Getting into the real estate market to sell land is a great way to make money, but you want to approach your sale carefully to maximize your profits.
To sell your land as an owner you are going to want to first understand the value of your property by hiring an appraiser. Next, you should try to target your ideal buyer by promoting your land online and in person. Lastly, you will receive payment and release your property.
These days, real estate is one of the safest and most reliable ways of earning money in the United States. The reason for this is that property values have shown a consistent trend of increasing in value over time. Luckily, getting involved in the real estate market is easier than it ever has been in the past - with so many great resources and approaches available to us to sell and buy land. With that being said, you are going to want to approach your land sale with careful consideration so that you can make as much money from your sale as possible. To help you understand everything that you need to know about selling your land, we are going to take you through the entire process.
After years of working as a real estate investor, I have had a lot of experience in dealing with property sales. My experience has taught me that the best way to sell your land and maximize your profits is to properly market your property and to time your sale correctly.
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Selling Your Land
If you have got a parcel of land that you want to put on the real estate market, you are likely in for a nice payday. Selling land is one of the best ways to make money fast and it can potentially be the financial opportunity of a lifetime for many people. However, it is important to note that how you conduct your land sale can greatly determine how much you actually end up profiting.
Much like any investment opportunity, land sales and acquisitions come with a certain level of risk. While this is something you need to accept as you move forward with your land sale, you should also understand that there is so much that you can do as the seller to mitigate the amount of risk involved, so that you can secure the best value for your property.
The real estate market is competitive and everyone involved in it wants to come out ahead, which is why you are going to want to be thorough and well-calculated when it comes to the sale of your property. Ultimately, the more you understand about your property, the more confident you can feel about negotiations with potential buyers. The real estate market is flooded with people who will try to take advantage of sellers that do not fully understand the value of their land - and will likely use these opportunities for their personal gain.
While you want to keep your property listing open to as many potential buyers as possible, you also do not want to find yourself in a position where the buyer is getting the upper hand. At the end of the day, you are the rightful owner of the property and the cards are in your hand, which means that you have the full power to dictate the terms of the sale. Let’s dive right into how to sell your land.
When it comes to selling your land, the most important thing that you need to know before you can begin the process is to understand exactly what your land is worth. Property values are constantly changing and while you may have a general idea of what your land is worth, you should always have a professional evaluation of the property before you put up a listing.
To get an accurate figure for the value of your property, you are going to want to hire an appraiser to assess the qualities of your land. Hiring an appraiser is relatively straightforward and you should not have an issue finding an organization within your county to assist you with a professional valuation.
However, before you hire an appraiser it would make sense to first determine a land classification for your property. Some appraisers can evaluate different types of land classifications but you may find that you get a better property evaluation if you hire an appraiser that specializes specifically in your kind of land. These are the most common types of land classifications that you will hire an appraiser for:
Determining your land classification means that you can hire an appraiser that will give you a more accurate price for your property, which will help you with your future negotiations. However, you may be dealing with a vacant land parcel that does not have an immediate land classification.
This sort of situation presents some challenges but also some great possibilities for you as the seller. Depending on the location and qualities of your vacant land parcel, you may be able to approach your land sale with more versatility. You should hire a land appraiser to evaluate your vacant land for all of its qualities so that you know how best to classify it in your listing. While you may still end up listing it as a vacant property, you can always highlight the additional qualities of the property to display its full value.
With that being said, you may actually want to hire a couple of different land appraisers to give you a full assessment of your property. The best way to determine what kind of assessment you want to conduct is to consider the location of your vacant land parcel. If you are located in a residential area within an urban city or town, then the logical approach would be to hire a residential appraiser.
However, if you have a vacant property in a rural area, you should consider hiring an appraiser to conduct an Environmental Impact Report. The reason for this is that your vacant land may have environmental qualities that are attractive to some buyers. One of the most common being quality soil that is suitable for agriculture. If your land appraiser confirms that you have fertile soil, you may be able to open up your property to a wider market of potential buyers.
In addition, you should also consider the potential resources that your vacant property may have. For this, you should hire a professional geologist to assess your land for resources such as oil and natural gas. If the geologist finds any sign of natural resources on the property, this can prove to be a huge boost in increasing the value of your land and can also attract more buyers to your property.
