Vacant Land Questions Answered
There are a lot of questions that come up when you own land and you are not sure whether to sell it or hold it. Most likely you have reached this site because you are thinking about selling your land or someone has approached you to buy it. The process can be overwhelming so we’ll tackle some of the questions that we hear most often.
Is selling vacant land different from selling other real estate, like a home?
Yes. Selling your land is different from selling other real estate. For starters, you don’t have to worry about structural issues, getting a real estate agent or an inspection. The fact that you don’t need to get an agent involved and can deal directly with the buys saves a lot of money and allow for land sellers to get paid quickly and move on.
Are Home Buyers/ Agents Different from Land Buyers?
Both real estate with homes and vacant land are bought and sold on the open market (mostly) and have certain titling responsibilities. You don’t need a real estate agent or the long paperwork, often part of a mortgage, to complete the sale of vacant land.
This means that some buyers of homes also purchase vacant land but often they differ due to specialization. Real estate buyers are looking for upside with positive rents or maybe a home to “flip”.
On the other side, vacant land buyers are often small groups or individuals who specialize in the area and can help motivated land holders get out of their land and get them cash. Both parties are looking to make money, both parties usually have a process to turn the property around for a profit. Depending on the specific property or land, it may be a long term hold strategy, a build/ rebuild strategy or a quick resale because they have a motivated buyer given their experience and relationships in the market.
What kind of Sales Technique Works For Selling Land?
Vacant Land is boring. Often times land comes with little to offer the buyer, other than a clean slate. That said, it is very different from flipping a home with a new coat of paint and sticking it on the MLS.
Selling land is a nuanced process that involves experience, price and exposure. Yes, you can place it on the MLS like a home. You can also find one of many land for sale type websites. The reality of selling vacant land is that it is done via relationships and targeted reach. You need to know the local market for multiple reasons; pricing, time to list, how long to leave it on the market. A lot of land sellers have an existing network they have built up over years, including an email list of land buyers and friends, which is why it makes since to sell land to someone with experience and has don’t it before.
How Active is the Land Market?
The land market is always active. If you look across the Unites States there are still a ton of undeveloped land and infill lots (lots next to existing homes, with separate plat IDs). In fact, on any single day there are approximately 100 new sellers of land, trying to move on from something they have owned for any amount of time.
On the other side of the equation are land buyers, and there are many. A lot of them do not specialize in vacant land but are really house flippers who may offer to acquire land. You want to find firms like the Squier Capital Group, smaller firms looking to help out those with vacant land. In addition to firms like The Squier Capital Group, there are larger holdings, who often times work through traditional channels like real estate agents, Zillow and the big brands.
*Tip – working through the big firms and traditional channels created for realty (Homes) costs a lot more and often times creates unnecessary timelines.
How Do You Determine Who Your Buyers Are?
You can go three different ways, if you want to sell your vacant land and want to move on.
Sell it yourself – There is a market for land and some get lucky because they are already plugged into a group who works with others wanting to buy vacant land. The likelihood of this happening for someone who owns a vacant lot and is not in the business already is low. There are small groups and specialized outlets for vacant land that industry professionals are privy to.
Call your local realtor – Your realtor is your friend and they do work in the industry. There are times when realtors sell vacant land, and you could get lucky. Most often realtors come with increased fees 3%-6% additional. Realtors also specialize in homes, having been licensed to sell homes, thus their buyer pool is not likely to match up with the sale of your vacant land. Some realtors do specialize in vacant land but be careful because a realtors definition of vacant land, usually means land “ready to build”, think about a new housing development with vacant lots.
Work with a land acquisition company (The Squier Capital Group) – Land acquisition companies like The Squier Capital Group specialize in selling vacant land. This means they cut through the “noise” or realtors, “going cowboy” and selling it yourself and get vacant landowners paid fast! Land acquisition companies fill a needed space in the vacant land world because buying and selling vacant land is very different from realty. You don’t need a license; you just need to understand where the buyers are – that’s the key. Land acquisition companies specialize in the places where land buyers look to buy.
How Do You Prepare Your Land For Sale?
Land is not a home, so no need to “spruce it up.” Vacant land is just that, vacant land that has value only because of its topography, location and “zone” it sits in.
To prepare your land for sale, make sure you have the lot #, this is a number that is on your taxes and can be found in the county assessors files. All land records are public and anyone who is going to purchase your land is going to look it up on the county assessors website.
It is very helpful to find the correct parcel ID and be able to easily find it on a Parce Boundry and Planimetric map. This is a map of the land and clearly shows the location.
Use all maps, ID numbers and if available a screen shot from one of many mapping software like Google Maps or Zillow. These third party maps allow anyone to take a closer look to see what is one the land and more importantly, what’s around it.
It’s all about where it is located, this is the most important part about preparing your land for sale, a buyer needs to have a crystal clear understanding of where it is.
What You Need To Know When You Sell Land
If you own vacant land and are interested in selling it, you may be thinking about where to get started. Squier Capital Group buys vacant land at fair prices, making the process easier on land sellers like you. Below, we have provided some information to help you sell land, as well as how our process can save you time and effort.
Preparing To Sell Land
When you sell anything, you want to present it in the best possible light. This is as true for selling your land as it is for selling your car. Spend some time cleaning your vacant land before you present it to potential buyers. For example, you could hire landscapers to cut any grass to a manageable height and weed where necessary. You could even plant some flowers or other attractive plants.
Even more importantly, however, is marking the boundaries of your property. When you show a prospective buyer, he or she should know exactly what is for sale. You may need to complete a survey to find the correct boundaries. This will help the potential buyer to better value the land, allowing your vacant land sale to proceed smoothly.
Determining the Price of Your Land
If you are like most sellers, after you have asked, “How do I sell my land,” your next question is, “What is it worth?” This is a big question and one that doesn’t always have an immediately obvious answer. You want to set the price at a level that will attract buyers without leaving money on the table. Finding this balance is often easier if you work with a real estate professional.
You can typically get a ballpark figure by comparing your property to recent sales in the area. Compare the relative size of your land to those sales. Additionally, be honest with yourself about the quality of your land. Natural resources on your land can enhance the value. However, land that is poorly suited for development may be worth less.
If you are uncertain, it may be beneficial to price your land slightly on the higher side. It is much easier to reduce the price than to raise it. You can also get a fast quote from Squier Capital Group to benchmark your land value.
Sell Land Fast Online
Selling your land online may seem like a strange idea at first, especially if you haven’t sold real estate recently. However, online listings have become an integral part of the real estate transaction process. Plus, an increasing number of real estate platforms are allowing you to transact partially or even completely online.
To sell land fast, you will want to take advantage of all available marketing channels. The more eyes you can get on your land, the more offers you will receive. That can translate directly into a higher price for your land and more profit for you.
Preparing the Sale Agreement
Real estate transactions often involve a lot of complexity. You need to provide a warranty deed, title insurance, details about the lands, and various legally mandated disclosures.
Plus, some buyers will have contingencies build into their offers. For example, they may be needing to get the land assessed before the offer can proceed. They may also require that you buy back the land if certain permits cannot be obtained. These additions to the agreement may not be dealbreakers for you. However, they are important details that you need to know about. You may need the help of a real estate attorney for more complex sales.
Making Sure You Are Ready for a Vacant Land Sale
The above questions and tips will help you to prepare for selling your vacant land. Whether you choose to list your land yourself or follow the easier path and work with Squier Capital Group, it is important to be ready to address the above concerns and more.
Discover more about selling land today. With the right help, you can sell land fast. Complete our online form and get an initial land offer for land in California or Arizona in as little as 15 minutes. Don’t go down the long road of selling your land yourself if you don’t need to. If you like our offer, you could be done with your real estate sale sooner than you think with no commissions, agents, closing costs or excessive waiting.
Key Questions To Expect From Land Buyers
When you are selling land, you can expect to need to answer a few important questions. You will need to be ready to provide helpful answers to many of these common questions. When Squier Capital Group buys vacant land, we will want to address each of these concerns. Similarly, if you are interested in buying land, you will want to get these answers.
Who Owns the Land?
This question may seem a little obvious. However, it is one of the most important aspects of a real estate transaction. When you want to sell land, you need to prove that you own the land and are authorized to sell it.
A common issue can arise when the landowner inherited the land and does not have clear documentation of ownership. Additionally, if you have an active loan against the land, that will need to be considered in the process. No matter who is buying your land, they will want to know that they completely own the land after buying it.
Any concerns about the chain of title can be addressed with a warranty deed. Plus, the buyer may want to perform a title investigation to double-check.
Are Any Back Taxes Owed?
Naturally, any buyer will want to ensure that the property taxes are current. If there are any taxes, liens or debts owed on the property, it may not be a dealbreaker. However, you will want to clearly declare these. The new owner would be responsible for these after the sale. So, it is important to ensure that everyone is aware of all interests in the land.
Is the Land Part of an Association?
You are likely familiar with homeowners’ associations. Vacant land may be part of an HOA or a property owners’ association. In either case, any prospective buyer will likely want to know about this. HOAs and POAs may have fees associated with them and impose some restrictions on how the land can be used. With the assessor’s parcel number of the property, you can typically check HOA and POA membership with the county.
How Is the Property Zoned?
Zoning is one of the main ways that governments control how land can be used. They use this to prevent a business from owning an industrial plant in the middle of a residential neighborhood, for example. While you may expect that vacant land can be used for any purpose, there may be zoning restrictions applied to it.
Buyers will need to know whether their plans for the land are possible within the zoning of the property. You may already know how the land is zoned. However, if you want to get a clear and authoritative answer, you can always contact the county’s Planning and Zoning Department.
If I Sell My Vacant Land, How Can the Land Be Used?
The above two questions both reflect the same major concern: how the land can be used. Whether the restriction comes from zoning, an HOA/POA or some other source, rules for how land can be used are surprisingly common. For example, a lot of buyers want to use a parcel of land for camping and other recreational activities. However, this is more frequently disallowed by local laws than you may expect.
Some examples of land classification include recreational, residential and undeveloped. Recreational land can be used for hunting, fishing, riding ATVs, camping and similar activities. Residential land can be used to build a home or series of homes. Undeveloped land may be used as an escape from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
If the buyer is planning to develop the land, he or she may want to ensure that it can be divided and retitled. This is usually not a problem if the land is zoned correctly, but it is always worth checking with the county.
Is the Property Serviced By Utilities?
Depending on the location of your vacant land, it may or may not have easy access to utilities. A lot of vacant and rural land is not connected to sewage, water or electric utilities. For a buyer who wants to get off the grid, this can be perfect. However, for someone wanting to build on the land, it may be less ideal.
Typically, there are some options that can help with this. For example, a septic tank can be installed if there is no sewer access. Similarly, solar panels or a windmill can potentially generate electricity without having to connect to the county grid. Utilities can have a big impact on the value of the land, so it is important to know the current status and options for improvements.
What Is the Typical Tax Bill?
One of the great characteristics of vacant land is that it won’t usually have high taxes. In fact, property taxes on some plots can be mere dollars per year. The majority of property taxes tend to come from improvements on the land. So, many vacant lots will have a property tax bill of less than a few hundred dollars annually.
Nonetheless, it is important to be able to provide information on the typical tax bill. The simplest way to do this is to provide the exact figure for the past few years. The county government will also have this information available.
Are There Any Common Facilities on the Land?
Common facilities are services such as water, septic or roads that are shared with other local properties. This is uncommon in rural or undeveloped areas. However, it can be the case in more developed areas such as subdivisions. There may be certain costs and rules associated with these common facilities. So, it is something that most buyers will want to know about.
How Can the Property Be Accessed?
Although rural and more secluded properties can be very enjoyable, they may not have easy access to public roads. If you need to travel over a neighbor’s land or a private access route to reach your property, buyers will want to know that.
Typically, the legal access routes are detailed in the deed. This will cover any public roadways or paths that reach the land. Whether or not there is a simple way to access the land can significantly impact the price. So, you will need to know this before your sell land.
Are There Wetlands on the Property?
Wetlands may be seasonally or permanently saturated with water. They can include marshes, swamps, bogs and similar types of land. These are less desirable for developers because they require significantly more work and investment to make them usable for building. In some cases, building may even be impossible.
However, some people may enjoy wetlands for activities such as fishing, kayaking and camping. Photography and bird watching around wetlands can also be fun. If you have wetlands on your property, you may want to adjust your approach to selling the land accordingly.
If you don’t currently occupy the property (a common situation for vacant-land owners), you may not be familiar with all the features. Make sure to check on whether the property is located in wetlands before you begin trying to sell it. Knowing before you start will help you to set your expectations accurately.
What Is the Property Size?
Naturally, it is important to know the exact size of the property. Buyers want to get the right amount of land. It is also helpful to know the shape of the land parcel. A nice, square piece of land will usually be worth more than a long, thin strip or one with strange borders. Basically, the buyer will need a parcel of land that will work for his or her goals.
When you mark the boundaries of the land, make a map to help easily show the property layout. There may be an existing map associated with the land on file with the county. It is also useful to include the property topography on the survey map; however, you will likely need to hire someone to capture this properly.
Is There a Conservation Easement?
Conservation easements are restrictions placed on the land to protect natural resources. This may be due to an important ecosystem or some other environmental reason. These easements are binding and stay in place regardless of who owns the land. This can be a significant restriction on how the land can be used. So, it is important to make potential buyers aware of any such easement.
Unfortunately, a conservation easement may mean that the property is worth less than the market rate. However, if it is ideal land for camping and the easement improves the beauty of the land, it is possible that it can be desirable for some buyers.
You should know if there are any conservation easements on the land. Additionally, you will want to know about other easements, such as those held by adjoining owners or utilities. Buyers may want to know if there are any environmental concerns that aren’t covered by easements.
Real estate transactions usually happen faster and with greater success when the two parties foster a trusting relationship. While it may be tempting to avoid highlighting any concerns that could take away from the value of the land, this will often backfire. Being prepared with good documentation and clear answers to common concerns will help you to ensure a more successful sale.
Does Someone Else Own the Mineral Rights?
You may be surprised to learn that part of the answer to “how do I sell my land” is that you can sell different elements of it. This can include the air rights and the mineral rights. For rural and secluded land, it is not uncommon for the mineral rights to be managed separately from the land itself. You could potentially sell the right to certain natural resources on your land without selling the full property.
Of course, if you plan to do this or have done it in the past, it can reduce the value of the land for some buyers. In some cases, the mineral rights are the main value-adder for the property. You could be literally sitting on a gold mine.
The same applies to timber and water. These natural resources may be attractive to certain buyers. Timber is especially important because it can conflict with the right to develop the land. Again, your goal as a seller should be to clearly describe what is included in the sale of the land.
Is There Water on the Land?
Some vacant land sales can be boosted by the presence of an attractive water feature. This may be a river, creek, lake, pond or spring. Like some of the other concerns listed above, water features can be valuable to some buyers and a nuisance to others. Of course, if it is a particularly beautiful feature such as a waterfall, it is likely to add value to your property. A stunning river could help a developer get even more money for building residences on your land, for example.
Bear in mind that some water features may also cause flooding or the formation of wetlands. This is something that a lot of buyers will be interested in knowing about.
Who Are the Neighbors?
Finally, buyers will want to know about the neighbors around the property. No matter how big and secluded the land may be, everyone has to be able to get along with their neighbors. Disputes over boundaries, common facilities, easements and other issues can be a pain to deal with.
Conversely, if you have an eager neighbor, that may be an opportunity to sell your land quickly. It all depends on who is around your property.
Selling Land the Easier Way
After you have said to yourself, “I am going to sell my vacant land,” you have a choice of how you will proceed. You can do all the hard work of preparing, pricing and listing your land in the hopes that you will get a good price, you can hire a real estate professional to represent you and handle the sales process, or you can choose the easier option and sell your land quickly with Squier Capital Group.
A lot of landowners find themselves sinking time and money into their vacant land. Perhaps you inherited the land, had plans for it that have changed, or just aren’t getting what you want from it.
Whatever your situation, if you are ready to cash out your vacant land holdings, working with Squier Capital Group may be the answer. We can offer you a fair price for your land and save you the trouble of a traditional vacant land sale process. Similarly, if your land sale has been dragging on, we are here to offer you a quick resolution. The following are the four steps of our process:
1. Complete Our Form: We have a simple online form to help you get started. This will involve sharing essential information about the land so we can determine a fair price.
Review the Land: Next, we will review your inquiry by hand. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that we can offer you the best price possible.
Agree to a Price: We will contact you with a price and answer any of your questions. If you agree to the number, we will make our offer.
Send Payment: Finally, you will receive payment from us via an escrow account. It really is that simple. Our goal is to complete the transaction quickly so that you can get paid sooner.
At Squier Capital Group, we get the transaction done quicker and with less complexity. If your property is in Arizona or California, you can likely complete your vacant land sale sooner.