Why 2022 is the Best Time to Sell Land in Alabama

 

 As we begin a new year, you have probably started thinking about your goals for the year ahead: the exercise routine you swear you will accomplish, the stack of books you want to read, and the major financial moves you want to make for yourself and your family. If you own land in Alabama and have considered selling, this could be the best year to list it and maximize your profit.

 

Seller’s Market

 

Now more than ever, it is the ideal time to sell land. Demand for land is at an all-time high; at the same time, there is a shortage of prime land available on the market. The increased demand and low supply have caused land values to increase by around thirty percent.

 

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the current seller’s market: low interest rates, more expendable income, and an increased desire to escape city life.

 

Low Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve typically lowers interest rates during periods of economic decline and uncertainty. As the economy continues to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, interest rates remain at an all-time low, and experts expect them to stay low as we head into the new year. The rates have brought more borrowers to the market, as they look to lock in their purchase at a low interest rate. The low rates also impact buyers’ purchasing power because it directly impacts their overall monthly payment.

 

More Expendable Income

The Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Impact Payments pumped more cash into the market. The increase in expendable income has allowed people to consider more luxury purchases, including investing in land and property. Buyers are ready to consider big purchases with more money in their bank accounts earning very little interest.

 

Increased Desire to Escape City Life

As the world locked down in 2020, kitchen tables suddenly transformed into office spaces, and backyards started to feel small. The coronavirus pandemic left many people seeking a place to retreat. It renewed the desire to escape city life for the great outdoors. Whether they want a premier hunting plantation or land on the river, more buyers throughout the state and country have entered the market to purchase beautiful Alabama lands.

 

Even in a seller’s market, the brokerage firm you use to list your property can have a huge impact on how fast the process moves and the return you make on the sweat equity, vision, and stewardship you have poured into your land.

 

John Hall & Company Difference

 

The team at John Hall & Company boasts many years of experience helping clients sell land, including premier hunting plantations, investment properties, conservation easements, mini-farms, agricultural land, pastureland, and rural residential lots. In our almost thirty-five years, we have sold over 350,000 acres. Our land consultants are true experts with experience ranging from a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) to a past president of the Alabama Realtor’s Institute. All of our specialists are also landowners who know what is important when considering land sales. From the first call to the closing table, our employees have the skills, knowledge, and connections to walk you through the entire process of selling your property.

 

Personalized Process with Valuable Services

We know every piece of land is different and unique. The process of listing your property for sale is customized to you and your land. We want to get to know you and answer your questions. What improvements do I need to make to my land? What will help my property stand out to potential buyers? What is my land’s true worth?

 

Our brokers have years of experience and knowledge about managing land and important aspects to consider. We can assess your land and give suggested improvements to make it even more marketable. We work with you to find what makes your land unique and help showcase its one-of-a-kind features to potential buyers. We are also able to provide a free broker’s opinion of value to be sure you list at the right price. Our extensive database of comparable sales that gives empirical data on current market prices helps us ensure we are advising you to sell for the correct price. We are familiar with land throughout the state and even know the micro-markets that add value within various counties.

 

The marketing of your property can also help it sell for top dollar with minimal time on the market. Many firms use a “one size fits all” model to market their listings. Utilizing traditional and digital marketing, John Hall & Company creates a marketing plan customized specifically for your property. Drone footage, email blasts, and our website are just a few of the ways we make sure your listing is properly showcased to potential buyers. We are a local firm, familiar with the area, who can market your property on a local, regional, and national level.

 

In addition to selling your land, we offer additional services to you. We are skilled at mediation and land division. If your sale involves multiple family members or other co-owners, we can work with you to be sure a fair and equitable division of the land is achieved. We can also provide wildlife management plans, forestry services and timber cruises, and mapping.

 

Relationships throughout the State of Alabama

All of our relationships are built on the foundations John Hall laid when he started the company: integrity, service, and practicing the golden rule.

 

We build and foster relationships with all of our clients. Selling your land is an education process for all parties involved. We get to know you and your needs. In addition to answering your questions and guiding you through the process, we’ll also ask you questions to find out what your objective is for selling your land. We work to ensure we meet the goals that lead you to sell your property.

