How to Buy Land for Cash in Colorado

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How to Buy Land for Cash in Colorado

Bart Waldon

With over 66 million total acres and a diverse range of geography spanning majestic Rocky Mountain peaks, expansive plains and stunning red rock formations, Colorado offers seemingly endless landscapes in which to stake out property claims. As the nation's fifth fastest growing state according to 2022 census estimates with over 5.8 million residents currently, demand for housing and land outpaces development in many regions. 

For buyers with sufficient capital to cover land purchase costs outright without financing and rapid decision-making abilities, decisive cash offers provide a lucrative edge for securing prime parcels spanning barely-touched forests, tranquil meadows or picturesque mesa tops destined for residential communities, tourism hubs or commercial projects as population influx continues. We break down key steps for locating deals, acting quickly and avoiding common cash-based land acquisition missteps that could jeopardize deals on Colorado's finite developable acreage.

Benefits of Buying Colorado Land for Cash

Paying the full purchase price in cash allows faster and simpler transactions, often at significant discounts compared to financing land.

Speed: When pre-approved for a cash purchase, you can move quickly and close right away, without needing to secure loans or wait out financing contingencies. This gives a competitive advantage, especially in bidding for hot listings.

Flexibility: Cash buyers have more flexibility to negotiate and aren’t tied to strict lending requirements on property types, land condition, etc. More creative deals are possible.

Cost savings: Owners usually prefer cash sales since the deal is less risky for them, allowing room to negotiate bigger discounts, sometimes up to 50% off market prices. Cash buyers also avoid interest costs, lending fees, and origination charges.

Full equity: Paying 100% of the price gives you instant equity and full ownership of the Colorado property and its future appreciation.

Finding Cheap Land for Sale in Colorado

The key to successfully buying Colorado land for cash is tracking down discounted or distressed properties, often before they hit the open market. Here are some proven methods to find cheap land deals:

Check public records for expiration notices: Search county recorder records for expiration of redemption notices on properties with overdue taxes. This signals the owner must pay off tax liens soon or the land goes to auction.

Network with local real estate investors: Connecting with seasoned investors, developers and land acquisition companies can lead to off-market wholesale deals since they run across discounted listings. A company like Land Boss, with 5+ years expertise buying and selling Colorado land, often knows of pocket listings before the hit MLS.

Search online land auction sites: Websites like Land Flip, Lands of America, and Land Watch list bank-owned foreclosure properties that fail to sell at courthouse auctions.

Look for vacant or run-down land: Properties with older buildings, debris clean-up needs or no utilities often sell at huge discounts but have good land value.

Drive targeted areas searching for signs: Some owners, especially rural land inherited from family, will market property themselves via homemade for-sale signs along area roads. Jot down the phone numbers and start networking!

Once a potential discounted land listing is located, verifying specifics on property lines, deed status, zoning issues, easements access rights and so forth is crucial before making an offer. In Colorado, a title company or real estate attorney can help conduct due diligence for cash buyers.

Making a Cash Offer on Colorado Land

When ready to make an offer, contacting the owner directly, instead of an agent, can make negotiations smoother and build better rapport. Be upfront on your ability to pay cash and flexibly structure terms in the seller’s favor.

A few tips:

  • Come prepared with details on condition and market value range for the acreage or lot. Data from recent sales of comparable nearby lots helps assess fair pricing.
  • Make the offer simple and clean with the purchase price and desired closing date stated upfront, along with earnest money amount. Outline other basic terms in a simple letter of intent or purchase agreement.
  • Leave room for negotiation by making the initial offer below market comparisons, usually 75-80% of median value. Estimate conservatively if the land needs clearing, utilities or access roads.
  • Highlight the benefits of a quick, all-cash closing without appraisals and emphasize how they avoid paying Realtor commissions. Many Colorado owners appreciate avoiding slow bank-dependent sales.
  • Be reasonable on closing timeline - 30-60 days is often expected for vacant land to transfer titles, file paperwork, and complete any inspections before closing.
  • Use earnest money ($500-5000 based on purchase price) to demonstrate serious intent and give the option to move to contract. This also incentives urgency if the offer includes time-limited price and terms.

Be prepared to negotiate back and forth a bit before settling on the final sales contract. Don’t get emotional or confrontational. Keep communication open and find ways to make the deal work for both parties.

Closing on a Colorado Cash Land Purchase

Once under contract, the buyer or seller will choose a closing company or title agency to handle final property transfer. As all-cash buyers, no financing or appraisals are needed. Typical steps include:

  • Title search to confirm ownership and identify any easements or transfer issues
  • Final walkthrough to verify condition if improvements exist
  • Deed preparation and transfer paperwork
  • Payment of any outstanding taxes, liens or closing costs
  • Recording of the deed with county for legal transfer
  • Issuing keys, disclosures etc to buyer

Closing costs run $1200-1500 on average in Colorado. They cover title insurance, agent fees, and recording the new deed. These fees are usually split buyer/seller but cash buyers can offer to cover all closing costs to incentivize owners.

