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how to sell a wonderful but weird permie property  RSS feed

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I've heard of people having this problem before, it's not unique. As permaculture gains popularity maybe it will get easier...

I visited a really amazing farm yesterday. Small, but amazing. I met the owner years ago when she was running a business selling worm castings and red wiggler vermicompost systems. Cool lady, you'd never imagine she is old enough to have great grandchildren but she does.

It's in a beach community with forty feet of water frontage and a mooring. She's got a great rabbit/red wiggler/chicken system. Barn and pen for sheep or goats, two chicken coops. Good fences. Pantings in polyculture. Perennial dye plants, berry bushes, a couple of fruit trees.

And the house! Well built, sleeps many people, opportunity for separate unit rental income or small intentional community, wood stove and good fireplace....

In short, an amazing place. I don't know how much she's selling it for, surely more than I have and many of us. But someone is dreaming of a place like this. It's been on the market since March and her realtor seems unaware of the value of the farm, saying that people who are looking for homes here are "turned off" by the farm. Gah! It is beautiful, you folks would drool! She's even certified organic!

There are many people out there toiling away at jobs in the city, sitting on a pile of money dreaming of something like this.

So my question in specific is, how can I help her find the market for her special unusual property? The bigger general question is, how can we do all this work putting permie value into our property and then find the person who will value it like we do?

Maybe if we could figure this out, this could be a life's calling for some of us. Buy boring properties that have little self sufficiency value and retro-design then to be permaculture dream homes for rich people retiring early to get out of the rat race and back to the land.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6781
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Where is this place? Certain areas are more progressive and her work would be valued there. I suspect that as levels of environmental education go up, improved properties will be worth more.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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It's in southern Rhode Island. Left leaving sentiments run high here and environmental consciousness is normal but permaculture is not yet a household word here.

The economy isn't too awesome here right now, I think the people and their money who want this place are probably elsewhere.

One of the great things about Rhode Island is how tiny it is, but it can be a downfall too.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Many people will have a positive concept of organic. Sell it as the new, improved, more nature and resource friendly organic.

The huge premium associated with being on the water is going to limit your marketability. My place is worth somewhere around $250,000. If it were on the waterfront 8 miles away, it would bring about 2 million. That's a market that few small scale farmers can play in.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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Right, that is the big thing, the water. The combination is a big issue. People who would like the house dint want a farm and people who want a farm can't afford it.

That's why I think a buyer would come from elsewhere, and it would have to be a rich person with a dream. They're out there, but how to find them? Back of the wall street journal? . Or something.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6781
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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See the thread: US professionals taking up farming.
There is a growing demand for permie property. There is hope.
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2085
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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Hoo boy, tell me about it. That's the problem with my house in Wisconsin, near Madison. Lots of people love it, but they can't afford it. The peope who can afford it are not impressed by the fruit trees, chicken room, gardens and gardens and gardens. I guess they want an acre of lawn, 'cause what could be more fun than mowing? (I guess you can hire somebody to mow.)

I've moved on (had to come out to Portland with my daughters for them to start school) but just today folks were working hard to deconstruct the main raised bed vegetable garden in the back yard. . .
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Et al - The Farm Definitely needs to go into the hands of a "Farm Realtor'' There are dozens of people looking for exactly what you describe for every mini-farm available ! A.L.
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 189
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Permies moving from plot to plot turning dirt into permacluture farmland would be modern day "Jonny Appleseeds", because this is what the historical figure literally did for a living.

What is the address of this property? I'd look it up on the MLS if I had that.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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I'm not sure if she'd want me to do that but I'll ask her. I hope to go in the next few days with her to get some straw that is rumored to be excellent quality.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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Please pardon my naivete, what is the MLS? I'm guessing a land survey?
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Matu Collins wrote:Please pardon my naivete, what is the MLS? I'm guessing a land survey?


Multiple Listing Service. It's what the realtors & real estate investors use to troll for investments, and how the realtors can get so much information about a property so quickly.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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Well whaddya know.

Here is the MLS listing: http://www.southcountyrihomes.com/p/listing/mlsid/284/propertyid/1035769/

The listing shows a photo of the house but anyone who is going to fall in love with the place is going to love the farm. Nice little outbuildings, so much potential.

The realtor seems to be treating the farm as a liability almost. Sigh.

Please tell me if you have any ideas or thoughts. She is a sweet sweet lady and has worked hard putting her farm together. Also I'd really love to have some permie minded folks in the neighborhood.
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1930
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I often think about how I'm going to sell my place when I'm ready for a bigger chunk of land. I have this dream that once it's fully permie-scaped I'll list it for 5 times what I paid and no one will want it. Then one day a couple comes to look at it and before they make it down the driveway one of them is screaming at the other one: " I don't care how much it is. I don't care what the inside of the house looks like. I know I can live here and live well... WE'RE BUYING THIS HOUSE! END OF STORY!