 

Relationships matter when marketing your property too. As a boutique firm, John Hall & Company prides itself on having relationships throughout the state of Alabama. We have qualified buyers ready to purchase property and can connect the right buyer to the land you are selling. We truly love finding buyers who will value and appreciate the land as much as you did. In the current market, the average time it takes to sell a property with John Hall & Company has been virtually cut in half.

 

Using our network, John Hall & Company sold multiple properties before they even hit the market in 2021. From a thirteen million dollar sod farm to a six hundred and seventy-eight-acre plantation, we had buyers ready and waiting to purchase land.

 

“Pete Hall and his team helped me by securing a property they had listed in Dallas County. We then added additional property through their relationship with the trust department of the local bank. They also helped connect me with various experts in their field such as foresters, farmers, the local office of the Farm Service Agency and more. ” David Chadwick

 

We also have relationships with other experts. When you become a John Hall & Company client, we introduce you to our network of advisors in the fields of financing, forestry, wildlife biology, surveyors, closing attorneys, and more. Whether you need a land survey or wood infestation report, we can connect you with the right people to get the job done with excellence.

 

As land values have increased and the time it takes to sell your property has decreased, there has never been a better time to sell your land. Are you ready to list your property? John Hall & Company has almost thirty-five years of experience helping families buy and sell land in Alabama. We are ready to help you through the important decision of selling your property. Our team of experts is here to guide you through the process and help you make the most money from the sale of your land. Give us a call today.

Why Hire an Agent to Sell Land?

John Hall and Company has over 35 years invested in selling land in Alabama. Today, we answer the question, “Why Hire an Agent to Sell Land?” The article highlights the perks of hiring an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent who specializes in the sale of land in Alabama. The question landowner ask themselves when thinking about selling their property is,

“Why should I hire an agent to sell my land? Won’t I save money selling my land myself?”

At times it may seem more beneficial to list your property “For Sale by Owner”. But more times than not, hiring an expert to do the job is the best move. The right land agent will save time, money, and headaches.

Agents Must Have Experience Selling Land in Alabama

A real estate agent’s biggest asset would be their experience. When I say experience, I’m not just referring to how many years that agent has been in the business. There are multiple factors that give a land agent “experience”.

An experienced and qualified land agent will be able to inform not only the seller but every potential buyer that is interested in the property about the features of the property. Much of the knowledge a land agent has acquired about land comes from dealing with land day in and day out.

Agents Negotiate the Land Selling Price

A good land real estate agent contributes to controlling the negotiations. The agent is the person in the middle is a useful way of handling negotiations while keeping emotions out of the decision-making. Clients relying on the advice of a well-experienced land agent can oftentimes mean walking away from the closing table with more money in your pocket.

Experienced real estate agents thoroughly know the process, know how to counter offer, understand terms of the contract, and know how to get the deal closed.

Agents Need a Network of Land Resources Across Alabama

A good land agent will have contacts and references from their experience working in the land industry daily. We refer our clients to the trusted and true professionals across the state from an estate attorney, a registered forester, financing options, to all the needs related to selling property.

Agents Research the Property Value

The big question is

“What is my property worth?”

A real estate agent who specializes in land sales will evaluate and establish a value for your property. Your land agent will provide you with their Brokers’s Opinion of Value or “BOV”. This will show you the price properties similar to yours are selling for in the area and the differences those properties have compared to yours. Once an agreement can be made on the value, then the agent will provide you with a marketing plan. Different properties attract different buyers. A real estate agent can get your property in front of the right people looking for properties like yours.

Register for a free “Broker’s Opinion of Value” with a John Hall and Company agent.

Agents Market Properties to Sell

We give your rural land the maximum amount of exposure which is critical. Our job is to bring you the buyer who is willing and able to buy your property.

We promote and advertise your property through:

  • e-newsletter
  • land real estate website directories
  • email blasts
  • social media
  • John Hall and Company website directory
  • flyers
  • brochures
  • word of mouth
  • signage
  • outdoor expos, etc.

The advertising avenues we use are targeted at different pools of buyers who are attracted and interested in specific types of properties.

