How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Minnesota?

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How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Minnesota?

Bart Waldon

Minnesota, the aptly nicknamed “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” spans over 86,000 square miles dotted by thousands of scenic bodies of water attracting fishermen and nature lovers alike. With a mild four-season climate, rich natural resources, and thriving industry, the prosperous Midwestern gem also offers boundless business opportunities—including within the profitable land market.

But how long should you expect the land selling process to take within the state? While swifter deals happen, standard timeframes span around 1-2 years from listing to closing. Understanding the typical procedures and required steps allows landowners to set realistic schedules and succeed in their sale endeavors.

Why Selling Land Takes Time in Minnesota

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you shouldn’t expect to offload your acreage in Minnesota hastily either. Even smaller, vacant residential plots or farmland pastures demand ample time to officially change hands once listed.

Several key factors lead to longer closing timelines:

Strict Regulations and Approvals

As with property sales across America, you must follow various Minnesota regulations when selling land based on:

  • Parcel type
  • Location
  • Zoning restrictions
  • Other factors

Depending on the property and proposed development plans, the buyer may need to file various paperwork with state and local agencies regarding:

  • Environmental impact evaluations
  • Surveys
  • Title transfers
  • Tax implications
  • Mineral rights
  • Easements and right of way access
  • And more

Navigating these regulatory steps adds to closing timeframes. Regional agencies and municipalities have their own protocols in place to uphold infrastructure standards and development codes.

For example, if a buyer intends to develop commercial real estate on a vacant parcel, they would likely need to submit permit requests and development plans to agencies like:

  • City zoning offices
  • County environmental boards
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
  • Potentially tribal commissions and national parks services depending on land proximity

Each entity would require proper applications, impact studies, land surveys, and more. Some may even request public hearings inviting commentary from community members.

Suffice to say, the regulatory approval processes across local and state organizations contributes majorly to lengthened land sale closing timelines in Minnesota. Both buyers and sellers should understand these bureaucratic necessities.

Seasonality of Listing and Showings

While Minnesota weather does limit ideal listing and showing windows, technology enables some year-round potential. Virtual tours, drone footage, and 3D scanning make it easier for remote buyers to visually inspect properties.

Yet weather still plays an impact on timelines. For vacant recreational land, sales probabilities heighten leading up to prime cabin seasons. And serious farming buyers typically seek deals after fall harvest leading into winter downtime.

Appraisal Complexities

Ascertaining definitive fair market value for acreage devoid of structures proves challenging—but essential for motivating buyers with pricing aligned to comps. Appraisers must deeply analyze variables like:

  • Plot topography
  • Access paths
  • Mineral deposits
  • Soil fertility
  • Surrounding development
  • Infrastructural proximity
  • And more

This leads buyers and sellers to oft disagree on worth based on their unique intents for the land. Motivated parties must find middle ground pricing through concessions to continue toward a closing.

For example, take an appraiser valuing a 50-acre farmland plot in central Minnesota:

They would look to county records for averages on recent agricultural vacant land sales on usable cropland and pasture acreage. Severe topography changes, odd parcel shapes, or poor soil conservancy surveys could detract from the pricing scale. Proximity to co-ops, processors, railways and roadways becomes essential for farming operation potentials and thus factors into appraisals.

Yet the appraiser has no insights into the specific visions and risk tolerances of buyers bidding on the land. An out-of-state developer may speculate wildly different valuations than inter-generational neighboring farmers aiming to expand crop production through the acreage. Therein lies the disconnects between list and purchase prices.

Title Defects and Unknown Encumbrances

While home and commercial building sales shift ownership based predominantly on structural assets, land sales hinge greatly on the less tangible aspects underneath the soil. Questions around who rightfully owns the mineral rights or whether any tenant leases exist can unexpectedly arise and stall deals.

Many old records exist across counties documenting historical property splits, familial transfers, easements and more. But resolving title concerns becomes complicated as deeds pass down generations through deaths, divorces, and informal exchanges.

For example, a title search may reveal:

  • An heir of the original settler farmers disputes rightful modern ownership claiming they were excluded from past exchanges after an elderly family member’s mental decline.
  • Decades back, a utility easement got documented permitting sewer and gas line access yet current markings conflict with the deed records.
  • Tax rolls list the parcel as two separate lots though it operates as one unified farmland plot today.
  • In mineral rich counties, drilled well access and fracturing rights legalities enter disputes.
  • Surveys and plot boundaries shift from conflicting marker placements across generations of property exchanges.

Resolving those encumbrances, gaining consensus across all parties, and sometimes even needing court rulings on property disputes contributes to longer closing timeframes.

The Unexpected Complexity of Raw Land

At surface level, vacant land appears simpler to sell than developed parcels with standing structures. Yet we see the lengthy closing periods dead deals endure even for vacant plots. Why?

Land’s volatility and variability deter some buyers until they fully grasp Acreage XYZ’s usable potential and constraints. It lacks the turnkey security engineered houses provide. And its value factors come across more esoteric than neighborhoods with cookie-cutter comparables.

