Selling residential land in a large subdivision can often be a challenging process, as many potential buyers only see a huge piece of empty land. However, property developers can also attest to the phenomenon of ‘sticky’ lots that can be much harder to move than the majority of other lots within their land estates. Why are ‘sticky’ lots so hard to move?
What is a sticky lot?
First of all, let’s classify what a sticky lot is. It is fair to say buyers are attracted to lots near a park, wetlands, or lots with views, but are less interested in buying near an intersection or powerlines, on an odd-shaped lot, or possibly even a corner lot.
As such, sticky lots are essentially harder to sell lots. It may be the smallest block on a street, a block with a larger than normal easement, a block backing onto a busy road, or maybe a ‘battleaxe’ block (where the land is narrow at the front, thus providing less street frontage).
How to maximise the saleability of a ‘sticky’ lot?
The short answer is these lots are pitted directly against the more desirable lots, and have been lumped in together with the broad marketing strategy of the entire development. So, how would you market these lots differently from the estate as a whole?
Of course you could focus purely on retail, i.e. offering lower prices than comparable sized lots within the estate. People are always interested in a bargain, so lowering your asking price is a straightforward first step.
However, it is also critically important to create a unique story around these lots, encapsulating a particular message you wish to convey to your desired audience. For example, it may be necessary to separate sticky lots from the rest of a stage release, creating specific collateral, point of sale, press ads and digital ads to promote them.
These communication pieces and activities may highlight particular advantages and benefits from a battleaxe block, a rear loaded lot, or a corner block. The idea is to make these sticky lots special as opposed to being outcasts. For example, a corner lot can actually be desired by certain ethnic buyers who appreciate its perceived value (lower comparable cost per square metre than other lots). Also, a battleaxe lot with a smaller frontage could be marketed as providing a large backyard for children to play in, and maybe even a space for Dad’s future workshop!
Where a lot is particularly sticky, developers may even consider investing in a spec home with a reputable builder, as having a finished home for sale will create a much more powerful impression on potential buyers, precisely why large builders build display homes or show houses.
In conclusion, you may have subdivided land that is seemingly impossible to sell, but there are a multitude of various strategies and activities you can utilise to promote these sticky lots to buyers. The key is, don’t fall into the trap of trying to sell the entire development under a single story. Sticky lots do need extra attention and a unique approach.
By Chen Tan, Vive Group