According to the LANDTHINK Pulse results, 70.5% of our audience indicated that if they were to buy a recreational property for personal use, they would prefer a fixer-upper over a turnkey property. Land buyers today can find a vast selection of recreational land for sale from which to choose. While most buyers know exactly what they are looking for in terms of location, size, and features, many find it challenging to decide between a recreational tract that is “turnkey”, meaning that it’s ready for immediate use, or a “fixer-upper”, one that needs considerable work and vision to transform it into their dream property. Based on last month’s results, land buyers aren’t scared off by fixer-upper listings, and are opting to purchase properties that can be customized to suit their specific needs.
Last month, the September Pulse asked: If you were to buy a recreational property for your personal use, would you prefer a fixer-upper that can be customized or a turnkey property that’s ready to use?
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Purchasing recreational land that is turnkey or considered a fixer-upper is a matter of personal choice, but which of these two options is better? There’s no easy answer; there are advantages and disadvantages to each, but working with a land agent can help buyer’s simplify the decision.
Land that needs improvement is cheaper than turnkey properties in the same area. For most buyers, this financial incentive is enough to make them want to buy a fixer-upper. This often means they can purchase land for sale in an area that would otherwise be unaffordable, or the opportunity to purchase more acreage than they thought they could afford. Depending on seller motivation, how long the property has been on the market, and how many offers the seller has received, choosing a fixer-upper will generally give buyers more negotiating leverage with sellers.
The biggest advantage in choosing a fixer-upper is the buyers’ ability to customize the land and turn it into the dream property they’ve always envisioned owning. Obviously, everyone has different priorities, but the beauty of buying land that needs work is having free rein to choose certain elements you want in your dream property — everything from hunting enhancements and improved vegetation to the addition of water feature. This can usually be achieved at a much lower price than a turnkey.
There are, however, cons to purchasing a fixer-upper property that buyers need to consider. Even though the property can often be acquired at a lower sales price, there can also be a lot of unforeseen costs associated with buying a recreational land tract that needs some improvements. From adding basic improvements like road access, water or power on the property, or if you decide on the addition of other custom elements- patience is required. If this doesn’t work for your lifestyle, it’s best to think about a turnkey property.
Buyers that decide on a fixer-upper tract can often secure an undervalued property, improve it and get the benefit of the extra equity. If they can find the right one, it could mean thousands of dollars. And because buyers get to choose the upgrades and improvements themselves, they can gain instant equity and their dream land, all in one package.
Landowners can use a wide range of strategies to add value to their land, according to United Country Real Estate. In their LANDTHINK article, “Improving Your Land”, they offer ideas for improving land through infrastructure, vegetation, food plots, and the addition of a water source that can pay dividends for generations to come.
LANDTHINK often collaborates with a wide network of land industry experts to help us analyze and examine the current state of the real estate land market. We asked some of the top land experts for their perspective as to why the results of last month’s Pulse question indicated that most prospective buyers prefer a recreation property they can fix up and customize.
Here’s what they had to say:
Mike Matre, ALC, Matre Forestry Consulting (GA): “I am not at all surprised about the results. It is how I feel, and most prospective buyers we hear from are not requesting a fully developed turnkey property. In order of priority, I believe they prefer a fixer-upper for a lower per acre entry price, the ability to improve wildlife habitat that enhances hunting, and the ability to develop the property according to their personal preferences.”
Chris Respess, United Country Respess Real Estate (NC): “From a financial standpoint, prospective buyers are often better off purchasing properties that need a little work or improvement because they tend to get more acreage for a lesser cost. I have also found that most clients like to purchase properties that they can customize and create a unique environment that they can call their own. Frequently I encounter investors that are able to purchase properties that need a large amount of work. They have the means, equipment, and supplies to bring new life to the property. These clients enjoy the property while renovations are under way as well as when they have been completed. Often the investors turn the property around and list it for a buyer looking for a turnkey property.”
There is no question; our informal online survey revealed that an overwhelming 70.5% of our LANDTHINK audience strongly prefer to purchase a recreational property that can be improved and customized rather than a turnkey property that’s ready to use. Only 29.5% indicated that they would prefer to buy a turnkey property that’s ready to use.
There are reasons why purchasing a turnkey recreational tract is the right choice for some buyers who may not have the time, ability or interest to customize a fixer-upper property. All the property features the buyer desires is included in the price. What’s most attractive about turnkey properties is that it allows buyers to get excited about enjoying the land immediately after closing, instead of worrying about the extra costs associated with customizing a property to fit their desires and needs.
Buyers should be aware that turnkey recreational tracts are more expensive. Prospective buyers can browse turnkey recreational land for sale on LANDFLIP, but they should know that the listed price will more than likely not change- after all, you’re paying a premium for somebody else’s work and that cost has been rolled into the asking price. Just because “turnkey” is in the listing description, doesn’t mean it’s a good purchase. Some turnkey properties require a lot of ongoing maintenance.
The advantages and disadvantages inherent to turnkey recreational tracts and fixer-uppers should be carefully evaluated. Buyers should enlist the help of an experienced land agent, who can offer advice and contacts to help buyers understand what they are getting into and ensure they are making the best decision.
Here are the final results:
We were pleased with the large number of Pulse responses, and we thank everyone who answered the Pulse and shared it on social media with friends and connections in the land industry. LANDTHINK would like to extend a big thank you to Southeastern Land Group for sponsoring the September Pulse and for coming up with a very interesting question to pose to our audience. If you’re looking for land for sale, or thinking about selling land in the Southeast, Southeastern Land Group is the name you need to remember. They are a full service land and farm brokerage company dedicated to providing the best service and the best results when it comes to buying or selling rural property.
Become a Pulse sponsor! It’s a great way to ensure your brokerage is the first one buyers and sellers call when they have a need to buy or sell property. You’ll get insane exposure on Social + Email + Web. That’s 500,000+ monthly eyes on you! Once you have it, you won’t want to give it up! Pulse sponsorships are offered on a first come first serve basis and are subject to certain limitations. We’ve already secured a sponsor for November, but if your business would be interested in sponsoring the December Pulse, please contact us soon.
Do you have a suggestion for next month’s Pulse question? Submit your question and we might choose yours!
We want to know what you think about our October Pulse question, chosen and sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Georgia: What would you consider to be the most challenging part of purchasing land? Answer now.
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