inspection inspector appraisal assessment

Appraisal, Assessment, Inspection: What’s the difference?

There are a lot of terms in real estate that are very industry specific. Whether you’re working with an agent or buying/selling on your own, it’s wise to have at least a basic knowledge of the process and terminology.

Among the terms that cause the most confusion for homeowners is home appraisal, property assessment, and home inspections. While these all involve a person coming into a home to form a professional opinion, these are done by different people and can have different results.

getting leads in a coffee shop

Agent Advice: How to Get More Leads

Whether you’re just starting out in the real estate industry or you’re a seasoned veteran, referrals are a great way to expand your business. According the National Association of Realtors® 2017 Member Profile, the typical Realtor® received 18% of their business from referrals. Looking to increase your business without increasing the cost of marketing associated with getting that business? While farming your personal network and sphere of influence is (almost) always the most effective source, sometimes it isn’t enough. Try these ideas to increase your referral leads for free!

Agent Networking and Referral Groups

Facebook, once seen as the best way to lose a few hours wasting time, has become an omnipotent social channel. Want to buy something? Check the Marketplace. Looking for a recommendation? Crowdsource the answer by using Facebook’s Recommendations feature. Want to connect with others in your industry/community/interest group? Facebook has a group for that. For real estate industry professionals, these groups can be an excellent way to source marketing ideas, find solutions for finicky clients, and even get referrals. By being an active member of these online communities, you are able to interact with agents from across the country or world, depending on the group.

When a group member knows of a person in their sphere of influence needing a real estate expert in a place they are not licensed or qualified to assist in, oftentimes these groups become the first place to look for someone who is. Sure, a quick internet search will return the name of someone doing business in the area, but using these groups help to provide social proof into the best candidate for the client. Group members are able to suggest themselves, but often also suggest those they have done transactions with before who might not be in the group. This is especially helpful when looking to refer a client to an agent in an area not covered by your brokerage.

Horizontally Grow Your Network

It’s been said time and time again, your network is your net worth. Most successful agents have a huge network spanning across different industries, interests, and demographics and for good reason! If your network is mostly made up of real estate professionals, you’re most likely not going to see many referral leads, but if you have connections in a variety of fields you increase your chances of being the agent for the job.

Growing your sphere of influence takes time and effort and referral leads won’t come in overnight. Simply showing up at a local networking event and passing out your business cards isn’t going turn on the lead hose (although it probably won’t hurt!), but rather you have to invest in your network. Consider joining a recreational sports league, a community initiative, or signing up to volunteer on a regular basis as these groups tend to have a good mix of demographics which will help you expand your reach even further.

Find Your Niche

In larger cities, finding a niche market can be the golden ticket to referral leads. If you’re known as the local expert for first-time homebuyers, commercial buildings, waterfront properties, farmland or anything else you can use that to your advantage as a differentiator from your competition. For some agents, the flow of business from this can be consistent enough that it can become their entire business! Agents in smaller cities can use niche marketing as well, but it’s important to strike a delicate balance between specialization and generalization so that clients aren’t turned away because “that agent only works with X properties”.

Finding a niche is easy. Imagine your ideal clients or favorite deals you’ve worked on. What’s the common thread? Do you have a particular fondness for helping seniors downsize, helping people relocate to your area, or have a passion for selling buildable lots? Start incorporating that into your marketing. Adding a paragraph to your agent bio on your company’s website is a good start, as is creating a page on your personal website dedicated to your newfound niche. The goal of adding this to your marketing is to have search engines like Google place you at the top of the results page when your ideal client starts their search.

Become a Local Celebrity

In the “old days” of real estate, agents plastered their faces on billboards and placed ads in every edition of the local newspaper they could afford. Sometimes there would be a sports car or luxury home in the background, other times you’d see them standing with their arms crossed, looking cool and confident. In the days before social media, having your face in these places meant you were IMPORTANT. Now, with the majority of consumer attention focused online, that’s where you need to be most visible.

