Posts Tagged ‘rural property’

Land Market Strengthens at Close of 2015: SW Wisconsin Land Market Update

After a pause during 3rd quarter, the land market started making headway again during the 4th quarter of 2015 in Southwest Wisconsin.

4th Quarter 2015
The number of transactions was up 16% over 3rd quarter with 42 completed sales. Total acres sold remained about the same as 3rd quarter with 3,377 acres changing hands of which 27% was farmland.

2015 Land Transactions Graph

Five of the seven counties in SW Wisconsin saw an average price per acre increase when comparing the 3rd and 4th quarters. Sauk County’s average price per acre was down slightly due to buyers closing on larger parcels which usually effects a lower $/acre price. Lafayette County also averaged a lower sale price due to the sales being predominately recreational land rather than farm land. When studying the individual transactions in these two counties they show a steady to strengthening market.

During the 4th quarter SW Wisconsin had low property inventory. A good number of nice properties were sold and not many new listings came on the market. This tight market should push prices upward and encourage potential sellers to put their property on the market.

SW Wisconsin Rural Land Sales 2015 in Review

 12 month Review
2015 2015 2015 2015
1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
# of transactions 30 37 36 42
# of acres sold 2272 3162 3670 3377
% of acres tillable 44% 37% 23% 27%
average $/acre $3,502 $3,947 $3,308 $3,133
Avg $/acre 2015 2015 2015 2015
1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
Grant $3,228 $3,387 $2,339 $3,026
Iowa $4,778 $5,649 $3,451 $3,855
Lafayette $4,726 $6,364 $6,364 $3,475
Sauk $3,589 $4,098 $3,737 $3,570
Richland $2,591 $2,415 $2,382 $2,582
Crawford $2,684 $2,592 $2,549 $2,677
Vernon $2,914 $3,127 $2,337 $2,745

Land as a Long-Term Investment
Now that we are through the recession years, it is interesting to look back and see how far the land market has come. The average price per acre in Southwest Wisconsin has gone up 16% over 5 years. For those savvy enough to buy at the bottom in 2012, the average investment has increased in value about 18.5% over the last three years.

 5 Year Review – SW Wisconsin
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Avg $/acre $2,996 $2,929 $3,114 $3,260 $3,473

If you would like a more detailed land market report for your area (free), visit for instructions on how to order.

Buyers and sellers need to be aware that average sale prices are only a general guideline. An on-site property evaluation by an experienced land agent is needed to give you an accurate picture of what a property is worth in the current market. To learn more about the rural land market in Southwest Wisconsin, begin your search here:

SW WI Land Market Strengthens 4th Quarter 2015-2

*SW Wisconsin includes Grant County, Lafayette County, Iowa County, Sauk County, Richland County, Crawford County, & Vernon County. All data was taken from the SCWMLS & WiREx. Because this article was intended to review the rural land market, properties smaller than 20 acres, residential, and commercial land sales were not included.

800’ Cave For Sale

In real estate you run into all kinds of surprises; some of them strange, some of them pleasant. My favorite kind of surprise is when something unique pops up. Like how many real estate agents can say they have a cave for sale?

This rural property encompasses almost 155 acres of which a gorgeous log home crowns the ridge top amidst beautiful long range views. That in itself makes it a desirable country estate; but just for fun the bonus of a pretty large cave comes with the package. Spelunking anyone?

The Mouth of the Cave

At the base of this rather ordinary oak tree lies the entrance. It’s not astounding by any means but large enough for people to enter. And raccoons. Or skunks. Or bears. Definitely bats! Caves tend to kick my imagination into overdrive.

According to Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine there are 2 types of caves in Wisconsin; limestone and sandstone. I don’t know which type this cave is but others before me have explored and mapped it.

Limestone or Sandstone Cave

2 large bears were killed here shortly before it was first mapped in 1909. A later mapping showed it to be over 800 feet long with one room approximately 35 feet high. Recent DNR documentation shows 3 species of bats hibernate here.

Have I piqued your interest to start a few subterranean adventures?

For first time cavers, consider visiting these public caves in SW Wisconsin. Eagle Cave near Blue River is considered the state’s largest onyx cave. Near Wauzeka the Kickapoo Indian Caverns were once a Native American shelter and boast an underground river and onyx deposits (shown by appointment only). Perhaps the best known in our area is the Cave of the Mounds which is also a National Natural Landmark. Its stunning crystal formations are truly a natural treasure.

When you are ready to branch out from these guided tours; keep in mind the cardinal rule of wild caving: never explore a cave alone. The minimum size of a caving group as recommended by the Wisconsin Speleological Society is four.

One final reminder: the cave featured in this article is entirely on private property. Please respect the owner’s property rights and don’t trespass to explore.

Maximize Your Rural Property Sale in Five Easy Steps

by: Jay Frazier

There is really no lack of information on how to prepare your home for sale. In fact, when I recently Googled the subject I got over 51,500,000 results. Yes, that’s over fifty-one million! While de-cluttering your closets and painting in neutral colors applies to all homes, country properties can create their own unique challenges. I was reminded of this in a recent transaction when it seemed that everything that could go wrong did, along with some things that I could only imagine. How could the deceased relative of a neighbor affect a sale of a property? Well he did and I now have more gray hair- but that’s a story for another day!  In my time as a rural property agent I’ve seen a variety of issues kill or derail a transaction which could have been avoided with a bit of preparation. Following are 5 things you can do to give your property the edge over the competition, and help you pocket top dollar at closing.

