Selling Land — Why It’s Not Like Selling Houses

Selling Land — Why It’s Not Like Selling Houses

It may not look like much at first — mounds of dirt and maybe some trees — but selling land is a lucrative business (and yes, there is plenty more land left to sell).

However, the methods and dynamics involved in selling land may not exactly mirror more traditional real estate sales, like residential and commercial transactions.

Often, land itself looks rather generic and undistinguished. If this is the case, the best-selling strategy is to emphasize the location and income potential. Ask many questions; find out exactly how your client plans to use the land.

Not every client may be automatically looking to develop property on the site. They could simply want to purchase it in-order to resell it to developers. Some may even want to use the land as a camping or hunting ground, with no development considered. Don’t assume that the land is only good for one type of sale; you never know why someone may be interested. In fact, a company may be interested in the land for a headquarters or affiliate location.

With that said, make sure you do your research. Land is divided into “land classifications;” changing the classification may require a zoning variance or conditional-use permit. A potential buyer will want to know exactly what he or she can do with the property. Local zoning laws and other regulations will most certainly influence decisions. Check with your local zoning board or county clerk office.

Don’t forget to market the property on as many Internet/social media platforms as possible. Because buying and selling land is perceived as a specialized real estate transaction, agents often neglect to spread the word about the property on Instagram, Facebook, Zillow and other avenues. Remember that photos and videos help you sell, as does helpful content that appeals to the potential buyer.

Don’t neglect to actually show the property to a potential buyer, show them the way you would show a residential or commercial building. Because land is often viewed as being generic, agents may think that sharing the location and acreage is enough. Always show the land to the potential buyer (even if it’s via virtual reality — click here to find out how you can work virtual reality to your client’s advantage), and also show them the area surrounding the land, especially if the neighborhood is a strong selling point.

The market for buying vacant lots and other land offerings may not be as busy as other markets. More patience may be required for a land sale transaction, as perhaps fewer people may be contacting you. Often, land is bought to plan for a secondary property, and the land has to appeal to the potential buyer as a way for them to customize it to their needs.

Offering agreeable financing could speed along the life cycle of your sale. Often, it’s difficult to get bank financing for buying land, so price is particularly important when buying and selling land. You may want to consider offering a price below the local sales average, an affordable down payment, and owner financing. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.


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