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How to sell a rural property

In the absence of close neighbours to compare with, how do estate agents value unique properties in the country? And how do homeowners in rural settings find the best estate agent to market their home? Here’s what you need to know.

October 6, 2016

rural property

How do estate agents value rural properties?

Unlike a big town or city, what agents and portals call “comparables” are in shorter supply in rural areas. For example, if your Edwardian semi-detached home sits in a road of similar properties any estate agent can log into Rightmove Plus or Zoopla Pro to get a valuation range – before they even step foot in your house.

A rural property may not have those comparables – how can a 5 bedroomed farmhouse with 2 acres be compared with a 5 bedroom barn conversion with 10 acres within a mile’s radius?

The search area when agents make these initial valuation judgements has to stretch – a postcode search within a quarter of mile of an Islington property may give some idea, but an isolated country pad may need a 10 mile search radius.

When you get to the point of inviting an agent into your home to provide a valuation, ask them how they reached the figure they propose for marketing your home. They should take location and any land into consideration, and employ a house price calculator that considers price paid and capital growth since ownership.  They should also be able to tell you their experience in selling similar properties to yours. But be warned: the hackneyed phrase “A house is only worth what someone is prepared to pay” may rear its head. 

Where do rural estate agents find qualified buyers?

All estate agents have a network, a subscription list or a mailing list of buyers who’ve either contacted them directly enquiring about a certain type of property, or have requested details or arranged a viewing on a different marketed property.

When you meet your shortlisted agents, ask where they find qualified (i.e. legitimate, with funds in place) buyers, how widely they market and what they’ll do for your property to go that extra mile? For example, unique, rural properties often lend themselves to printed glossy brochures and featured newspaper articles in local and national papers. 

How do you find the right estate agent to sell a rural property?

Use our free and impartial service to select the best local agents near you. It allows you to search and rank local agents based on how quickly they sell, how often they achieve asking price, how successful they are at selling homes like yours and their fees.

Invite three agents to see your property and don’t forget to ask:

  1. “What rural properties have you sold recently and what is the percentage of asking price to selling price?”
  2. “How many potential “active” buyers have you got on your database?”
  3. “How would you market my property?” and
  4. if applicable, “Do you have surveying expertise in terms of valuing land?”

Often, by virtue of rural location, estate agents already offer that niche expertise.

Remember that a rurally-based estate agent may lay claim to acquiring a higher selling price for you based on their local knowledge, experience and network than an online agent. Do you think this is necessary or do you feel your rural property would sell itself without that local knowledge? If so, consider an online estate agent.

Remember, the best agent to sell your home – whether it’s rural or urban –  is the one who achieves the highest selling price, not the one with the lowest commission structure.

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