Once you have gotten a finalized appraisal on all aspects and qualities of your land, you will have a realistic figure for your property and you can confidently market it as such. This way you can negotiate with your potential buyers without letting them get the upper hand.
Marketing Your Land
Successful marketing is a key aspect of selling your land quickly and getting the most profits from your property. These days, we have so many options and resources to utilize when it comes to marketing properties and while you may prefer one approach over the other, you should always try to remain flexible and open-minded so that you can reach as many potential buyers as possible.
Before you begin marketing your property, it is always highly advisable to make your land look as attractive as possible before you begin hunting down interested buyers. This can be approached relatively simply by cleaning up your property and making it look nice. Depending on the type of land that you are selling, it could make sense to hire a landscaper to make your yard look presentable and tidy. In addition, if you are selling a residential property, you should always make sure that your home is as tidy as possible so that buyers can get a neutral and unphased view of what the property looks like.
Once you have tidied up your land, you should begin creating a profile for your land by evaluating all of the qualities that you want to advertise in your listing. As you assess your property, write down all of the key features of your land that you think will be the most attractive to potential buyers.
Next, you should get some quality photos of your property and all of the key features that you want to showcase. If your property value is not overly high, you should not have a problem doing this yourself by taking photos with your smartphone camera. However, if your property value is high - or you simply want to make your land look more appealing - you should hire a professional photographer to get some shots of your land that will make your property stand out in the real estate market. Once, you have got your photos and listing information in order, you can officially begin marketing your land. Let’s dive into the different ways that you can market your property.
Neighbors, Friends, & Family
While speaking with your neighbors does not necessarily open up your property to a lot of buyers, it does give you some immediate face-to-face contact with individuals who may be interested in your land.
Before you approach any other marketing strategy, it never hurts to walk around your street and speak with your neighbors about whether they would be interested in buying your land. You may be surprised by how effective this approach can be sometimes.
Regardless of whether your neighbors are interested in your property or not, they may still be able to give you some advice about marketing your land. Given that they will likely have a similar property to yours, they can always give you some tips and potentially even point you in the direction of an interested buyer.
In addition, you should always reach out to friends and family that may be on the hunt for buying land. Your personal network is going to be one of your best resources for finding reliable buyers - given that you will be dealing with individuals within your trusted circle. This way you can have an honest conversation about your property without intense or malicious negotiations.
However, you may also want to pursue some personal marketing by simply putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign in your yard. This can be a great way of attracting neighbors and buyers from nearby suburbs. You can take this further by creating some posters or fliers to advertise around town.
Online Real Estate Market
The biggest innovation that real estate marketing has seen in recent years is through online digital platforms. These days, everything is moving onto the web and for good reason, as online resources enable you to have a lot of flexibility and reach when it comes to advertising your land. Unlike traditional real estate marketing, online platforms enable you to get your property onto the market without doing any of the footwork.
You should find several online real estate marketing platforms that have built a solid reputation for themselves. Try to get on at least a few different platforms so that you can reach a wider range of interested buyers. At the end of the day the more that you list and advertise, the more likely you are to get a quicker sale for your property, but also, you will have more buyers to negotiate with so that you can find the best price possible.
To get involved with an online real estate site, all you need to do is head to their webpage and, firstly, create an account. The process is very easy and essentially follows the same steps as creating a social media account. You will likely need to go through an authorization process to confirm your identity with the website.
Once you have successfully been approved onto the site, you can begin advertising your listing by detailing all of the information about your property. While you want to be thorough and provide as much information as possible, you also do not want to overdo it by giving details that are not essential. Be concise, to the point, and direct with your description. Finally, upload the photos that you took of your property and add captions for each one (if possible). Then all you have to do is provide your contact details and publish your listing in the marketplace.
The majority of all of these online real estate services are free, which makes this one of the most effective and affordable ways of selling your land. Now that your property is listed online, all that you need to do is wait for buyers to contact you so that you can give them an inspection and begin negotiating. If you find that your online property is not getting a lot of attention, you should go back to your listing and consider rewriting your description or even uploading different photos.