Agents Sell the Land

The next perk of hiring a real estate agent who specializes in land sales is the capability to show the property. We show land when buyers are available- weekdays, weekends, mornings, and afternoons.

The goal is to give an accurate evaluation of a property. Our agents are equipped with UTVs, ATVs, and 4-wheel drive trucks. Agents walk the property when needed to make sure it is properly shown. John Hall and Company know that buyers cannot make a true assessment of land through a car window on the side of the road.

Why hire an agent to sell land?

Listing your property with a real estate company is a decision that you as a landowner should take seriously. Having an experienced, hardworking, and knowledgeable agent to represent you in the sale of your property is a decision that you won’t regret. Each listing is an investment for John Hall and Company. We work hard to sell all listings and to get a return on your investment. Call today and interview us to sell your property (334)270-8400.

Click here to learn more about our free “Broker’s Opinion of Value” we offer future clients.

How Do I Prepare Land to Sell?

Welcome to the John Hall and Company Selling Land in Alabama series. In part five, John Hall answers the question “How do I prepare the land to sell? Our founder personally has over 35 years invested in selling land and commercial real estate across Alabama.

There are several tasks most people do when they prepare to sell their home. This item might include: service the HVAC; paint and repair rotten wood, update the landscaping, and straighten up furniture and closets, etc. A similar concept applies to preparing your land for sale, but it is a vastly different process than selling residential property.

Land properties are not the same. You would treat a 60-acre wooded tract differently than a 400-acre recreational tract with amenities.

 

Selling Land- Small Wooded Tract

Let’s begin with preparing a 60+/- acre wooded tract for sale. Firstly, the owner should consider thinning some timber and using the money to install a good trail system and 1 or 2 wildlife plots. Secondly, getting a boundary survey or at least mark each corner clearly is recommended. It is important that there are no boundary line disputes or easement issues with neighbors. Finally, a sturdy metal entrance gate with a lock is a nice feature.

John Hall and Company can help the seller to find the right people to do the improvement. We have several services we offer to our sellers. For example, if an owner doesn’t know how to hire a logger and/or contractor to do the improvements we have experts who we know and trust. The main reason to do this upfront work is

“You can’t sell a tract unless you can show it.”

If the owner does not want to prepare the tract as we have recommended, he can sell it strictly to a timber buyer. The seller can expect to get 25% to 30% less i.e. $400-$500 per acre less at the closing of the sale.

 

Selling Land- Large Land Tract

Now, let’s discuss a 400 +/- acre tract of recreational property. This property has a cabin, equipment, shed, a 3 to a 10-acre fishing lake, and wildlife plots with permanent deer stands. This type of property is a land broker’s dream listing when it is maintained and “shows well.”

“What should the owner do to prepare this property for sale?

Selling a large tract of land may require similar action to the small tract discussed earlier. The owner should mark all property lines and corners and install “No Trespassing” signs. It is always helpful to have a boundary survey. The seller can expect to pay $5,000 to $7,500 for a survey. A survey is the only way to determine the exact acreage. A property this size may sell for $3,000 to $3,500 per acre.

Land management before a showing will make a huge difference in the selling price. Trails need to be bush hogged and “limbed up”. Wildlife plots need to be planted in winter or mowed in summer. Pine stands need fire lanes established.

Proper care of lakes, streams, and ponds on the land is important. The fishing lake should have some clean, mowed areas along the bank, a well-maintained boat dock, and fish feeders. Fertilizing and adding lime to the pond will provide plankton for a healthy fish population. Hopefully, the pond provides good fishing because it is such a joy to see a 3-year-old catch his or her first fish!

Click here to learn more about our free “Broker’s Opinion of Value” we offer future clients.

Selling Land- Preparing Structures

Evaluate buildings on the property. Do the required maintenance and renovations to bring the building up to standard for the selling price.  Any house or cabin on the property needs to be in very good condition with no roof leaks, no rotten wood, etc. The HVAC, plumbing, and appliances should be in good working order. Equipment shed or barns need to be cleaned up with all equipment/tools neat and orderly.

The owner should incorporate best management practices for his land, timber, and wildlife. Not every practice is cost-effective for every owner. My team can help you assess what investment will be best for you to get the best return.

