How to Buy Land for Cash in Arizona

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How to Buy Land for Cash in Arizona

Bart Waldon

Arizona contains over 72 million acres of land according to the state land department, with roughly 26 million acres currently in farms, ranches and tribal holdings based on the latest USDA data. Much of that acreage gets passed down through generations. Yet some landowners eventually decide to sell off parcels - whether due to changing finances, family situations or shifting priorities. Selling for instant cash allows liquidating hard-to-move vacant land without the wait of securing financing deals for buyers. 

As experienced cash land buyers in Arizona, we’ve learned that a few key steps can help landowners effectively navigate direct sales for cash. Finding reputable cash land buying companies, understanding basics of property valuation and transparently communicating all details tied to the land facilitates smooth transactions for all parties. If selling land for cash makes sense instead of traditional bank-financed deals, follow some fundamental guidance to successfully close and receive prompt payment.

Why Go For a Cash Land Purchase in AZ?

Plunking down cold, hard cash for vacant land may seem intimidating. But it comes with some compelling perks:

Skirt Around Financing Roadblocks

Securing financing for raw land can be tricky. Lenders are often leery of providing loans without an existing residence or concrete development plans. An all-cash offer evades this obstacle altogether.

Gain the Upper Hand in Negotiations

Sellers tend to look favorably upon cash buyers. Ready access to funds provides certainty of closing, without worrying about the buyer’s financing falling through. Cash offers are like catnips to motivated sellers who need to unload land quickly.

Close Faster

No financing means no waiting around on loan approvals and appraisals. The due diligence period can be truncated. Bottom line – cash deals can conclude much more swiftly so you get the keys sooner.

Avoid Interest and Fees

Say adios to loan origination charges, points and interest rate costs. Paying the full amount upfront maximizes your capital investment in the land itself.

Unencumbered Ownership

No lender means no strings attached. You call all the shots on use of the property without lender limitations. And you can sell or transfer ownership anytime without approval.

Scoping Out Land Listings in Arizona

Location scouting is the fun part. Here are solid sources to pinpoint viable land listings:

Cruise Online Listings

Sites like Lands of America, LandWatch and LandFLIP make searching for rural land listings a breeze. Plug in Arizona and your ideal acreage, price and features to see available parcels.

Team up with a Land Pro

Enlist a real estate agent well-versed in land deals. They’ll have insider access to the Arizona MLS database and cancels not publicly advertised. Their negotiating expertise doesn’t hurt either.

Comb County Records

Uncover leads by researching public records for vacant or agricultural land. Contact potential sellers identified through title/deed records directly if they may have interest in selling.

Drive the Market

Literally. Take a road trip to scout areas of interest looking for land for sale signs. Jot down phone numbers and call about parcels advertised directly by the owner. Being bootson- the-ground uncovers hidden gems.

Spread the Word

You never know who might know someone looking to unload land. Ask around your personal and professional networks. Good old fashioned word of mouth still turns up leads.

Doing Your Due Diligence

Once you spot enticing land listings, it’s due diligence time. Proper vetting before you commit ensures no nasty surprise down the road. Here are key questions to investigate:

How Many Acres Exactly?

Verify total acreage against surveys and legal descriptions rather than just listing claims. Inspect boundary lines for any encroachments.

What’s the Terrain Like?

Get boots on the ground to evaluate topography and physical condition. Watch for issues like steep slopes or drainage problems that can hamper plans or require expensive remediation.

Any Zoning Gotchas?

Confirm land use regulations permit your intended purpose, be it development, farming, recreation, etc. Local zoning laws can limit possibilities, so do your zoning homework.

Is Access Adequate?

Make sure there is legal deeded access to the property. Frontage on a public roadway is ideal. If not, verify easements are properly recorded and usable.

Are Utilities Available?

Check on access to electric, water, sewer and other utilities. Off-grid utility extensions can drive costs through the roof.

Any Red Flags in Title Records?

Request a title report and comb carefully for any easements, liens, judgments or other encumbrances that could interfere with ownership rights down the road.

Is the Price Right?

Do your comparable market research to gauge fair market value. Look at recent sales of similar land parcels in the same area. Gauge listing price accordingly.

Making a Competitive Cash Offer

Once you spot the right land listed at a fair price, take these steps to make an appealing cash offer:

Lead with Proof of Funds

Provide documentation upfront verifying your financial capacity to pay cash. Bank and account statements do the trick. This conveys serious buyer credibility.