One of the best ways to cultivate this status is to create and share content about your local area on your real estate social media pages. Visiting a festival? Post a Facebook Live video and encourage community members to come check it out! Know of all the best happy hour spots in your town? Write a blog post and share it to your agent page. Continue to produce great information about your local area and with a small amount of paid promotion you’ll establish yourself as the go-to person for information about your area.

Create Partnerships

There are plenty of referral sources that promise a flow of referral leads. While some of these can be successful, they often come at a high price and many services are plagued by spam with incorrect or outdated information. Instead of paying for all leads, look for programs that are pay-for-performance based wherein you only pay for the lead on a successfully completed transaction or find the opportunity to form true partnerships. These arrangements can lower the cost of marketing because there’s no money at stake if it doesn’t work.

Partnerships like this can be found in a variety of places. Home builders or remodelers are often a great resource as they often work with clients who may be looking to buy or sell as are elderly care facilities looking to offer a resource to help new or prospective residents sell their home. While real estate tends to be a local business, don’t forget to think on a larger scale as well. Companies such as AgentPronto that are geared toward this type of arrangement and work on a pay-for-success model that can be a great place to start, but don’t stop there. Many companies such as RealtyHive work with consumers directly and need a licensed MLS-member local agent to assist with showings, postings, and other boots-on-the-ground work. Partnering with companies like this positions you to be the go-to local agent when projects come up in your area while also helping you reach buyers as many of these platforms allow you to link to your other listings or personal website.

Top 5 Quick Tips for Free Referrals

  1. Join Agent Networking and Referral Groups
  2. An agent who isn’t your competition can be your biggest ally.

  3. Horizontally Grow Your Network
  4. It pays to make connections with people in diverse industries.

  5. Find Your Niche
  6. When clients are looking for a specific property, make sure you show up in their search.

  7. Become a Local Celebrity
  8. Knowing your city is valuable, but having your city know you is invaluable.

  9. Create Partnerships
  10. Look for new opportunities by partnering with others in different areas or industries.

hand holding the word loans

Things They Don’t Teach in School: Home Loans 101

Before you start looking at what’s on the market and dreaming of paint colors, it’s important to figure out how you’re going to afford a new home. When it comes to getting financing, there are a ton of case-by-case scenarios so it’s important to talk to a professional about how much you can afford, what payments and terms are like, and more, but it helps to have a little background information.

When you begin to dig into your options, it’s important to ask about things like interest rates, whether they’re fixed or variable, if there’s a penalty for paying it off early, and many other details. However, to get started, it’s good to have some background knowledge on your options.
 
Conventional Loan
AKA: Conforming loans, non-conforming loans, portfolio loans, sub-prime loans
Property Type: Single-Family Primary Residence, Second home, rental property
How it works: A lender such as a bank or credit union issues the loan without any government backing
Benefit of Using: Can have lower down payment, lower monthly payments, and higher loan amounts for people with good credit
Down payment: As low as 3%
Credit: Generally best for people with a credit score of 680 or higher
Income Requirements: Varies by lender
Prepayment Penalty: Varies by lender
Mortgage Insurance: Not generally required with down payment of 20% or more, lower than FHA mortgage insurance costs, and is usually able to be cancelled with equity reaches 20%
Tips:

  • Standard loan limits exist, but are higher than with FHA loan ie. $453,100 for 1-unit home and can vary based on area

 
U.S. Federal Housing Administration Loan
AKA: FHA loan
Property Type: Single-Family, Condos, Multi-Family, and Manufactured
How it works: Private lenders issue the loans, FHA provides backing. If homeowner doesn’t repay loan, FHA will pay lender instead.
Benefit of Using: Lenders are willing to make substantial mortgage loans in cases they normally wouldn’t because of FHA backing.
Down payment: As low as 3.5% — can come from gift money or seller help
Credit: Can have thin credit or history of credit problems. Two or three years after a financial hardship is typically enough time to qualify.
Income Requirements: No minimum is required, but you need enough to demonstrate the ability to repay the loan. High incomes aren’t disqualified as with some other first-time buyer programs.
Prepayment Penalty: None
Mortgage Insurance: Required
Tips:

  • Check with several lenders. Lenders can set standards that are more strict than minimum FHA requirements, so if you’re having troubles with one, check with another.
    Credit scores below 580 typically require more than the 3.5% down payment
  • There are maximum loan amounts set that vary by area. Find out what your local limit is at the HUD website
  • For people with low or no credit, FHA can be a great choice, but those with high credit scores may find better rates through a different program.