You must create a good first impression for your land broker and your prospective buyer when they arrive at your property!

-John E. Hall, Jr. CCIM

What Does it Cost to Sell Land?

Welcome to the John Hall and Company Selling Land in Alabama series. Today, we answer the question, “What Does It Cost To Sell Land in Alabama?”

The first conversation with a new client involves outlining the costs associated with buying or selling property.   It is very important to understand costs. Please, note that expenses will vary among real estate transactions.

Up Front Costs

Sellers are responsible for certain closing costs along with the real estate commission to the listing broker. However, there are other up-front costs that may be required to make the property suitable to sell. The agent should do an assessment on the property and suggest to the seller what to do to get the best return on their investment.

These costs may not always be necessary, but they can greatly improve profits. For instance, the property owners will definitely want to make changes to improve the aesthetic appeal for prospecting buyers.

Key Investments for Selling

One key investment is having a good road system on the property. A good internal road system will appeal to a future owner. In addition, the right road gives curb appeal and accessibility during showings. The cost of an internal road system is dependent upon the condition of the existing road and the size of the tract.

Other important costs are incurred with maintenance expenses such as mowing, land clearing, spraying, planting, etc. These costs are a relatively minor part of the transaction but can go a long way in getting the property sold quickly for the asking price.

Land Survey

A land survey is an additional cost that sellers should seriously consider.   Surveys are not required, but they are a great asset in selling a piece of property. Buyers will want to have a clear understanding of exact acreage and boundary lines before moving forward with a purchase. A survey gives the buyer assurance of no underlying issues such as encroachments or any kind of boundary line disputes. Costs of surveys vary depending on the size and shape of the property. It is best to consult with your listing broker to determine if doing a survey is justifiable before putting a piece of land on the market.

Closing Costs

After an agreed-upon sales price, costs will then be settled at closing. The majority of fees are negotiable as to who pays between buyer and seller. However, there are standard fees assigned to each party.  Sellers often account for costs such as agent’s commission, deed preparation, prorated taxes, attorney fees, and any judgments or liens tied with the property. The agent’s commission is an agreed-upon percentage of the sales price between agent and seller.

In closing, all land sales transactions are unique in their own way. This article gives sellers a good outline of standard costs.  These factors emphasize the need to consult with a qualified broker. Selling a piece of property can seem like a big task, but having an experienced land agent to guide the process is critical in obtaining the desired profit.

Click here to learn more about our free “Broker’s Opinion of Value” we offer future clients.

-Staff

What Is My Property Worth?

Today, Josh Hall is answering the question “What is my property worth?” or “How much is my property worth?”  He outlines how the worth or value of land is calculated. Click on the link below to see if you qualify to receive a free “Broker’s Opinion of Value”Welcome to the John Hall and Company Selling Land in Alabama series. John Hall and Company has over 35 years invested in selling land in Alabama. 

How Much is My Property Worth?

The first question sellers ask is, “How much is my property worth?”. The American Dream is owning a piece of land. Having your own property provides a getaway to the country for hunting, fishing, horseback/ATV riding, gardening, farming, and building family memories.

Consequently, these wonderful memories of activities on the land often make an owner think more highly of their land. Landowners “bake” these great times into the value of their land making it harder for them to set a realistic value.

Creating an accurate estimate of the value of your land is very important for buyers or sellers. John Hall and Company gives an accurate assessment of the value of a property based on objective data.

“Value is only an opinion and that opinion is only as good as the amount of market data and the detail of data available.” -Josh Hall

We have access to hard data like contracts, listings, and closing sales. As a result, our brokers utilize these key data points to arrive at a more accurate opinion of value while making sure the data is truly comparable.

Appraising land is more difficult to value as opposed to residential listings. This is due to the lack of availability of sales and listings data. 80% of all residential sales are inputted in a multiple listing service (MLS) and the data is readily available to the public. Land transactions are not usually included in the MLS. The most important sales data is scattered amongst land brokers and consultants. That is to say, it is difficult and time-consuming to collect this data.

