How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Massachusetts

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How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Massachusetts
By

Bart Waldon

If you're a landowner in Massachusetts looking to sell some property, you're probably wondering—how long is this actually going to take?

Selling a parcel of vacant land can be a long and winding road, full of twists and turns. Unlike putting a house on the market, there's no standardized timeline for land sales. In some cases it may only take a few months, while in others it can drag on for years.

So let's take a deep dive into the factors that impact land sale timelines in Massachusetts, and what you can expect from start to finish.

Lay of the Land - Vacant Land Market in Massachusetts

Before looking at timeframes, it helps to understand the overall land market in MA.

With nearly 7 million residents, Massachusetts has a pretty sizable population. But it's also a relatively small state geographically, making it one of the more densely populated. This creates a strong demand for land, especially closer to bigger cities.

The landscape varies from coastal communities to rolling hills and mountains inland. Large chunks of the interior are heavily forested. Wetlands and conservation land also comprise a significant portion of the available vacant land.

Pricing differs dramatically based on location within MA. In 2021, the median price per acre for vacant land was around $55,000 statewide. But that number is skewed by high values around Boston. In Suffolk County, it's not uncommon to see prices upwards of $1 million per acre. Out west in the more rural settings of the Berkshires, values drop to the $10-15k per acre range.

So that's a bird's eye view of the Massachusetts land market. Next let's drill into the specifics on timeline.

Factors That Impact How Quickly Land Sells in Massachusetts

Now that we’ve set the scene, what actually determines the length of time it takes to sell land around here? Here are some of the key variables:

Location, Location, Location

It's not just about the views! Where the property is located within Massachusetts has a huge influence on demand. Land near Boston or other metro areas will attract far more buyers than rural large acreage parcels.

Accessibility

If the parcel doesn’t have decent road frontage or is completely landlocked, that puts a damper on sale potential. Most buyers want land with good access.

Size Matters

Smaller infill lots tend to sell quicker than large acreage tracts. You’ll find more buyers looking for a vacant residential lot than a 100 acre timber parcel.

Red Tape

What regulations or restrictions apply to the land will impact price and marketability. Parcels with flexible zoning and minimal wetlands sell faster.

Improvements

Raw land sells slower than land that's had some work done like clearing, grading, or installing driveways or utilities.

Marketing Mojo

A strong online presence and active promotion by real estate agents can significantly boost interest versus an inactive listing.

Motivated Seller

Owners who are flexible on price or terms have an advantage over sellers clinging to a fixed idea of their land’s value.

So in short—a prized 5-acre parcel near the commute rail with a perk test completed will sell lightning fast. While a 200-acre forest way up in the hills with no utilities and an inflexible seller will sit for a long time.

Typical Timeline for Selling Land in Massachusetts

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for—just how long does it actually take to sell land around here?

While every property is different, here are some general timeframes to expect:

Best Case Scenario

For those absolute A+ parcels in ideal locations, you may see a sale in as little as 3-6 months. But that would be on the rare side for most raw land.

Average Timeline

For most land sales, plan on a process of 6 months up to 1 year if the land is priced competitively and marketed aggressively.

Longer End

Large rural parcels or land with access issues often take between 1-2 years to sell. Constant marketing is key to finding the right buyer.

Worst Case

In difficult cases—like very remote land or sellers insisting on unrealistic valuations—it can take over 2 years to complete a sale.

Here’s what the typical land sale timeline looks like:

1-2 Month Prep Phase

  • Survey property, resolve any title issues
  • Research recent comps to accurately price
  • Hire a real estate agent to list the property

1-4 Months of Active Marketing

  • Land is listed online and with agents
  • Realtors network with buyers and investors
  • Some initial showings and inspections occur

2-6 Months of Negotiations

  • Serious buyers make offers and counteroffers
  • Potentially several rounds of negotiation
  • Buyer performs due diligence on land

1-2 Months to Close

  • Finalize price and complete final paperwork
  • Buyer secures financing if needed
  • Officially close and transfer property

The total duration comes down to location, land characteristics, pricing strategy, and flexibility on terms. But for most properties, a 6-12 month sale is realistic with the right approach.

Tips for Selling Your Land Faster in Massachusetts

Ready to get that “sold” sign up ASAP? Here are some tips to help speed up the process:

Price It Right

Getting an accurate valuation and setting a competitive—but not inflated—price is key. Overpricing will deter buyers.

Do Some Legwork Upfront

Getting a survey, title search, perc test, etc. done makes the parcel much more attractive to buyers.

Be a Flexible Seller

Considering creative terms like owner financing can expand your pool of potential buyers.

Start Marketing Yesterday

Don’t wait! Getting the word out early maximizes the chances of finding an interested party.

Hire a Pro

Experienced real estate agents can tap into their buyer networks to broaden exposure.

Consider a Direct Land Buyer

Companies like Land Boss that purchase land directly offer a smooth, fast exit.

It takes effort and patience, but taking a proactive approach will help reduce the typical time it takes to sell land in Massachusetts. With the right strategy, you can successfully sell a property within a 6-12 month period.

So now you’ve got the insider scoop on how long it actually takes to sell land around here. With the right expectations and game plan, you can minimize headaches and complete a sale in a realistic timeframe. Here's to a smooth and successful land sale journey!

Final Thoughts

Selling land in Massachusetts can be a lengthy endeavor, but doesn't have to be an endless process. With realistic expectations, proper planning, and a proactive approach, landowners can successfully sell their property within a 6-12 month timeframe in most cases. While location, parcel specifics, and market conditions play a role, following tips like properly pricing your land, hiring a real estate professional, and being flexible with terms will help expedite the process. With the right strategy, landowners in Massachusetts can maximize their chances of a smooth sale on a reasonable timeline. Though it takes effort and patience, the rewards of selling your land make the journey worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it really take to sell land in Massachusetts?

The timeline can vary dramatically based on the property, but in most cases you should expect a 6-12 month process from start to closing. Smaller parcels in metro areas might sell in 3-6 months, while large rural tracts often take 1-2 years to find the right buyer. With realistic pricing and active marketing, a year or less is a reasonable goal.

What factors make land sell faster in MA?

Location is huge - land near cities and amenities sells quicker. Smaller lot sizes tend to move faster than large acreage. Flexible zoning, utilities, road access, and a motivated seller also help attract buyers more quickly. Land that’s survey, permitted, and “shovel ready” will be most in demand.

How can I speed up the sale of my Massachusetts land?

Pricing competitively and marketing aggressively are key. Do prep work like securing permits ahead of listing. Consider creative seller financing terms. Hire an experienced agent to tap into their buyer network. Or sell to a company that purchases land directly for simplicity and speed.

My land has been for sale for 18 months - what should I do?

If it’s been on the market that long with no serious offers, it’s likely overpriced. Consider lowering the asking price or changing up your agent/strategy. You may also need to improve access, get permits, or offer creative terms to make it more attractive to buyers.

What happens if my land never sells?

If multiple strategies don’t work after an extended time, look into alternatives like selling to an investor or direct land buyer. These companies will buy hard-to-sell parcels at fair prices, providing a smooth exit. With the right approach, you can successfully sell even challenging land.

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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