For sale: fishing lodge; help me find ways of spreading the word
January 12, 2004 11:29 PM   Subscribe

My folks are selling the fishing lodge they've been running for the last 7 years or so, and I really want to help them, though I'm half a world away. Does anyone know of free, relatively high-traffic places on the net to put the word out for something like this, or other strategies to find a buyer? [more inside]

I put some information on my site (linked above) a while back, and it gets quite a few Googlenauts every day arriving on the appropriate strings, but so far, nothing much has come of it. My mom, who's not really hip to some of the less savoury tactics of some online sales types has recently spent some money (more than they can afford) to list the place on some site (she's sending me the URL), but I doubt that that will see anywhere near as many hits as my 'free listing' at my site gets already. They're getting too old to live off the grid the way they do, and I'm really worried that some medical emergency is going to turn tragic in the foreseeable future. Any advice with regards to effectively listing the place on the 'net (again, free or very cheap), or any tips for selling the place in general would be very, very much appreciated. Thanks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Work & Money (24 answers total)
What about Craig's List? It's free, has a real estate for sale section, and you can list it in a few different geographical places (I think), including BC and Toronto. (I can't speak for its effectiveness in selling real estate but it certatainly works for other things.)
posted by dobbs at 11:46 PM on January 12, 2004

British fishing fly fishing magazines (which tend to advertise to their idea of "the elite") usually have a column in their features sections offering "estates" i.e. a bit of river (usually in Scotland or Normandy) with a lodge and fishing rights for sale to anyone who has millions and millions and millions of dollars. As someone who likes to fish for trout with flies because it is the cheapest way to annoy fish I find these ads hilarious.
posted by zaelic at 2:22 AM on January 13, 2004

Does anyone know of free, relatively high-traffic places on the net to put the word out for something like this, or other strategies to find a buyer?

Aside from, you mean? I think we should discuss this in MetaTalk.
posted by timeistight at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2004

A fair portion of income comes in cash from individuals and is not reflected in the income statements.

Is that legal in Canada?
posted by biffa at 9:39 AM on January 13, 2004

Oh my god! I've been there!

One of my favourite childhood memories is boating the Nation Lakes: a solid month of seeing not one other living sole outside my family. Major influence on my outdoorsy nature.

If this lodge was around 25-odd years ago, I've stayed in it.

biffa: No, not at all legal. Shame!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 AM on January 13, 2004

not one other living sole

Well, now we know how you got your name...

I would second the craigslist suggestion. They have a Vancouver section. It's gotten enormously popular (in other places, anyway—can't vouch for Vancouver), and anyone in the market for real estate will be pretty likely to look there. Make sure to re-post it every few days (delete the old posting first) since things scroll off pretty quickly.
posted by staggernation at 10:16 AM on January 13, 2004

Vancouver Craig's List? Do you people have any concept of how far away from Vancouver Nation Lakes is? Krikey.

I can't offer specific suggestions, but I think rather than a general interest site, or even general real estate site, you might get more interest from fishing & outfitting oriented sites. Look for sites related to the Lodge and see if they have message boards, etc, that allow for commercial postings. Owning a lodge like that is a pretty niche market and it's probably worth it to go after the niche from the start.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2004

[that's a beautiful place]
posted by carter at 10:30 AM on January 13, 2004

Stav, I know its possible that your folks may not want to go through a Realtor, but I think they might have good luck (and get topmost dollar) listing it through a Realtor that specializes in 'Luxury' or 'Unique' properties. Two I know of that are US based are Hoffman International Properties and Luxury Real Estate, and I know there are many other companies out there who do the same thing. It won't cost your folks anything to list, but the Realtor will take a percentage of the purchase price when the property sells. On the flip side, however, these Realtors will target advertise your property in publications all over the world, and the sale price will almost always be much more than they could get otherwise. Don't be put off by the 'showcase' photos on the website -- I know that, in Maine at least, "camps" of this type are sold through these kind of services fairly regularly.
posted by anastasiav at 10:36 AM on January 13, 2004

jacquilynne, if you've patrolled the real estate boards at CL you'd see that geography is irrelevant. I live in Toronto and our CL real estate board has property from all over the map--last week I saw a dozen properties listed for FLA. Plus, it's a commercial property. It doesn't matter how far away it is. People move (great distances) all the time--especially when relocating to start a business.
posted by dobbs at 10:42 AM on January 13, 2004

