Landowners – “Trails Help Make the Sell”

By Jonatan Goode,
Land Agent – AlaLandCo

If I could impart two pieces of simple wisdom to landowners about increasing your odds of selling your property they would be: (first) price your property correctly and (second) build and maintain a good internal road or trail system to let prospective buyers see what you are offering.

Owners or agents will find it easier to effectively show a property to a prospect if there is an adequate means of navigating the land. Buyers do not respond well to an agent pointing and saying “And just over there is a nice creek”. It is infinitely better when an agent pulls up to the creek and cuts the engine so the buyers can enjoy the sounds of the ripples on the rocks. Below are a few suggestions for building or improving trail systems to help sell your land.

At a minimum you need a trail system that a four wheeler can navigate easily. Trails of this nature should be at least 4 feet wide with all overhanging limbs and vines (that could unseat a rider) trimmed neatly to the edges. A step above the four wheeler trail is a small road that can be used by UTV’s. One of the best ways to show a property is in a “buggy” like a Polaris Ranger, Yamaha Rhino, or Bad Boy Buggy. These lanes need to be at least 6-8 feet wide to allow for easy passage to the important parts of your property. Many wooded properties will already have fire lanes around the perimeters of the tract or at least the margins of the timbered areas. Some forestry services recommend lanes of 10-20 feet in width to prevent the spread of fires. These lanes are excellent avenues for showing property when properly maintained.

Trail systems should provide access to the highlights of your tract such as creeks, property boundaries, ponds, food plots, caves, and scenic overlooks . Stream crossings are extremely helpful, and I find that your odds of hooking a buyer increase as you get the tires wet driving through a flowing waterway. Build roads so that you maximize the time spent observing the pretty parts of the land. Whenever possible construct trail networks so that you never have to backtrack, because this makes the property feel much larger to the buyer.

Four wheeler trails can be built using only a chainsaw and loppers. You may need to hire a dozier to push in some roads, particularly if your property has significant elevation changes. It is important to slope the roads for drainage and to build waterbars to prevent the erosion of your investment. In a densely wooded or shrubby area you might consider bringing in a woodland mulcher to carve out roads and foodplots. These mulchers are amazing and can turn mature trees into toothpicks in seconds. The rate for the mulcher may be a little more per hour than a dozier, but the finished product from an experienced operator often justifies the extra expense.

The bottom line is that you need an effective means of showing off the key features of your property to potential buyers. . Investing in a good internal road network will pay off, and in this market can help distinguish your property from others that are competing for your buyer.

See Jonathan’s Blog Here:

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