Have you ever seen a “For Sale” sign on an empty property in your neighborhood sit there for months or years before it finally sells?
Buying and selling land is a lot more difficult than buying or selling a house.
It’s easy for someone to fall in love with a home and see themselves living there. It’s a lot harder to look at an empty lot and imagine the home or storefront they could build there someday.
If you’re in the market to buy or sell a piece of land, you need to approach it a little differently than a house.
Here are 7 tips for buying and selling land to help you make the process go faster!
1. Broaden Your Field of Buyers
There are not as many buyers for land as there is for already-built homes. So, to increase your chances of selling land you need to find a larger group of potential buyers.
Start by talking to the neighbors of the land. It’s always possible they are interested in expanding their own property and you may be able to work out a deal. They’re already familiar with the neighborhood and obviously like it, so it could be a very easy sell.
Consider reaching out to builders already working in the area. If sales are going well on their current properties, they may want to build or develop more in the neighborhood.
Does the city have an initiative to increase green space for the residents? Maybe they would be interested in the land to develop a park. Or, perhaps an environmental group would want to purchase the land to keep it undeveloped.
The more potential buyers you can find, the better your chances of selling the land.
2. Know Who Your Buyers Are
Someone buying land to build a new home has different interests than someone developing a commercial property. It’s important to know who your potential buyer is so that you can prepare for them appropriately.
Individuals buying land to build a new home are going to want to know about nearby amenities like schools, shopping, parks, and city services like public utilities, water, and sewer.
Companies that buy land may want to know about zoning restrictions, covenants and ordinances, and environmental hazards on the property.
Have information available about the trees and wildlife if the property is timberland or for recreation. Many times the State Forestry Agency can help prepare a forestry plan for you that includes the age of current trees and future harvesting or planting suggestions.
For either buyer, be prepared to discuss any natural hazards that may be on the property like unstable soil, being on a floodplain, or if there are seasonal wildfires.
3. Stage the Land
Much like staging a home, prepare your land to show off all its advantages.
Start with the obvious items that will increase “curb appeal” like cutting the grass and removing any trash in the area.
If there is a gate onto the property, make sure it’s in good shape and easy to open and close. Drive the entrance road and make sure there aren’t any ruts or washouts that will make it difficult for them when they visit.
Mark the boundaries of your property so the potential buyer can easily see where the property lines are. If there are special areas that may be of interest, like a pond, waterfall, or incredible view, be sure to mark those as well to make them easy to find!
4. Show Off Your Property
Always offer to walk the property with your buyer. In addition to showing exactly where the property lines are, it allows you to highlight the neighborhood and talk about local businesses and amenities.
(And of course, if you have a pond, waterfall, or incredible view, make sure the buyer has a chance to see it!)
If you’re interested in buying a piece of land, this is your chance to ask questions of the owner. You can get a better understanding of the parameters of the land, but also learn more about their experience with the property and why they are selling it.
5. Offer Financing for the Property
It’s more difficult to get a mortgage for land than for a home. Many lending companies require high-interest rates and large down payments — sometimes as much as 50% of the selling price!
This can limit your pool of buyers, as many buyers aren’t able to afford that. However, if you’re able to offer your own financing or land contract, you have a lot more people who could potentially buy your property!
6. Think Outside the Box
Sometimes you need to get a little creative to sell your land or find the right property to buy.
Sellers may want to consider subdividing their land into multiple parcels to sell individually. This opens up the possibility of targeting parcels to different buyers –homebuilders, commercial property, or to remain undeveloped.
Buyers could consider a fixer-upper in the area they wish to buy. Even if the building is not what you desire, the basic components– water, sewer and electricity – are already on the property. The cost of demolishing an existing building could actually be less than starting everything from scratch.
7. Work with A Professional for Buying or Selling Land
Whether you’re buying or selling, a professional agent who specializes in lots/bare land is going to be your best source of real estate tips.
They know what’s on the market and can offer comparable analysis so you know you’re getting the most for your money. They will often know about new property before it gets to market so can help connect buyers and sellers sooner.
Plus, they are versed in the ins-and-outs of financing available and can even help you set up seller financing.
Following these real estate tips will make buying or selling land a lot easier for you in the future.
If you’re interested in buying or selling land, be sure to check out our listings and contact us to learn more!