In other words, I want to have the option to hold onto my place long enough to get the right price and the right buyer. I hope that is the case for your neighbor Matu. I know that area quite well and can imagine what the view must look like. South county is still pretty nice, but the economy is rough like you said. That's why I moved from there five years ago. just too expensive to scrape by. I'm hoping it get's better, as that area is really nice.
Any idea about how well the farm supports itself? Does it pay the bills?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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The economy is rough in some areas but there is a good local movement.

In the past couple of years she has been caring for an ill husband so she hasn't been bringing the farm to its fullest potential but I think it could really bring a good profit, or go a ways toward feeding the residents depending on which way you go. She's been getting rental income from the built in apartment, which helps pay the bills.

Two chicken coops, a small barn for sheep or goats, a good sized rabbit barn with a manure system that goes out to a red wiggler area, plus the access to the water with fish and clams...

There's no big field and tractor, which is what a lot of people think when they hear "farm" but that's not what we want anyway! There is the beginning of a good forest with blueberry bushes and small fruit trees and the soil seems good. Plus she's been composting all this time. She had a business selling worms and compost.

Lotta potential.

 
Adam Klaus
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I think that if you want your permie paradise to remain one when you sell, you likely are going to have to take a lower selling price. In a real estate world where development potential is the major factor driving price, the farm aspects of small acreage are really insignificant to sale price. Sad, I know, it frustrates me too. But I see it all the time in my valley, people have beautiful farm landscapes, but their properties sit on the market for years, not even a nibble. The buyers that are looking for farmscapes arent looking to spend millions. The sellers dont want to see their hard work on their place get bulldozed. I think one answer in some contexts might be conservation easements that buy up the development rights. This way the seller gets a bit closer to their asking price, and gets the assurance that their farm wont be bulldozed. More importantly, an easement would drop the buyers price enough that more appropriate buyers could be seriously interested.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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Sigh.

Maybe it doesn't have to be this way. The local food thing is gaining velocity at the same time that snow melt in California mountains is going away. Permaculture is gaining velocity and recognition.

Rich people didn't use to be able to do work, now cooking well is respectable and the royal baby in England gets to see his own mama all the time. She may have even breastfed him, I wonder.

So farming is on the upswing, classwise, I think. Rich people in crowded stinky cities dream of berries on bushes and chickens clucking around.

I may have made a good contact today with someone who has been dreaming of something like this farm. She's a rat racer who became a master gardener in recent years and just sold her parents home. Personal, face to face connections are my favorite. Keeping my fingers crossed.
 
Creighton Samuiels
Posts: 189
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Matu Collins wrote:Well whaddya know.

Here is the MLS listing: http://www.southcountyrihomes.com/p/listing/mlsid/284/propertyid/1035769/

The listing shows a photo of the house but anyone who is going to fall in love with the place is going to love the farm. Nice little outbuildings, so much potential.

The realtor seems to be treating the farm as a liability almost. Sigh.

Please tell me if you have any ideas or thoughts. She is a sweet sweet lady and has worked hard putting her farm together. Also I'd really love to have some permie minded folks in the neighborhood.


That house is huge. Being near the beach, there is no way that the value of the farm will ever compare to the development value of the property or the luxury value of that house. Sorry, but the realtor is right. The site is more suited to a northern beachfront resort than a permaculture mini-farm.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I often think about how I'm going to sell my place when I'm ready for a bigger chunk of land. I have this dream that once it's fully permie-scaped I'll list it for 5 times what I paid and no one will want it. Then one day a couple comes to look at it and before they make it down the driveway one of them is screaming at the other one: " I don't care how much it is. I don't care what the inside of the house looks like. I know I can live here and live well... WE'RE BUYING THIS HOUSE! END OF STORY!



A friend of mine bought his house and five acres in a similar manner. He wasn't such an obvious fish, but when he saw the property he didn't much care how the house looked. He said the house could be fixed. His property has a natural spring that feeds a pond, several kinds of fruiting trees and bushes, and well developed 'mass crop' for wildlife. The man owns his own little cultured park.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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She's selling off her rabbits and chickens and the furniture sale is March 15th.
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2085
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
181
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Sorry to hear that. I hope whomever buys it keeps the trees!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5909
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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...any update here, Matu? Were they able to sell their farm to a good owner? I have been watching threads about farm sales as we are in the early stages of that process and could use more advice
 
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