Do you want it?

Do you want it?

Posted by Jonathan Goode on January 1, 2016

When you have looked at a property and asked all of the right questions, there comes a point when you have to answer one question: “Do you want it?”

I had the privilege of meeting with a family to write an offer on a property they really liked. We 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 the fact that she asked it. He said “yes” and we penned the offer. We closed on the property shortly thereafter.

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 landowners 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? If it’s not intended to be your homesite, 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 and #2, then you should finalize your financing options. For starters, read our interview with a land financing expert here. Then consult ag land lenders, your 1031 intermediary or a CPA to answer any specific questions about 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 out loud. 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.

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Jonathan Goode

Jonathan Goode is a land broker with Southeastern Land Group, helping people buy and sell land across Alabama. He has earned the prestigious designation as an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and enjoys helping educate people about many topics related to rural land ownership. Jonathan, his wife Whitney, and his children live on a 75 acre farm in Perry County, Alabama. They enjoy living the simple life in the country. Whitney grows much of their food in their large garden and tends to the chickens and other critters that inhabit their place. You can keep track of some of Jonathan's follies and exploits on his webpage, Jonathan Goode - West Alabama Land for Sale.

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