1. Consider a property survey. A survey is usually a good idea (in many cases it’s required) if you will be splitting an existing property. Even if you aren’t splitting a parcel, a survey can expose issues that may then be cleared up before a buyer becomes involved. Survey markers also give a sense of security to buyers as they “know” what they’re buying.

If you are going to split your property, a consultation with an experienced land agent can be a good idea. Their experience working with buyers can give you valuable insight on where to split the parcel to make it the most desirable. At times just an acre or two one way or the other can mean the difference between a quick profitable sale and a property that stays on the market for years. Your agent can also put you in contact with the proper officials to determine if the zoning is correct for the parcel size you want to create. Be aware that just because you create parcels, doesn’t mean it’s automatically rezoned to allow a residence.

2. Easements: These seemingly simple documents have the potential to cause more stress than just about any other single detail in a sale. The reason is simple. While most other facets of the transaction are negotiated between the buyer and seller, the easement often involves a third party which has no incentive to be cooperative with proposed changes.  That doesn’t mean that you have to despair if you have an easement associated with your property. What I recommend to my clients is that they consider reviewing the easement with an attorney early in the sale process. Many of the older easements that I see in my business are critically vague and will be rejected by a buyer’s attorney leading to a lot of frustration before it’s resolved. Some things that most buyers will want to see on an easement are the width, length, legal description of easement centerline (determined by the survey), whether it is exclusive or non exclusive (others may use it), and whether it’s transferable. Other things may be added based on the situation. A maintenance agreement showing who is responsible for any maintenance on the easement may also be required especially if more than one party has use of it. A poorly written easement has the potential to be a deal breaker, but having an attorney update it before a buyer becomes involved can save the day.

3.  Government Programs: When you’re preparing to sell your land, don’t overlook any government programs associated with the property such as Managed Forest Law (MFL) or Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.  These and other government programs will affect how a buyer is able to use the property so be sure to disclose them in a timely manner. Having a copy of the contract for the buyer to review will be appreciated and give them the information they need to make an offer while they are still excited about the property. Also, get a copy of any applicable development bylaws and building covenants. Having these readily available allows your agent to forward them to the buyer before an offer is made to help avoid costly surprises later.

4. Title Search: Here’s a scenario that you don’t want to experience: You have an accepted offer, the home inspection went well, and approval for financing is looking good. Then the title search reveals a surprise that derails the train. While most “surprises” can be resolved, there may be a few days of nail biting before the train gets back on the rails. Most of these surprises can be avoided by getting a preliminary title search at the time of listing. When you order a title search, the title company will conduct a comprehensive search of public records, maps, and documents to disclose any recorded easements, liens and encumbrances. If any potential deal breakers are uncovered, you can get them resolved before an offer is written.

5. Home Inspection: This last tip holds true for any property with a residence but especially for rural homes. Talk to your agent about getting a home inspection at the time of listing. The inspection is generally done after the offer is made, but completing it up front allows you to repair any defects before a buyer sees the house so you can negotiate with confidence knowing that everything is as it should be.

The good news is that sellers often don’t follow these suggestions and their sale is completed anyway. On the other hand, in a buyers market like we’re experiencing now, being prepared can not only add value but help your rural property stand out in the crowd. Taking care of these things ahead of time could very well mean the difference between a sold sign by the driveway and the disappointment and frustration of an offer that falls apart at an inopportune time.

Post by: Jay Frazier – Broker Associate with First Weber Group

Rural Property Prime Time

by: Jay Frazier
This is the time of year when I hear the same mantra; “Call me when the snow melts”.  Unfortunately by thinking spring, buyers are missing out on some of the best opportunities to view rural properties. So if you’re sitting on the sidelines stocking up chips for the Super Bowl, here are some things for you to consider:

1. The leaves are off the trees and the crops are harvested so the visibility is great. The snow enhances this visibility as the trees, springs, rock outcroppings and other features are in sharp contrast.

2. The snow isn’t as deep as you may think. Here in Southwest Wisconsin much of the early snow we received is melted down to a hard layer with a little fresh powder on top. Walking is quite comfortable and because of the added visibility you have to walk much less to get a good feel for a property.

3. You won’t get cold. A couple warm layers will keep you comfortable in all but the coldest weather and in my opinion it’s better than 80 degrees and humid!

4. No bugs and poison ivy.

5. There’s less competition for properties in the winter as there are fewer buyers on the hunt. In some cases, this can mean better deals.

6. For hunters this is a great time of year to check for wildlife sign and make note of where they’re traveling in case you purchase the property. By noting when the last snow fall was, the number of tracks can tell a story on animal density.

7. And finally, getting out into nature on a winter day is a great cure for cabin fever and will leave you feeling refreshed and exhilarated.  Give your agent a call and don’t miss out on this rural property prime time.


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