Real Estate Agency
When it comes to successful real estate marketing, no one is going to get the job done better than a real estate agent. Organizations that specialize in property sales are professionals within the industry and know exactly how to advertise and promote your property.
While this is a very traditional approach for selling property, it is still to this day considered to be the most effective. Your real estate agent will take care of all aspects of your sale and will likely do all of the work for you without you needing to lift a finger - until the final contracts need to be signed. This is a very beneficial reason for opting for a real estate agent, as you would be surprised by how much work is involved in selling land.
If you want to sell your property without a real estate agent, you should be prepared to be on call to deal with interested buyers constantly. The truth is that most people that reach out to you will not end up buying your land and may simply have questions about the details of your property. While going through this process is going to be essential in finding your actual buyer, you will have to deal with a lot of questions and inquiries from individuals that are ultimately wasting your time.
A real estate agent will take care of all of these inquiries for you and they will narrow down buyers that are legitimately interested and shortlist them. Furthermore, they will often tend to all aspects of property inspections, which would include setting up appointments, showcasing your property, and even ensuring that the land is presentable when being reviewed by buyers.
With that being said, there are a lot of real estate agencies out there and some have a much better reputation than others, which is why you should do a bit of personal research to look up the different agencies in your area. Always read customer reviews from previous experiences so that you can gauge the level of professional reliability of the agency. If the agency has great reviews, you should feel confident that they will get the job done. However, if they have a lackluster reputation, you may not want to entrust them with the sale of your property.
In addition, real estate agencies also need to get paid, which means that you can expect to cut them in on the commission of the property sale. Most real estate agencies will charge roughly 5% of the value of the property when the sale is finalized. While this figure is not overly high in the final price, it can still amount to thousands of dollars. If you do not want to deal with the nuances of selling your land and do not mind cutting in a professional realtor on the commission, going with an agency is the best approach for selling your land.
Government & Land Trusts
Depending on the qualities of your land, you may be able to sell your land to the government.
The United States Government is known for buying land that has favorable features that it finds valuable. While you may have a hard time selling a typical urban property such as a residence or commercial business to the government, land that is located in the countryside is commonly acquired.
The way you can determine whether the government would be interested in buying your land is by understanding the natural qualities of your property. If you want to take this approach, you would have ideally conducted an Environmental Impact Report (as mentioned above), so that you are aware of any natural resources or environmental habitats that exist on your land.
If your land has vital natural resources such as oil, natural gas, or other energy resources on it, then the United States Government could be one of the most reliable buyers available to you. You should also have an evaluation of your soil so that you can gauge its fertility, as agricultural land is also an attractive property characteristic valued by the government. In addition, the government buys lands that have vital natural environmental habitats for wildlife.
However, aside from the United States Government, you can also reach out to land trusts about buying your land. Around the country, numerous organizations buy up land to protect it and preserve its qualities. The majority of land trusts out there specialize in habitat and environmental protection, which is why you want to reach out to an organization that specializes in the features of your property so that you can deal with a trust that is more likely to be interested in your land.
Once you have taken care of all of the marketing steps and have found an interested buyer, the only thing that is left to do is finalize the sale and hand over the rights to the new owner.
The majority of the time this will be handled with an agreed payment by both parties, which is generally done with a wire transfer. This is the final step of your land sale, which is why you want to make sure that you have no reservations about letting go of your property and that you are completely satisfied with the terms and conditions of the sale.
A common approach that some buyers and sellers are taking with their property sales is to opt for seller financing. If your buyer has adequate savings to pay for the land on hand or if they are backed by a financial institution, then you should be able to finalize the sale immediately. However, some buyers actually work with their sellers through a land acquisition process known as seller financing, which involves the buyer making partial payments directly to the seller instead of dealing with a bank. While this approach does come with more responsibility for you as the seller, it does also present the opportunity to open up your land to more sellers.
Regardless of whether you choose to receive a direct payment for your land or to opt for seller financing, if both parties are happy with the sale agreement, then the final paperwork will be signed and the deed of the property will be handed over to the new owner, which will finalize your land sale.
Additional Tips: Selling Land
If you have followed our procedure for selling land, you should have no problem getting your property out onto the market to attract interested buyers.
