How to Sell Land by Owner in Delaware?

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How to Sell Land by Owner in Delaware?

Bart Waldon

As land values across Delaware continue rising – with the average acre of farmland now valued at $8,500 according to recent Federal Reserve data – more landowners are considering selling undeveloped acreage in their portfolio. However, the process of subdividing land or marketing raw acreage remains complex without guidance. DIY land sellers often struggle with property appraisals, identifying qualified buyers, negotiating offers, and navigating closing paperwork alone. Thankfully by educating yourself on the process and best practices, Delaware landowners can successfully sell smaller land tracts or large acreage on their own and pocket the extra equity. This article will explore top tips to effectively sell Delaware land yourself while avoiding common missteps.

Selling land on your own in Delaware does come with some unique considerations compared to other states. There are specific regulations around subdividing land, zoning requirements depending on location, and taxes that will impact your net proceeds. By educating yourself on the local real estate laws and market conditions, you can successfully sell your Delaware land without an agent and maximize your ROI.

Get Your Property Details in Order

Before listing your land, you need to have all the facts about your property straightened out. This includes:

  • Acreage - Verify the total acreage through land surveys and property records. Inaccurate acreage can kill deals.
  • Zoning Classification - Check with your local zoning office to understand how your land is currently zoned and any restrictions. Agricultural, commercial, and residential zones all have specific regulations.
  • Mineral/Water Rights - Know if you own the subsurface mineral rights or if they have been sold off separately. The same applies to water rights.
  • Easements/Right-of-Ways - Disclose any utility easements, access right-of-ways, or other encumbrances on the land.
  • Subdivision Potential - Especially for larger parcels, understand regulations around subdividing the land for increased value.

Getting these property details organized upfront will help you accurately market the land, determine an appropriate valuation, and avoid surprises down the road.

Price Your Delaware Land Competitively

Setting the right list price for your land is key to selling it without an agent. Price too high and your property will sit on the market; price too low and you leave money on the table.

Research recent land sales in your county to calibrate your pricing:

  • Check public records of vacant land that has sold in the last 6-12 months with similar acreage, zoning, and amenities to identify price per acre trends.
  • Drive the area to view the land. What unique attributes does your property have over recent sales that justify pricing adjustments up or down?
  • Consult an independent appraiser if needed to determine fair market value. This upfront cost can give you greater confidence in setting an optimal price.

Also factor in that as the seller, you’ll be responsible for covering transfer taxes and closing costs that are typically split with the buyer. Leaving some room in your list price helps absorb those expenses.

In today's market, land priced within 5-10% of comparative properties tends to sell within the first 6 months.

Market Your Land for Sale in Delaware

With your land correctly valued, now you need to let buyers know it’s for sale. Your marketing should cast a wide net through both online and offline channels.

Online Marketing Tips:

  • List on FSBO sites like Lands of America, Landwatch, and Land And Farm to reach interested land buyers.
  • Create a professional webpage dedicated just to marketing your property, with photos, drone video, interactive maps highlighting boundaries and local amenities. This can be linked through online classifieds.
  • Run Google and Facebook ads geo-targeting people searching for Delaware land and real estate. These can drive traffic to your site.

Offline Marketing Ideas:

  • Post large professional signs around the property’s perimeter announcing your land is for sale. Include acreage, price, and your phone number.
  • List in local Delaware newspapers and real estate magazines. Though declining in popularity, they still reach older demographics.
  • Network with local investors that may be interested in buying your property or can refer buyers for a finder’s fee.

Mix up your media channels to ensure complete market coverage among buyers active both online and off.

Pre-Qualify Delaware Land Buyers

As you begin receiving calls and emails expressing interest, it’s important to pre-screen buyers before simply giving a tour. By asking a few strategic questions, you can filter for financially qualified prospects worth your time:

  • Why are you interested in this property and what are your plans if you purchase it? Listen for specific vs. vague reasons to gauge seriousness.
  • Are you working with a lender or paying cash? Ask how they plan to finance if borrowing.
  • What is your timeline to purchase and close? Good buyers will share definitive timelines while tire-kickers stay vague.
  • Have you purchased vacant land before? Past experience purchasing land simplifies transactions for first-timers.

