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How to Sell Land

photograph of grassland with a red 'land for sale' sign on a wooden post

Selling land can be a more complex process than selling a home, primarily because the potential uses and value of the land can vary greatly depending on its location, zoning regulations, size, and accessibility. With a little extra preparation and due diligence, it’s possible to get ahead of land buyers’ questions and make your property stand out in a competitive market. In this guide, we will provide key considerations and guidance for how to sell land.

Preparing to Sell Land

Selling land presents unique challenges distinct from those of selling a residential property. When listing a home, it’s easy for potential buyers to envision their lives within its walls. They can picture enjoying sunsets from the patio, imagine their children or grandchildren playing on a backyard slide, or make plans to convert a bedroom into a home office or a game room.

While a home’s features and condition are easy to see, land has hidden qualities that could greatly impact the buyer in the future, so getting buyers to picture how they’ll use an empty property or plot of land is much more difficult. That being said, selling land successfully requires doing some prep work to figure out what the “highest and best” use of the land is, and then getting potential buyers to see the potential.

If you already have detailed information about your land prepared before attempting to sell your land, you can help potential buyers feel more confident about your property and anticipate potential questions and objections. Overall, the more that you know about your property, the better! You can learn more about your property and its estimated value by getting a free property report on LandGate's map:

Selling land independently is possible and might offer financial savings, but engaging an agent or brokerage brings added support and expertise that can significantly ease the selling process. The value of the time and effort saved often justifies the commission expense. Working with a real estate agent can also help you understand what the title transfer process and regulations are in your state.

However, choosing the right agent is crucial. An agent's experience in residential or commercial real estate doesn't automatically translate to proficiency in land transactions. Opting for an agent or brokerage, it's advisable to select a specialist in land sales.

A knowledgeable land agent will not only be familiar with the local market nuances but also possess specific insights into your area's land characteristics. They are equipped to effectively communicate key details to prospective buyers and market your property more efficiently.

Understand Your Land’s Value

The first step in selling land is to understand its value. This can involve researching the sale prices of similar properties in the area, understanding current market trends, and potentially hiring a professional appraiser. Factors such as the land's topography, its potential for development, and any existing utilities or road access will play a crucial role in determining its value.

There are a few different methods to determine the value of land. The most common approach is the sales comparison approach, which involves analyzing recent sales of similar properties in the area. You can also leverage current listings to help determine your land's value and set an asking price. Due to the complexity of land sales, working with an appraiser or an experienced land professional is wise when it comes to valuing your property at a fair market price. If your property is priced too high, you risk not selling it. If it's priced too low, you could lose out on money.

Unsure of where to start? LandApp can help! Check out nationwide listings for land for sale, sales and mortgage history data, and 40+ unique data map layers in our all-in-one tool for just $10 per month:

Identify the Highest and Best Use of Your Land

Understanding the best use of your land helps you market to the right buyers and make better decisions during the selling process, such as setting the price or making land improvements to increase the value. Here are the main land usage types and special considerations for selling each type of land:

1) Agricultural Land: Purchasing farmland requires special considerations, like irrigation systems, water access, flood hazards, and soil types. Potential buyers will be looking for this information so be sure to take the time to understand how your land meets (or doesn't meet) these requirements.

2) Recreational Land: Owners of recreational land must be aware of aspects such as the property's flood risk, shoreline permits (for waterfront properties), condition of structures (such as cabins), and zoning, which could affect insurance costs and resale value.

3) Hunting Land:  If your land boasts a thriving population of wildlife and dense foliage, yet lacks utility connections or zoning permissions for construction, it could be an ideal haven for hunting enthusiasts. When preparing to sell, it's important to highlight the types of wild game potential buyers would anticipate finding on your property.

4) Renewable Energy: If your land is flat, free of flood zones, and located near electrical infrastructure, it may be suitable for renewable energy development, such as solar or wind farms. Renewable energy developers compete for properties suitable for renewable energy development, which can drive up the value of land in some cases.

To determine your property's highest and best use at a glance, get a Free property report on LandGate's map! Our value indexes, scored on a scale of 0-100, show you the highest and best use for your property at a glance:

screenshot of landgate's value indexes

Evaluate Zoning and Land Use Regulations

Before listing your land, it's essential to understand the zoning regulations and any land use restrictions. This information can significantly affect how the property can be used by the buyer, impacting its attractiveness and value on the market. When it comes to marketing your property for sale, this information will be crucial to include and have available.

Prepare Your Land for Visitors

Conduct maintenance on your property or hire a crew to increase curb appeal. This could include clearing out brush, mowing, or removing trash. You may also consider making improvements to the property given its highest and best use. For example, you can grow the potential of your hunting land before selling it. If your land is well-suited for hunting but lacks water resources, consider adding man-made water resources, as this can increase property value by making your property more appealing for hunters.

After cleaning up your property or making improvements, capture photographs that highlight its most appealing features. Given that many buyers initiate their property search online, top-notch photography is essential for making a memorable first impression. If photography isn’t your forte, think about bringing in a professional photographer. Additionally, video and drone footage can significantly enhance your property’s visibility and appeal.

Determine How to Structure the Sale

If you opt for traditional cash transactions or bank financing, the process involves setting a closing date, transferring the deed to the buyer, and receiving the entire purchase price in one lump sum. While this approach has its advantages, it's important to remember that it also entails paying taxes on the full amount received. On the other hand, you might consider offering seller financing, commonly referred to as a land contract. This option requires establishing a payment plan with the buyer, who will make an initial down payment followed by regular installments until the total price of the land, including interest, is paid off.

Marketing Your Land

When selling raw land, guiding your buyer’s imagination and proving to them that their desired use is possible is the key to making the sale and getting as much value as possible. Marketing land requires a strategy that highlights its potential uses—whether for residential development, agriculture, commercial purposes, or as a recreational retreat. High-quality photographs, detailed descriptions of the property's features, and information about the surrounding area can help attract the right buyers. Utilizing online platforms, real estate listings, and the expertise of a real estate agent who specializes in land sales can broaden your reach to potential buyers. Other ways to market your land include:

  • Posting advertisements in local publications, such as newspapers

  • Leveraging social media to let your network know that your land is for sale

  • Communicating with neighbors, friends and family can also be valuable for marketing your land. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!

  • Collaborating with local businesses can help you reach a wider audience and create a buzz around your property. Consider posting printed advertisements in these establishments if they'll allow it!

  • Offer incentives (such as discounts on asking price or covering closing costs) to help attract potential buyers and close the sale faster

Negotiating Offers & Closing the Sale

Negotiating offers for land can be nuanced, as factors beyond price, such as financing terms, potential land use agreements, or contingencies related to zoning changes, might need to be considered. Being open to negotiations and understanding the buyer's perspective can facilitate a smoother sales process.

Once an offer is on the table and the price has been negotiated, the next step is to finalize the sale. Closing a land sale involves several critical documents, including a purchase agreement, disclosure forms, a contract, a deed, and a closing statement. To ensure that these documents are accurately prepared, signed, and properly filed, it's advisable to enlist the services of a knowledgeable land agent or a real estate attorney. This professional assistance can streamline the process and help avoid any legal or administrative pitfalls.

How to Get the Most Value from Selling Land

The best way to get the most value from selling your land is to drive competition. The more eyes that you can get on your property, the better! Listing on a competitive marketplace like LandGate is a great way to get started. Listing on LandGate is free with no commissions or obligations to accept offers:


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