How to Sell Land by Owner in Hawaii?

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How to Sell Land by Owner in Hawaii?

Bart Waldon

Hawaii is a land of great natural beauty and a popular tourist destination. With limited private land available, property in Hawaii is valuable and selling it can net owners significant profits. However, the process also comes with its own unique set of challenges. This how-to guide covers key steps for successfully selling land by owner in Hawaii.

Hawaii consists of several islands surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Private land ownership became more common in the mid-19th century. Today, policies limit foreign ownership and control land distribution. Selling property requires dealing with complex regulations around zoning, title transfers, property surveys and more.

Additionally, Hawaii's unique environment impacts land use and development. Certain land areas fall under conservation protections. This includes shoreline setbacks to protect beaches. Other land lies below the conservation "ceded land" boundary line. In these cases, special leasing agreements apply between landowners and the state.

Determining Motivation Behind the Sale

Before listing a property, consider why you want to sell the land and expected outcomes. Common motivations for selling Hawaiian land by owner include:

  • Tapping into sale profits for retirement or to fund other plans
  • Offloading an unused or underutilized land asset
  • Settling an inheritance or estate division
  • Moving out of Hawaii to another location

Outline your goals around the sale price, timeline and method (traditional listing, auction etc.). Setting clear targets early allows properly marketing and pacing yourself. It also helps evaluate offers objectively against your ideal scenario.

Researching the Land's Value

Valuing land appropriately ensures you list competitively but also secure fair market value. Start by checking comparable land plots sold recently around your property. Resources include public sales records and real estate sites documenting recent deals.

Look up the land's county assessment records for its valuation and property class designation. Consult sites like Zillow for their computer-generated "Zestimates" of potential value.

Additionally, order an appraisal from a licensed professional appraiser. They will personally inspect the site and draft a detailed report on various valuation methodologies. Expect to pay $500-$1000 for their unbiased, expert perspective.

Setting an accurate asking price prevents overpricing and losing potential buyers. List too low and money gets left on the table. Invest time upfront determining fair market value based on location, size, use designation and site qualities.

Preparing Required Documentation

Selling property in Hawaii requires gathering specific legal and administrative paperwork. This includes:

  • Deed or Title – Evidence you legally own the land and can transfer rights. Order updated title records from the Bureau of Conveyances.
  • Survey – A certified land survey with boundary markers and precise acreage. Vital for accurately marketing and closing sales.
  • Disclosure Form – Mandatory form indicating property condition, flood zone status, conformity to zoning rules and more. Mitigates buyer legal recourse.
  • Property Tax Clearance – No outstanding tax balance due on the land prior to ownership transfer.
  • Association Approvals – If part of a community association, secured approval to sell the property.

Missing or inaccurate documents slow down deals. The title company facilitating closing will request these materials. Gather everything early so sales can proceed efficiently.

Drafting a Strong Sales Listing

Creating an appealing information package markets the land effectively. Well-prepared sales documents also simplify communications for remote or out-of-state buyers. Recommended items to include:

Property Description – Detail acreage, designated use (residential, agricultural etc.), terrain, surrounding sites, special features and infrastructures (utilities access etc.). Provide aerial photos. Indicates potential applications.

Parcel Map – A map outlining the property boundary shape and dimensions. Allows quick visual confirmation it matches the expected site.

Asking Price Justification – Summarize how you determined fair asking price based on appraisal, recent comparable sales, tax assessed value and the motivations behind the listing.

Transaction Terms – State preferred selling methodology (traditional sale, auction, direct purchase), payment options, closing logistics help offered and possession timeframe post-closing.

Assemble listings professionally like real estate agents. Avoid overly flowery language making unsupported claims. Stick to facts and realistic depictions.

Listing the Hawaii Property

Generating interest involves actively publicizing listings through appropriate channels. In Hawaii numerous options exist:

  • MLS Listings – Leverage real estate agents to add land into Multiple Listing Services for broader visibility. Requires listing agreement and commissions.
  • DIY Listing Sites – For Sale By Owner platforms like and provide support. Some offer basic listings for free.
  • Marketplaces – eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace enable direct for-sale listings. Leverage their high site traffic. Lower service levels than brokers.
  • Industry Publications – Land and Farm, Loopnet, Lands of America cater to real estate investors and land buyers. Paid subscriptions often required to list.
  • Local Outreach – Personally contact nearby ranches, developers and businesses who may want your land. Leverage community connections.

