Listing Vacant Land on Maui: Aerial Photography & Other Best Practices
Because I’m a dreamer, a gardener, and an artist, I love vacant land. Raw chunks of planet here on Maui are blank canvases – and nothing thrills me more than walking the land, rain or shine, getting to know the personality, views, topography etc of someone’s future farm, or home site.
Part of knowing how to sell vacant land involves knowing what vacant land can become. Imagine the excitement of discovering a hidden cave, waterway, spring, old rock wall, undiscovered ocean view, stream, or waterfall. Understanding the potential of a piece of land on Maui enables a marketing approach that will make this vision easy to understand by a prospective buyer.
Following is a list of my marketing “musts” for raw land.
1. Aerial Photography & Google Earth Boundary Visualizations
Agricultural pieces of land on Maui can be rather large, and understanding the shape of the often strangely shaped lots is much easier when viewed from above. Whenever I list a piece of land, I will first lay the lot shape into Google Earth over the terrain of the property. While not “Survey Accurate,” it gives a very close approximation of the land as viewed from Google Earth. I make the Google Earth Overlay file available for prospective buyer clients.
Below is an example of this overlay on a 12-acre parcel I recently sold:
2. Video Fly Over
Another great way to acquaint a buyer with a piece of land is with a video flyover. Here’s the video for the above mentioned piece of land created with a DJI Phantom 3 flying camera:
3. Survey Says…
Where possible, I always like to have either a recent survey or a new survey performed by a licensed surveyor for new listings. This way if there are any issues (wandering fence lines, possible encroachments etc.), they can be addressed prior to marketing the property. A survey will include a map showing the boundaries of the property and will show any easements affecting the property, as well as any questionable areas.
The surveyor crew will also do a field visit and verify and mark any existing pins. If pins are missing or buried by old growth, new pins will be set and marked so that they are easily visible. The survey will also be delivered with a letter from the surveyor noting any abnormalities.
Below is a portion of a survey:
4. Title Investigation
It’s very important to have an understanding of title for any new vacant land being listed. I work with Title and Escrow companies that will provide “Property Profiles,” which are similar to Preliminary Title reports and will show any title defects, or concerns. It’s better to pre-emptively address any title issues prior to listing your property for sale.
Here is a sample Preliminary Title Report.
I know this sounds fairly obvious, but there are some pieces of land in Hawaii that do not have “perfected access,” which means that unless you are a helicopter owner, or a bird, you will not have legal access to your land.
In any cases where there is a question as to access for a particular parcel, I will confer with the Title Department of my escrow people, and if they are uncertain, I will speak with one of my favorite land attorneys here on Maui, Brian Jenkins of Jenkins & Jenkins L.L.P. Paying for a quick consultation with Brian is worth its weight in gold. I have brokered two different deals recently where there were some old roads with unknown owners, and both situations were resolved nicely with the appropriate professional advice.
6. Understanding Land Uses
A buyer will want to know what the uses of a particular piece of land are. Is there any subdivision potential? Are there CC&Rs? What is the zoning? When I take a listing, I will always get a zoning confirmation form from the County of Maui. Knowing your zoning is the best place to start pondering potential uses. Another benefit of the zoning confirmation from the planning department is that it will be noted whether or not part of the parcel is in a flood zone.
Here’s a link to a sample Zoning Confirmation Form.
7. Pick Up the Phone!
Another seemingly silly but powerful tool I use when I list a property is the phone. Realtors often are not watching land, so I always call my colleagues who are known for having clients who need vacant land. I will call neighbors to talk story and let them know the land is available. The 12 acres pictured above ended up being sold to a neighbor with whom I had a conversation shortly after I listed the property. You never know!
Ready to List?
If you’d like me to assist in the sale of your property, please call, email, or text and I will be happy to come and see your land and put my marketing expertise to work for you. I pride myself on being one of the best Realtors for selling vacant land on Maui.
Liam S. Ball, R(B)
Enjoy some aerial pictures of vacant Maui land below: