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How to Sell Land Without a Realtor

Photograph of a red For Sale by Owner yard sign with text overlay 'How to Sell Land without a realtor'

Selling land without the help of a realtor may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding and cost-effective endeavor. Although working with a realtor is recommended for navigating the legal complexities of selling land, by handling the sale on your own, you have the potential to save on commission fees and have more control over the entire process. This resource will guide you through the essential steps and strategies to successfully market and sell your land independently.

How to Sell Land Without a Realtor

There are 6 essential steps to sell land without a realtor. To navigate this process successfully, follow these steps:

1) Find Out Your Land's Value

The first step to sell land without a realtor is to determine your property's value to set an appropriate asking price. Since each parcel of land is unique in terms of location, acreage, shape, access, views, vegetation, infrastructure, mineral rights, water rights, property condition, and zoning designations, accurately assessing your land’s market value involves considering numerous factors. Here are some tips for setting an asking price:

  • Check County Assessor Records: - Check your county’s online property records to find the current assessed tax value of your land. Additionally, look for recent sales of comparable nearby parcels.

  • Consult Land Professionals: Numerous factors influence land prices, so it's wise to obtain estimates from at least two to three land professionals. Land appraisers, brokers, or local real estate agents specializing in land can provide a formal Comparative Market Analysis report detailing fair market value. Additionally, various online services offer free consultations and cash offers if your priority is a quick sale.

  • Calculate Potential Earnings: To accurately estimate your potential earnings, it’s crucial to consider various factors, including your land’s value, pre-sale expenses, and seller closing costs.

  • Review Local Land Listing Prices: Explore both retail real estate websites and land auction platforms to compare per-acre prices in your area for land with similar characteristics and utilities. Check out LandGate's marketplace to find land listings near you for free:

Strategically determining the value of land to set a suitable asking price is essential for attracting buyers and securing a successful sale. The asking price you set greatly influences buyer interest and the final outcome of your land transaction. By thoughtfully considering market conditions, property features, and pricing strategies, you can significantly enhance your chances of achieving a profitable and successful land sale.

2) Determine When to Sell Your Land

If you are flexible on the timeline for selling your land, you should consider which time of year to begin marketing your property for sale. Although the best time to sell land is generally considered to be during the fall and winter months due to low competition, spring and summer are generally considered peak seasons for land sales, so you might have more flexibility to set a higher asking price during these seasons.

3) Prepare Your Land for Sale

To attract buyers promptly, you’ll need to make your land parcel presentable even if it’s vacant.  Some people may have a difficult time visualizing the possibilities of undeveloped land, so it’s essential to make your property as attractive and accessible as possible. Consider these tips for preparing your land for sale:

  • Remove Debris: A clean and tidy parcel with no visible trash or debris is more appealing to potential buyers.

  • Mark Property Boundaries: Clearly marking your property boundaries with fencing, flags, or stakes can help potential buyers envision their future use of the land. Consider hiring a professional surveyor to mark these boundaries, which will ensure accurate measurements.

  • Consider Improvements: If your budget allows, consider making improvements to the property such as installing a driveway, clearing brush, or adding utilities to increase the land's value.

  • Address Environmental Concerns: If there are any known environmental risks or concerns (such as soil contamination or water quality issues), consider addressing them before selling your land, as these improvements can help you fetch a higher price.

  • Provide Access: Ensure that your property is easily accessible by potential buyers. If necessary, create an access road or path to the land.

Preparing your land for sale also includes gathering key legal documents, such as plot maps, property surveys, deeds, property tax records, and any environmental reports. Be sure to also conduct a title search to verify clear ownership of the land and to identify any potential encumbrances or liens.

4) Market Your Land for Sale

Marketing land takes effort including advertising online and offline, plus networking and outreach. Determine the highest and best use for your land so that you can properly market it to the proper audience. For example, if your property has a desirable location, you may want to market it as a potential development site. Here are some other tips for marketing your land:

  • Offline Advertising: Use traditional methods such as placing "For Sale" signs on the property, advertising in local newspapers or magazines, and networking with local real estate agents who specialize in land sales.

  • Local Networking: Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful- let your neighbors, friends, and family know that your land is for sale. You can also provide handouts that can conveniently be passed on at community events, in local businesses, at work, at church, and more.

