Selling a home in a rural area....someday:)

booboo60February 10, 2013

DH and I built a new house in '09 (started late '08). We are on 96 acres high on a hill with beautiful vistas all around. The area is known for fishing and hunting; huge lake close by. We are about 20 minutes from a town and 30 minutes from a little bit bigger town(has a Safeway). We are an hour and a half from the nearest Costco which we go to about twice a month. We have a few neighbors with similar properties, at least 20 acres. I noticed that some of the houses that were for sale when we moved here are still for sale today! Some have sold, of course, but to say the market is slow here would be an understatement! Anyway, we plan to sell in about 6 years and move closer to a bigger city, suburb, etc. What do you think our strategy should be for selling? Do we need to list it 2 years early? Should we try to find an agent in a bigger city? Any ideas?

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From someone who has sold in a rural area. Find someone local, i went thru 2 RA because being from the city did not understand rural condiditons. We were up in the mountains 45 min from the city and in a high fire area. We had our own mutual water system, heated by fuel oil and wood and because the roads were private helped maintain them. Had plenty of snow and low temps winter, lots of wind, and hot temps in the summer. We were near a desert so that explains the variations.
It too me 2 years to sell, but that was because of RA that did not/would not list and show to people who really wanted that type of property. 3rd RA sold in 2 weeks, with a 45 day escrow but that was over 10 years ago when loans were easy to get. We did have a small community which did help us and we all had from 5-10 acres. 6 yeas is aways down the road, but you might start next year or so, talking to the people who have not sold, to different agents, to even the people who come to hunt/fish etc. I would NOT tell anyone you don't know you are going to sell, just act as if you have friends looking in your area and find out what they think of the area.
If we knew what state or area you are in that might help. We too built our own place.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Price will always sell. The biggest mistake that rural homeowners make is pricing a rural property like an urban one. The same house in an urban area will fetch much more money, so be sure that you don't over price yourself when listing. Acreage is usually desirable if the person truly wants rural living and is prepared for it's upkeep, but unless it's farmland or other income producing acreage, it's value isn't nearly what some property owners think it is. So, if you built a 400K house on 100 acres, it still is probably 400K in value. IF it's even that. Yes, with all of the acreage. It might only be a 300K property if you overbuilt for the area. Your comps determine the value of your property in any buyers eyes. And if nothing is selling, or only the 250K properties are selling, then your property was potentially over improved for it's location.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:11AM
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The reason you bought the property is the reason someone else eventually will too. Who were you when you bought this? A city person looking for more country living? A suburbanite wanting their own hobby hunting grounds? That's who will probably be your marketing target when the time comes. So, if you get a local agent who knows the local market, but market out of that area to those who are looking for those housing goals, and you price it appropriately, then you shouldn't have any issues. The next few years will see if sales in your area pick up any. That should tell you when it would work to put the home on the market.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:04PM
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So appreciate the responses! I totally agree I am thinking way in advance but my brain always works that way, lol. We are located in NE Washington state, beautiful area, about 50 miles from the Canadian border. Lots of orchards here and forestry is probably the biggest business. There are alot of retirees here (just like us) because it is fairly inexpensive to live, low property taxes, etc. But, not alot of jobs so schools are small. I think I agree with you 'live wire', about the value of our place. It is not ostentatious by any means but the homes that sell the quickest are under 250K. If I were to guess I would say we could get about 400-450K. We do have about 25 acres in alfalfa which we use ourselves but sell to neighbors too. I have been watching a place that is about 3 miles from us; it's a newer home probably double in sq. ft. than ours and it sits on about 4 acres and they are asking 449K. They listed it last year and it hasn't sold. Our closest neighbors have a beautiful log home that they built about 8 yrs. ago and it is on 20 acres.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:25PM
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That is a beautiful area and we did look in WA off and on for several years when we were thinking about relocating from CA. Did not get that far north, BUT times have changed. Jobs at that time were good but we were looking for retirement, so looking for medical, stores, and family. I don't think you will have a problem if you price it right, because many people are starting to look around and buy. You have alot going for you in the area, so when you deceide, pick an agent who does know the area, try for 3 months first, and there are some excellent agents on this site with suggestions on how to pick one.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:35PM
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I am a city buyer who is currently looking for a rural property. I am looking over a wide area, so I am using the MLS and have not engaged a broker. I can't believe how poorly most of these properties are marketed. I have seen hundreds of listing for large acreage properties that only show pictures of the house, plus maybe one picture of the front yard. Sometimes there are only four or five pictures available online. Sometimes there are 25, but all pictures of the house from every conceivable angle. I want to know what's on the land!

Find a competent broker with great references and lots of closings. Make an agreement about how many pictures they will post on the MLS, and make sure to include attractive shots of your property's different areas. I also pay a lot of attention to websites that people create with pictures and helpful information about the property they are selling.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 6:51PM
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Heed Cathleen's advice. Your buyers are going to be just as interested in the land as they are the home... probably even more! Make sure you market the land's unique features and attributes.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:24PM
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We finally sold our rural property last year. An elaborate and unique doctor-built house back in the woods - 28 acres. 15 minutes to a gas station/grocery store, 40 minutes to a Walmart. Hunting and fishing were great.

It took us 4 years. We finally got close to our asking price, but unfortunately we listed it when real estate started taking its nosedive. Lots of agony through those 4 years. It was a unique home that needed a unique buyer. The home is in north Missouri and our buyer was from Oregon.

I guess I don't really have any advice except price realistically and have plenty of patience.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:23PM
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Thanks, littlebug5, I think you are right and that could be reality for us too! I liked too, what others said about the pictures. When I look online of local listings some of the pictures are terrible! It can be anything from showing messy rooms that are dark and very few shots of the surrounding property. I'm guessing it will be a unique buyer, maybe retired couple just like we were.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:03PM
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