 
USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program
AKA: U.S. Department of Agriculture Mortgage Program
Property Type: Owner-occupied primary residences
How it works: USDA backs a mortgage issued by a participating local lender, similar to VA or FHA loans
Benefit of Using: Help low and very low income applicants. Income thresholds vary by region, but with subsidies, rates can be as low as 1%
Down payment: 0%
Credit: Applicants with scores about 640 receive streamlined processing, but those with lower scores or limited credit history can still qualify.
Income Requirements: Varies by region, but generally only for low income applicants.
Prepayment Penalty: None
Mortgage Insurance: Requires upfront fee of 1% of total loan amount and mortgage insurance fee equal to 0.35% of the loan balance per year.
Tips:

  • USDA mortgages are designed to help those with the greatest need. This means individuals or families that are 1) without “decent, safe and sanitary housing” 2) unable to secure a home loan from traditional sources and 3) has an adjusted income at or below the low-income limit for the area where they live
  • Typically issues direct loans for homes with 2,000 square feet or less
  • Metro areas are generally excluded, but some opportunities may exist in suburbs. Rural locations are always eligible

 
VA Loan
AKA: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loan program
Property Type: Owner-occupied single family, Condos, manufactured home, and in some cases new construction can qualify
How it works: VA loans are issued by private lenders and backed by the U.S. government
Benefit of Using: Only available to active duty military member and veterans, this program helps service members purchase a home without a downpayment or excellent credit.
Down payment: 0%
Credit: No official minimum, but borrowers typically look for a score of 620
Income Requirements: No maximum, but does have a unique “residual income” qualifier
Prepayment Penalty: No
Mortgage Insurance: Not required
Tips:

  • In most parts of the country, VA loans can be used to purchase a home worth up to $453,100 without a down payment. In high priced markets, this can be increased. See your area here.
  • Like other government-backed loans, lenders may have more stringent requirements than the VA requirements. Shop around to find the best option for you.

Island Escape 101: Exotic Tropical Fruits

One of the first things you realize when you move to a tropical land is just how many fruits you’ve never heard of or tried before! Sure, US supermarkets are stocked to the brim with far more products than you’ll find in nearly any store in the Caribbean, but that doesn’t mean you can find the same things.

Once you step foot into your local tropical market, supermercado, or roadside stand and find these tasty treats, you’ll be reminded just how different life in the tropics really is.
 

 
Ackee
This strange fruit looks like a cross between brains and scrambled eggs and is known as Jamaica’s national fruit. The flavor is buttery and nutty and scrambles well with saltfish.
Note: Unripe ackee is toxic and will likely cause vomiting if ingested.
 

 
Chayote
Similar to a zucchini in flavor and texture, these wrinkled, pear-sized fruits soak up the flavor of whatever they’re paired with and tend to work well in savory dishes.
 

 
Cherimoya
Once referred to as “the most delicious fruit known to men” by Mark Twain, Cherimoya has a very soft texture and a flavor somewhere between banana and pineapple.
 

 
Mamey
Mamey has a sweet and creamy flavor falling somewhere along the lines of a mellow mango or milky papaya. These fruits can get quite large have a custard texture, which along with the flavor profile, make it ideal for milkshakes.
 

 
Noni
Typically served as a juice, noni are known for providing a boost of energy and have a strong, bitter flavor.
 

 
Rambutan
This ping pong sized fruit is eye-catching with its bright pink/red exterior covered in soft spikes. Making a slice in the center reveals an almost iridescent fruit inside which will peel easily from the spiky shell. The fruit itself has a flavor similar to a soft cherry or kiwi.
 

 
Sapodilla
While not the most glamourous looking, this fruit is best eaten plain–it tastes like a very sweet pear!
 

 
Sour Orange
Sour oranges, like the name implies, are extra-sour fruits (although not orange!) with a flavor closer to what Americans think of as lime with an extra bitter kick. Sour oranges can be eaten out of hand, but a much better use is to use it in cooked, savory dishes.

market lake

#WinWithRealtyHive: Selling in Stiles

Everyone in real estate is talking about how hot the market is. In many areas, single-family homes can barely hit the MLS before an accepted offer is reached, but that isn’t always the case. In areas with more sellers than buyers, selling a home can take weeks or months if not years.

That’s what happened to one couple in Northern Wisconsin. They custom built their home in 2003 on a nice parcel of waterfront land. In Wisconsin, waterfront property is easier to find than in other states, however, it does still demand a premium price. Knowing this, the couple held on to their investment until January 2015 when they felt it was time to sell.

They enlisted the help of a local real estate agent in January 2015, but after 163 days the listing expired and was promptly renewed by another agent from a different firm. The next agent had the home on the market for 123 days and the sellers decided to hold off renewing the property listing for the holidays. In this area, at this time the average property only took 116 days to sell so the sellers were beginning to get anxious.

In February 2016, they chose a local “celebrity” agent to represent their home. This agent was well-known thanks to an impressive marketing presence, but still, after 156 days on the market, the home did not sell.

Throughout this process, the sellers and their agents had been lowering the sale price. While any real estate agent worth their commission will pull information on comparable homes and help properly price a home, sometimes it can be hard. There are differences in layout, views, upgrades and more that can make a substantial difference in what a buyer is willing to pay. Still, having an improperly priced home can not only make for a difficult sale outright, it can further harm the ability to sell even with price reductions because of the unattractively high number of days on the market.

After more than one year off the market, the sellers decided to try once more to sell their home. They enlisted the help of Alex Ryczek, a Realtor® with Micoley.com to help. In addition to making sure the home was properly positioned to sell with staging and professional photos, Alex encouraged the seller to try something new: using the RealtyHive platform to market and sell their property.

The RealtyHive event marketing platform allowed Alex and the sellers to expose the property to a global audience in addition to having range pricing displayed. Buyers who may have been deterred from making an offer too far from the original list price were encouraged to submit offers by seeing this range pricing and it helped the sellers realize the true market value of their home.

In total the home was listed for 442 days before it was added to the RealtyHive platform. After that, it only took 99 days to receive an accepted offer that met the sellers’ needs.

Do you have a property that could benefit from the RealtyHive platform? Learn more by click here!

door county wisconsin farm

Beyond the Brewery: Explore Door County’s Hidden Charms!

Door County, Wisconsin is regarded as the “Napa Valley of the Midwest” thanks to an abundance of wineries, art galleries, and other cultural activities, but not everything on this peninsula isn’t as prime and proper as it seems. Beyond the award-winning artisan cheeses and world-renowned cherries, lays another Door County–one that’s funky, spunky, and so much fun! Here are some of the best festivals, fairs, and side trips that Door County, Wisconsin has to offer!

Annual Roofing of the Goats Parade
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, located in Sister Bay, is one of the most popular Door County eateries. While the menu contains tons of delish items, it’s the roof that gets all the attention. During the summer months, the grass-covered roof is occupied by live goats! Of course, since the goats don’t live on the restaurant’s roof year-round, Sister Bay welcomes them back to town with the annual Roofing of the Goats Parade! In addition to participating in the parade (it’s a BYOG-bring your own goat-event), there is also live music, kid’s games, food and beverages, and a Swedish Pancake Eating contest!
Date: June 9, 2018
More Info: Visit Sister Bay’s website

Fragrant Isle
Located on Washington Island, it’ll take a Ferry or personal boat to get to this Door County fragrant farm, but you’ll be glad you did! Fragrant Isle is the Midwest’s largest lavender farm and a shop with more than 20,000 lavender plants! Each year the farm welcomes visitors to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the blooming buds. Whether you choose to shop for one of their more than 150 lavender-based products, visit the Le Petit Bistro for a mouth-watering snack, or just stroll through the extra instagrammable lavender fields and enjoy the natural beauty. Every other year, the farm hosts an “All Things Lavender” fest which is not to be missed!
Date: 2018 dates TBD
More Info: Visit Fragrant Isle’s Website

