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Selling Land

Selling Land is Different Than Residential

September 6, 2023

To the seasoned real estate agent, the art of selling a home may seem like second nature: staging the interiors, emphasizing unique architectural features, and highlighting neighborhood perks as well as marketing the property on the area Multiple Listing Service (MLS). But when the property in question is a tract of land, the playbook changes considerably. Selling land involves a different set of skills, strategies, and knowledge. For agents accustomed to the residential market, branching out into land sales can pose new challenges, but also fresh opportunities. This article aims to equip real estate professionals with the necessary tools and insights to navigate the nuanced world of land sales effectively.

How to Sell Land – A Crash Course

Venturing into the realm of land sales requires a recalibration of your real estate know-how. The tactics you’ve honed selling residential properties won’t always translate directly when it comes to land. Instead, understanding the specificities of land marketing and the considerations that come with selling these spaces becomes paramount. In this crash course, we’ll unpack two key topics that every agent should be well-versed in: the nuances of land marketing and the critical factors to consider when selling. Embrace this knowledge, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the intricacies of the land market.

Important Considerations Before You Start Selling Land

Before you can begin to think about how to sell a piece of land, you have to get a listing. Landowners are more educated than ever on what to look for in a real estate agent. It is important that you understand what kind of questions you are going to get from landowners and be prepared to answer them in a manner that tells them you are qualified. This isn’t as simple as knowing the answers, however. Not only must you be able to talk the talk, in land sales, you have to walk the walk or you will not find consistent success.

While the License is the Same – Specialization is Important

To become consistently successful in land sales, you need to understand the qualities of a successful land broker. Conducting a market analysis of the property, marketing and advertising the land to potential buyers, negotiating the terms of the sale or purchase, facilitating the transaction and closing the deal, as well as ensuring legal compliance as it relates specifically to land. Not unlike residential professionals, excellent land brokers and agents have strong communication skills, expertise in niche global marketing and advertising, knowledge of the local real estate market, expertise in land valuation, good negotiation skills, excellent at network-building, and great attention to detail.

Your Brand Has an Effect on Your Ability to Get Listings

If you’re trying to carve out a spot selling land, it is also vital that you understand that your brokerage brand can hurt you when competing for listings. Landowners want specialists who understand their needs and the needs of land buyers. If your brokerage brand name is not centered around land and/or is geographically limiting, this is already putting you behind the competition. On top of that, many brokerage business models are not conducive to land sales, as the best brokerages rely on teamwork and national relationships to keep new leads coming in.

Land Sellers Are Different

Excellent land brokers and agents understand who their customer is. If you want to get more listings from landowners, you need to understand not only how to generate new leads, but also how to nurture those leads if they are not ready to sell at that moment. Generating leads takes a combination of marketing approaches, online and offline, combined with GIS data to help you find willing sellers. Building rapport and trust with a large group of landowners is not easy to do with a phone alone, so you’ll need to employ technology to help you do this at scale. CRM software, automated calling systems, and support from a back office with email and social media marketing all play into this effort.

Referrals Are Very Important

There are many strategies that you can use to generate more real estate referrals as well as refer more deals. Because the land market is much broader geographically than the residential market, the most important thing you can do is to network nationally with other land professionals. At National Land Realty, we have a team of over 400 land professionals who work together to help their clients no matter where they are going. So if you’re working on consistently listing tracts of land, you’ll find that referrals will make up a significant portion of your deals.

So Now You’re Ready to Start Selling Land

Now that you understand the basics of what it’s going to take to start consistently producing listings, the next step is to learn what it takes to actually sell them. As you might expect, consistently selling your listings requires some fundamentals that are quite different from what you might be accustomed to. The job is not over once you’ve earned the listing, so let’s learn what it’s going to take to see you and your client cashing a check.

An Accurate Price Opinion is Paramount

As with any real estate, an accurate listing price is a fundamental component of selling land as quickly and as profitably as possible. Land valuation is one of the most challenging aspects of selling land, so it’s important to learn from others and avoid making the same mistakes when you begin this process. Using bad data, failing to properly inspect the property, not having strong relationships with local land appraisers, and being unprofessional in your valuation presentation can lead you to not get the listing in the first place. If you’re able to get the listing and you are extremely overpriced and are not assertive in asking for price drops you’ll see your listing expire with money and time out of your pocket and a dissatisfied customer in your reviews.

Land Marketing is Different

While the MLS is the primary tool for residential listing syndication, if you want to succeed consistently with land sales, a national marketing approach must be employed. Most land buyers start their property search online, and it is common for land to be purchased by people from all over the country. Landowners expect that if someone is searching for property online in their area, those buyers will know their listing is available. A truly comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign that reaches across media channels and not only looks to attract buyers within the market but also aims to find willing buyers who may not be currently looking is what it takes to sell your property consistently.

Final Thoughts on Selling Land as a Realtor®

If the above points seem out of reach to you in your current situation, do not despair. There are many options available to you whether you are a broker or an agent. One such option you might want to consider if you are a broker is to start a land brokerage. This might sound daunting, but in reality, working with an established land brokerage and bolting on their business model to your existing residential brokerage is a proven way to have success. 

You won’t find land professionals trying to sell homes in neighborhoods, and if you aren’t truly qualified to help a landowner with the unique approach it will take to sell his property, you’re better off referring or even co-listing your next land listing with another agent at an existing land brokerage. The above investments of time and money will be required to get that piece of land sold, so don’t shortchange your landowner and build a negative reputation for yourself. 

If you’re really committed to selling more land, consider joining a land brokerage so that you will have the tools you need to be successful. And when you’re on the search for that brokerage, remember, it’s not about your gross, it’s about your net income at the end of the year. If you make sure that the brokerage you choose is invested in your success, you’ll have no trouble selling land.

About the Author
Logan Eaton, Executive Vice President of Sales at National Land Realty, has experience in land brokerage across the southeast. He was born in Charleston, SC, and raised in Atlanta, GA, Logan is a true Southerner. He attended the University of Kentucky before transferring to the University of Georgia where he obtained his Real Estate degree from the Terry School of Business. During his time at UGA he was a member of the Real Estate Society as well as a leader in HEROs, a nonprofit club. From 2012-2015 Logan established NLR's office in Atlanta where he represented landowners and buyers in Northern GA. He holds a Principal Broker's license for the state of GA and is also licensed in SC. He has been involved in land transactions in several states and works to support the over 400 agents and brokers at National Land Realty. In 2016 Logan became the EVP of Sales for the company and has been working to build NLR into the nation's largest land brokerage firm. Logan enjoys traveling across the southeast for college football/basketball games, relaxing at Lake Oconee in GA and spending time with his wife Maddie, their sons, Henry and Charlie, and their Golden Retriever, Dill.