Also run title search on any potential buyers to uncover any legal clouds that could derail a sale down the road.

Vetting buyer motivations, financing, and credibility in advance screens out “browsers” simply kicking tires but not prepared to move fast and close a deal.

Master the Purchase and Sale Contract

Before accepting any offer, educate yourself thoroughly on Delaware real estate purchase contracts. Key areas to understand include:

  • Standard Forms - Delaware Association of Realtors standard P&S forms are most common. Review sections requiring seller input.
  • Deposits - Determine what sum from the buyer shows adequate commitment to close. This is also your money if they default.
  • Contingencies - Understand market norms for inspection, financing, title contingencies; push for shorter periods.
  • Closing Date - Set an ambitious but realistic closing timeline. Plan at least 30 days out from contract ratification.
  • Broker Fees - Even FSBO, buyers may engage brokers expecting listing-side fees paid. Be clear on what you will/won’t pay.

Also research typical title insurance requirements, transfer taxes, settlement statements, and closing procedures common for Delaware so there are no surprises.

Preparing your own purchase contract instead of relying on the buyer’s version gives you greater control to protect your interests during sale negotiations.

Anticipate Closing Cost Deductions when Calculating Net Proceeds

One key area first-time land sellers forget to account for are the various closing costs deducted from your final proceeds.

In Delaware, typical seller closing costs range from 2-5% of the sale price, including:

  • Transfer Taxes - 1-2% of sale price paid to the state
  • Legal Fees – Average is $650+
  • Title Insurance Fees – Varies based on sale price
  • Recording & Admin Fees - $200-$500
  • Broker Fees (Maybe) - 2-3% if buyer has agent
  • Misc. Expenses - Signs, clean-up, document fees

Carefully tallying an estimate of these fees lets you accurately calculate your expected net proceeds from any offer and evaluate true return on investment.

Selling land on your own does take some extra work educating yourself on Delaware property laws and documentation requirements. But avoiding agent commissions allows you to put more money in your pocket. If the property details are in order, priced right, and effectively marketed, you can have a rewarding and lucrative FSBO land sale. Just anticipate closing deductions when weighing offers so there are no cash flow surprises at settlement.

Final Thoughts

Selling vacant land does not need to be an expensive or frustrating process. By first taking the time to get all your property details organized, pricing your land competitively through market research, widely marketing to qualified buyers, vetting offers carefully, and planning for closing costs - selling your land FSBO in Delaware can be lucrative. There's no agent commission to pay, allowing you to maximize ROI. It does require some extra effort upfront fully understanding regulations and contracts. But once listed right, the Delaware land market is robust with demand from developers, investors, and private buyers looking to purchase property like yours. Put in work pricing right and marketing creatively, screen buyers judiciously, negotiate favorably, and you may just have an offer in hand within months without needing to list with an agent at all.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need to use a title company when selling land FSBO in Delaware?

Yes, you should still use a title company when selling land on your own without an agent in Delaware. They will facilitate the closing process by preparing deed documents, disbursing funds, and ensuring clean title transfer. Most buyers will not proceed without title insurance.

What are the disclosures required when selling my Delaware land?

Delaware requires sellers to provide a Seller's Disclosure form detailing property conditions, known defects, zoning status, and more. You also must disclose any mineral/water rights reservations and provide documentation on easements, liens, or other encumbrances.

What transfer taxes apply when selling land in Delaware?

Delaware charges a realty transfer tax on the sale of land ranging from 1-2% of the total transaction amount (excluding closing fees/costs). This is customarily split evenly between buyer and seller.

Can I list my land for sale by owner on MLS?

No. Only licensed real estate agents have access to shared MLS databases. But you can list on various national land and FSBO specific sites to market broadly.

Should I require an earnest money deposit when selling land myself?

Yes, requiring an earnest money deposit with any purchase offer helps qualify serious vs non-serious buyers. A deposit also provides financial protection if the buyer defaults before closing. Require at least 1-2% of purchase price.

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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