How Long Does it Take to Sell Land in Washington?

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

Bart Waldon

For those looking to sell vacant land in Washington state, a common question is "How long will this take?" Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the timeline can vary greatly depending on factors like location, market conditions, and your selling strategy. However, with the right approach, you can optimize the process and set realistic expectations.

Typical Timeline for Selling Land in Washington

Most real estate professionals estimate it takes 1-2 years on average to sell vacant land in Washington. This is just a general guideline though, and your specific property could sell much faster or slower. Some of the key factors that affect the timeline include:

Location - Land in desirable, high-growth areas near major cities will attract more buyers and often sell quicker. Rural or remote parcels typically take longer to market and sell.

Property features - Land with utilities, good access, views, etc. can sell faster as it will appeal to more buyers. Parcels without improvements require buyers who are willing to develop the land.

Market conditions - A hot real estate market with lots of demand from builders and investors will expedite sales. In a cooler market it takes longer for the right buyer to come along.

Marketing effort - The more effectively you advertise and promote your land, the faster it is likely to sell. Minimal marketing results in a longer timeline.

Motivated seller - How urgently you want or need to sell has an impact. Motivated sellers who price aggressively tend to sell quicker.

Economic factors - Interest rates, construction costs, and other macroeconomic forces influence supply and demand.

Strategies for Selling Land More Quickly in Washington

If your goal is to sell your land faster, here are some tips that can help expedite the process:

Price it right - Set your asking price based on recent comparable sales and market data. Overpricing leads to stagnation. Be willing to adjust if it doesn’t sell.

Advertise aggressively - Use both digital and print platforms to market your property. Online ads, flyers, yard signs can all be effective.

Offer seller financing - Offering financing terms can expand your buyer pool in a tight lending market.

Improve site access - Build a road or path onto your parcel to improve accessibility for buyers.

Get all permits in place - Having pre-approved building plans or septic permits can speed up sales.

Hire an agent - Experienced real estate agents can tap into qualified buyer networks more effectively.

Provide owner incentives - Offering closing cost assistance or other perks can sweeten the deal.

Be flexible on terms - Agreeing to rent-to-own, land contracts, or other flexible terms opens options.

The key is using multiple strategies simultaneously to maximize visibility and motivation for buyers to act quickly.

Factors that Can Delay Selling Land in Washington

On the other side, there are also some common obstacles that can hinder or delay the sale of your land. Being aware of these can help you avoid pitfalls:

Limited access - Landlocked parcels or those without road access are harder to sell until an access easement is secured.

No utilities available - Vacant land with no electricity, water, sewer, etc. limits the buyer pool to those willing to develop utilities.

Soil or drainage issues - Any flaws exposed in inspections must be mitigated before buyers will purchase.

Undesirable location - Remote parcels or those far from amenities may have narrow appeal.

Covenants or easements - Restrictions on land use can deter some buyers. Time is needed to modify agreements.

Overpricing - Land significantly above market value lingers unsold until the price drops closer to actual value.

Title complications - Clouded titles must be cleared up through legal proceedings before closing.

Marketing only to retail buyers - Most retail buyers take longer to commit, versus investors who buy quicker.

Minimal advertising - With limited exposure, it takes longer for the right buyer to find and act on the property.

Unwillingness to negotiate - Refusing to consider offers below asking price slows down the sale.

Patience is key if any of these issues apply. It takes creativity and persistence to overcome obstacles deterring buyers.

Tips for Expediting the Land Sale Process

To recap, some proven tips that can help accelerate your timeline for selling land in Washington include:

  • Accurately price based on recent comparable sales data and local market value. Don’t overprice.
  • List the property on multiple listing sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com to maximize exposure.
  • Market locally through yard signs, print ads and social media to reach neighborhood buyers.
  • Highlight aspects that will attract buyers, like views, hunting, privacy, acreage, etc.
  • Offer seller financing, rent-to-own terms, or land contracts to increase appeal.
  • Consider including a conceptual improvement plan to help buyers visualize potential.
  • Hire a real estate agent experienced in the niche of land sales to expand reach.
  • Be willing to offer closing cost assistance or other seller concessions to motivate buyers.
  • Act quickly to address any access, title, easement or utility issues identified.
  • Negotiate reasonably to keep deals moving forward. Avoid stubbornness.
  • Leverage buyer demand when the market is hot; this maximizes value.

With a proactive approach and persistent marketing, meeting that average 1-2 year timeframe is very feasible. Stay patient yet actively engaged in the process for best results.

Who Buys Vacant Land in Washington?

To successfully market your property, it helps to understand the common buyer types who purchase vacant land in Washington:

Individuals - This includes people who want land for personal use, whether to build a home, access recreation, invest, or live off-grid. Marketing to individuals requires attracting those seeking your property's specific attributes.

Builders and Developers - Those looking to construct housing subdivisions, commercial buildings, or community projects need vacant land to do so. They buy parcels suitable for such development.

Farmers and Ranchers - Agricultural operations wish to expand land for crops and livestock grazing. They target affordable rural acreage with good soil and water access.

Investors - Investors aim for land held for appreciation, leased out, or "flipped" for profit. They want discounted properties with strong ROI potential.

Conservation Groups - Environmental nonprofits acquire land for permanent preservation, wildlife habitat, recreation, etc. They focus on properties with ecological value.

Government Agencies - Local government bodies purchase land for public parks, infrastructure, municipal facilities, open spaces, etc.

Commercial Businesses - Companies, hotels, restaurants, etc. may buy land for expansion, new locations, employee amenities, additional parking, etc.

