How to Sell Land for Cash in Virginia

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How to Sell Land for Cash in Virginia
By

Bart Waldon

Selling land in Virginia presents a major financial opportunity for property owners in the state. With proper preparation and marketing, land can sell relatively quickly for top dollar. This guide covers key steps to follow for maximizing value and convenience when selling land parcels in Virginia.

Selling land in Virginia presents a major financial opportunity for property owners in the state. With proper preparation and marketing, land can sell relatively quickly for top dollar. This guide covers key steps to follow for maximizing value and convenience when selling land parcels in Virginia.

Research Local Land Values in Your Virginia County

Land prices can vary drastically between regions of Virginia, and even within the same county. In sought-after Northern Virginia suburbs near Washington DC, vacant land fetches premium pricing due to high demand from developers and homeowners looking to build custom estates. Just a few dozen miles away in rural counties, land prices plummet.

When determining a competitive asking price, look up recent sales of comparable land parcels in your specific area. The acreage, road access, zoning, utilities, natural features and location relative to towns or suburban growth corridors will impact value. If selling multiple parcels, consider each one individually to maximize overall portfolio value. An experienced local real estate agent can provide customized guidance on pricing based on hyper-local market factors.

Survey the Property Lines and Conduct Title Work

Before listing land for sale, it is essential to have an official survey done marking exact property boundaries and total acreage. Surveying removes any guesswork on the total size of the land being sold. It also minimizes future neighbor disputes if property lines are clearly delineated.

Additionally, conduct a title search to confirm there are no easements, liens or other encumbrances recorded for the property. The title work should show a clear "fee simple" record confirming you own the land free and clear. Buyers will want to see clean titling before closing.

Survey and title fees typically run a few thousand dollars but are a smart investment to maximize marketability of your land. Visual markers from a survey also help buyers inspect the parcel.

List with Both Local and National Online Platforms

To generate strong interest in your land listing, it is best to use a multi-pronged marketing approach. First, list the property through high-visibility national land and real estate websites like Lands of America, LandWatch and Realtor.com.

On your listings, include details like property type, acreage, access roads, pricing and photos of the parcel. You can also list the land on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace using colorful descriptions and images.

In addition to broad online exposure, identify one or two top-performing local real estate agents in your county specializing in land sales. Meeting with agents before listing provides personalized guidance on price point and strategy. The agent's relationships with developers, farms, timber companies and individual buyers can help match you to parties actively looking for land in the area.

A commission will be collected at sale, but a fraction is worth it for their expertise and buyer network.

Market Directly to Adjacent Landowners

A prime target for your land listing are owners of neighboring parcels looking to expand their holdings. Obtain contact info for farms, private owners or businesses nearby and reach out to them directly about a potential sale.

Even if they do not need additional acreage now, they may know others in the area looking for land and provide referrals. These direct connections in the local community can shave months off a sale timeline compared to just waiting for online responses.

Install Visible Signage and Clean Up the Property

Install professional "For Sale by Owner" signs at the main road entrance and other public-facing sides of the property to catch the eye of people passing by. Include key details like total acreage, property type, phone/email for inquiries and cash pricing terms.

Also spend time clearing any brush or rubbish from the land and mowing grass if applicable. A clean, maintained appearance signals that the property is actively for sale and makes visual inspections easier for interested parties. Avoid letting the land get overgrown.

Consider Creative Owner Financing Options

Sometimes seller financing can help land sell faster and for a higher price by expanding the pool of qualified buyers. With owner financing, you carry a mortgage for the purchaser instead of requiring a traditional bank loan.

This allows buyers with less capital access to your listing if they make a sizable down payment and agree to a payment installment plan for the balance at a competitive interest rate over time. You carry the note until it is paid off, then sign over the deed. Owner financing requires thoroughly vetted buyers and an ironclad deed of trust for security.

If structured properly to balance risk, it can be a "win-win" allowing buyers access to quality land and sellers to collect premium pricing. But work closely with a real estate lawyer on terms.

Be Flexible on Price to Drive Urgency

When negotiating with interested buyers, avoid issuing rigid ultimatums. If you overprice initially, consider dropping the listing price incrementally to drive urgency among potential purchasers.

Sometimes a price drop can kickstart new interest and bids, strengthening your negotiating leverage. But only lower price if still above your minimum acceptable threshold.

Also emphasize unique attributes about the parcel that merit a valuation above comps, such as rare natural features, access to utilities or proximity to certain areas. The more evidence backing your pricing, the stronger negotiating position to defend value.

Weigh the Merits of Selling to a Land Company

A convenient option for a fast, hassle-free land sale is to contact local land buying companies like Land Boss that purchase properties outright with cash. There are several advantages to selling to professionals versus listing privately:

  • Closings happen within days or weeks instead of months. Land companies have funds readily available.
  • There are no hefty agent commissions or closing costs – sellers keep net proceeds.
  • Land is purchased “as-is”, saving time on cleanups or repairs.
  • Companies are experienced appraising land parcels, so can provide fair cash offers.
  • Multi-parcel portfolios can often be purchased together.
  • Sales are all cash, so no need to offer owner financing.

The main tradeoff is companies will pay a wholesale price below full retail market value. But for some, the speed and convenience outweighs the marginally lower price.

Don't Set Arbitrary Deadlines

When marketing land, avoid setting firm expiration dates for accepting an offer. Rigid deadlines can backfire by hurrying buyers into lowball bids and potentially eliminating legitimate high bidders that need more time.

Keep timeframes flexible while emphasizing urgency to serious buyers that move decisively. If you receive an acceptable bid, give fair warning to other prospects that an offer is on the table before accepting. But don't create arbitrary deadlines that may inadvertently cut off the optimal deal.

Final Thoughts

Selling land in Virginia can seem daunting, but with the right strategy it can also reap major rewards. There are many potential buyers across industries like development, farming and forestry looking to invest in the Commonwealth's diverse and historic land offerings. By thoroughly researching hyper-local land valuations, creating compelling and descriptive listings, directly engaging likely purchasers, allowing flexibility on terms when reasonable, and exercising savvy yet respectful negotiation, Virginia land sellers can maximize their chances of success. With proper preparation and persistence, you can attract lucrative offers and sell for top dollar on the optimal timeline. Consult all available options, from experienced real estate agents to direct outreach and even reputable land buying companies, to find the best fit based on your needs and priorities. With the tips in this guide, selling your land parcels for cash in Virginia can be an extremely fruitful endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What paperwork do I need to sell land in Virginia?

To sell land in Virginia, you need a clear deed showing title and documentation from a legal survey of the property boundaries and acreage. Title work should confirm you fully own the land free of any liens or easements.

How long does vacant land take to sell in Virginia?

On average, vacant land parcels take 3-6 months to sell in Virginia if priced right and marketed aggressively. High-demand tracts in suburban growth corridors can sometimes sell in under a month. Rural land with few access roads may take over a year.

What are capital gains taxes on Virginia land sales?

Virginia imposes no state capital gains tax, but you must pay federal capital gains tax on land sale profits of 15% for most filers. There are deductions for selling at a loss or holding land for over a year before selling. Consult a tax professional.

Should I get my land appraised before selling in Virginia?

Most experts recommend skipping the costs of a formal appraisal and instead researching recent comparable land sales and listing prices in your county to value your land accurately. Appraisals can cost $1,000+ with minimal added benefit.

What are the closing costs for selling land in Virginia?

Typical closing costs for the seller on a Virginia land sale include the land survey, title search fees, legal conveyance document preparation and prorated property taxes. The buyer pays recording and transfer taxes. Total seller closing costs often range from 1-3% of sale 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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