Here are a few ways to start gathering additional data:

Step 1: Ask The Right Questions Of  Your Property

The first step to understanding what your property is worth is accurately assessing all of the important economic and physical attributes of your property.

I am often asked,

What is the land going for around here?

My immediate response is,

What type of property is it? Is it crop land, pastureland, wooded land, timberland, cutover land, turnkey recreational land, etc?

Where is the land located?

What do the surrounding properties look like?

These questions help clients to see that not all rural land is the same.

Step 2: Assess Land Market Value of Your Property

The second step to assessing what a property is worth is gathering sales and listing information of a similar property. Sales of similar property should follow this definition of “market value” set by the US Federal government for Financial Institutions.

A definition of “market value” is below:

The most probable price which property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.

In other words, when looking for comparable sales in order to arrive at an opinion of value the comp sale should be “normal”. However, some properties are outliers. The following examples are not typically a good comparable sale:

  • Forced sell due to a court order or a bank foreclosure
  • Adjoining property owner paid a premium because it was a neighboring property
  • Owner offering below market financing (say 0%)
  • The seller accepting the first offer they received while not exposed to the open market
  • Parties involved in the transaction being uninformed, such as a party did not know the true timber value, the property was contaminated, or had a WRP easement attached.

Certainly, sellers would benefit from adjoining landowners paying a premium for their land, but this is rarely the case.

Step 3: Define Characteristics of Your Property

Fourthly, to determine what property is worth we would research the transactional and property characteristics and compare them to your property.

Transactional adjustments include:

  • Property rights conveyed: Do all rights go with the sale, mineral, surface, timber, etc?
  • Financing terms: Were terms normal or favorable due to owner financing?
  • Conditions of sale: Normal sale or not, the buyer could have paid a premium because they were on the backside of a 1031 exchange or maybe the sale was to a family member for a discount.
  • Expenditures made immediately after a purchase: Did the purchaser pay a commission, or did the purchaser have to buy access or clear a title problem after the purchase?
  • Market conditions (change in value over time): If the sale is a year or two old, has the market changed?
  • All of the above have to be known, considered, and adjusted as it compares to your property.

Property adjustments include differences in:

  • Location: Area or neighborhood differences and proximity to major cities or major interstates.
  • Physical characteristics: access, topography, interior road system, flood zones/ wetlands, size, the shape of the site, improvements on the property.
  • Economic characteristics: CRP rent, timber leases, hunting leases, surface or mineral royalties, or amount of timber.
  • Non-realty components of value: Land transactions often include personal items such as tractors, ATVs, trailers, or furnishings to name a few

Understand each sale used as a comparison to your property is vitally important. This process draws a credible conclusion in understanding what your property is worth. The more sales and listings which are available increases the credibility of the opinion. Also, having the sales data is the first step to know what your property is worth. However, accurately analyzing the data is equally important. A business analyst once told me

“Just because you have the recipe, doesn’t make you a good cook.”

Step 4: Evaluate Market Shifts Around Your Property

Lastly, when calculating the worth of your property know that market changes are not linear.  The market goes up and down. It is like a wave in which there are troughs and crests within the rise and fall of overall land market movement. If your property is listed at the same time many similar properties like yours are listed, it could a trough moment where the supply exceeds demand. Vice versa, your property could experience a crest moment where demand exceeds supply if yours is one of the few listed properties for sale at the time. In addition, the number of listings also needs to be reviewed in light of comparable sales.

How Much is My Property Worth?

Over the years, I have seen many investments not optimized and undervalued. In part, due to the seller not wanting to pay a knowledgeable broker or consultant prior to selling their land. I have been guilty of doing things myself and not hiring an expert to do the job to save a dime. In most cases, I end up wasting my time and losing money. My advice is to keep your day job and do what you do well. When selling your land, hire a professional broker or appraiser to help you with pricing your land. Hire a professional broker to show your property to a wider and more targeted market of buyers in order to maximize the return on your years of investment.

In conclusion, if the process of collecting data and researching properties concerns you, we help future clients who are serious about selling land by doing a free Broker’s Opinion of Value. Click here to learn more about our free “Broker’s Opinion of Value” we offer future clients.

– Josh Hall, MAI