I recently sold a tract that was owned by a family that had no idea where the property was or how to find it. This wasn’t unusual, as there are many people across the country that own land and have never visited their property or have left it “stranded.”
This particular family’s property was in pretty bad shape when I first came across it. There had been illegal dumping on it. You could see where other people were hunting on it like it was theirs and there was evidence of recurrent trespassing. In summary, the property could have been a liability for the family.
The property had also lacked proper management for many years. The kudzu had gotten so out of control that it would take three years to get it back under control, according to a local organization. If it had been left alone for more time, it could have added another year or two to those three.
After a lot of discussion with the landowner about the state of the property and their long-term goals, the family decided it would be best to sell and invest the money made off that tract into something else.
There are many reasons why people who own land don’t know where their property is or how to find it. They could’ve inherited it and have no interest in being a landowner. They could’ve bought it in a different state from where they live and could never get around to visiting it. It could be any number of things, but the good news is that there’s a way to come out on the other side of a situation like that.
If you’ve inherited land that you don’t have time to manage or care for, the concept of time value of money is something to consider. Depending on the situation and location, your property’s value could be decreasing instead of increasing the more time it sits there. So, in most cases, you’re probably better off selling it and making a profit. An abandoned property can also be a big liability because even if someone who is illegally on your property has an accident on it, you could still be held liable for it. That’s not a fun situation anyone wants to be in!
If you’re a landowner who happens to be in the same spot this family was, consider calling your local land professional to help you make the best decision. It’s important to know that there are people out there who enjoy buying tracts to fix up or do some rural development on. With that in mind, it might be useful to get a broker price opinion (BPO) done by your land professional so you get an idea of what your property is worth. On the other hand, talking with your land expert can also help you identify what things need to be done to your property to get it back into good shape. It all depends on what you plan to do with your property now and in the future.