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Selling Land by Owner – Things to Consider When Selling Land Without a Broker

Selling land by owner without the use of a broker or real estate agent presents a unique set of challenges. The difference between selling a home and selling vacant land is that with selling a home, you have rooms and features and appliances to impress the buyer, and with vacant lots, you have…dirt. Selling land by owner is one of hardest things in the real estate market to do for a number of reasons. Selling land is all about marketing the potential, which can take some creativity and imagination. The good thing about selling land is that buyers usually already have a plan for what they want to use the land for, so if you can listen carefully and use the information that they give you, you can tailor your marketing techniques to fit their unique situation. But there are a few steps that are required before you can officially put your land up for sale. Here’s how it works:

Selling Land By Owner

Get All Necessary Documents For Your Land

Start out by obtaining all of the legal documents that show what annual taxes have been paid on the land and any additional expenses relating to the property. In this step, you can figure out details about zoning and find out if making changes to the zoning is possible.

 

Have The Land Appraised

Hire an appraiser to get a professional quote about how much your land is worth. A professional appraiser will cost you around $500, but they will be able to give you a clear idea of what similar lots in the area are selling for so you can set a competitive price for yours. It’s important to remember than an appraisal is still an estimate, and the temperature of the market has a lot to do with how much land will sell for. It slower markets, land can sell for much less than the appraised value, and in hot markets, it can sell for much more. The value of your land will be based on many factors, such as the proximity to a busy road, zoning requirements, the layout of the land, proximity to local conveniences and amenities, and overall desirability of the property. A lot of things must be factored in to get a realistic price for your land. Some sellers purposely list their land below the appraised value to encourage multiple bids and hopefully start a bidding war

 Get A Lay of The Land

Have a land survey done to establish the physical boundaries of the property and any issues with the land that could help or hurt the sale. Obtain copies of prior surveys so you can give the buyer an idea of the original state of the land and what can and can’t be done to the land to change it.

 Focus On First Impressions

Since you don’t have a gourmet kitchen to “wow” buyers with or gorgeous landscaping or modern architecture to impress them, you need to work with what you’ve got to make the property as desirable as possible. Clear out dead trees, get rid of debris, and make the property look appealing. Some sellers plant wildflowers to add a pop of color and natural beauty to their land. Take pictures of your lot from various angles and at different times of the day. Take pictures of your lot during the different seasons as well, so buyers can get a clear idea of what they’re buying.

 Know Your Land Buyer Market

When it comes to advertising your land, it is important to know the types of land buyers who you are marketing to. If most of the land in your area was purchased by young families looking to build their dream home and raise a family, market your land as a place where they can do those things. Focus on proximity to schools and family-friendly attractions, and focus your marketing strategies in places where these buyers will see them. If on the other hand, most of the land around you has been sold for commercial purposes, you will have to advertise differently. If you’re not quite sure how to reach your target audience, a real estate agent can help you get your property in front of the right types of buyers (for a fee of course)

The use of both traditional and non-traditional marketing plays a big role in reaching the right buyer. Have a sign made with your contact information and basic details about lot size, price, etc, and post it in a high traffic area. Use websites tailored towards the buying and selling of vacant land and utilize social media to reach more people. Again, a real estate agent can help with this part too, but they’ll charge you for their services.

 Owner Financing

Decide whether you are going to offer owner financing, a way for the buyer to pay you in smaller, monthly payments, (plus interest), instead of getting a large loan from the bank. Owner financing attracts more buyers because they can avoid going through the mortgage and lending process at the bank. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to have the buyer sign a promissory note committing to paying the full amount and then transferring the title for the land from your name to theirs. The other way to sign a contract that promises the title will be transferred to them after they pay the agreed upon price. If you do offer this type of financing, do a credit check to make sure the buyer is creditworthy and has the means to make the payments on time.

Selling land on your own can seem like an overwhelming task, but broken into smaller, more manageable steps makes it much more doable. You can save time and money by skipping the middleman (a real estate agent) and doing the behind the scenes work on your own.

The most important thing to remember is that selling your land is all about selling the potential. Without bells and whistles to attract the buyer, you must pay close attention to their intentions and help them visualize what the land could mean for them and their future.

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