Raw land remains very much an emotional, visual purchase. You cannot assess it identically to residential dwellings filled with modern finishes and amenities. Acreage retains an element of unpredictability even after inspections.

Plus, everyday homeowners rarely want additional yard maintenance responsibilities. Farmland seekers have narrower needs. And full-scale commercial developers take higher risks attempting to conceptualize future structures atop unimproved dirt.

So despite vibrant development and growing property appetite, vacant land inevitably demands longer closing journeys in Minnesota.

Typical Minnesota Land Sale Timeline Overview

While each deal follows its own timeline, you can expect the average land sale to hit these milestones across 1-2 years:

Months 0-2: Listing Preparations

Hire surveyors, attorneys, and other specialists to certify boundaries and documentation. Gather past permits, transfer records and inspection reports. Consider environmental, archaeological, and other impact studies if developing raw land. Prepare marketing materials highlighting usable potential.

Months 1-4: Property Marketing & Showings

List on MLS and sites like to attract regional and national buyers. Schedule showings during prime seasons for property type. Qualify interested parties on ability to close and development visions. Collect initial offers and counter until aligned with ideal buyer and price.

Months 3-8: Sales Negotiations & Approvals

Enter into formal purchase agreement. Make any concessions to motivate buyer if needed. Allow buyer due diligence period to validate ownership rights, encumbrances, regulations, and land usable feasibility through further testing. Start initial regulatory approval submissions as needed for proposed land use.

Months 6-14: Finalizing Details

Help satisfy buyer contingencies and objections. Make any final title, lease, or documentation changes. Secure necessary agency endorsements and permits. Finalize closing workflows with title company, lawyers, municipalities and other parties.

Months 12-18: Closing & Transfer

Coordinate closing date. Collect funds, record title transfer, and handle last taxation and administrative tasks. Legally shift land ownership to satisfied buyer.

Selling Land Privately vs Working With a “We Buy Land” Company

Navigating these months-long procedures falls outside most landowners’ wheelhouses or availabilities—especially those inheriting unwanted acreage from distant relatives. Rather than tackling the solo slog, consider this faster route:

Contact a local professional “we buy land” company eager to purchase properties, handle the legalities, and get you cashed out conveniently. Instead of waiting months for listings to entice developers, homeowners, or farmers, these companies furnish motivated sellers prompt all-cash offers at fair calculating regional sales data.

By furnishing sellers reliable closed sales in shorter time windows, these companies stand as an ideal resource for those seeking faster exits from their land ownership burdens in Minnesota.

The Takeaways: Be Realistic Yet Hopeful in Your Land Sale Endeavors

When asking “how long does it take to sell land in Minnesota?” aspire for efficiency but prepare for moderate delays across months. Lands of America data shows average marketed times of 200 days. Yet outlier deals endure across years, especially 10+ acre unimproved rural plots.

While you can take proactive marketing, negotiation, and administrative steps to efficiency sell land in Minnesota yourself, uncertainties always loom. Working with a professional buyer company adds velocity and simplicity to the closing process through their buying powers and legal / regulatory familiarity.

Either way you approach a sale, arm yourself with realistic expectations against the complex legal and regulatory facets unique to vacant land deals. But also keep faith that the right buyer awaits their perfect plot within your acreage in magnificent Minnesota.

Final Thoughts

Selling land requires navigating a mosaic of regulatory, legal, operational, and market-based complexities across months or even years before closing deals in Minnesota. Yet with the proper planning, documentation, pricing analysis, buyer relationship building, and patience through procedures, landowners can successfully offload plots for fair values eventually. Understanding typical timeframes and obstacles allows sellers to set pragmatic sale scheduling without losing faith in the overall probability despite potential delays. And seeking support from specialized land professionals also helps efficiently progress deals through market knowledge and selling experience. With the right expectations, processes, and partners in place, the answer to “how long does it take to sell land in Minnesota” shapes into a more empowering journey with rewarding closings ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does vacant land usually take to sell in Minnesota? 

On average, expect a 1-2 year timeframe from listing to closing vacant land sales in Minnesota. Outlier deals may even take multiple years, especially on larger rural acreage.

What factors lead to longer land sale timelines in Minnesota? 

Strict regulations, seasonality impacting showings and listings, appraisal complexities, title defects, and overall raw land volatility all extend closing timeframes for Minnesota land deals.

How can I make my Minnesota land sell faster? 

Proactive preparation with surveys, impact studies and clear documentation helps attract buyers. Reasonable pricing aligned to recent area sales motivates offers. Concessions and flexibility to meet buyer usage plans also speeds deals.

Should I just sell to a “we buy land” company in Minnesota? 

We buy land companies like Land Boss add simplicity by handling legalities and closing sales reliably in shorter time frames. Yet this can mean accepting under-market pricing in tradeoff.

Can I sell Minnesota land in winter or cold seasons? 

Thanks to technologies like virtual tours, some land sales progress year-round. But prime listing seasons vary: summer for recreational lands, fall/winter for farmland when farming buyers have more flexibility.

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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