However, there are some strategies that you can implement into your selling process to help you seal the deal better. Let’s take a look at some additional tips for selling your land.
Re-Investment & Renovation
We briefly touched on the importance of making your land look as presentable as possible before you begin showcasing your property to potential buyers. While simply tidying up will certainly help boost the aesthetic of your land, you may want to go the extra mile to make your property stand out.
A major aspect of this will be determined by the classification of your land. If you are dealing with vacant land in a rural area, you can probably skip this tip altogether, as you are likely dealing with land that is relatively undeveloped.
However, if you are selling a residential property or a commercial business, you may want to consider re-investing in your property by renovating it to look more presentable. If you are reviewing your property and can spot noticeable faults and defects, you should roll up your sleeves and invest some time and energy into making your land look nicer.
This could include basic renovations such as repainting the interior or exterior of your home, but it could also involve investing in more complex renovations. If you are finding that your flooring is outdated and does not have an appealing look, you should consider some flooring options to make your property look better - or, you may have a lackluster kitchen area that needs new cabinets or countertop.
At the end of the day, if your property lacks aesthetics that could be fixed with re-investment and renovation, you should consider putting in some time, money, and energy into your land so that you can attract more buyers and, ultimately, increase the value of your property. If you are not feeling up to the job yourself, you can always hire a contractor to take care of your renovations for you.
A great way to receive more money for your land is to divide your property into numerous sections so that you can sell them off individually.
While this is generally not an approach that you would take for residential or commercial properties located in cities, you can certainly pursue property division in urban areas if your land is large enough.
With that being said, you are more likely to see property division taking place in rural areas or on the outskirts of cities. If you have a large vacant lot, you have all of the right characteristics to divide your property. This is a highly profitable approach for selling real estate, as it provides you with the opportunity to handle multiple land transactions that can be negotiated with different terms.
By having multiple properties from your division, you can sell off land units when you want. This gives you the opportunity to sell some properties while holding on to the rest for a later sale. This way you can observe the market value of your properties and wait for a more ideal time to sell off the rest of your units.
While it is always advisable to have your land evaluated for its value, one thing that an appraiser will not be able to confirm for you is the actual property lines of your land.
This can be problematic for some land transactions as many property lines were determined decades ago and are known for not being 100% accurate, which can complicate land acquisitions later on.
The best way to avoid this kind of situation is to have a surveyor come assess your property. The surveyor will use professional equipment to confirm that your property lines are all in order and that your land details are accurate.
While we have seen property values steadily increase over time, we have also seen land prices drop in certain circumstances. One of the biggest reasons for this is due to financial recessions that have been known to cause chaos for real estate investors and landowners.
When you are trying to sell your land, you should always have a basic understanding of market trends. You can do this by observing the value of land so that you can try to predict the direction that your property cost will go in the future. This way you can determine the best time to sell your land so that you can maximize your profits. With that being said, we are not all experts when it comes to predicting market trends, which is why it may be wise to hire a financial advisor to help you with your decision-making.
Another major influential factor that will help you predict the value of your land is its location. Properties that are located in an urban environment will usually have a higher value and often have more stability when it comes to making market predictions. A great way to assess this is to consider the job security of your area. If you live somewhere that a very stable job market with a thriving industry, then you can feel pretty comfortable with property values steadily increasing. Then all you need to do is wait for the right time to sell so that you can make the most money from your land possible.
A key aspect of selling your land is to be patient. Land acquisitions come with a lot of pressure on both the buyer and the seller, which is why you do not want to rush your decision-making.
Take your time after you list your property by meeting with a lot of different interested buyers to get an idea of what the negotiation table feels like. This is especially crucial if you opt for selling your land without a real estate agent.
While you meet with buyers, be sure to always check up on market trends so that you are aware of the direction that property values are headed. If you have had your land on the market for a while and have seen a change in property values (for better or worse ), consider having an appraiser re-evaluate your land to get an updated price for the property.
At the end of the day, selling land can be very profitable and if you are willing to be patient and thorough during the process, you will greatly increase your chances of maximizing your profits.
About THE AUTHOR
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.Read More About Brittany Melling