How to Buy The Land for Cash in Pennsylvania

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How to Buy The Land for Cash in Pennsylvania

Bart Waldon

Nestled in the Northeastern part of the country, Pennsylvania is really an incredible state, known for its deep roots in American history, varied landscape, and bustling business climate. If you're interested in buying your own piece of land, Pennsylvania has tons of options! Purchasing land here for an all-cash deal can be a smart investment, place to build a home, or even start a new business venture. That said, you'll want to understand how the local real estate market works, know the regulations, and follow best practices before jumping in. This guide breaks down everything you need to know to buy land with cash in Pennsylvania smoothly and successfully.

Overview of the Pennsylvania Land Market

Pennsylvania spans over 44,000 square miles, so there's a ton of raw, undeveloped land available for sale here. With such a huge agricultural industry, you'll often see large plots of farmland hit the market. The state also has endless wooded areas and forests, perfect if you want to own recreational or hunting land. The Pocono Mountains have especially high demand for vacant land sales.

Land prices range quite a bit depending on where you are in Pennsylvania. In bigger cities like Philly or Pittsburgh, land can be super pricey, sometimes over $100k an acre. But in more rural parts of the state, you can find land for as low as $5k an acre, much more affordable. When you're checking out land to potentially buy with cash, look closely at things like access to roads and utilities, development potential, and any deed restrictions.

Finding Land for Sale in Pennsylvania

MLS Listings

Lots of real estate agents post land they're selling on Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Browsing MLS gives you transparent pricing and an easy way to see land for sale directly from the owner.

Online Listings

Websites like Lands of America, LandWatch, and Land And Farm have thousands of Pennsylvania land listings. Poking around those online ads can help you identify promising parcels for sale.

Local Real Estate Agents

Seasoned real estate agents keep their ear to the ground about upcoming land opportunities or off-market deals. An agent in the local area may give you a heads up about land parcels that fit what you're looking for.

Signs/Word of Mouth

Keep an eye out for those "For Sale by Owner" signs along the roadside - they often mean motivated sellers. Chatting with locals sometimes leads to known land for sale that isn't advertised widely.

Auctions/Tax Sales

Check upcoming public auction and tax sale calendars for land being sold below market value - auctions can let you scoop up discounted land.


Connecting with established land wholesalers could get you access to underpriced land parcels they have under contract.

Evaluating and Inspecting the Land

Once you've found some promising land for sale in Pennsylvania, it's super important you thoroughly check it out and inspect it. Here are some key steps:

  • Research the property's title history to make sure there's clean ownership without any issues holding it back.
  • Review the current deed closely to see if there are any easements, restrictions, or other conveyances that could impact how you can use the land.
  • Dig into state and county records to figure out if there are any liens against the property that could get in the way of a sale.
  • If the current property survey seems fishy, hire a surveyor to establish the precise boundary lines and total acreage.
  • Walk the land yourself to check for any disrepair, trespassers, dumping, or other problems.
  • Get septic, well, and soil tests done to understand costs if you want to develop the land and build on it.
  • Investigate what permits you'll need for how you want to use it - agricultural, commercial, residential, etc.

Taking the time upfront to really inspect the land will help you avoid buying a property with hidden issues down the road.

Structuring Your Offer on the Land

Fair Market Value

Hire an appraiser to professionally assess the property's fair market value based on recent comparable sales and current local land values.

Motivated Seller Situation

If the seller seems to need cash quick, consider offering 10-25% below fair market value - that could seal the deal.

Flexible Terms

Sellers may like a flexible closing date, giving them time to find a replacement property.

Cash Purchase

An all-cash offer is extremely tempting for most sellers and can help you win over competing bids.

Earnest Money

Putting down a sizable earnest money deposit shows the seller you're serious about purchasing the land.

Inspection Period

Include a contingency allowing enough time to thoroughly evaluate the property before closing.

Title Company

Specify which title company you want to handle closing - sellers may prefer local companies they know.

Carefully structuring your offer can make a big difference in the seller's decision, so tailor your terms to the specific opportunity.

Purchasing the Land with Cash

With an accepted offer in hand, you can move forward to swiftly purchase the land for cash in Pennsylvania:

Earnest Money - The earnest money deposit is credited to the seller at closing. Wire the funds to the title company or closing attorney handling the transaction.

Down Payment - Many sellers expect at least 10% down payment at signing. A higher down payment indicates serious intent to close and can prevent issues.

