How to Maximize a Land Only Sale

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

This will be sort of controversial, but then again life itself is. I am stating upfront that I am sure to offend somebody. That is not my intention, instead, Listen and Learn before you complain.

I posted in one of the groups I moderate with the following question. I received 211 comments (at the time of this writing). My question was a simple question on the surface, but complex if you took a moment to think about it.

Their answers, better than 80% of them were of the transactional mindset. The remaining were logical and of a larger, conscious mindset. Matthew Ferry has a great book called How to Create Sales Velocity where he discusses the difference between the two. I highly recommend you read it.

An interesting observation is that the failure rate in real estate is 80-ish%. So, could the answers, the mindset, and the success/failure rate be connected to one another somehow?

I do believe they are in some respects. The main respect is that some treat being a real estate agent as a Job and others as a Business. The job people are basically independent salespeople. That is exactly what they are. They are not business owners. A business allows you to step away and it continues to run without your day-to-day involvement. Otherwise what you have done is created a job for yourself.

With this out of the way we can start to understand why most of the answers are what they are, they are coming from the “Salesperson’s Mindset” vs the “Business Owners Mindset”

So here is the question.

“You have a seller who wants to sell a piece of land, what do you do?”

The answer overwhelmingly was Sell It. To me, this is the salesperson saying sell it, sell it fast, get the sale, get the check.

If that is what you want to do then fine, it is your life and business.

However, the market is lacking inventory. We see the news, the reports, the MLS and almost every agent is talking about it. So, does it not make sense to actually take this opportunity and make the best of it?

Is it not your job to find the Highest and Best use of the land?

Sell It… Sell It… Sell It… Over and Over. Along with egotistical, condescending, and sarcastic answers like

  • “Eat It”

  • “Have you ever sold anything”

  • “Why would you ask this question? Are you a real estate salesperson?”

  • “I try to comment and add meaningful insight when relevant. Not a dumb question. “Someone wants to sell, what do you do?”

  • This is why agents who join brokerages with Brokers would offer support and training. To any of my agents in this group, if it is your first time selling land and you need help, just let someone know. We got you.

Yes, these are answers from my peers. Supposed Realtors who agreed to the Code of Ethics. And you wonder why the public thinks so little of the profession. Don’t get me wrong, there are also some really great ones with answers like

  • “I'd want to know zoning and more info on the land and what is allowed, etc.”

  • “First become an expert about that particular piece of land - is it considered raw land : (zoning, deed restrictions, etc.) and educate the seller about land sales in this particular area. If applicable, educate the seller about what the benefits are for obtaining any pre-listing reports (preliminary wetlands analysis etc.) to market to the type of buyer you'd be marketing to. Introduce them to Loopnet and give them screenprints of what makes a superior commercial listing vs. sticking a sign up and putting it in the local MLS. “

  • “My first thought is how will a buyer finance the purchase...depends on what can be done with the property and the seller's equity position perhaps.”

And of course, this is what I was going for, ironically it is from an agent in my program at Explore My Town… Go Figure

  • “Call my builder immediately!!”

With a lack of inventory out there, this seems the most logical answer. But the others are excellent as well because part of our job is to find the Highest and Best use of the property. Seems the transactional mindset just wants a commission. That is a discussion for another day.

Here is the thing, I have worked with many pieces of land and builders over the years to create my own inventory. Some on the market, most off the market.

If you are dependent on MLS for listing vs making your own you will be at the Mercy of MLS and the other agents. Do you really want to be in that position as a “Sales Person”?

Or would you rather know how to bring deals together?

The last project I pulled together was 3 properties that were residential but in a commercial zone. Once combined, the new road frontage allowed the property to be rezoned as commercial. As a result, a multi-million dollar commercial project was born. All because I took the time to research the land and put the right pieces in place. It took several years for the zoning to be approved but in the end, I guess I could have just sold the property for 300k and walked away.

The choice is yours really. But for the love of all things holy, think outside the box and be kind to one another.

Till Next Time,

Johnny Mo

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