Occasionally, I get a phone call or email from a realtor trying to make money from a referral for a vacant land sale within our rural subdivision, Rockcliffe Estates. When I politely say “no” and explain why, I rarely hear from “the buyers”. On the rare occasion that I do hear from somebody looking to buy land with a realtor, it is to say, “I thought I’d check for myself because my realtor said lot XYZ wasn’t for sale any more”. Hmmm, now I have family and friends who are realtors, but I don’t employ them to sell our vacant land for a few good reasons. Here are the main ones.
1. AN ESTABLISHED SUBDIVISION CONTRACT. Rockcliffe is not some severed, one-off piece of farm land, where we sell to you and disappear into the sunset. Rockcliffe Estates is the legal trading name of our company which has owned this land for over 30 years. We are the last rural subdivision allowed in Ontario since the Green Belt Act was passed into law prohibiting them. We achieved our subdivision status over 13 years ago, and began selling three years ago. We have extensive hydrogeological studies, engineering studies, surveys, established building plates, etc, which are contractual agreements between our family owned company and various governing bodies.
2. TRUST. We allow buyers to choose their own builder and architectural plans while respecting our protective covenants and Modern European / Scandinavian esthetic. We need to be certain that buyers will build what they say they will build. This is for the protection of all of our buyers / residents at Rockcliffe. We also want to make sure that buyers have a clear idea of the cost of their modern rural build before committing to a land purchase. Also, that they have the organizational skills to take on such a huge project. Nobody should ever be financially or emotionally devastated by the construction of their dream home, and we won’t watch it happen.
3. STANDARD ONTARIO CONTRACT. After we are convinced that a potential buyer has done their due diligence, we allow them to offer on a lot. We use the standard Ontario Agreement to Purchase & Sale property contract that the buyer’s real estate lawyer will recognize. It is the contract created by Ontario real estate lawyers that real estate agents use. We add a very simple one page schedule along with a copy of the protective covenants registered on land title. The buyer reviews the contract and then gives it to their real estate lawyer for review. Easy Peazy!
4. RELATIONSHIPS. I spend an enormous amount of time supporting vacant land buyers within Rockcliffe Estates. Most of our buyers become their own general contractor with my support. I don’t charge for my time, but I do want to make sure that if I spend 100 hours of my time with a home builder, that I ENJOY that time spent.
We have found that when we put a third party [realtor] between ourselves and land buyers, miscommunication and mistakes ALWAYS happen. The results are permanent and fall some where between extremely disappointing and devastating. Rockcliffe Estates is a legacy to our family, and 5% on a land sale is not worth the heart ache.