Rock Beaches
Typically when people think of beaches, it’s soft sand that comes to mind, but Door County does it differently. While some sand beaches can be found, Door County is known for the pebble beaches that populate the shores. On Washington Island you’ll find smooth, skipping stone-like rocks at Schoolhouse Beach while other parts of the peninsula have a mixture of smooth and rough rocks. At Cave Point County Park, located just outside Sturgeon Bay, you’ll find many rough, but easily walkable rock cliffs jutting out into the water. Come for the nature, stay for the zen atmosphere thanks to the many impromptu stacked rock sculptures.
Dates: Open throughout the year, but May-October are the best to visit
More Info: Learn More Here!

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga
Yoga has become the workout of choice for people of many backgrounds, interests, and skill levels, but Door County takes it one step further by incorporating the abundant freshwater sources the peninsula offers! Here full-time yogis and novices alike can hop aboard a stand-up paddleboard and try their hand at one of the many SUP yoga classes. Classes generally run $25-$35 per hour and include all equipment. Not sure about trying your hand at a floating yoga practice? Many companies rent the boards and also offer guided tours making this another great way to explore the area by water.
Dates: Memorial Day to Labor Day will have the best water conditions
More Info: More information found here or here!

man thinking psychology tricks

5 Psychology Tricks to Use When Selling Your Home

When selling real estate, the goal is always to get the highest sale price possible. In some markets this is easy. According to Zillow, in 2017 nearly 1 in 4 homes sold over the listed price, and in some cases, far over. While the area, home type, and other factors come into play, understanding some basic psychology can help create the best chance to sell for the highest price.

Find a Good Agent
Psychological Trick: Overconfidence Bias
What it says: People tend to think they’re smarter/more skilled than they are
Why it matters: Pricing a home wrong can lead to not selling or leaving money on the table
What to do: Talk to a few agents before hiring one or deciding to go it alone. From the outside selling real estate can seem like a really simple process, but once you get a look under the hood it starts to become clear the advantages you could see by hiring a professional.

Price It Right
Psychological Trick: Reciprocation Tendency aka Foot in the Door Phenomenon
What it says: People are more likely to give you something reasonable if you ask for something outlandish first.
Why it matters: A home priced at $215,000 seems like a great deal if another property in the area sold for $275,000 even if the houses aren’t similar at all.
What to do: Unless the home for sale is the nicest one on the market, it’s wise to price property in the middle of the field. When buyers see the highest price, suddenly everything below it seems reasonable, whether or not it is truly comparable.

Host an Open House
Psychological Trick: Envy/Jealousy Tendency
What it says: People will want what others have and are reluctant to give it up to others
Why it matters: If a home appears to be popular, buyers are more likely to put in more aggressive offers than if it seems like a property no one else is looking at.
What to do: Schedule an open house event on a weekend afternoon when there isn’t a lot of competition from other local events. Sure, some “just looking” people or nosey neighbors may show up (thanks, Curiosity Tendency!), but even that will help to make the home look even more popular!

If It’s Fixable, Fix It
Psychological Trick: Confirmation Bias
What it says: People tend to look for information that supports their beliefs and reject any information that contradicts their beliefs.
Why it matters: If a buyer thinks the home is overpriced, they’ll look to confirm that belief by finding all the small issues they can.
What to do: While living in a home it can be easy to look over minor issues like a burnt out bulb in a light fixture or dingy looking outlet faceplate, buyers will see these issue and wonder what other maintenance tasks have been skipped. Take a walk through the home with fresh eyes and try to spot the wear-and-tear pitfalls. These fixes are inexpensive to do and can prevent potential buyers from creating a mental list of price-reducers as they walk through.

