When you have looked at a property and asked all of the right questions, there comes a point when you have to make a decision: “Do you want it?”
Sometime ago I had the privilege of meeting with a family to write an offer on a property they really liked. We had looked at the tract several times together. As I sat at their desk and they asked a few more questions of me, the wife turned to the husband and said, “Do you want it?”. I loved the point-blank clarity of the question, and that she asked it. He said “yes” and we penned the offer. We closed not long after.
I have done a disservice to lots of potential land buyers. I never gave them the opportunity to say “Yes, I want this property.” In a previous career, one of my roles was fundraising for a non-profit organization. After my presentation about the work we were doing, I would always look a prospective donor in the eye and ask them if they would join our team by making a contribution.
I am good at this with land owners when securing a listing. I never fail to let an owner know about the positive aspects of their property and that I would like to work with them. Then I ask for the listing. I learned my first month in the land business that there is nothing I, as an agent, can (ethically) say to “sell” a piece of land. A buyer will spend $250,000 only when they are ready. They either like it or they don’t. But many people like a property and never take action on it, when they should at least be given the opportunity to say “yes”.
For potential buyers who may be reading this article, you should be thinking, “When is the right time to ask myself if I want it?” Here are a few questions you must answer first:
- Is this the right location? Is the property you are considering close enough to your home to allow you to use it often? Is it in close proximity to a water-source to use for irrigation if you are farming? All of the specifics of your situation must be evaluated regarding a property’s location.
- Does it fit your needs? Is the property sufficiently long and open for the private runway you want to construct? Is there adequate distance between you and the neighbors that hunting is safe (for you and them)? What is the site index for growing pine timber? Check the land out to see if it will meet most of the major criteria on your wish list.
- How are you going to pay for it? If you are pleased with how a particular property stacks up to questions #1 & #2, then you should finalize your financing options. Consult ag land lenders, your 1031 intermediary, or CPA to answer any specific questions to how you are going to pay for the property.
- Do you want it? When the due diligence is complete to a reasonable level of comfort, you need someone to ask you this question aloud. It’s powerful to have someone ask a life-altering question. “Will you marry me?” “Will you accept this job offer?” “Do you want this property?” Get my drift?
Many prospective buyers get paralysis by analysis. They want to know every detail to every question (I am naturally bent this way). But most of us know what we don’t want within 10 seconds of seeing it. As the layers of the onion are peeled back, and everything continues to look good, you have to make a call to move forward. You can always have the agent put in some contingencies in a contract that give you an “out” if something unexpected and undesirable pops up as you continue to peel layers prior to closing.
Once you do your due diligence sufficiently and you are comfortable with the information you have, then comes the point of decision. “Do you want it?” If so, take the steps to make it yours. If not, move on and keep looking.
Written by: Jonathan Goode who is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), and is licensed as a land broker with Southeastern Land Group in Alabama and Mississippi. He is also co-host of The Land Show, a weekly radio show and podcast for people that love land.