How to Sell Land by Owner in Vermont?

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How to Sell Land by Owner in Vermont?
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Vermont is known for its picturesque landscapes, quaint small towns, maple syrup, and independent spirit. This northeastern state boasts lush green mountains, pristine lakes, rolling hills, and dense forests that attract visitors year-round for skiing, hiking, fishing, and leaf peeping.

With over 80 percent of its landscape rural, Vermont offers abundant opportunities for everything from farming to logging to real estate. Selling your own land here as an individual property owner can be rewarding but also comes with its own unique set of considerations. By understanding the localized Vermont land market and following key steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful DIY land sale.

Getting Started with the Land Sale Process in Vermont

Before listing your Vermont property on your own, you’ll want to make sure you have accurate information about your land. This includes:

  • The parcel boundaries and total acreage
  • Details on terrain, vegetation, views, road access etc.
  • Mineral rights and water rights
  • Easements or right of ways
  • Survey pins and markers to identify the exact boundaries
  • Past uses for the land
  • Current zoning and restrictions

Consulting land records at your county clerk’s office can provide this background. Enlisting a survey by a licensed surveyor can also establish clear parcel dimensions.

In addition, you’ll want to examine the site firsthand, taking extensive photos of all views and features. This documentation will be useful for marketing materials. Checking state and local tax assessments can offer a starting point for pricing too.

However, keep in mind that government valuations often lag behind real market values by several years, especially if you live in a quickly appreciating area like Vermont’s high-demand recreation and tourism regions.

Determining a Competitive List Price for Your Vermont Property

Pricing land to sell by owner requires researching recent sales of comparable vacant land in your county and region. A real estate agent will do this automatically through MLS listings. But as a DIY land seller, you’ll need to gather this data yourself.

Sources include:

  • County assessor site for valuations
  • Zillow for estimates
  • Neighborhood social media groups about recent sales
  • Direct contact with buyers and sellers from surrounding areas
  • Local real estate agents willing to share general data

Make notes of vacant land parcels with similar:

  • Acreage
  • Location/views
  • Road access and terrain
  • Zoning and use regulations

Compare prices per acre and whole parcel sales prices for properties sold in the last 6 months to a year. Identify listing and selling prices to see the difference. Use this research to set your initial asking price at market competitive level.

Recognize that markets fluctuate seasonally in Vermont. Listings see more activity in late spring and over summer. Early autumn brings leaf peepers who may invest in land. You don’t want to over or undervalue based on temporary spikes or dips. Consider consulting a licensed appraiser for an unbiased estimate too.

Preparing Your Vermont Property Listing Details

To attract qualified buyers as a FSBO (For Sale by Owner), you need an enticing listing they’ll want to inquire about and share. Basic listing must-haves include:

  • Property basics – location, acreage, parcel ID
  • Pricing – list price, estimated taxes, preferred terms
  • Photographs – landscape views, terrain, road access
  • Descriptions – terrain, road access, current uses
  • Boundary markings – pins, fencing, trails
  • Water access – streams, ponds, drainage if any
  • Mineral/water rights – details on what convey

You can share this information via simple printed flyers. But most DIY land sellers create an online listing through platforms like Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, Lands of America, Land and Farm, Facebook Marketplace or dedicated land selling sites.

Boost visibility by utilizing multiple advertising options in your target area. Just make sure to always include the timestamps and markers required for FSBO advertising in Vermont.

Marketing Your Vermont Land Effectively

Simply creating an online listing won’t spur instant land buyers though. You need to apply proactive marketing strategies to promote your Vermont land sale on an ongoing basis. Useful DIY tactics include:

Network locally: Tap into your personal and professional circles, contacting everyone you know in Vermont about listing your land first before going wider. They may have an interest themselves or be able to connect you to serious buyers in the region. Attend local events too and strike up conversations. You never know who may be in the market for land.

Leverage signage: Place professional looking “Land for Sale” signs along the property borders and at the access road entrance. Include your phone number and/or website URL where the listing can be found. Interested people driving by can then easily get details and reach out.

Run ads: Place classified advertisements in local Vermont newspapers and real estate focused publications both online and in print. Include the online listing link for photos and more information.

Post in forums: Engage in real estate and community focused forums and groups on Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, and other platforms by sharing your land listing to spark discussion and leads. Interact to build connections.

Execute these initiatives methodically when newly listed. But keep efforts going weekly to gain visibility until you secure a buyer.

Allowing Site Visits of Your Vermont Property

A land buyer needs to visually verify parcel particulars in-person before committing, assessing if the terrain, views, road access etc. match claims and appear usable for intended plans. If out of state or country, they may arrange for a local representative to proxy.

As a DIY seller, site visits mean accompanying prospects individually at the property itself. This one-on-one ability to answer questions and upsell attractive features offers an advantage over agent listings.

But safety comes first when privately showing your rural land. Precautions to take include:

  • Meet the first time in a public place like a local diner to verify buyer identities and intentions.
  • Ask to see photo ID and proof of funds for serious buyers before accessing the site.
  • Share the planned viewing timeline and location with someone as a precaution.
  • Maintain phone access with signal during the visit.
  • Keep a safe space between you and visitors, letting them walk the property on their own after you unlock gates.
  • If anything seems questionable, trust your instincts and end the tour early, offering to reschedule if appropriate.