Cast a wide net through paid and free channels to surface qualified buyers. Be responsive to inquiries by having complete sales documents and details on hand.

Negotiating Hawaii Land Transactions

Once prospective buyers emerge, move discussions towards negotiate offers and contract agreements. Below are key aspects to address for smoothly facilitating deals:

  • Entertain all reasonable initial offers rather than refusing ones that seem low. Land sales are negotiated. Counteroffers let conversations progress.
  • Establish a set timeframe when accepting backup offers if initial ones fall through. Keeps alternatives warm.
  • Clearly specify what fixtures (storage sheds, livestock fencing etc.) are included or excluded from the sale and their values.
  • Confirm buyer financing, loans, payment collection method and closing agent details are acceptable to you before accepting offers.
  • Adjust price and terms to keep preferred buyers engaged. Request higher non-refundable earnest money deposits from questionable ones to qualify intentions.
  • Consult a real estate attorney before signing anything to understand deal structure, tax implications and liabilities for both parties.

Selling land yourself requires diligent communications, patience and strategic concessions to close satisfactory deals.

Closing the Land Sale

The buyer's lender or designated escrow company handles closing procedural complexities like recording deed transfers and distributing proceeds.

As seller, continue assisting by providing payment instructions, statue-required conveyance tax forms and signing paperwork in a timely manner. Any delays can threaten deals.

Follow the title company's closing checklist to transfer liability, receive funds and relinquish all ownership rights to the buyer. Afterwards is also prudent changing property tax and billing notices reflecting the new owner.

Partnering with Land Buyers

Attempting to sell land by owner presents practical challenges around legalities, documentation, listing exposure and more. Companies like Land Boss specialize in buying and selling Hawaii land for clients. They actively market to qualified investors and can purchase sites directly at fair prices.

Working with established land companies simplifies divesting unwanted parcels for owners through cash sales. Sites not suitable for traditional listings may still appeal to specialists with redevelopment plans or as additions to existing inventory.

Land Boss and similar buyers manage all closing details as well. Converting land into immediate funds also benefits those with pressing financial or estate planning needs. Companies purchasing investment properties themselves understand motivated seller perspectives.

Selling Hawaiian land solo takes much effort and persistence. Unless required, owners may favorably consider reputable land buyers as easier alternatives to private sales. Both routes though can successfully transfer unwanted properties.

Final Thoughts

Selling land on your own in Hawaii can be challenging yet also provide large financial rewards if done properly. Determining clear motivations, thoroughly researching property value, preparing legal documents, crafting appealing listings, negotiating strategically with buyers and diligently managing closings constitute key steps for success. Landowners willing to learn processes and actively market deals can expect competitive offers and strong final sale prices over time. Alternatively, those wanting convenient exits look to experienced local land buyers like Land Boss to purchase properties directly. Either path - selling solo or via companies - can accomplish the ultimate goals of profitably divesting land assets at owners’ acceptable prices. With careful planning, tenacity, and the right approach, Hawaiian land gets passed to new stewards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a real estate agent to sell my land in Hawaii?

No, you can sell Hawaiian land without an agent by listing it yourself through MLS, websites, publications etc. However, agents facilitate faster sales through their marketing resources, buyer networks and skills. Their commissions reflect this value.

What legal paperwork do I need to sell my land?

At minimum a clear property deed, land survey, disclosure forms, tax clearance certificate and any needed association approvals constitute required legal paperwork. The title company also mandates other closing documents to record transfers.

How much does a vacant land plot typically sell for in Hawaii?

Sale prices vary greatly based on location, acres, allowed use and site attributes. Residential-zoned coastal parcels under an acre for instance average around $600k while agricultural inland sites average $3-4k per acre. Recent comparable sales indicate local market rates.

Does my Hawaii land listing need to be inspected before selling?

While optional, inspections discovering issues early help fairly price properties. Buyers also customarily do due diligence inspections so best uncovering defects beforehand. Common checks include surveying boundary markers, evaluating soil conditions andflood zones, checking utility access etc.

What are closing costs when selling my Hawaiian land?

Typical closing costs for Hawaii land sellers are 1-2% the property value. This covers conveyance taxes, legal counsel fees and the substantial title search process for deed record transfers. Buyers may split or cover these charges as negotiated. Plan accordingly.

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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