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I just called a leasing agent, whose information was posted online under the Land for Lease advertise, trying to get how much $$ they want per sqft; he never told me the price, bombarding me with questions like what type of business I am planning to launch on this land, how much money do I have to start with, will I have a co-partner... before finally dropping the phone on me

Does this look unprofessional for a leasing agent to behave this way? Or is this all normal and the advice for me is to always prepare my answers prior contacting them?

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    Price per sq. ft. can easily be calculated given the price and the area. Are you saying the agent refused to disclose either the size of the land, or the asking price for the lease? – yoozer8 Jun 12 at 11:37
  • The asking price for lease – Tired Of Trading Jun 12 at 16:17
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Not giving you the price per square foot seems weird, but the questions seem entirely normal. They want to make sure that a) you can pay the rent, and b) won't be using the land for something that will expose them to liability: meth lab, toxic waste dump, fireworks factory, gas station, etc.

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    Actually, asking for a price per square foot seems pretty strange to me. Maybe in a really congested urban area, but normally prices are quoted per acre (in the US, at least). Or you would see it advertised as something like "5 acre parcel for lease, $X/year." – jamesqf Jun 12 at 1:43
  • @jamesqf , ah well my background is in Seattle, so the congested urban area is what I've seen. – Charles E. Grant Jun 12 at 2:09
  • I mean, the price per sqft was never indicated anywhere, and that's the reason I called leasing agent, to get the price. – Tired Of Trading Jun 12 at 16:19
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The "per sqft" is a bit of a red herring that has led some here to think you were asking the leasing agent for help with simple arithmetic. Your latest comment clarifies that the advertisement did not state an asking rent at all. Generally (albeit without knowing your local market) this sounds unusual. Given this omission, it doesn't sound unreasonable to ask the agent for an initial clarification (to see if the rent is even in the right ballpark for you) before disclosing much about your situation/plans.

You could get a pretty good idea of market rent for similar land with some research. Ultimately it would be a negotiation anyway, but declining to state an asking rent and immediately querying you about your financial resources suggests the agent may be trying to take advantage of people who might overpay.

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The agent may have the latitude or incentive to offer "percentage rent" or otherwise negotiate the rate based on proposed use. They may also be determining if a use is short term or long term for consideration of their decision maker (does the owner want short term income waiting on a future plan, such as build out a residential subdivision; or are they looking for a long term tenant whose business model is set up for sustainability?).

If any of these are the case,

  1. There may not be a flat fixed rate, but a range including financial options
  2. The information of the owner's lowest acceptable limit is commercially sensitive
  3. Your intended use is of interest for both negotiating a rate and estimating how long you might occupy
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The agent wants to know what your situation is before he quotes you a price.

This is because the price he quotes you will vary depending on how much he thinks you can afford. If he thinks you are intending to start a high-volume, profitable business with rich co-investors he is going to quote you a high price, because you might be prepared to pay that (and might not be worried about the price). If you are buying for yourself for non-business purposes he might quote you something lower.

Alternatively (or as well as) he wants to be able to convince you of how great the land would be for your needs before he starts talking about price. It's a pretty standard sales technique, though a fairly irritating one, especially if you are just shopping around at this stage. If that is the case then just move along - you are not going to get to talking about price without a long conversation about your needs.

Alternatively make up something vague sounding to get him to the point of giving a price.

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I am sorry, but that is a question most people learn to answer in school.

  • You are quote a price X for a piece of land.
  • The land is somehow defined with a size.

Now you calculate the number of square foot from the size, then you divide the total price by the number of square foot. Done. Land is often NOT quoted in square foot as the unit is WAY too small. Depending on country I have seen Are (100 square meter), Acre or Hectar as unit, both on leasing as well as purchasing.

I would find it amazingly funny if you would be offered land without the proper defining terms (i.e. a map, exact definition what you rent and that basically tells you the size). I know in some countries people are not doing that (rent in the UK - number of rooms, but no sizes given unless unusually large), but this is really an indication of something not kosher (rooms are so small that a bedroom fits a bed, not anything else). But seriously, if you get a piece of land, both location and size are standard, and if you are unable to calcualte price per whatever land unit from the price and the size, you do have FAR larger problems than a missing price per square foot.

Does this look unprofessionally from leasing agent perspective to behave this way?

Yes and not. Land may have limitations what you can do and he may expect you to have those things ready.

and the advise for me is to always prepare my answers prior contacting them?

You should ALWAYS be prepared for this type of question, particularly if you are leasing land or non-living property. This is rental 101. There may be limitations (both legal or by the owner) and you answer or get lost.

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    -1. OP clearly isn't asking how to find price per size given price and size. They don't have any price, that's why they called the agent. – scatter Jun 12 at 17:55
  • @scatter and OP thinks the agent sucks, what are we supposed to do? call the police? – quid Jun 12 at 19:05

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