Stavros, another reason to go with a realtor is that they have access to something called a multiple listing service. That is the place realtors use to look up what properties are available, and the properties are separated by categories so that people who are looking for that type of property can easily find out what's out there.

Plus there are so many legal pitfalls and petty details involved in selling property- until my husband became a Realtor I had no idea. Besides, Realtors screen buyers to make sure they can get financing and that they aren't ax murderers or something. Do your folks really want strangers stomping around their grounds unscreened?

If y'all need more detailed answers to questions just email me-I can get hubby to give you the straight dope.
posted by konolia at 12:16 PM on January 13, 2004

I suggest posting a question on Ask MetaFilter, e.g. "Anyone want to buy a fishing lodge?"
posted by kindall at 12:35 PM on January 13, 2004

having spent many years in the real estate appraisal business, i just wanted to counterbalance konolia's enthusiastic plug for her hubby's job: just remember - many realtors are not all that well informed about what they do. you want someone with some experience under the belt, not someone who was inspired by a "make it big in real estate" informercial seen at 3am. with commercial property there are insurance, zoning, and other serious issues and your parents need someone with some knowledge. this may come as a shock, but remember: many many many people "selling" real estate are little more than middlemen, essentially "used car" types. most lease a desk and a phone and a computer in a broker's office and for all intents and purposes, are self-employed. by the way, "Realtor" is a registered trademark, not a professional designation acknowledeging certain abilities. you want a well-established commercial broker.
posted by quonsar at 12:44 PM on January 13, 2004

quonsar, of course you are right about the specialization.

But the rest of your post doesn't sit well with me. People can't just "walk off the street" and sell realestate without a license-unless it is their own, of course. A real estate license is not that easy to get-the test is a bear and a lot of people fail it first time-and then after that there is a lot of required continuing education. Lots of agents (including my dh) have a brokers' licence as well, plus extra designations that they earned thru even more continuing ed.

And you all also need to remember that it is OTHER REALTORS who bring in buyers -the seller's agent is the one that is legally bound to look out for the property owners' best interest-buyer's agents are required by law to look after their client's best interests. Most people making a purchase that big will indeed have their own agent-which means the sellers are at disadvantage. Believe me, that is NOT a good idea.

Of course you should shop for an agent. Oh-not all real estate companies are rent-an-office. It is true that agents are selfemployed for tax purposes, but they are legally required to be under the supervision of a broker. Even the office renters. Unless they also have a broker's license in which case they can open their own office.
Quonsar, you know I love you but dang, you make 'em sound like used car salesmen. A good realtor is worth his or her weight in gold, and my husband has the thank-you letters to prove it.

But again, I agree with you that what they want is a commercial property specialist.
posted by konolia at 1:51 PM on January 13, 2004

Response by poster: Well, I knew about Craig's list, but hadn't considered posting there due to the above-mentioned remoteness from Vancouver.

Thanks for the links to the luxury property places - this being far from luxury though, I'm not sure how good a match that would be.

For kindall and timeistight, I've got to say that I'm disappointed you'd have such a low opinion of me after all this time to suggest that I was taking advantage here. I'm worried about my mother, is all, and was legitimately looking for help, not trying to sell you something.

Since not much help here has been forthcoming with the net thing (I have looked, unsuccessfully, for decent free listing places, which is why I asked, hoping someone with inside knowledge would be around), I wonder if anyone would care to elaborate on konolia and quonsar's ideas, and tell me if they know anything about finding a good, trustworthy realtor, and how to deal with them. Assume I know nothing, which would be true.

