How to Buy Land for Cash in New York

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How to Buy Land for Cash in New York

Bart Waldon

New York is a vast and diverse state, home to bustling metropolises like New York City and Albany as well as expansive rural areas full of forests, farmland and open spaces. With such a mix of landscapes across the state, there are ample opportunities to purchase vacant land for a variety of purposes. Whether you want to buy land to build a home, start a farm, or make a real estate investment, buying land for cash in New York offers advantages over traditional mortgage financing.

Overview of the New York Land Market

The land market in New York is active yet competitive. In 2021 alone, over $1.3 billion in vacant land and lots changed hands across the state. Prices vary widely based on location - land in NYC boroughs sells for a premium while rural acreage is far more affordable on a per acre basis. On average, an acre of vacant land in New York sells for around $7,500. With over 7 million acres of land across the state, there are lots of options but high demand in certain markets.

New York has seen steady land value appreciation in recent decades. Prices were up 7% in 2021 over the prior year according to Federal Reserve Economic Data. Strong economic prospects and population growth in the state contribute to increasing land values over time. However, the market is not without volatility. Factors like interest rates, property taxes and development costs impact land values. Working with a reputable local real estate professional is advisable when buying land in New York.

Benefits of Buying Land for Cash

Purchasing land with cash instead of financing has several advantages for buyers:

Speed - Buying with cash means there's no financing to arrange and approve. The sale can close quickly without delays from processing loans. This gives cash buyers an edge when making offers.

Flexibility - Cash buyers aren't limited by bank underwriting requirements. This provides more freedom when evaluating investment opportunities.

Cost savings - Paying cash avoids thousands in interest, origination fees and other closing costs associated with real estate loans. Less spent on the purchase leaves more for developing the land.

Privacy - No lender means no intrusive application disclosing your personal finances. Cash deals allow you to keep your info private.

With the power of an all-cash offer, you can act decisively on a motivated seller's land listing while securing the property at a discount. Just be sure to only pay what the land is objectively worth.

How Much Does Land Cost in New York?

Land prices vary greatly across New York state. In New York City, vacant lots may sell for several million dollars per acre in prime locations like Manhattan. Move farther from urban centers and prices drop dramatically. Most rural counties have median land values of $2,000 per acre or less. Factors impacting value include:

  • Location - Land near cities or amenities commands higher prices. Remote parcels are most affordable.
  • Access - Properties on county-maintained roads hold more value than landlocked parcels requiring easements.
  • Utilities - Land with electric, water and sewer access sells for more than raw vacant acreage.
  • Zoning - Land zoned for commercial uses or multi-family development brings higher sale prices.

When buying land for cash in New York, stick to areas with reasonable per acre prices matched to your planned use and budget. Search for discounted or distressed properties to land better deals.

Finding Land For Sale by Owner in New York

The best deals often come directly from landowners themselves, not through a broker. Here are smart tips for finding New York land for sale by owner:

  • Search online land listing sites like Lands of America specifically for owner sales. Filter for New York listings.
  • Look for signs posted along rural roads advertising land for sale. Jot down phone numbers and follow up.
  • comb local tax records for people who own vacant lots, then reach out to them. Many will consider good offers.
  • Talk to rural neighbors who may know of retired farmers or other landowners looking to sell off acreage.
  • Contact county offices to ask about government-owned surplus land that may be available for sale via auction.

Build a network of direct landowner connections for access to off-market parcels before they go to real estate agents. Owners may offer better terms when approached directly by a serious cash buyer.

Evaluating Land for a Cash Purchase

Once you find a promising parcel for sale by owner, verify it aligns with your acquiring criteria before making an offer:

  • On-site inspection - Walk the property lines and take note of any encumbrances or easements. Also look for any naturally valuable attributes like water frontage.
  • Perk test - For land meant for building, call an inspector to analyze soil composition and suitability for installing a septic system.
  • Title search - Hire a title company to examine deed records and identify any liens, claims or other encumbrances tied to the land.
  • Market comps - Have a real estate appraiser provide an opinion of fair market value based on recent sales of comparable nearby properties.
  • Development factors - Consult local zoning and permit offices to understand costs and feasibility of intended usage plans for the lot.

Conduct thorough due diligence before committing to buy land for cash. This helps avoid overpaying and identifies potential usage issues early.

Making a Cash Offer on Land

When ready to make an offer, contact the seller via phone, email or mail. Introduce yourself briefly and express interest in purchasing for cash. Request their asking price then present your offer 20-25% below. For example, if they want $100,000 for 10 acres, offer $75,000-$80,000. Some key tips:

  • Have proof of cash readily available from bank statements or lending references
  • Keep negotiations friendly, reasonable and professional
  • Offer flexible closing terms and set realistic expectations
  • If needed, increase offer gradually until you reach an agreed sale price
  • Put the final terms in a purchase contract approved by lawyers

With a fair cash offer and cordial approach, many sellers will accept a good deal even if it's under listing price. Pay fairly but seek sizable discounts by paying cash.

Closing the Cash Land Purchase

Once the offer is accepted, complete these steps to close on the land:

  • Final walkthrough - Do one last on-site inspection before closing to check for changes.
  • Close title - The title company will handle deed transfer and pay out any closing costs.
  • Pay taxes - Prorated property taxes for the remainder of the year must be paid.
  • Record deed - The newly transferred deed is recorded with the county for official transfer of ownership.
  • Celebrate! - Congratulations, the land is now yours! Begin executing plans for your exciting new property.

Closing a real estate transaction involves much behind-the-scenes work. Lean on professionals like real estate attorneys and title agents to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Final Words

Buying vacant land for cash in New York offers many exciting possibilities. With plentiful affordable rural land and areas of highly valuable real estate, investors find ample inventory and upside. By following tips in this guide, you can source promising land for sale by owner, evaluate parcels wisely, negotiate win-win cash deals and efficiently close purchases using all-cash funds. Partnering with an established cash land company like Land Boss further simplifies the process for lucrative investing and land development. With the right approach, cash buyers can thrive pursuing New York land opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the main benefits of buying land with cash versus financing?

The top benefits of cash land purchases are speed, flexibility, privacy, and cost savings. All-cash offers can close quickly without financing delays. Cash buyers also avoid lender approvals, appraisals, credit checks and other red tape. There are no interest charges, and total acquisition costs are lower.

What percentage below asking price should my initial offer be on land I want to buy with cash?

A good starting offer on vacant land is typically 15-25% below the seller's asking price. Offer enough to start meaningful negotiations but low enough to leave room for the seller to counter and still reach an agreeable price. Make sure your offer accurately reflects the property's fair market value.

What costs beyond the purchase price do I need to plan for when budgeting a cash land deal?

Plan for closing costs like title fees, recording fees, survey costs and legal fees if involving a real estate attorney. If buying raw land to build on, budget for development costs like well drilling, installing utilities, septic installation, excavating and more.

How can I determine a fair purchase price when making a cash offer on vacant land?

Carefully examine comps of recent nearby land sales of similar acreage and attributes. Get an appraisal from a qualified professional appraiser. Verify what recent land prices the local market can bear based on demand and real estate trends. Use this to inform your offer terms.

What steps should I take to ensure the property has a clear title before purchasing with cash?

Hire a title company to research county records for any liens, easements, claims or judgments against the land title. Review the deed history. Get title insurance to protect your purchase against any unknown title defects. Take these steps before closing.

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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