How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Virginia?

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How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Virginia?
By

Bart Waldon

For landowners in Virginia looking to sell their property, one of the key questions is often "how long will this take?" The process of listing land, finding motivated buyers, negotiating an agreement and closing the sale takes some time. With the right prep work and pricing strategy, sellers can expect the timeline for selling land in Virginia to typically range from three to six months in most market conditions. However, several factors impact how quickly a parcel can sell.

Overview of the Virginia Land Market

The land market in Virginia is diverse thanks to the state's varied geography and mix of urban and rural areas. From the Appalachian Mountains in the west to the coastal plains region in the east and everything in between, land options exist to suit different buyers. As with real estate, land values rise closer to economic hubs and population centers.

As of 2023, median listing prices for vacant residential land under 5 acres range around $99,000 in the state, while larger rural parcels of 50 acres or more may list over $300,000 depending on location and potential use. The pandemic real estate boom also carried over to the land market, with 20% more land parcels changing hands in Virginia during 2021 compared to 2020. Sales activity and values have moderated slightly heading into 2023, but demand remains healthy.

Local economic conditions, zoning regulations, terrain and availability of utilities all impact the marketability and value of Virginia land. Working with an experienced real estate agent or land broker to properly price and market land based on comparables is highly recommended. Those professionals can provide area-specific guidance to sellers on timelines and maximizing value.

Key Factors That Impact Marketing Timeframes

Land varies so much that it's impossible to predict exactly how long a specific parcel will need to sell in Virginia. However, these key factors typically influence time on market:

Location - Land located closer to growing metropolitan regions like Northern Virginia and Richmond or recreational areas often sells more quickly. Remote rural land can stay on the market longer unless priced well below comparable properties. Proximity to main roads is also desirable.

Parcel Size - Smaller parcels under 10 acres have the widest appeal to individual buyers. Larger land tracts over 50 acres limit the pool of qualified buyers more, which could lengthen the sales process.

Zoning and Land Use - Land already zoned for residential or commercial development sells much faster than agricultural land or other unincorporated parcels with usage restrictions. Having the proper zoning and utilities in place adds value.

Access and Terrain - Smooth, relatively flat land with good road frontage and access sells most easily. Rugged, wooded land with difficult access or the need for easements can hamper marketing.

Marketing Exposure - Properties advertised across multiple listing sites, social media, and signage on the parcel tend to get more buyers interested. Good agents market aggressively.

Pricing - Overpriced land languishes on the market in any conditions. Realistic competitive pricing generates more interest from serious buyers.

Market Conditions - Hot real estate markets speed up land sales as demand rises. In slower markets, patience and adjusting pricing is key.

Typical Timeline for Selling Land in Virginia

The exact steps and timeframes when selling land in Virginia vary, but the process generally follows phases like:

Initial Consultation - 1-2 Weeks

  • Meet with real estate agent and attorney to discuss land use, zoning, easements and ballpark pricing.
  • Start preparing property for sale - remove any debris, unwanted equipment, etc.

Prep & Listing - 1-4 Weeks

  • Work with agent to complete title search and document needed disclosures.
  • Survey property lines clearly and document any known easements.
  • Finalize competitive asking price and list terms based on goals, agent input.
  • Officially list the land on MLS and agent begins marketing the property.

Marketing & Offer Period - 30-90 Days

  • Agent markets aggressively on multiple platforms to generate buyer interest.
  • Host property visits to showcase the parcel to potential buyers.
  • Negotiate offers and counteroffers with interested buyers during this stage.

Due Diligence & Closing - 30-60 Days

  • Once an offer is accepted, the buyer will complete inspections, surveys, etc.
  • Finalize all closing paperwork between legal teams.
  • Schedule final walkthroughs and prepare for closing.
  • Sale closes and the deed transfers over to new buyer.

Total Timeline: 3-6 Months

For a decently priced land parcel in an average Virginia market, sellers can reasonably expect the total process to take approximately 3-6 months from initial listing to final closing. Of course, some exceptions exist:

  • Hot, competitive markets: Land may sell in mere weeks.
  • Overpriced rural land: Could sit for 6-12+ months.
  • Buyer financing issues: Can extend closing timeframes.

Patience and persistence are necessary, but the wait is worth it for most sellers to secure the best deal.

Tips For Selling Land More Quickly

If your goal is to accelerate the sales process when selling your land, keep these tips in mind:

Price Competitively - Avoid overpricing. Look at recent comparables and agent input to list competitively.

Offer Owner Financing - Consider financing with 20-30% down to expand buyer pool.

Get Surveys - Having parcel boundaries and easements clearly documented saves time.

Improve Access - Clear land, create parking areas, widen roads/trails to the property.

Stage the Property - Mow, declutter and make the parcel as attractive as possible.

Advertise Aggressively - Use digital marketing, social media, signs and agent resources.

Remain Flexible - On closing dates, possession, negotiations terms etc. Don't nitpick over small details.

Have Realistic Expectations - Understand that even with these tips, land takes time to sell in most cases. Avoid frustration by planning for the process.

Working With a Land Buying Company

Some landowners want to sell quickly and prefer a streamlined process and guaranteed cash offer over listing on the open market. Companies like Land Boss buy land directly at competitive wholesale pricing, providing a faster alternative to selling retail. Though you trade maximizing price for speed and convenience, this option closes in weeks rather than months.

Final Thoughts

Selling land is a complex process that requires time and effort to ensure maximum returns. While timelines vary depending on market conditions, pricing, and demand, Virginia landowners can expect the process to take approximately 3-6 months on average. With careful preparation, setting competitive pricing, and leveraging the marketing capabilities of experienced real estate agents, land can be sold smoothly despite the inherent challenges. Sellers in Virginia must put in work upfront and remain realistic on timing – the rewards of maximizing value will come to those who carefully nurture the process. With patience and persistence, landowners can successfully navigate the sales journey and walk away satisfied with their deal. The key is partnering with the right professionals and understanding that selling land simply takes longer than other real estate. But in Virginia's vibrant market, it's a worthwhile endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it typically take to sell land in Virginia?

The typical timeframe to sell land in Virginia is 3-6 months. However, it can vary based on factors like location, parcel size, pricing, and market conditions. In hot markets, land may sell in weeks, while overpriced rural land could take over 12 months to sell. On average, sellers should expect the process to take around 4-5 months with competitive pricing and proper marketing.

What steps are involved in the process of selling land in Virginia?

Major steps include initial consultation with agents on pricing/strategy, surveying/documentation of the parcel, officially listing the land for sale, marketing to generate buyer interest, negotiating offers, buyer due diligence on accepted offer, and closing paperwork/transaction. This process takes months, so sellers need patience.

How can you speed up the sale of your land in Virginia?

Strategies to accelerate land sales include pricing competitively based on market value, offering owner financing, having access/easements surveyed upfront, improving roads or trails to the parcel, thoroughly marketing online and via signage, and being flexible on negotiations/terms with buyers.

What factors affect the marketability of land in Virginia?

Location, parcel size, zoning/land usage, access to utilities, terrain, road frontage, surrounding demographics, economic conditions in the local market, and pricing strategy all impact how quickly land sells in Virginia.

Is it faster to sell to a land buying company instead of the open market?

Yes, companies that buy land wholesale can provide quick offers and all-cash closes within weeks. This avoids the longer process of listing on the open market. The trade-off is selling at a discount rather than retail value. Time vs. money must be evaluated.

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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