Blog: R.E. Tales
(Hey, they all can't be pretty...)
There is always good demand for acreage. People tend to prefer water, a mixture of open and wooded land, and a view when they can get all three on one parcel. On something below 20 acres, we seem to have a harder time interesting our clientele, though last year we sold quite a few more than usual in this category.. So every year is different, with new surprises.
Also, keep in mind that nearly all statistics in real estate refer to the home-on-a-small-lot market, not to the kind of property that we specialize in. It is easy to be misled by what you read in the papers and online. That said, we always have demand for such property. It slacks off in the depths of winter but stays pretty steady during the rest of the year. Sometimes it picks up in the Fall, but not always. (Think: hunters.)
Time to contract varies wildly. While we have sold them very fast, and certainly did last year, usually they take considerably longer than homes. Two factors come into play; the price selected being the biggest by far. But secondly is luck. Luck comes in two forms, good and bad and no one knows which they will have.
Let me say more about pricing. This is true with pretty much everything, and it’s very prevalent with acreage: Sellers don’t really know what to charge but they have heard of high prices and see no reason why their property won’t bring what they heard someone else got. Of course theirs is always nicer – to them. We hope it is to the buyers as well. Fortunately, the opposite is usually not true, meaning buyers do not hear of some giveaway price and expect to go out and find something like that. Still, the cheaper ones they read about are the ones they tend to remember; it’s human nature.
A decade or so ago, the real estate market famously crashed. Usually when that happens it doesn’t affect us much, hardly noticeable. Only that time it did, to a much larger degree than usual. When the market began to rebound, no one it seems had any idea of what to pay or what to ask and the figures were all over the place. That, fortunately, has settled down for the most part now and things are more stable. But some, both buyers and sellers, remember those crazy high and low prices and hope to get them. Those people take far longer to be educated about current conditions and what is likely and what isn’t.
During those years I sold property from $4500/acre to less than $900. What I learned over time was that the places that sold for more than $2000/acre tended to be sales to neighbors who were protecting their privacy and their own land and had the money to do it.
To be specific, I really need to visit a property as no two are ever alike. If I stuck my neck out and gave estimates of time and price without knowing the property, I’d be foolish and also doing a disservice. It’s hard enough to be accurate when you know the property. Regardless, expect the time to sell to be considerably longer than it is for homes. Remember, there is a continuum of time and money, they go together. The longer you wait, the greater chance is that you will get more. And if you need a property gone immediately, you had better be prepared to price it aggressively. Unless you get lucky.
I’ve come full circle now and probably told you a few things you don’t like. But I have been as honest as I can be; if I can’t be straightforward with someone, neither of us will be happy. I am perfectly willing to list (and delighted to sell) at prices you would have to be lucky to get, but I won’t hold out false hopes. You will always find me responsive and please be assured that my client’s best interests are always foremost in my mind. It pays to spend the time with me so that I have a clear understanding what those best interests are.
Some are merely amusing. some can help you immensely. All are interesting.
After 40 years, I've learned a lot, & acquired unforgettable experiences. Follow these long enough and you'll eventually get the whole book. (Names probably changed, for obvious reasons.)