For some buyers, sometimes all it takes to fall in love with a property
is the land itself
When people think about farms and ranches, they may visualize cattle grazing in the twilight of a big-sky sunset, chickens bobbing on the ground or time-worn red barns. While such places exist, what agents should also visualize is a multi-million-dollar listing.
KW Farm & Ranch member Gary Steele of Austin SW market center, stands outside on a brisk spring morning, taking in the clean air and evaluating the 51- acre plot he is preparing to list. But these acres of ranchland are probably not what you are imagining. No, this land isn’t for raising cattle or growing food. It is a beautiful spot where families can raise their children and enjoy a little extra breathing room.
Ten years ago, Steele sold this tract of land to its current residents. The time has come for them to sell, and soon a new family will move in and enjoy this country paradise located just 40 minutes outside of Austin. The property is listing for $2.6 million and boasts a 3,200-square-foot home, a 2,000-square-foot converted barn that is now a beautiful guest house and a fish-filled pond. Steele said buyers are attracted to properties like this because they love the idea of spending weekends outside fishing in their own private pond and reconnecting with nature, yet they are less than one hour from a major city.
Contrary to popular perception, buyers don’t have to work a farm or ranch to buy one. However, agents need to know agriculture – and wildlife – specific rules that apply to farm- and ranchland. “There are different rules for farm and ranch transactions,” Steele notes. “It is important to understand the requirements for wildlife and agriculture exemptions and properly guide your clients to purchase the land that best fits their needs.”
For example, on this particular tract of land, there is a wildlife exemption for nesting birds. This requires the owners to perform and report quarterly egg counts. Buyers need to be informed of these restrictions and compliance standards or they risk paying significantly higher taxes. There are also development rules specific to each area.
In Dripping Springs, where this property is located, the minimum size of a subdivided lot is five acres where there is well and septic. “It used to be one acre, but in an effort to protect the very thing residents love, open land, they increased the lot size requirements.” An avid hunter and fisherman, Steele is a wildlife enthusiast and feels blessed to work outside where he loves to be. “Even though it is different than residential sales, it is still real estate,” Steele said. “The property still has to be cleaned up and priced right or it won’t sell.”
Steele said that KW Farm & Ranch has helped take his business to the next level. Since a majority of buyers come from out of the area, they have to be able to find the listings. Through his KW Farm & Ranch membership, Steele receives a discount with Lands of America, which he said is just one of the many marketing tools he needs to push his listings outside his market. “You just don’t get that with any other company around here,” Steele said. “The membership benefits outweigh the membership fee. They are huge!” he exclaimed.