Proof of Funds - Provide documentation from your bank or lender confirming enough cash to close is available. This gives the seller confidence in your ability to perform.

Closing Costs - Anticipate customary closing fees like title insurance, recording fees, and transfer taxes. Factor these costs into your purchasing budget.

Closing & Possession - Finalize the closing date allowing time to arrange financing and conduct due diligence. Confirm the possession date for taking ownership.

Pay Remaining Balance - Bring the remaining balance owed to closing in a cashier's check or wire the exact amount 1-2 days prior. Take ownership once funds disburse!

With a cash purchase, there is no financing contingency and you can close on the seller’s timeline.

Using a Land Company for Pennsylvania Cash Land Sales

For those looking to sell land quickly in Pennsylvania, utilizing a local land buying company can streamline the process. Companies like Land Boss have years of experience purchasing Pennsylvania land for cash.

Land companies provide several advantages compared to selling through traditional listings:

Cash Offers - Receive an all-cash offer, with no buyer financing needed. This results in a much faster closing.

As-Is Condition - Land companies buy property in as-is condition, eliminating costly repairs.

Flexible Terms - Land sale terms can be tailored to your individual financial needs and timing.

No Showings - Avoid opens houses and property showings with a direct sale to a land company.

No Commissions - Selling directly to a land buyer means no real estate agent commissions to pay.

Easy Process - Land professionals manage title work, paperwork, and closing logistics for you.

While a land company will pay below full market value, their cash offers, speed, and convenience make them ideal for priority sales.

Key Takeaways When Buying Land for Cash in Pennsylvania

Purchasing raw land for cash in Pennsylvania can be rewarding, especially when adhering to these tips:

  • Inspect land carefully before buying - don’t assume a vacant parcel is problem-free.
  • Research regulations and confirm land usage aligns with your intended purpose.
  • Make an offer appealing to sellers by having cash ready and flexible terms.
  • For quick sales, consider reputable local land buying companies that pay cash.
  • Hire professionals like appraisers, surveyors, and title companies to protect your investment.

With preparation and research, buying land for cash in Pennsylvania can be a smooth process leading to years of enjoyment of your very own slice of the Keystone State!

Final Words

Buying raw land with cash can seem complicated, but with the right preparation it can absolutely be done smoothly. Do your homework upfront on pricing, regulations, and other considerations in Pennsylvania. Thoroughly vet any property through inspections and research to avoid headaches. Structure your offer attractively with competitive pricing, solid funding, and terms amenable to the seller. Lastly, don’t hesitate to lean on professionals like title companies, attorneys, and land consultants to guide you through the process. With diligence and a methodical approach, you can become a land owner through a cash purchase despite the complexities. The rewards of having your own Pennsylvania land will make all the effort worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some tips for negotiating a good price when buying land for cash in Pennsylvania?

Do your research to estimate a fair price, but don’t open negotiations with your highest offer. Start lower but with room to increase. Highlight your terms like a quick closing, flexible move-in date, or covering third-party closing costs to add value. Reference comparable sales prices, but point out if the location or land condition differs. Be a strong negotiator, but stay reasonable within market range.

What closing costs should I expect when purchasing land for cash in Pennsylvania?

Typical closing costs are title insurance fees, attorney/escrow service fees, recording charges, and transfer taxes which vary by county. The title company can provide a detailed Estimate of Settlement Charges listing all closing fees to budget for. Plan for about 4-5% of the purchase price in closing fees unless the seller is covering them.

What are the steps after my offer is accepted to buy land with cash in Pennsylvania?

Once your offer is accepted, complete inspections, appraisal, and title work during the contingency period. Finalize closing and possession dates. Complete any permitting/zoning reviews. Wire earnest money to title company. Review settlement statement. Sign closing docs and wire remaining funds. Get keys on possession date!

What contingencies should I have when buying land for cash in Pennsylvania?

Typical contingencies include for inspection, financing, appraisal, and title review. Even with a cash purchase, keep inspection and appraisal contingencies. Have at least 20 days to inspect. For title review, review early and resolve any issues. Ensure there is a title insurance policy as backup.

Is it risky to purchase land for cash sight unseen in Pennsylvania?

Yes, purchasing land without visiting first is quite risky. At minimum, hire a local real estate agent to visit and assess the property condition for you if you cannot personally. Review recent photos carefully. Check public records for issues. Have strong inspection and title insurance contingencies. Only buy remote land sight unseen from a reputable seller or with trusted local guidance.

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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