Make the First Impression Count
Psychological Trick: Anchoring
What it says: This is the tendency to jump to conclusions and base a final judgment on information gained early on in the decision-making process. Once an initial assumption is formed, it’s hard to see other possibilities.
Why it matters: There’s no second chance to make a first impression so it’s important that any property puts its best foot forward. If a buyer falls in love at first sight, it’ll be easier for them to continue to come back to that initial reaction after seeing the rest of the home.
What to do: Grass needs to be mowed, bushes should be trimmed, porch lights on, and any clutter cleared from view. If at all possible, have buyers enter through the front door instead of a garage or side door as most homes are designed to make the best impression from this entrance.

unknown island remote beach

Island Escape 101: Unknown Islands

Many travelers get a special thrill when they tell someone about their latest adventures and get blanks stares and questions of “Where’s that?” While many people travel to Jamaica (more than 4 million a year) or the Dominican Republic (more than 5 million annually), it’s not as often that you hear of travels to Montserrat or Guadeloupe. Here are some of the best Caribbean Islands you’ve never heard of!

marie-galante

Marie-Galante
Country: Guadeloupe
Location: Northeast of Venezuela
Language: French
Getting There: There are no scheduled flights from Guadeloupe, although charter flights are available in addition to several available ferries which take about 45-60 minutes from Pointe-à-Pitre or St. François in Guadeloupe.
Best reason to Visit: The beaches of this tiny island are nothing short of spectacular, but the three rum distilleries found here are not to be missed!

Providencia
Country: Colombia
Location: East of Nicaragua
Language: English Creole
Getting There: Getting to Providencia is a challenge. Personal boat travel or chartered flights are the best options. Flights (15 minute ride) and ferries (2.5 hour ride) are available from nearby San Andres island, which can be accessed by direct flights from various Colombian cities.
Best Reason to Visit: The remoteness of this island makes it a truly unspoiled Caribbean gem. From golden sand beaches to idyllic turquoise waters to friendly locals, this is is the Caribbean paradise that movies and stories are made of.

st johns saba island

Saba
Country: Netherlands
Location: East of US Virgin Island, South of Antigua
Language: English, although Dutch is common
Getting There: Easily accessed by boat and has 4 flights per day from Saint Maarten. Take off and landing are sure to be memorable experiences as the runaway at Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is only 400m in length–reported to be the shortest commercial runway in the world!
Best Reason to Visit: The diving is world renowned and the dense vegetation and dramatic landscape made this the perfect setting for the original 1933 King Kong movie.

Montserrat
Country: Montserrat
Location: South of St. Kitts & Nevis, West of Antigua and Barbuda
Language Spoken: English
Getting There: 20 minute flight or 90 minute ferry ride from Antigua
Best Reason to Visit: Check out the buried city of Plymouth. For more than 300 years this was the capital of Montserrat until 1995 when it was laid to waste by a volcanic eruption. You’ll need a certified guide to take you as this is area is now in a mandated exclusion zone.
Fall in Love: Check out this great property in Montserrat and call this tropical oasis your own!

Esperanza Vieques

Vieques
Country: Puerto Rico
Location: Southeast of Puerto Rico
Language: Spanish
Getting There: Ferries run from the Puerto Rican mainland, but the best way is to take a commuter flight from one of four airports in Puerto Rico. No passport is needed for US citizens as Puerto Rico is a Free Commonwealth of the US.
Best Reason to Visit: A peaceful island full of beautiful beaches and with wild horses strolling through grassy meadows, this beautiful island caters to any travel taste from beach huts to fancy hotels. The real gem of this island, though, is Vieques’ dramatic Bioluminescent Bay, a lagoon full of microorganisms that glow purple-blue when disturbed after dark.

Wanting to make a more permanent island getaway? Check out the latest Caribbean properties on RealtyHive here.

bank building in a city

Streamlining the OREO Sales Process: 2018 Market Update

According to information made available by BankRegData.com, the value of OREO property held by U.S. banks has been falling from $17.51 billion in Q2 2015 to $8.45 billion by the end of Q4 2017– a change of more than 50%!

