• Do your research and know your comparable listings cold.
  • Understand your appraisal district.
  • Preview, preview, preview -- and drive, drive, drive.

Being a real estate agent who sells country properties is an exciting job.

However, you should be prepared to become a fountain of information for your clients.

The key to finding them a dream country property is being an agent with knowledge of the area.

If you’re not familiar with the area, then do your research, seek out professionals in their fields — folks who know about water wells, mineral rights and so on — and, most importantly, drive around.

Here are some steps you can take to acquaint yourself with a new area in the country.

1. Research listings

Read all the information about any listings — call the listing agent and ask questions.

Be sure to ask about all the seller’s disclosures, survey and any other information they have to disclose concerning the property.

Ask if there are any known pipelines, easements, big electrical lines, about the mineral state and whether the land has a current agriculture or wildlife exemption.

I refer my buyers to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M — they keep information on hand about oil and gas leases and many other topics. They are a wonderful resource.

One step I always take is to do a Google Earth search on properties; it’s a nifty way to get a general look at the place and the surrounding area.

2. Know your area by knowing your comparable listings

You’ll want to study these carefully when it comes to making an offer.

Country property is a bit different because it’s not just a house, but land and improvements, too.

You should consider doing a reverse CMA (comparative market analysis) and see what numbers you come up with.

3. Learn about the appraisal district

I always look to the data sheet to check out square footage and improvements.

These improvements could include barns, sheds and miscellaneous outbuildings on the property. All of these items will be taken into consideration when writing an offer, because each of them has value — some more than others!

I recommend all property owners take a peek at their very own data sheet from the appraisal district to see exactly what they are being taxed on per their improvements.

4. Preview listings

Go to all the open houses you can, or set up an appointment to preview the property on your own.

You’ll be able to speak to your client very clearly about everything you’ve seen. Heck, you’re sure to impress that you took the extra step in customer service, just for them.

It’s a wonderful way to know your area and what’s available, so when the next buyer comes along, you can say, “I’ve seen that property — let me tell you about it.”

5. Get out there and drive around.

Even though one of the first things I do is a Google Earth search, there is nothing better than a good, old-fashioned drive by — and it’s certainly fun, too.

I cover about eight counties, so it helps to just get out and drive around. Sounds simple, but believe me, you’ll learn your territory.

As a rule, I always give my clients names and numbers of professionals pertaining to electric services and water wells, as well as lists of service providers so they can choose their favorite.

Last but not least, know what your clients want — communication is the key.

Whether it’s a piece of raw land or a country home on small acreage, you’ll be able to research exactly what they’re looking for in a rural property.

Donna Hobbs is a Realtor with Donna Hobbs Properties | J. Hill Properties. Connect with her on Twitter.

Email Donna Hobbs.

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