The Concept of Selling
Getting a Parcel Sold as Quickly as Possible
Once you acquire a parcel of undeveloped land, the quicker you get it sold the sooner you get your profit. As you have already read, one of the hallmarks of the Free and Clear Money Making Program is the ability to liquidate a property quickly that most people and institutions see as illiquid. We measure liquidity by how quickly, easily and inexpensively an asset can be converted to cash. Banks view land as illiquid. In fact, one of the reasons the properties owners give up their land to you is because they don’t know how to sell it either.
What they don’t know, of course, is how helpful certain Internet auction sites can be in getting property sold quickly. You put the property into an online auction, and if you create a good ad, you can sell it in a week.
Where to sell the properties
The two most popular Internet auction sites for selling unimproved parcels of land are www.eBay.com and www.bid4assets.com. eBay has long represented the gold standard for Internet auction sites: millions of people have bought everything from collectable Hummel figurines to pancakes with the image of Elvis on them.
The idea is that through sheer mass of numbers enough people will have interest in your homemade birdhouse or a wad of bubble gum that was chewed by Leonardo DiCaprio that they will pay whatever it takes to acquire it in competition with enough other like-minded people that the price will go much higher than normal retail (if there is such a thing as retail for used bubble gum).
Both of these sites lend themselves very well to an auction of the type of property we look for in the Free and Clear System: unimproved land. The whole purpose of placing our newly acquired properties on eBay and bid4assets is to create an auction mentality to allow a higher purchase price.
How to prepare a listing for auction
People who buy real estate are not much into impulse purchases. They want good information about the property before they are willing to commit themselves. You want to provide them good information about the property and about its surroundings: the community, the county, nearby recreational, cultural and historical sites. Our strategy is to look up the county where the property is located on www.google.com. If you enclose the county name in quotation marks. e.g., “Freckleton County, Missouri”, that limits the search to just this county and not other sites about counties in general, the state of Missouri or people name Freckleton.
Take a look at the search results. Frequently the search will match you with tens of thousands of Web sites, including the county government site, the Wikipedia article about the county, the tourist board, reports from such sites as citi-data.com, bestplaces.com or epodunk.com, and miscellaneous sites about institutions and facilities within the county. Gather as much information as you can that you think will be of interest to anyone looking at your property.
The next step would be click on the link at the top of the Google page (just above the logo and the search bar) labeled “Images.” This will open up photographs, clip art, maps and other images related to the county but the hundreds. Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, but it stimulates the potential buyer’s feelings, and we all buy according to our feelings. If they see nice scenery photographs, a shot of Main Street in the small town near your property, maybe a lake with water skiers, they will have pleasant feelings about your ad.
Image isn’t nothing, it’s everything
Saying image is nothing used to sell a lot of Sprite, but it is crucial to the success of your ad. You only have one opportunity to create a good first impression. We want to make our listing on these sites as attractive as possible. If the ad you run on eBay or bid4assets looks polished and professional, people will trust your information more and receive a more positive impression of the property you wish to sell.
A good way to polish your ad is to set it up with HTML. Don’t let these innocent little letters frighten you. HTML (hyper-text markup language) is the programming language for the World Wide Web. It is what made the Internet user friendly and therefore accessible to commerce. However, you have enough to do launching your own business to bother learning a programming language. That is why there are HTML editor programs available. The program does it for you, and it becomes as easy as writing a letter on your computer and inserting a few photographs.
Three Web sites offer an ad-builder service. These are www.auctiva.com, www.biggerbids.com and www.auction-builder.com. All three supply you with templates for a basic ad design, and tools for laying in your pictures, text, colors, design elements, and other enhancements to make your ad look good. They will host all your images for you and host your whole ad as an HTML document. Usage rates vary, depending on what level of service you get, from free of charge to $8.95 a month. All three give you a one-month free trial to allow to decide which service you prefer. There are commercial grade HTML editors on the market, ranging from the best-known (Adobe DreamWeaver for $399 or MS Web Expression for $299) to free of charge. Since you do not plan on becoming a Web designer, there is no need to pay hundreds of dollars for a commercial grade HTML editor. We suggest the one that is free of charge. Our personal favorite is called SeaMonkey and is available as a free of charge download from www.Mozilla.org. An alternative editor is www.nvu.com. You can read about both of these on the page labeled “Free Software” linked from this site’s home page.