While the overall market climate is changing, it is worth noting that the pace is not the same everywhere in the country. According to data provided by RealtyTrac and their parent company, ATTOM Data Solutions, foreclosure rates for the entire United States stand at 1 in every 1,776 homes, while New Jersey clocks in at the highest with 1 in 605 homes and South Dakota boasts the lowest foreclosure rate at 1 in 11,082 homes as of March 2018. This tool shows the rate for each state in the nation.

With the waning of the foreclosure tides, it’s important to make the most of these assets and simplify the process of liquidating them. In the previous months and years, it may have made sense to have a variety of people and companies handling the onslaught of properties that were consistently streaming into the pre-foreclosure phase. This is no longer true. To simplify processes and consolidate services is to see increased efficiency and reduced costs and to do this, banks need an all-in-one solution.

One of the easiest ways to consolidate is to find a real estate company with experience in OREO distribution. It’s important to partner with a company that is able to work in most or all of the states where the asset properties are located. Real estate licensing requirements vary on a state-by-state basis so partnering with a single firm that can handle all needs will eliminate the backend processing and cost associated with having multiple vendors. If a bank is looking to offer these foreclosure properties in an auction setting, choosing a real estate firm that is also licensed as an auction house can further streamline this process.

RealtyHive offers these solutions to financial institutions throughout the country. From Maine to New Mexico, the Realty Hive team has more than 30 years of experience and has helped sell everything from multi-million dollar commercial buildings to small parcels of vacant land for government financial entities to local credit unions. See more here!

wooded forest land

How to Write Quality Listing Descriptions for Forest Land

Writing a description for a plot of vacant land can be trickier than writing descriptions for other types of real estate. With a home there are a lot of features to mention, basics like number of rooms and floors, amenities and upgrades like security systems and pools, and when all else fails you can fall back on good photos to really help your property stand out. When you have vacant land, it’s a whole new ballgame. Unless the land features some amazing views, you will be heavily relying on a stellar description–lest your whole listing be based on photos of empty fields or dense trees. Here’s how to make your forest land listings shine!

As with any listing you’re needing to write a description you’ll want to start by listing the features of the property.

  • Great hunting land
  • Next to Shawano Lake
  • Paved road access
  • Power at the road
  • Access at two spots (can access hunting stands based on wind directions)
  • Walking trails
  • Close snowmobile trails, other lakes and rivers
  • Managed Forest Law
  • Mix of old growth trees, oak and conifer swamp land
  • Old foundation near road

 
Make sure to consider possible uses. Is this land buildable? Zoned for commercial, residential, or recreational? While there’s nothing there now, you’ll want to advertise the property in a way that will speak to the most likely buyer.

With the features listed above, you can begin to form a picture of what this property is like. Use this to start to string together a story. With home or building listings you want to be concise and keyword heavy, but with land you get to be a little more poetic.

Country living and hunter’s paradise within a stone’s throw of the popular Shawano Lake. This property is the perfect location for the active outdoorsman or nature enthusiast. Land has old growth hardwood and cedar swamp areas–just the type of place you envision those trophy Whitetails hiding out. With paved road access to the land from two separate entry points and walking trails throughout, you’ll be able to avoid detection while you slip into your hunting stand or blind.
 
This property is conveniently located from Shawano, Green Bay, and Appleton, Wisconsin– perfect for day trips, but a small residence is able to be constructed on a pre-existing foundation near the road to suit your lodging needs. When you’re not hunting, you’ll find excellent fishing, ATV and Snowmobile trails in the area making this a haven for year-round recreation.

You’ll also want to know about any potential incentives with this property. In some states or regions, the Department of Natural Resources has programs that incentivize landowners to selectively manage their forest and wildlife populations, and these programs can mean tax incentives for owners and purchasers. If the property is part of a managed forest land program currently, there may be a reapplication or transfer forms that will need to be filled out by the buyer.

Bonus Tip

Selling land can be very exciting, but also a test of your marketing skills. Having a great description, quality photos or videos, and knowing the right platforms to share your information on will help you achieve selling success.