How to Sell a Hobby Farm or Rural Property
If you live rurally, on a hobby farm, regular farm, or just an acreage, and are considering selling, there are some things you can do to increase the value of your property, and have a quick sale.
There are many things a person can do add value to their property, some require only labor, while others have a cost. Keep in mind what you can do, and the order you can do it, will also depend on if you are still actively using the properly, particularly when farming.
Clean Up the Property
An attractive property will sell for more than a run down one. If you are not actively farming – look into having an auction (see below) to get rid of all the unneeded items, livestock, and so forth. Basically sell all the clutter that you will not be taking with you when you move.
Fence repairs are a must, sagging fences are unsightly, and remind the potential buyers that such a property is always “work, work, work”. Have a look around the property and make quick repairs where needed. Pick up junk and fallen branches, take garbage to the dump, and put all tools away correctly.
You may note in the photo - the downed electrical line in the far distance, and the barbed wire hanging off the fence. Over all this farm is a mess. Had the owner of this farm cleaned up, and borrowed a few sheep to control the grass the property value would have increased.
The barn should be clean – it takes nothing but a bit of time to sweep the floor or remove cobwebs. Stalls that are not in use should be clean. Remove old feed bags, keep tack picked up and hung neatly.
If you have animals be sure to keep their pens clean, manure should be disposed of properly, and the animals themselves should be in good condition (when inviting people onto your property to look at your farm – and they find the animals in what they view as poor condition, they may report you to the SPCA or similar animal welfare group.
Take down and remove any unsafe buildings that will lower the property value.
Curb appeal is as important in a rural property as it is in a city one. In the summer having a nice potted plant near the door is a plus. A fresh coat of paint, particularly around the door and front windows, will brighten the home up. Keep the lawn mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled, depending on the season.
In the right hand corner of this picture we see the metal roof that had blown off the shed in the distance. Again, with a bit of work the roof could have been back on the shed, or at least neatly stored in the shed area.
You may want to have your well water tested prior to listing.
Clean Up the Home
Have a garage sale (or include large household items in a Farm Auction, mentioned below) to rid yourself of unwanted items, take what is left to your local thrift shop.
Box up as many items that are not used regularly and store them neatly in the basement or garage, or ideally in another location off your property, so they do not add “Clutter”.
Farm homes get dirty quick, be sure to sweep daily (and do a quick clean up) every morning as soon as your house goes on the market, this way if a showing is made while you are away it still looks presentable.
A fresh coat of paint in a neutral (or light) color is always best, the front entry should be considered for a new coat of paint, as should any other rooms where the walls do not look fresh. If you have children be sure they remove clutter (posters) from their walls and patch any damaged areas.
The farm auction is a great way to rid your property of clutter. Contact an auctioneer and plan a date. Typically these are in the spring and summer and are on the weekends.
The auctioneer will take a commission, and will want to be sure you have enough items to make a “Sale”, you may include livestock, equipment, machinery, furniture, tack, as well as smaller items, tools, and so forth. Attend a few farm auctions and note the cleaner, and better presented, your items are, the higher price they will sell for.
The farm auction before listing your house is a good way of “Cleaning up” and having things removed from your property, but if you are still in the farming business, this may be held after the farm is sold. Occasionally people even auction off their farm.
Get an Agent
Farms and Acreages sell faster when you have an agent, and this is true of rural properties simply because there is less likelihood of people driving around and seeing your “House for Sale” sign, some people in the market feel more comfortable going through an agent, particularly as there may be more considerations when buying a rural property.
Be sure the agent that you list your farm with is well experienced with selling farm, or rural, properties like yours, and has been doing so for at least two years.
Be sure you have several photos of your property for sale to use on MLS (multiple listing service). This should include a picture of the front of the house, the barns (if any), the yard, pasture, and at least one of inside the home. Do not use pictures that show clutter, damages, or mess.
While looking for a hobby farm to purchase, the author saw one place with a dead cat in the barn, the property she eventually bought had been on the market for over 1 year, and was very neglected. You can see by the pictures (which were taken long before writing this article was even a thought... that with even a little effort the sellers (a young couple) could have done much better. Lucky for the seller we viewed the farm in the winter when everything was under snow!