How Much Does A Vacant Land Appraisal Cost? | askBAMLand

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When you are evaluating land for purchase or sale, make sure you always get a professional appraiser to give you a realistic valuation.

The cost of a vacant land appraiser is greatly determined by where the land is located and what the intentions for the land are.  Typically, you can expect to pay about $200-600 for residential land, $1,000-3,000 for farmland, and $2,000-10,000 for commercial land.  The price will vary depending on the complexity of the appraisal.

Whether you are looking to sell your vacant land or acquire a vacant parcel of land, you always want to know what you are in for and there is no better way to do so than to have a professional appraiser come and evaluate the property.  This gives you the assurance and confidence to get the best deal you can possibly get and will help you weed out individuals that are trying to lowball you.  Once you have had the land professionally appraised, you can make an offer or list the land on the market without needing to compromise.

Depending on the type of land being evaluated, the price of the appraisal will be determined by a private real estate agent.  If you are acquiring land through the Bureau of Land Management of a private land trust, a government official or land trust representative will have conducted their own land appraisal.

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Appraisals For Different Land Types

Purchasing land can be a complex investment.  There are a lot of different land types and even more variables that could be associated with the property, which is why land appraisals can vary so much in their cost.

Before you begin your appraisal process, you want to know exactly what sort of land classification your vacant land falls under.  Where this can become tricky with vacant lands is that their overall use and intentions have not always be determined yet.  This sort of complication doesn’t tend to exist in residential neighborhoods in urban environments that have a clear intention.

On the other hand, undesignated vacant lands located anywhere - especially urban areas - will require that you determine the use for the land before you can choose which specialist will come and appraise the property.

Alternatively, given that vacant lands are often a clean slate for development, you could hire a few different appraisers to come to evaluate the property to determine which direction you want to take your land.  This is an approach a real estate investor may take who wants to be flexible with the end goal of their land, but it will make your appraisal process more costly.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect to pay for an appraisal for some common different land types.

Vacant Residential Land Appraisal

An appraisal for a vacant parcel of land that is intended for residential use is relatively straightforward and also the cheapest appraisal that you will find.

The cost of the appraisal will range from $200 to-600.  However, you may find that some appraisals for larger residential lands with more complex features can go anywhere from $800-1,000.  Let’s take a look at some features the appraiser will assess.

Property Size

When vacant land is being appraised in a residential area that has similar homes next to it, it can be easier for the appraiser to make comparisons with the other residences and come to a figure much quicker, which results in a cheaper appraisal.

With that being said, the appraiser will also have to take additional time to evaluate your property if it has a substantially larger size than an average.  This is rarer to find in urban environments, as many city-built homes follow a cookie-cutter format that makes predictions and cost analysis much easier to conclude.  

However, there is a possibility that a vacant lot in an urban residential area has irregular parameters to that of neighboring homes.  This sort of irregularity could result in a more complex and costly appraisal.

Property Condition

A vacant parcel of land intended for residential use that is in solid condition will be quite easy to evaluate and appraise. There are, however, some conditions (good or bad) that could result in the appraisal process needing more analysis than normal.

A property that is in a bad state and has qualities that can hinder certain development projects or doesn’t meet certain environmental requirements, may make for a more challenging appraisal.  This could be anything from poor soil, which can make for a bad foundation for a future home, or a lack of access to utilities within the confinements of the property.

However, there are some factors such as a vacant lot having positive qualities on it that raise the overall market value of the home but require a more thorough valuation process, which can make your appraisal process more expensive.  If you have certain aesthetic qualities such as lush and well-maintained greenery or a view of an attractive landscape, you could find that your appraisal cost goes up a bit.

Regardless of the condition, if it ends up taking your appraiser more time or even requires them to call in an additional professional to investigate an anomaly, the price will tend to increase the more variables you have on the table.

Vacant Commercial Land Appraisal

If you are considering having an appraiser come to evaluate your vacant land for commercial use, the price will be determined by a number of key factors.  The properties tend to not be as straightforward as lands intended for residential use, as their features and parameters can vary more greatly.

These vacant lands may have fewer comparative properties in the area and even if they did, their specs may be quite different, as commercial properties are not nearly as predictable as private residences.

What you will typically pay for a commercial land appraisal will be anywhere from $2,000-10,000.  

However, you can expect the land appraiser to look at similar qualities within the vacant commercial land as a residential property.

Property Size

The size of the vacant property will always be the first place to start.  The reason why the size is such an important part of the valuation process is that your location’s local economic market greatly plays into the cost of your land.

Given that commercial real estate can be quite larger than a private residence, the price of the property itself, as well as the appraisal, can be significantly higher if the land is an area with a thriving economy.  

