Upon making a decision to sell land, make sure you update and organize all pertinent property records and upgrade the property to avoid signs of deferred maintenance. Making smart improvements, and having information readily available to buyers, brokers and attorneys will make this process seamless. Here are a few steps you can take to make selling your ranch a breeze:
Step 1: Prepare Legal Documentation
Whenever you are preparing to sell your ranch, it is prudent to obtain an updated title commitment to make sure you have clean title and there are no unknown exceptions that could impact the marketability of title.
One of the most important parts of marketing your property is the mapping. Make sure you have all surveys, plats and other mapping readily available.
- Is there deeded and insurable access to your property? Is the property accessed by a public road and is it maintained year round?
- Before you start to market your property, collect all legal documentation identifying easements any neighbors may have, rights to access adjoining public land, and whether or not the property is accessible year round.
- If there are any conservation easements on the property, make sure you have copies of the easements and baseline inventories. Also engage and talk with the land trust holding the easement.
Step 2: Organize Agricultural Records
Water is one of the most coveted resources in the West. Due to its value, you want to make sure you have all owned water rights properly documented. Be sure to delineate all water rights appurtenant to the property and collect all necessary documentation like deeds, stock certificates, flow records, assessments, and well permits.
What are the relevant grazing permits appurtenant to your ranch? Do you have an existing Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), or State leases? What are the termination dates and the AUMs for each? Document these leases along with any National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) studies like Environmental Assessments for specific allotments.
THIRD PARTY LEASES
Are there any third party leases for agricultural or hunting purposes? Are they terminable upon sale or will they impact the sale?
Has a mineral report ever been prepared? This record can help educate buyers and alleviate concerns. Is there any production occurring on the property or nearby?
Step 3: Prepare Recreational Records
As a landowner, you will have intimate knowledge of what recreational components make your property unique. Make these clear to your ranch broker by outlining any of the following:
- Hunting units
- Pertinent wildlife habitat
- Fisheries on the property
- Any fishery or wildlife habitat enhancements you may have completed
Step 4: Make a List of What is Being Conveyed
What is being conveyed with the ranch? Some considerations:
- Will you be keeping all personal property, equipment, and livestock?
- Will this year’s crop be conveyed to new owner?
- Will your brands be conveyed with the ranch?
Step 5: Annual Income and Expenses Associated with the Ranch
Do you have financial statements that can be shared with buyers? At a minimum, have records that provide annual costs, expenses and income. Delineate all costs including utilities, property taxes, and insurance.
Step 6: What Updates Need to Be Made to Your Ranch?
Take a look at your property and decide if there are any improvements that need to be upgraded. The key here is to avoid signs of deferred maintenance.
- What is the condition of the homes, barns, etc?
- What is the condition of the fencing and gates?
- What condition are your ditches, head-gates, and irrigation equipment in?
- Do all of the utilities around the property still function correctly?
- Could there be improvements made on your wildlife or fishery habitats?
- How are the wells and septic systems functioning?
Although it may seem daunting, this preparation to sell land is an important part of the listing process. Once you have obtained all pertinent documentation and made the necessary updates, selling your ranch will be that much easier. To help you out with the process, we have prepared a checklist reviewing everything you need to know. Preparations you make at the beginning will expedite inspection and due diligence periods once your property is under contract.
For a quick recap of how to prepare to sell your land, watch this: