How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Hawaii?

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How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Hawaii?

Bart Waldon

Hawaii is a breathtakingly beautiful state made up of eight major islands - Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. Known for its picturesque landscapes of volcanic mountains, lush rainforests, golden sand beaches and vibrant marine life, Hawaii draws tourists from across the globe who flock there to enjoy the idyllic weather and island culture. Approximately 1.4 million people call Hawaii home, with the majority residing on Oahu Island in and around capital city Honolulu. Tourism and the U.S. military are the main economic drivers in the Hawaiian economy. Real estate also plays an integral role, with land ownership holding cultural significance and land prices remaining strong amid high demand.

Selling Land in Paradise 

For those looking to sell vacant land they own in Hawaii, they’ll find a robust real estate market filled with interested buyers wanting their own slice of paradise. However, accurately pricing land to align with current market values can be tricky. And finding the right buyer willing and able to pay your asking price requires substantial time and effort. Most land owners spend between 1-2 years marketing their property before locating an interested party who completes a purchase. Understanding what’s involved with selling Hawaii land and having realistic expectations around timelines can help you prepare for this lengthy process.

Factors that Influence Sales Timeframes 

Selling land anywhere typically moves slower than selling an existing home or condo. And in Hawaii, some unique variables further extend the time it takes to complete a land sale transaction:

Limited Inventory - There's high demand in Hawaii but less available land for sale, especially at more affordable price points. With fewer options, buyers can spend years searching for the perfect parcel that meets their criteria and budget.

Volatile Land Market - Assigning accurate value is difficult as Hawaii land prices fluctuate frequently. An asking price not in sync with the current market means longer sales times until pricing aligns with what buyers will pay.

Tourism Economy Impacts - Tourism slows significantly at times in Hawaii, reducing the pool of out-of-state buyers interested in owning Hawaiian land as an investment or future vacation property.

Strict Zoning Regulations - Getting construction approved on vacant land in Hawaii can be challenging. Not all lots come with guaranteed building rights.

Time Zone Differences - Many interested buyers live in different time zones, making it difficult to schedule showings and coordinate quick sale decisions around inspection contingencies, paperwork, financing, closing, etc.

Purchase Motivation Shifts - Why buyers want to own land in Hawaii can change over time from future retirement to short-term investment flipping. Their price point threshold adjusts with different return motivations.

Steps to Sell Your Land 

To attract qualified buyers and facilitate a faster land sale in Hawaii, smart preparation is key. Sellers should take the following steps:

  • Verify Ownership & Zoning Details - Confirm you have legal title to the property and that zoning allows your intended use for the land. Address any issues upfront that could derail a sale later.
  • Price it Right - Overpricing is one of the biggest factors extending sales timelines. Work with a qualified appraiser or real estate professional to appropriately price your Hawaii land relative to current market demand in that area.
  • Hire a Local Real Estate Agent - Leverage an experienced Hawaii agent to gain better visibility among serious island buyers and insight into recent area sales to competitively position your listing.
  • Stage Your Property - Remove any trash or debris from the land. Install boundary markers if needed and tidy up vegetation to show buyers the usable space.
  • Be Flexible on Terms - Offering owner financing or closing cost assistance makes your listing more attractive to buyers and may facilitate a faster transaction.
  • Widely Market Your Listing - Expand your reach beyond the local MLS utilizing online sites popular with Hawaii-bound mainlanders.

How Long Does It Actually Take? 

Even if perfectly priced and marketed, selling land in Hawaii takes patience and perseverance. On average, expect the process to take between 12-24 months. Some parcels may sell in weeks if the location, price and buyer demand align just right. But more typically, it takes 1-2 years to complete a vacant land sale transaction in Hawaii’s complex real estate environment influenced by limited inventory, market fluctuations and buyer variables.

Working with a trusted real estate company that specializes in the nuances of island land sales can help facilitate this lengthy process. Their licensed real estate professionals leverage proprietary marketing programs and extensive buyer networks to help Hawaii land owners accurately price and sell properties faster to qualified buyers willing to pay fair market value.

As experienced leaders in the Hawaiian land space with numerous successful deals closed, a seasoned land sales team works closely with clients each step of the sale journey - from initial market pricing and listing set up to buyer procurement and offer negotiation through to closing. Sellers can check eligibility for a no-obligation cash offer by requesting a quote online or over the phone. This provides one of the fastest and easiest ways to sell vacant Hawaii land for cash.

The Takeaway 

Selling land in a limited market like Hawaii does require commitment to an approximately 1-2 year process before locating an interested and qualified buyer who submits an acceptable offer. Working with real estate professionals well-versed in unique island land dynamics can help optimize sales pricing and exposure to sell land faster. An experienced land specialist will also manage tedious transaction details on behalf while ensuring you receive maximum value for your property. Partnering with an established company that leverages proprietary technology, extensive buyer networks and dedicated agent expertise goes a long way to streamlining the lengthy Hawaii land sales process.

Additional Challenges Facing Hawaii Land Sellers 

Beyond the core factors that extend sales timelines, those looking to sell property in Hawaii face some additional challenges, including:

Financing Issues - Most sales involve buyer financing given Hawaii's high property costs. But securing loans for vacant land can be difficult, delaying deals. Sellers willing to owner finance have an advantage.

Non-Local Buyers - Out-of-state buyers may have a harder time visualizing land dimensions without visiting in person. Some overestimate size while others underestimate true usable space after inspecting.

Property Access - Road or utility access limitations reduce potential buyer pools. Clearing easement rights or driveway installation pre-listing can alleviate these access issues.

Partial Interest Sales - Selling percent ownership in Hawaii property held jointly with other family members adds complexity many buyers shy away from, hurting sales response.

Water Rights Concerns - Hawaii receives ample rainfall but county access to water utility hookups can be restricted. Clarifying water rights helps buyers value land appropriately.

Minor Title Issues - Even small title discrepancies found during buyer attorney review can kill deals. Preparatory title clearing is advised before listing land.

Specific Steps to Accelerate Sale Velocity 

The above factors demonstrate why selling land in Hawaii tends to be measured in years instead of months. Yet there are still specific actions sellers can undertake to increase sale velocity:

Order a Qualified Appraisal - Getting a professional appraisal from a local expert acquainted with recent area sales activity establishes credible list pricing early on.

Advertise Online First - Reach the widest buyer pool quickly via targeted social media and online listing sites before expanding locally.

Offer Flexible Terms - Consider owner financing, paying closing costs or splitting transfer taxes to secure deals with qualified buyers who like the property but have limited capacity to pay outright or cover transaction fees.

Stage Modest Improvements - Making basic enhancements like graveling a dirt driveway or clearing scrub brush demonstrates value better than raw land to buyers unfamiliar with development costs.

Relist If Necessary - Should an initial listing period expire without viable offers, work with your agent to reassess pricing and photos then update your marketing outreach before removing the listing.

Have Reasonable Expectations 

The average time to sell land in Hawaii ranges from 1-2 years influenced by limited supply plus fluctuating demand. Local real estate professionals well-versed in Hawaii's unique land market can provide guidance on pricing, marketing and buyer negotiation to optimize sales timeframes. Though selling vacant property takes patience, partnering with experienced brokers focused on island deals will eventually facilitate an equitable land sale transaction.

Final Thoughts

Selling vacant land in the prime real estate market of Hawaii requires ample patience and diligence on the part of sellers. From pricing issues in a volatile island market, to prolonged buyer searches for the ideal parcel, the journey from listing to closing spans 12-24 months on average. Working with qualified real estate professionals that understand the nuances of the local Hawaii land market and have significant expertise marketing to out-of-state buyers is essential to ensuring maximum saleability and value for your property. Their assistance can help streamline the arduous land sale process so you can eventually transfer ownership, close deal terms favorable to your interests, and move on to other ventures richer from unlocking your Hawaiian land's equity. With the right partners, selling your slice of paradise doesn't have to be a never-ending frustration but instead can become an optimized achievement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it actually take to sell vacant land in Hawaii? 

On average, plan for the land sales process to take 12-24 months in Hawaii's complex real estate environment. Limited inventory drives extended buyer searches to find the perfect parcel meeting their criteria.

What factors make selling Hawaii land harder? 

Contributing factors include volatile land pricing, tourism impacts, strict zoning regulations, time zone logistics with mainland buyers, changing buyer motivations over time, and financing difficulties for vacant parcels.

Does Hawaii land usually sell fast for the asking price? 

It’s rare for land in Hawaii to sell extremely quickly or for full list pricing. Tempered expectations around the extended sales journey and negotiating an equitable deal help avoid frustration. Be prepared to list for up to two years finding the best buyer fit willing to pay fair market value.

What can I do to sell my Hawaii land faster? 

Strategic pricing, professional staging, expanded online listings, and flexibility around deal terms/financing help accelerate sales velocity. Enlist an agent familiar with the island market to directly market to qualified buyers. Installing access roads and clearing easements also makes land parcels more attractive to buyers.

Will I net more selling the land myself or going through a company? 

Companies that purchase land outright may pay moderate wholesale prices but close sales faster, save significant effort marketing yourself, and pay cash at closing without contingencies. Or they may connect you to buyers for a referral fee while empowering you to negotiate top retail pricing at your preferred pace. There are reasonable options either way depending on personal sales objectives.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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