  • Use Imagery: Consider hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality photos and videos of your land to use in your marketing efforts.

  • Online Advertising: Use real estate websites and social media platforms to advertise your property for sale. Remember that the more eyes you have on your property, the higher price you can fetch by generating competition. Landowners can list their properties for sale for free on LandGate's marketplace with no fees, commissions, or obligations to accept any offers:

5) Review, Compare, and Negotiate Offers

Once you start receiving inquiries from interested land buyers, you’ll need to determine who is serious and capable of closing on your terms. By being selective upfront and only pricing further with serious buyers, you avoid wasting time negotiating back-and-forth or risking losing earnest money from those who eventually can’t buy. Some helpful questions to help you pre-qualify potential purchasers include:

  • Inquire about their background and experience in purchasing land. How many properties have they bought before? What are their intended uses for your land?

  • Follow up with targeted questions once they have viewed the property in person. Have they thoroughly assessed the boundaries, terrain, and accessibility? Discuss their vision for the land’s use. Did they make notes on key attributes and examine comparable properties in the area?

  • Determine their planned payment method. Are they financing the land purchase, which could add complexity and extend the closing process by several months? Or are they prepared to pay in cash and close quickly if the terms are agreeable?

  • Communicate the next steps clearly. Do they have a real estate attorney to review the sale documents? When can they provide proof of funds for the purchase deposit? How soon could they close if their offer terms are accepted?

You have three options when you receive an offer- you can accept it, reject it, or make a counteroffer. After determining which offers align with your goals, it is helpful to compare the key terms of each offer side-by-side using a table or spreadsheet.  This will help you easily identify the differences and similarities between offers and make informed decisions.

When it comes to negotiation, be prepared to compromise and consider counteroffers. Remember that selling land is a business transaction, so emotions should not play a role in your decision-making process. It is always wise to consult with a real estate attorney or agent experienced in land sales before making any final decisions.

6) Close Your Land Sale

After accepting an offer, you’ll need to work closely with the buyer's lender, title company, and attorneys to ensure all necessary documents are signed correctly and funds are transferred securely. During this phase of the process, it is important to communicate clearly and promptly with all parties involved to ensure a smooth closing. Closing a land sale without a realtor requires meticulous attention to important documents, deed recording, and exchanging money:

  • Review All Documents: Carefully examine the deed conveyance paperwork, title transfers, and closing instructions from the buyer's settlement company for accuracy. If uncertain, seek second opinions from legal and tax advisors.

  • Confirm Closing and Recording Fees: Ensure the buyer wires all required closing costs and recording fees to the settlement company in advance to avoid last-minute delays.

  • Verify Wire Details: Confirm that the routing and account numbers for sending your final sale proceeds exactly match your provided bank details. Misdirected wires can be difficult to recover.

  • Save Transfer Confirmations: Retain paper receipts and/or screenshot confirmations showing the official deed transfer registration and the exact date and time the final sale funds are credited to your account.

  • Update Tax Details: Update your address for future tax notices and cancel automatic payments related to the sold property to prevent future issues.

Closing a land sale is a complex process that requires a lot of paperwork, so it's recommended that you work with a professional. While it isn't mandatory to work with a real estate attorney when selling your land, it is highly recommended because they can help with all legal aspects of the sale, and they can also assist with buyer negotiations.

Consider Capital Gains Taxes

If you sell your land after owning it for over a year, you may incur capital gains tax on the profit. The tax amount depends on your income tax bracket and the duration of ownership, with capital gains taxes categorized into short-term and long-term. To calculate your capital gains tax, determine your basis in the land and the profit made from the sale. Your basis is the purchase price plus the cost of any improvements. The profit is the difference between your basis and the sale price.

Capital gains tax rules can be complex, so it's crucial to consult a tax professional to determine your exact liability. They can help identify any eligible exclusions and ensure your taxes are filed correctly.

List Land for Sale for Free on LandGate

When it comes to getting the most value of your land for sale, the best thing you can do is get as many eyes on your property from as many potential buyers as possible. This leads to competition, which can drive higher prices.

Property owners can list their land for sale for free on LandGate's marketplace with no fees, no commissions, and no obligations to accept any offers:


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