Patience and Problem Solving Key to Commercial Land Sales
December 11, 2022
When it comes to selling property with the highest and best use of the land in mind, Momentum’s Commercial Services team doesn’t cut corners.
The process, especially in a rapidly developing region like the Fraser Valley, can be lucrative for land-owners, but it doesn’t come without challenges. That’s where we come in.
Momentum Partner Wells Macey knows all too well that land sales can take time, and a lot of work. He recently worked on a land assembly on 86th Ave in Langley where his patience paid off. The project started when a developer approached him looking to purchase in the neighbourhood to acquire more industrial and commercial land. He hit the pavement and started door knocking and cold calling, which is how he met the owners of two side-by-side properties along 86th Ave.
The owners were both long time residents and were ready to downsize. However the land wasn’t perfect – it had a creek way and servicing requirements that severely impacted the developability of the lands. But Macey wasn’t deterred. While he kept looking for the right property for his buyer, he nurtured his relationship with the land owners and earned their trust – and their listing.
Macey honed in on the neighbourhood plans and neighbouring development applications, and identified the properties’ limitations along with its highest and best use.
With the use of my engineer and architect, along with my experience in the area and communication with the Township of Langley, I was able to clearly determine the highest and best use for the property,” Macey says.
The land was best suited for higher density office buildings along the south side of the creek and industrial warehousing on the north side of the creek. The office buildings could be built immediately based on the current servicing in that particular area, which is where Macey found the maximum amount of value.
With the best use of the land determined, Macey then needed to coach his sellers on price point. While the owners had a number they wanted to achieve, it was clear it would be tough to achieve this figure without a clear marketing and sales plan. Using the results from his due diligence and research, “… I was able to illustrate to prospective buyers the value of the end product and work backwards from that point, to justify a max land value,” he adds.
The sellers were initially willing to provide a longer closing, in return for their premium asking price. However, Macey was able to negotiate their price, along with a shorter completion date, free live-back and other favorable terms, which was very beneficial to the owners.
For the long-time owners, their land held many family memories and had been well looked after. They wanted a buyer to appreciate their perspective and Macey made sure his communications made them feel valued and respected. While the entire process took over two years, he kept in communication with the owners through numerous collapsed offers, health challenges, market changes, and new development restrictions.
This was a great example of perseverance, good communication and sticking with it,” Macey says. “Even when the outlook was bleak, we kept going, seeking out that next buyer.”
That next buyer eventually arrived and the sale was complete. Macey’s sellers were very happy with the terms and grateful for his hard work which will allow them to enjoy the next chapter of their lives. And Macey gets a lot of satisfaction from happy clients: “Ultimately, the best memories from this deal aren’t the pay day; the best memories come from fulfilling our client’s needs, enabling them to stay in their home so that they had the time to move at their own pace, and ultimately now having built a strong friendship with them.”
An easy land transaction may be the ideal, but it’s not always the case. With so many factors affecting land value, such as zoning limitations, outdated neighbourhood plans, environmental factors, and current market conditions, there are bound to be challenges with any commercial property. Like in the case of 86th Ave, Momentum’s Commercial Services team takes on these challenges with patience and experience to move every project forward. Find out how we work.