Marketing to the buyer types who value your property's unique characteristics speeds up the process. They already seek what you're selling.

How Land Investors Like Land Boss Buy Land Quickly in Washington

Companies like Land Boss that buy and sell investment land have systems optimized to transact quickly when acquiring property. Here is how the land sale process typically works with direct land buyers:

1. Access specialized buyer network - Large buyers have established networks of sellers, brokers, and developers who alert them to properties coming available. This proprietary deal flow provides plenty of options.

2. Use data-driven analysis - Investors assess factors like comparative sales, development potential, and market demand to value land rapidly. This enables competitive offers backed by solid data.

3. Complete due diligence ahead of time - Buyers immediately order title work and start the review process so it’s frontloaded before finalizing a contract.

4. Make cash offers - Investors make cash deals, bypassing financing contingencies that can delay closings. Cash offers are also often at price points motivated sellers accept.

5. Move nimbly to close - With funds ready, investors can finalize contracts quickly and close on flexible terms favorable to sellers. They remove friction and delays.

6. Build strong relationships - Large land buyers cultivate local relationships with sellers, brokers and agents to facilitate future deals. Repeat sellers know they buy smoothly.

So by systematizing the process, having funds ready, and building relationships, land investment firms are able to acquire sites swiftly to meet demand. Sellers benefit from the streamlined efficiency.

Should You Consider Selling Your Land to an Investor?

Given the potentially longer timeframes selling land through traditional listings, some sellers opt to exit quickly by working directly with a land investment company. There are pros and cons to consider:

Pros

  • Investors buy “as-is” in any condition. No time or money spent readying land for market.
  • Cash closings take place rapidly, typically within 30 days of contract ratification.
  • Investors handle and pay for all due diligence like appraisals and title work.
  • No need to list publicly and accommodate months of showings. Very private process.
  • Investors usually pay market price or better if closing quickly, so net proceeds are strong.

Cons

  • Company may not pay full listing price you could get selling yourself with optimum effort.
  • No option to finance land yourself and collect interest over time.
  • If not following best practices, investors could take advantage with very lowball offers.
  • Limited exposure of property to wide market - unlikely to find an overpaying buyer.

Most sellers are happy to sell quickly and reasonably versus waiting indefinitely for a slightly higher retail offer. But evaluate options carefully.

Questions to Ask When Selling Land to an Investor

To ensure a fair deal selling your land to an investment buyer, ask these key questions:

  • How did you arrive at your offered purchase price? Request evidence.
  • Are you able to close quickly, within 30-45 days?
  • What are the steps and anticipated timeline of your process?
  • Do you handle and pay for due diligence like title work?
  • Will I net close to your initial offer or are there fees reducing proceeds?
  • Do you have references of satisfied sellers I can contact? Can I read testimonials?
  • Are you purchasing the land yourself or acting as a broker for other buyers?
  • What happens if I get a higher offer from another buyer during the process?

By getting clear expectations upfront, a seller can ensure confidence in the investor and deal prior to finalizing the agreement. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.

Partnering With a Reputable Investor Like Land Boss

A trusted land investment firm like Land Boss can deliver an optimal blend of efficiency, transparency, and strong net proceeds. Some benefits of partnering with us include:

  • We utilize data-backed valuation tools to competitively price purchase offers. No lowballing.
  • Our all-cash deals often net sellers 80-100% of list price with minimal fees and no commissions.
  • We handle title/escrow processes start to finish, on our dime, with preferred providers.
  • Our team has closed 100+ land transactions in Washington, establishing smooth systems.
  • We close on the seller’s timeline, whenever works best for your needs.
  • No pressure - we only purchase if it makes sense for the seller's situation.

Our goal is providing sellers an ethical, drama-free option for liquidating land holdings if desired. Let us know if we can be a resource at any point in the process!

Final Thoughts

While vacant land can take 1-2 years on average to sell through traditional channels in Washington, the timeline varies significantly based on location, market conditions, and marketing strategies used.

Patience is required, but by pricing competitively, enhancing property appeal, expanding buyer reach, and leveraging demand, you can expedite the process. In some cases working with a reputable land investor may deliver the fastest and simplest exit.

As with any major transaction, do your homework to make an informed decision. With the right approach, you can optimize for a successful land sale on timelines that meet your needs. The possibility is there to sell quicker – you just need the right approach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

The typical timeframe is 1-2 years on average. However, it highly depends on the property specifics like location, market conditions, pricing, and seller motivation. With the right strategies land can sell in weeks or months in a hot market. In a cooler market or with obstacles, it may take multiple years to find the ideal buyer.

What steps can I take to sell my land faster in Washington?

Pricing competitively, hiring an agent, advertising online and locally, offering seller financing, addressing access/utility issues, providing property incentives, and being flexible on terms will all help accelerate the sale. Using many strategies together will expedite the process more than just one or two.

What are the biggest obstacles to selling land quickly in Washington?

Overpricing, limited accessibility, title/easement complications, lack of utilities, undesirable location, minimal marketing, and an unwillingness to negotiate are key factors that can hinder the sale. Fixing these issues helps, but sometimes patience is required.

Should I consider selling to a land investment company if I want to sell quickly?

Investors will buy faster, but may pay slightly under full market value. Evaluate if the speed and convenience outweighs the maximum price. Get references and clarify all expectations before finalizing a deal. Consider it as an option.

What questions should I ask land buyers to evaluate their legitimacy?

Ask how they determine price, timeline projections, who handles due diligence, total costs/fees involved, if they broker deals for hidden buyers, their purchase process, and for references. This helps vet investor credibility.

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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