With this editor, you can make your ad look attractive and professional without having to understand all the programming code that goes into it. As you get started, there are a few points to keep in mind about the content of your ad:
Creating a Title for the Property Listing
As you begin to input the information for your ad, the first item will be to choose a category for the ad: obvously this is "Real Estate." A good sub-category might be "Residential Land," if that fits.
The next step is to input a title (or headline, if you will). People locate items on eBay with the use of descriptive keywords. In other words, if you wanted to find a diamond brooch on eBay, keywords you could use would logically include “diamond,” “brooch,” and “jewelry.” You should include as many keywords as possible into your title, because when potential buyers are searching, their inquiries will read the relevant keywords in all the titles on the site. The more keywords you have, the greater the likelihood they will find you.
You might want to spend a little time brainstorming on keywords that both describe this particular parcel and would be something other people will readily think of. You might want to come with ten keywords for a property, even though you probably won’t use all of them, just to exercise your creative powers.
Make your title concise but informative. A possible sample might be
TITLE: Utah land parcel, vacant residential building lot, 1/3 acre
The title uses several keywords: “Utah,” “land parcel,” “1/3 acre,” “Vacant Residential Building Lot.” Words like “beautiful,” “great,” or “outstanding” are not words that people use in a search. Save them for the subtitle.
SUBTITLE: 5 miles from Kamas on the Weber River, wooded, utilities available,
NO RESERVE The subtitle does not need keywords, but adds description of the property to grab attention and create interest
Basic Property Description
The next input area is for the body of the ad. It is here that you paste in the HTML code you already created. The builder program should show you how to do that. This is where you show the viewers exactly what you have for sale. Make this as informative, easy to read and interesting as possible. While praising the virtues and attractiveness of the parcel, make sure you include certain factual points, which might be best done with a table at the end of the ad. These are not necessarily selling points, but still important information:
- APN (Assessor’s Parcel Number)
- Complete legal description
- Property size and dimensions
- Annual property tax amount (with a notation that they are current)
- Any Property Owner’s Association (POA) or Home Owner’s Association (HOA) dues or fees
- Availability of utility hookups
- Improvements (i.e., structures, if any)
- Comparable sales reports for the area if available
- Links to related Web sites of interest: parcel and street maps, satellite images, city, county, recreational areas - to stimulate interest and provide information
- County telephone number and Web address, plus information for contacting a POA or HOA
The best time frame for running an auction on unimproved land is for a full week. We recommend they go from Wednesday to Wednesday or Thursday to Thursday. These are days when the largest number of people are home and available to look at you ad - even better to be there for the last few minutes when the most concentrated bidding activity takes place. That gives people incentive to bid in order to protect their position: competition is good in an auction when you sell.
The recommended time of day to end an auction would ideally be 6:00 or 7:00 PM Pacific Time. That way everybody in the country has a chance to bid – especially at the last minute – since this still places it prior to the nightly TV news on the East coast.
A picture is worth a thousand words. If people see pictures of the property, or of the landscape and features near the property, it becomes more real to them and strikes an emotional chord. We must never forget that all decisions to purchase come from the emotions, not from logic: we want to do all we can to let the viewers of our ad experience positive feelings.
Pictures of the property help promote the parcel and cause it to bring a higher price
If you don’t have pictures of the specific parcel, you can upload photographs of the local area at images search engines such as http://images.google.com/ or http://yahoo.com. Just do a search for the city, town or county where the property is located and select those that convey a feel for the parcel. Simply right click on the full-size image and follow the menu for saving the image (but remember what file you save it to!). Remember, too, that www.Panoramio.com also has photographs of areas which you can find on a Google Earth view of you property. These two are available to use in your ad.
However, once you have the image on your computer, you must make it accessible to eBay or bid4assets. If you store your ad on www.biggerbids.com or www.auction-builder.com, your pictures are available there at all times. Additionally, if your Internet service provider provides you free Web space storage, you can place these photographs there. Other wise, utilize one of the free picture hosting Web sites:
Now that the images are online and you have the URLs (Web addresses) for them, add them to your eBay ad by clicking on the HTML tab and copying and pasting the code for the URL into your property description. You replace the blue text with the picture’s address. You can also center the picture or align it either to the left or the right by right clicking on the picture and left clicking on the alignment icon.
For any auction you need a minimum bid amount as a starting price. You obviously want to cover your costs, which you do with either the minimum or the reserve price. A reserve is the amount that must be bid before you are legally obligated to sell the property, and is not shown until it is met. In other words, if the reserve price is $5000, and the highest bid at the end of the auction is only $4000, you don’t have to sell.