Serious buyers sometimes make repeat visits as they move closer to deciding. Follow the same safety protocols every time. But do use it as a chance to reiterate beneficial features and share things like mineral rights documentation, boundary surveys etc. that can help them complete due diligence.

Negotiating Your Vermont Land Sale

Once a buyer confirms interest, you’ll start the back-and-forth negotiations. As an individual DIY seller, remember that companies and investors often excel at getting land at lower prices. Don’t immediately accept an initial offer without countering.

But also go in with reasonable expectations. Few Vermont land parcels sell at full list pricing right away on the open market these days. If over 60 days, it may be time to reassess your listed rate.

Power tactics for negotiating land sales include:

  • Have a minimum price defined ahead of time that you would accept, keeping it mostly private.
  • Counter offer with a price just below what you actually want to end up at typically.
  • Offer flexible terms like seller financing options to bridge value gaps.
  • Sweeten the deal by throwing in other property rights like mineral rights or hunting rights. These have value to some buyers.
  • Ask the buyer direct questions to understand their goals and constraints for the property. Tailor counters accordingly.
  • When countering, provide context from your research to justify the adjusted number.
  • Let the buyer walk away first if needed before going to your true bottom line. They may come back with a better offer.

Ideally both parties feel positive about the final settled price. But you may need to compromise some if wanting to sell direct without agent listings. Just avoid accepting an amount where you’ll regret not capturing full market value. Trust your instincts during the Vermont land sale negotiations.

Handling DIY Land Sale Contracts in Vermont

In Vermont, land sale transactions don’t necessarily require an attorney. But they do need proper documentation. Handling your own legal paperwork poses risks if not prepared correctly. Before taking this on, consider that:

  • Simple errors could invalidate the sale agreement.
  • Specific conditional clauses may be needed per Vermont real estate regulations.
  • Fraud protections require witness signatures from non-interested parties.
  • Records must get filed correctly with the right state and county authorities.

Alternatives to DIY sale contracts include:

  • Asking the buyer to provide their standard contract template for review instead.
  • Using escrow assistance where they handle documentation and filing for a small fee.
  • Hiring your own real estate lawyer to draft or review the paperwork.
  • Requesting title insurance to limit risk from undiscovered defects or liens.
  • Offering to split closing costs for a smooth process.

Take time to understand all terms and include contingencies that allow you to break the deal if needed. This protects against being locked into a sale then finding issues like title challenges, survey discrepancies etc.

Ideally everything will proceed smoothly once an initial purchase agreement gets signed. But it pays to anticipate and prepare for snags that could pop up.

Closing the Deal Yourself in Vermont

You’ve sorted out the contractual details. Now you just need to wrap up a few final steps to close the DIY land sale process:

  • Schedule a closing date about 30 days out from sale agreement. This gives time for any title transfers, final county/state filings paperwork to get handled.
  • Confirm method of payment – wire transfer, cashier's check, regular check etc. Make sure funds are verified before releasing the deed.
  • Sign over your deed to convey the title specifying “grantor” (you) and “grantee” (buyer). Witnesses typically sign too.
  • Provide keys and lockbox codes for any gates. Transfer security deposits on leased rail fencing if negotiated.
  • Share instructions about utilities connections, easement access rules etc. as applicable.
  • Exchange contact information for longer term coordination needs between the new and old land owners in Vermont.
  • Notify your county tax assessor about the change in ownership for their records.

And with that, you will have successfully sold your Vermont land by owner! Reward yourself for this major accomplishment before starting your next chapter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

No, you can sell land yourself in Vermont without hiring a real estate agent. This is known as selling by owner or "for sale by owner" (FSBO). It gives you full control and saves on commission fees. But it does require more work on your end for pricing, marketing, showing the land, and handling contractual paperwork.

What costs will I pay when selling land myself in Vermont?

Typical costs include document filing fees, advertising/marketing expenses, legal consultation fees if choosing to have an attorney review contracts, appraisal costs if getting a formal valuation, and miscellaneous costs like signs or listings fees. You also may opt to offer the buyer certain closing cost concessions.

How do I determine a fair asking price when selling my Vermont land myself?

Research prices for recent vacant land sales in your county and region for comparable acreage, location, terrain and use regulations. Check Zillow estimates, county assessments, and touch base directly with buyers, sellers or real estate agents familiar with the local area to help set pricing.

What Vermont regulations apply specifically to FSBO land sales?

Vermont has some particular statutes that individual land sellers must follow pertaining to agent disclosure, contract contingencies, lead paint notifications, and water supply/sewage provisions. Review these to ensure your DIY listing and sale process remains compliant.

Can I advertise my Vermont land for sale without an agent? 

Yes, FSBO advertising is legal but must contain specific language indicating it is for sale by owner. Certain platforms like Zillow also have designated FSBO listing options available nationwide. Use customized signs, local ads and social media too.

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