Shopping for an agent in Canada or America would necessarily be a difficult thing for me, since I live in Korea.

Again, it would be appreciated.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:26 PM on January 13, 2004

Stav, I'd love to take a look at your parents' property. Maybe you could set me up with a week or two, gratis, to appraise it?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:48 PM on January 13, 2004

Response by poster: Although this thread is maybe a down-page goner now, to my regret, I realize that I didn't explain quite enough, perhaps, why I thought here was a good place (my only place, really) to ask for info.

The reason I asked in particular about net stuff is that my folks are, as I mentioned, way off the grid (although they have satellite access, they're pretty lost when it comes to much other than email), and the nearest civilization is more than 100 miles away, and that's just my tiny little one-horse hometown. On top of that, the economy in Northern BC is in the dumper at the moment, so a local buyer is highly unlikely, even a corporate (mining or forestry crews stay there often during the right seasons). Most of the non-commercial guests they have are either American or European tourists. Overseas or non-northern-BC buyers are probably the best bet, but I don't know how to get to them.

Everyone in town knows my mom and her hubby (she was the mayor for 9 years before they went bush), so seeing a realtor there isn't going help much locally, I don't think. Any help I can render is pretty much of necessity going to be remotely done (with the half-a-world away thing happening), and so this question here, because you all is smart web folk, and I have no idea what else to do other than use the net.

Or perhaps that was clear already. In which case, sorry for being repetetive...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:18 PM on January 13, 2004

Stavros, to amplify on konolia-ish (kn-ish?) commentary... Why do you think this is something you should deal with via a free service? I realize that you want to max the Loonies to your folks, this is probably one of those situations where you want to spend some money to make some. As someone who (briefly) dealt with commercial RE (NJ, licensed, late '80s), given the factors involved a broker will most likely end up getting you more even considering commission. While I can't recommend a specific broker, I think that a broker from your hometown who knows you and your folks will probably be able to refer you to a specialist, or at least to someone who might know someone else. Good luck!
posted by billsaysthis at 4:31 PM on January 13, 2004

Response by poster: billsaysthis : Well, I was just looking for ways that I could do something. My understanding is that they're doing everything they can locally. And like I said, I would imagine an American or European buyer might be more likely, markets to which I would assume a local realtor, even if conencted, would not have access. Many, if not most, of the similar lodges up in the far north, and on the Nation Lakes themselves, are owned by Americans or Europeans.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on January 13, 2004

For kindall and timeistight, I've got to say that I'm disappointed you'd have such a low opinion of me after all this time to suggest that I was taking advantage here.

I don't and didn't. Relax, man. You didn't ask that question, which is why I thought it would be funny to play the blatant opportunist you were not and ask it.
posted by kindall at 5:09 PM on January 13, 2004

Response by poster: OK.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:14 PM on January 13, 2004

Stav, all i can tell you is find some names and numbers/email addys of some commercial brokers (hey, the internet is your friend here) and ask them for advice. You will get it, and it will be free. Of course ask more than one. If I were you I'd look for the nearest decent-sized town from this property, and research brokers in that location.
posted by konolia at 8:52 PM on January 13, 2004


You and I already did some correspondence via email. I think it sounds like an amazing opportunity - I'd love to buy it, and I think I could swing it. But (there's always a "but" isn't there?)...

But, my wife is 100% not interested in living off the grid. She says "no way" and I've gotta live with that.
posted by Irontom at 4:35 AM on January 14, 2004

Response by poster: Heh. I can understand that, Irontom. It's a bit of a trial, at times. That said, they do have electricity (generators, but the possibility exists for both solar and geothermal, with some up-front investment), phone and internet and TV via satellite, and delicious water out of the ground.

Still, it's The Bush, and I'm not even sure, long after having grown up way up north there, if I could live that way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:48 AM on January 14, 2004

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