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Five Questions Sellers Should Ask When Interviewing Rural Real Estate Brokers


1. How much should I list my property for and why?

Any professional should provide you with a well prepared broker price opinion. Since most brokers are not licensed real estate appraisers, they generally cannot give a single value but a range of price in which they expect the property will sell. This opinion should be supported by recent comparable land sales and the broker should have knowledge of those tracts that have sold in the same area and how they compare to your property. Proper pricing is a critical part of a successful sale and overpricing a property can harm the owner by preventing serious buyers from considering the property. Anyone can overprice a property listing but only an experienced broker can maximize a sales price.

2. How will you advertise my property for sale?

Many seller’s focus on the sales fee or commission percentage the broker will charge. However, it is not the fee but the seller’s net proceeds after all expenses are paid that the seller should focus on in their interviews. Engaging with a broker who will be able to locate the proper buyer, negotiate the best price and terms for them to go home with the highest net proceeds when the sale is closed and all the expenses are paid.

A big part of finding the buyer is making sure the most qualified know it is for sale. The broker should have a strong online platform to advertise your property, they should plan to capture high quality photo and video, they should utilize e-mail, social media, and direct mail marketing campaigns. A quality broker will be able to show you examples and explain why their advertising program is effective.

3. Why should I hire you?

Rural land is a special type of real estate and it requires a specialized skill set to sell it well. A broker should have a proven track record of success and provide you evidence of that success including client references. They should have specialized expertise and experience in land related fields. If they cannot convince you to hire them first with their background, personality, and experience, then they are not likely to be successful in selling your real estate.

4. How does the process work? What should I expect to occur when I sign a listing?

This question is best answered by a series of follow-up questions. Once the listing is signed, how long until it is advertised for sale? How often will you communicate with me during the listing period to keep me informed of progress? What do you need from me to prepare the tract for sale? Are there things I can do to improve the appeal of my land and the potential sales price?

Listing periods will range from six months to one year or longer depending on the tract and the local market conditions. Ask for a copy of their listing agreement and make sure you understand it before signing.

5. In your opinion if I move forward with your proposal, how long will it take you to find a qualified buyer and them close on my property?

A good broker should understand the current market conditions, average days on market, and typical closing timelines to set your expectations appropriately. Each tract is unique and timelines vary by location and property type; however, an experienced broker should be able to reasonably set appropriate expectations for you. Land, in general, does require longer periods to expose the property to the public and generate interest than residential real estate.