Steps for Successfully Selling Your Farm
August 2023

Steps for Successfully Selling Your Farm

If you are selling a farm or considering selling in the next 12 to 18 months, here are some basic ideas that will help reduce the stress and improve the outcome during this complex time. 

Presentation is key

First impressions play an integral role when it comes to evaluating a property. When buyers come to inspect your farm for the first time, preparation and presentation will lead to reaching the best possible first impression. 

Regular land and buildings maintenance will ensure the property presents at its best. Paying sufficient attention to detail will pay you back when buyers attend your open days, setting the scene for the rest of your marketing campaign.

Make the purchasing process easier

Buyers need facts to evaluate whether to purchase. Documenting your returns gives potential buyers the information they need and may reduce the due diligence period required to assess the viability of their purchase.  

Rating valuation is worth presenting to the market, though is only a guideline. If a property has unique characteristics, or where sales of similar properties are absent, a registered valuation may help with marketing and any sales negotiation.  

Full and accurate farm records should include: 

  • Basic information including rainfall, contour, and soil types. 
  • Stocking rates and holding capacity.
  • Production history, and any existing supply agreements.
  • Water and other consents.
  • Inventory of equipment.
  • Catalogue of recent improvements.
  • Inputs such as supplementary feed and fertiliser.
  • Pasture renovation programme.
  • Farm supplies.
  • Business expenses.    

By considering all the information buyers need to determine if this is a sound business decision, buyers will have the confidence to offer their best price when a property is marketed with full and accurate documentation.  

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Selecting a salesperson is a big decision

Transacting property is usually a pivotal moment in any farming career. Trusting the real estate salesperson carrying out that task and working in partnership with them is crucial.   

If you have recently transacted property via someone you can rely on, you may want to trust your marketing campaign to them again. Otherwise, seek appraisals and marketing proposals from at least two other salespeople.  

Once you have enlisted a real estate salesperson, expect regular communication from them to keep you up to date with the sales campaign, and the rural property market.    

Your salesperson will recommend the appropriate method of sale to maximise the property’s value. Auction, tender, deadline private treaty (a form of tender), and private treaty are the most common ways to sell a farm.  

Choosing which method depends on how quickly you need to sell, how anxious you are to maximise value, what the market is doing and how public you are prepared to make the process. How you sell is your decision, but your real estate salesperson will advise you and share their opinion.  

Understanding how long this process can take will help you stay focused on the best possible outcome.  

Consider how much time you need to prepare

Before you list or expect any results. Selecting a salesperson, preparing the property for presentation, collating the relevant documentation, and creating a marketing campaign take takes time. At a minimum this would be a four-week lead in time before the listing goes live. A longer lead time is always best.  

A marketing campaign based on an auction date or tender deadline will usually take another six weeks. On the other hand, the time taken to sell by private treaty, will depend on how the property is received by the market.  

Selling a rural property with the least amount of stress amounts to setting realistic expectations and an established and trusted team. This should ensure you achieve maximum value for such an important asset. 

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