This will likely occur if you are appraising vacant land that is located in an urban area and has not only a higher cost of living but also has accessibility to desirable amenities such as schools, restaurants, and other businesses, as these are all additional variables to be considered during the appraisal process.

However, if the vacant land is in a rural environment or smaller town, appraising land for commercial use can be much quicker and cheaper.  Land features in these areas tend to be far less dynamic and the number of variables that need to be evaluated is far less.  With that being, you will find that your appraiser can much more efficiently weigh out the logistic of your vacant land.

Property Condition

Regardless of whether you are appraising vacant land for commercial use in an urban or rural area, the condition of the property is highly important.

The zoning restrictions attached to commercial lands in urban environments are incredibly lengthy.  This will always be determined on a case-by-case basis, as each city has different standards and different restrictions in place.  If the city the land is being evaluated in has relatively relaxed zoning restrictions, confirming the state of property’s condition should not be overly complex.

On the other hand, lands intended for commercial use in cities that have very strict zoning restrictions could wind up having a very meticulous appraisal process.  This is due to strict environmental conditions, as well as specific building restrictions being involved in the evaluation, which increases the cost of the valuation.  

When looking at vacant lands with this classification in rural areas, the process is often easier, but nonetheless, the physical conditions of the land such as the foundational health of the land and any environmental qualities will still need to be considered.  This will still likely result in a more affordable appraisal.

Vacant Farmland Appraisal

When appraising vacant lands for farmland, you want to make sure that you have hired an individual that specializes in this field and not just a normal appraiser.  The reason for this is that the appraiser will be assessing different qualities of the land than a typical real estate appraiser.

An appraiser will likely ask you anywhere from $1,000-3,000 for the price evaluation.  However, if you have vacant land suitable for industrial farming, you can find the cost can go up as high as $6,000-8,000.  In addition, you may find a more expensive appraisal if your land has complex environmental qualities.

Property Size & Location

Lands suitable for farmland can vary greatly in size, which is why the price can fluctuate so much.  Unlike a private residence or commercial business, farms are much less predictable no matter where they are located.

The one thing that does tend to be consistent is that they are located outside of city limits and almost always exclusively in isolated rural environments.

With that being said the appraisal of vacant land that is intended for a small farm will typically average around $1,500-2,500. 

If the vacant land is suitable for a relatively large farm the appraisal price will likely be between $3,000-5,000.

However, very large vacant lands that are intended for industrial farming can easily cost as much as $8,000 for the appraisal.

This cost will not only be determined by the size of the property but also its location in regards to the nearest urban environment, as well as its overall accessibility.

Property Condition

One of the most crucial determining factors of not only the appraisal of the vacant farmland but the value price of the property itself will be the condition of the land.

This is usually a more complex evaluation process as there are a lot of environmental qualities to assess that determine the agricultural value of the land, which is why you always want to hire an appraiser that specializes in the field.

The appraiser will most important evaluate the health and fertility of the vacant land’s soil.  This will often be the factor that determines everything about the value of farmland, which is why getting an accurate appraisal here is essential.

Unless there is an anomaly in the environmental qualities of the soil, the process should be relatively straightforward.  However, if there are inconsistencies in soil quality or there are other forms of land degradation and environmental anomalies, then the cost of the appraisal may become incredibly complex, which results in a more expensive appraisal.

Raw Land Appraisal

An appraisal for raw lands can be the most tricky, as they are generally versatile properties due to their complete unphased condition.

When assessing raw lands, it often helps to have a keen eye to figure out what your intentions may be for the property.  Since raw lands can virtually be established as just about anything, given their location and perceived environmental qualities, your appraisal approach should either be very calculated or very flexible.

If you have a clear idea of what the raw land’s potential is, you can begin an appraisal process that you feel best suits the parcel.  In this case, you would simply hire a professional appraiser for any of the above-mentioned land types and proceed as follows.

However, if you are unsure or maybe want to pursue multiple ideas for your raw land, you may want to hire several land appraisers to come to evaluate your land.  With that being said, the cost of an appraisal in this situation can vary greatly.

If you choose to keep your options open and hire multiple appraisers, you could be spending as much as $20,000 for a thorough evaluation.  This could help you pinpoint the overall worth of the land and help you decide which direction(s) you want to head.

In addition, you may find that the raw land is capable of producing renewable or non-renewable energy, in which case you will want to hire additional appraisal professionals such as a geologist and an environmental energy specialist to make more analysis.  This can end up adding a substantial dollar amount to your overall appraisal cost, which will be determined by the length and complexity of the evaluation.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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