However, reserve prices tend to have a negative effect on the movement of prices in the auction. Perhaps it is because if somebody makes a bid and sees the message: “reserve not met,” they tend to think “I have no idea how much I have to bid to get it, so I’ll just go to another property.
This leads us to feel that the best way to ensure that your costs are covered is to set the minimum bid at an amount that takes care of that. That way, the worst thing that can happen is that you don’t lose anything, but the odds are that the price will go higher than that. Just make sure that you bought the property for the right price.
Just remember, if you do not set a reserve price, you are obligated to sell for whatever the highest bid turns out to be, like it or not.
Helpful Web sites
It will increase interest in your land parcel to include links to Web sites that will help your potential clients complete their due diligence on the property. This would include and county, city or neighborhood Web sites you can find. It is also good to link to online parcel maps, satellite imagery and street maps from http://maps.google.com, possibly a topographical map, and contact information for any HOA or POA organizations.
To cover your costs of selling the property, you should charge a document preparation fee. There is no set amount for this, though something between $149 and $199 is commonplace. This fee pays for your efforts in preparing the deed as well as recording the deed when you acquire the property and again when you well it. This will also cover your costs for listing the property on eBay and the seller’s fee when you sell it.
The “Buyer’s Premium” is unique to www.bid4assets.com, and is a fee charged to the buyer to cover your auction fee. You must add this fee to the winning bid amount so that it is included in the total purchase price paid by the buyer. You should add 10% of the final purchase price as a surcharge as “buyer’s premium or closing costs.” However, this only pays your auctions costs to Bid4Assets, so you may still want to add a document preparation fee - in this case only $49.
The easiest way to get paid is through www.paypal.com. This service is owned by eBay, but it can be used for any payments, regardless of how or where the sale is made. People can pay cash or use a credit card to pay you, or, of course, they can mail you a cashier’s check. To set up a PayPal account, you go to www.paypal.com. You should set up a Business/Premier account, since the basic account does not allow you to withdraw any more than $500 per month. We hope you earn much more than that. The account is free of charge, and PayPal will deduct a small transaction fee when money is placed in your account from a sale, just like a merchant fee charge to a store when you pay with a credit card. Follow the instructions on how to connect your PayPal account to your checking account at your own bank so you can easily transfer your money electronically.
Disclaimers protect you from liability and problems; include them with each property listing. Those shown below provide examples of the content you should include in your disclaimer. As with all content of this site, these texts are not meant to be legal advice. If you have questions about appropriate content, you should call on legal counsel.
Due Diligence: Before purchasing any property you should conduct your own due diligence. This property is sold “as is, where is” and in the same physical condition as when we received it. All information on this property herein conveyed comes from reliable sources such as a Property Owners Association, or county, state or other government agencies. Ask all questions before you buy! Questions may be submitted in writing or with email: we will preserve, log and archive all correspondence. Your bid is a legal agreement to purchase and indicates that you have completed due diligence.
Payment: You are bidding on the FULL purchase price of this lot. This is not a down payment auction. This is not a tax sale or foreclosure. A document preparation fee of $199.00 will be added to the winning bid which covers deed preparation, recording fees, transfer taxes and notification to all relevant agencies. The time period for ownership transfer depends on the county of recording; however, we will do our best to have the deed delivered between three to six weeks after purchase. Payment must be made within five business days. Once payment is received and cleared through our bank, we will issue a Quit Claim Deed and sent to the county where this property is located to be recorded. The county will then forward the deed to you.
We accept cashier’s checks, PayPal money, and credit cards through PayPal. There are no past due fees or taxes for this property. All fees and tax amounts are correct to the best of our knowledge.
Note: If you have a feedback rating below 90% and/or less than 5, payment must be received within 24 hours through PayPal.
Overhead photographs show the actual parcel; however, other photographs of the area are not the actual parcel for sale and are included only to show the area.
The Free and Clear Real Estate System streamlines the entire tax sale purchase business. You focus on unimproved parcels of properties, buying them well below market value, then immediately sell them using Internet technology for a substantial profit. This revolutionizes the industry, because with the Internet you can find, research and sell properties online in all parts of the country. With such a broad-based market, you can do more with less. Now you can reap the fruits of your efforts; now you can be rewarded for what you do as you run your own business from home!