How to Sell Rural Real Estate
Experts share insights for selling property in rural Oklahoma
The old adage “location, location, location” is finding a resurgence in the buying and selling of rural property. Urbanites are looking to leave the hustle and bustle of city life for a couple acres to grow a garden, have a horse or just enjoy a little freedom.
Debbie Lynn Benton, broker/owner of Marlow Real Estate and Stacey Carnes, United Country Wilson Realty, REALTOR®, are sharing their rural real estate tips with Oklahoma Living readers.
Determining a Price Point
“A big misconception among buyers is that country property will be cheaper,” Benton, Cotton Electric Cooperative member, says. “But you have to remember you are paying for that freedom.”
Many homes in rural areas have been in one family for generations. That sentimentality can get a seller in trouble when determining a listing price. To find a price that is fair to the seller and the buyer, Benton recommends relying on facts, not emotions.
Real estate agents help determine price points by looking at comparable homes and land sold within the area. A market analysis can include evaluating homes and land that are similar in age, acreage and location. Carnes recommends going back to homes sold within one year to determine the average price per square foot.
If a home or property is older, an inspection up front may be needed rather than waiting for the home to be under contract with a buyer.
“There are likely problems in the house and you’re just used to them,” Carnes, Northfork Electric Cooperative member, says. “Then a buyer comes along and they do an inspection and come up with a whole list of problems.”
Taking care of needed improvements, as well as staging the home and land, can increase the likelihood of a smooth sale.
Increasing Curb Appeal
Benton and Carnes agree the days of real estate agents choosing homes for clients to look at are long gone. With the real estate market moving online, potential buyers will determine what they want to visit first, which makes staging the home and property for pictures and video more important than ever.
Carnes recommends decluttering and depersonalizing a home if there is someone living on the property. She will often suggest cleaning out rooms completely, adding lamps, and smaller remodeling projects like painting a room a lighter color.
“Staging the pictures has to be great,” Carnes says. “I always remind sellers the outside is just as important as the inside.”
Drone videos have also become very popular. Especially if there are ponds or creeks, Carnes loves to get aerial shots for the buyers.
“I have a 640-acre ranch for sale, but we cannot drive that ranch because we are in a burn ban,” Carnes says. “You would risk starting a wildfire. That’s where the technology really comes in handy.”
Benton recommends staging land much like a seller would a home. Examples of items sellers often overlook are cleaning up flowerbeds, keeping the yard mowed, removing junk piles and fixing fences and gates.
“Buyers already know what the property looks like, now they are looking for the feel of the place,” Benton says. “When you pull up to a property, even if there is not a house, you still look at curb appeal.”
Once a buyer makes an offer on a property, there are many financial incentives available to encourage families to purchase homes in rural areas.
Getting the Low Down on Loans
Financing rural property can be different depending on the acreage. Carnes often uses the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If the eligibility requirements are met, one of the major benefits includes purchasing the home with no money down.
Benton works to educate clients on the various types of loans as well. For instance, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and Veterans Administration (VA) loans both have unique benefits, like low closing costs, but there are many requirements to be aware of. For instance, the lender will need to see the home appraised for at least 80 percent of the value.
Regardless of the loan type used, Carnes has a few words of encouragement for hopeful homeowners.
“The market has changed in terms of accessibility,” Carnes says. “You no longer need the standard 20 percent down with a 700-credit score. Don’t prejudge your credit, but don’t look at properties until you know what you’ve been approved for.”
Trusting a Professional
It can be tempting to try selling a home on your own. However, there are many factors to consider before diving into the deep end of real estate, including ensuring the safety of your family and property.
“The real estate commission was put together to protect the public through what can become a complicated process,” Carnes says.
Real estate agents are licensed, trained and receive continuing education to help the buying and selling process go as smoothly as possible. A real estate agent can screen and pre-qualify potential buyers to help avoid scams.
“Without a REALTOR®, you have no buffer between you and someone looking at your property other than yourself,” Benton says. “We know if someone can afford the listing or not before we schedule a viewing.”
Real estate agents also help coordinate title opinions, appraisals, surveys, inspections and contract negotiations. To find a real estate agent with expertise in your rural area, visit https://www.ok.gov/OREC/.
Ask the Experts
Debbie Lynn Benton | Marlow Real Estate | www.marlowrealestate.com | 580-658-1177
Stacey Carnes United Country Wilson Realty, REALTOR® | 521 W. Third Elk City, 73644 | www.staceycarnes.com | 580-821-4804