Propose Terms Favorable to a Motivated Seller

Highlight that yours is an uncomplicated, all-cash offer without financing contingencies or delays. Offer an expedited closing timeline if feasible.

Come in Low, But Not Too Low

Shoot for an offer price 10-20% under actual fair market value based on your comps. But don’t “lowball” to the point of insulting the seller.

Put Down Sufficient Earnest Money

Back up your offer with earnest money deposit of 1-10% of purchase price. This good faith money demonstrates you’re “putting your money where your mouth is”.

Build in a Due Diligence Period

Include a 30-60 day inspection period to complete title review, surveys, tests etc. before closing. This protects you from unpleasant surprises.

Creative Ways to Secure Cash for a Land Deal

While a cash purchase means no traditional financing, you still need to drum up the currency. Strategic options include:

Liquidate Existing Assets - Cash out stocks, bonds, CDs or other liquid investments. Or consider selling other real estate you own.

401k/IRA Funds - Take a loan or early distribution from your retirement accounts. Know the stringent repayment and tax implications before going this route.

Home Equity Loan - Tap available equity through a line of credit using your home as collateral. Comparison shop interest rates and terms.

Hard Money Loans - Asset-based financing from private lenders and companies. Higher rates but more flexible than conventional loans.

Private Financing - Connect with individual investors willing to fund in exchange for share of future proceeds and/or interest payments.

Crowdfunding - Pool small investments from a large number of people. Handles marketing and administration in exchange for fees.

Family Loans - Borrow from family members if possible. Ensure proper documentation and repayment plan for the loan.

Keys to Closing the Deal

You’re in the home stretch to land ownership. Stick the landing with these closing tips:

Move Quickly - Speed and flexibility give cash buyers an edge these days. Streamline contingencies and paperwork.

Bring in Professionals - Enlist an experienced real estate attorney, title officer, etc. Their expertise is well worth it.

Read the Fine Print - Comb through all closing docs, title report, deed language, etc. with a fine-toothed comb before signing.

Final Walkthrough - Do one last on-site inspection right before closing to verify condition and access.

Wire Funds - Arrange for expedient wire transfer of total proceeds to escrow account to consummate purchase.

Record Deed Promptly - File deed transfer with county recorder soon as possible to seal the deal.

With tenacity and thoughtful preparation, you can successfully purchase alluring Arizona land with a cash deal. Enjoy the expansive views and epic sunsets on your very own slice of the Southwest!

Final Thoughts

 Purchasing raw land with an all-cash offer certainly has its advantages and appeals. But ultimately success hinges on doing your due diligence, understanding true market value, and structuring a deal favorable for both buyer and seller. With a dash of creativity sprinkled in for financing, plus guidance from professionals and patience through the closing process, your Arizona land ownership dreams can become reality. The hassles and hard work will melt away as you stand on your very own parcel and watch the sunset cast its pastel watercolor hues over the desert landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What percentage below market value should I offer on a cash land deal?

There's some art and science in play here. Offer too little, and you'll likely offend the seller. But you want to propose a price that leaves room for negotiation. Aim for around 10-20% under actual fair market value based on your comps research. Gauge the motivations of the seller and current market conditions so you don't lowball to the point of toxicity.

What costs are involved beyond just the purchase price?

Factor in due diligence costs like survey fees, title searches, inspections, appraisals, etc. There may also be closing costs for attorneys, escrow and filing fees. And don't forget property taxes and insurance. Budget for these extras so your cash position remains strong through closing.

How do I determine fair market value for land?

Comparable sales data is your friend. Look at recent sale prices for similar vacant land parcels in the same geographic area. The closer the comparable - like adjacent parcels - the better indicator of value. Also consider factors like utility access, road frontage, zoning, and permissible use that can impact land value when assessing comparables.

Should I make my offer with any contingencies?

Cash offers are strongest when you remove all financing contingencies that give you an "out" if financing falls through. Make your offer as clean as possible. But do build in contingencies around a due diligence period to inspect title, access, utilities, etc. This protects you from unpleasant surprises while keeping your offer firm.

How long does it usually take to close on a land deal?

Closing timelines vary, but expect 1-3 months. Cash purchases can often accelerate that schedule since there's no waiting on financing. But don't cut due diligence short. Assign 30-60 days for proper vetting before closing, then work quickly to finalize paperwork, transfer funds, and file title. With focus and responsiveness on both sides, deals can close in a matter of weeks.

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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