property, we can see that at the creek, so the soil may not perc well and construction costs could be much higher….that beautiful creek? You have to provide a 75′ buffer on both sides, total of 150′ buffer…that creek is over 1000 ft long, so that’s 150,000 sq’ of land you can’t build on…over three acres..So, compare Apples to Apples – is my YIELD the same? Mr. Smith can put about 35 homes on his property, and they’ll be on sewer…Mr. Johnson might not get half that many..
Selling land, especially larger tracts, can take time. If it is necessary to go through a re-zoning to get the maximum price for your land you could easily be looking at 9 months to a year from contract to Closing. Zoning is a complicated process, and their are community organizers trying to stand in the way of many re-zonings, so the negotiations can be very time consuming.
I can get you more money than that offer you got in the mail…Quick example – I sold a piece for a Seller many many years ago, and I represented the Seller as my Client. It was an 80 acre piece in Cobb County, and I got my Seller $36,000 an acre. After we closed on it the Buyer (Developer) asked me if I could inquire about the adjacent 40 acres that fronted on the same road…it was apples to apples, same utilities, same yield, same topo…Now this time I’m representing the Buyer. Remember, we just closed next door at $36,000 an acre…I got the additional 40 acres for $30,000 an acre…Always hire a Broker.
Land values, like other real estate, are cyclical. When demand for “for sale” housing is high then obviously the demand for land is high and prices increase. We saw land prices fall dramatically in 2007/8 when the economy tanked. Values are back now, demand is high, and it is an excellent window in time to sell your property.
Serving those in the Northwest Metro Atlanta Area
Little About Me
Were there any significant memories that shaped you to being the man you are today?
In 1991 I got married, opened a restaurant, and built a house…no pressure! My parents were both twice divorced and my wife’s parents were divorced as well. We took the commitment of marriage very seriously, and still do 27 years later. My wife, my marriage really, reinforced in me the desire to do the right thing, to be honest, to honor my commitments. My wife has always supported me in my endeavors, she is without doubt the most positive influence in my life.
When did you first realize you were exceptional at land sales specifically, and would you please describe in some detail this time in your life?
Working at Vantage properties I developed a passion for land. Technology was nothing compared to today, and we would literally ride around and knock on doors. I spent time with surveyors, land planners, engineers, and site crews, involving myself in as many steps of the process from raw land to subdivision as possible. It’s very fulfilling to go from contract, through Zoning, planning, and development of the land. We would research the tax plats all day, then the next day we would drive and look at land. We had to walk the properties to identify issues such as rock, streams, or topographic issues. Everyday we started early and worked late, meeting people and making offers on their land. Most of this due diligence can now be done on line…over time I developed relationships with the local government employees who are responsible for overseeing all aspects of development, from hydrology studies to Land Disturbance Permits to recording final plats and finally permitting the construction of houses – as well as relationships with Zoning Attorneys, local and National Builders, and Developers.
Contact me if either has happened
I’m able to help guide you through the pitfalls of inheriting land; prepare you for taxes, or understand your obligations as a new land owner
If you’re considering selling your land rather than passing it on, or you would rather bequeath the money from the sale rather than the land itself