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Sales of Large Acreage Parcels in the Northwoods – What are Buyers Looking For?


I’ve had a broker’s license for over ten years and during that time, I’ve managed to focus my practice of real estate on large acreage parcels or large acreage parcels with a home, cottage, or cabin on it. All of the property that I list or sell can be found on the Whitetail Trophy Properties (WTP) website ( WTP caters to a national audience of discerning, high-end hunters who patronize hunting websites in search of land versus a local realtor or multiple listing service. My affiliation with WTP enables me to get my client’s property in front of this national audience. Whitetail’s educational programs also serve as a learning experience for me which permits me to better understand my buyers wants and my sellers property.

Why the focus on hunting acreage? Because that’s where you’ll find the demand. I’ve never had a customer ask me to find 200 acres on which they can build a home. The demand for large acreage parcels in Wisconsin originates with hunters. I emphasize this because my clients frequently do not know or understand this. And they understand even less what they can do to make their acreage more marketable to hunters.

There are at least eight factors that potential hunter/buyers consider when they are evaluating hunting acreage. These are listed in order of importance.

Decision Point Explanation Cost to Seller
1. Live deer photos These are usually accomplished using a “trail cam” that is strapped to a tree for several days or weeks. This tells the buyer/hunter what he can expect from the land in the future. The deer are still alive and roaming the property. Nothing. If the seller has not placed a trail cam, the Realtor will.
2. Dead deer photos Again, via a trail cam. This tells the buyer/hunter what the land has been producing in the past. Ideally, 160” deer or better, using the Boone and Crockett grading system. Nothing. Photos after a kill are normal.
3. Management program Does the acreage have an existing management program for managing the land to improve whitetail habitat? Ideally, the State Dpt. Of Natural Resources participated in creating the plan. Nothing. The DNR will do this for free.
4. Existing food plots Has acreage been set aside and planted with desirable grains and browse for deer? Do whitetail eat on the property? Seller must break the ground with a disc. DNR will provide free seed.
5. Existing bedding areas Has acreage been set aside and planted with summer grasses and cedars for bedding areas? Do whitetail bed on the property? same
6. Water Is there water on the acreage? This can be a lake, river, creek, swamp, pond etc. If no water, deer can’t stay there. They have to vacate the acreage in order to find water. Not within seller’s control.
7. Approx. 30% lowland or swamp All high ground is not desirable. Whitetail seek out swamps for heavy cover when they feel threatened. This could also be a secondary source of water. Not within seller’s control.
8. Trail system In the Northwoods, these are usually old logging trails. Trails that remain because of constant motor traffic (ATV) are also acceptable. There has to be some way for a hunter to navigate the wooded acreage. Nothing. If no trails, a logger will clear trails if allowed to keep the cut trees.
9 Locked Steel Gate access Desirable but not a “deal killer”. The discerning hunter will want to be assured that systems have been put in place for keeping unauthorized persons off of the acreage. The acreage is an investment that need protection. The cost of the gate.

6 Responses to Sales of Large Acreage Parcels in the Northwoods – What are Buyers Looking For?

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    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks!

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