The closing agent will prorate any taxes and payments between parties and handle final funds disbursement. Within 30 days, the title company then mails official documentation and recorded property deed.

Congratulations - the land is now fully yours! As Colorado cash buyers, immediate access and use rights come with vacant land purchases (no leases, mortgage restrictions etc). Time to explore your new asset or start building your mountain retreat!

Owning and Managing Colorado Land

Once purchased, land ownership in Colorado does come with ongoing responsibilities. Key tasks include:

Paying annual property taxes - Typically 0.5-1.5% of assessed value. Discounts apply on vacant/agricultural land.

Complying with zoning limitations - Most counties restrict commercial use, short-term rentals, density for homes per acre. Research codes.

Maintaining access roads - Keep roads usable year-round where possible. Address erosion issues over time.

Managing vegetation - Clearing brush and removing dead/infected trees helps reduce wildfire risks. Check county fire codes.

Carrying property insurance - Homeowner policies often exclude land while farm/ranch coverage is expensive. Separate vacant land policies are economical alternatives to research.

Ongoing costs directly tied to the land itself (not counting utilities, construction etc) often run $500-1500 annually. Budget for regular maintenance, taxes and basic oversight when estimating ROI on land purchases.

The work involved pays off knowing you own a tangible piece of Colorado’s majesty. Having unrestricted access to unique property for recreation, wildlife viewing, seasonal use or permanent residency makes land ownership in these beautiful surroundings an incredible perk few enjoy.

Is Selling Your Colorado Land a Better Option?

For some owners, keeping their land long-term is fulfilling and makes financial sense. Others decide putting the money into different investments or reallocating towards property better suited for their goals works better. Listed are a few key reasons owners end up selling:

  • Unexpected life change like job relocation, divorce or illness
  • Burdensome costs exceeding the land’s recreational use value
  • Vandalism, squatter issues or crime dampening rural locale appeal
  • Inherited property with costly clean-up needs or undesirable location
  • Chance to take profits from appreciated land value

Selling Colorado land yourself comes with hurdles - pricing accurately, marketing sufficiently, screening buyers and negotiating fair deals. The entire sales process typically takes 1-2 years.

An alternative is selling directly to a land acquisition company like Land Boss. Their cash offers deliver simplicity, speed, and guaranteed closings. Expert pricing insight coupled with savings from avoiding Realtor fees often result in win-win deals for owners.

Companies buying land at discounted prices still provide significant value to sellers through easy sales without headaches. Sellers in stressful situations actually view these quick cash closings at fair prices as a blessing.

Final Thoughts

For buyers pursuing property dreams or investors seeking stable assets, Colorado land offers incredible opportunities worth seizing. Moving swiftly when deals arise and leveraging cash purchasing power is key to grabbing steep discounts in this competitive real estate arena.

Paying all cash allows negotiating the best price, closing quickly with flexibility, and owning land free and clear. Finding deals directly from motivated sellers instead of just MLS saves enormously too.

Though buying land anywhere has risks, few places rival Colorado in offering such a high quality of life, long-term potential and sheer natural grandeur just outside your doorstep. Take time to find the right property that fits your budget, lifestyle and goals - then make your move without delay. The Process is far simpler than most realize, especially when leveraging cash.

Owning a piece of Colorado provides enjoyment and memories for a lifetime. Use this guide to help turn your land ownership dreams into reality. The breathtaking views and limitless adventures await!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What percentage below asking price is typical for Colorado land buyers to offer?

It's common for cash buyers to offer 15-25% below the listing price on land parcels in Colorado. Sellers expect some negotiation and price reduction, especially from investors and companies paying with cash. Starting lower leaves room to compromise to a mutually agreeable middle ground.

Does paying cash strengthen my offer competitiveness even if the bid is lower?

Absolutely. Sellers greatly prefer the certainty of a quick, guaranteed cash closing. By pre-qualifying for financing upfront as a cash buyer, your offer provides confidence you can close on time without appraisal and lender issues, even if the price is a bit under list price. Cash strength gives negotiating leverage.

What costs come with closing on vacant land purchases in Colorado?

Plan on $1200-1500 in average closing costs for Colorado land transactions. Typical fees paid by the buyer include title search, document filing, deed preparation and recording, county transfer taxes, and title insurance. Landlords may cover some closing fees to incentivize cash buyers.

What tips would you give for researching property lines and easement issues prior to making an offer?

Review parcel maps from the county assessor’s office to spot basic boundary lines and access points. Also check recorded plat deeds to identify easements for utilities, pipelines, roads and drainage across the land. Order a professional title search for $100-200 to verify legal restrictions. Fencing and survey stakes also help visually spot deeded borders when walking land on-site.

Is it risky to purchase vacant recreational land in Colorado without first walking the property in person?

Not necessarily high risk, but an in-person visit is wise if possible. Check terrain accessibility, vegetation, views, road access and surrounding uses. If a trip isn't feasible before making an offer, ask for extensive photos/video and research the area via Google Earth. Be conservative in unseen offer pricing and build in buffer if clean-up of brush, debris or fences is needed.

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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