How to Sell Land for Cash in Washington

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How to Sell Land for Cash in Washington
By

Bart Waldon

Selling a piece of land in Washington state can be a long and complex process. With its diverse landscape ranging from coastal harbors to mountain ranges and plateau valleys, land use and value varies greatly across the state. If your goal is to sell your land quickly for cash, you have several options to consider. Understanding the localized land market, strategies for maximizing sale price, and the advantages of selling to a land buying company can help you successfully sell your Washington property fast.

Understanding Land Use and Value in Washington

Covering over 66,000 square miles, Washington state has a highly varied geography that influences land use and prices. The Cascade Mountains and Olympic Peninsula boast dense conifer forests. Major rivers like the Columbia and Snake Rivers enable agriculture in central and southeastern valleys. The Puget Sound region contains bays, islands, and the coastal lands around Seattle.

With this diverse terrain, land prices shift significantly based on location and use. According to the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, average per acre prices in 2019 reached around $300,000 in King County where Seattle is located. Compare that to $3,200 per acre in central Washington's Kittitas County. Factors like population density, development potential, natural resources, and recreational use impact value.

Working with a local real estate broker can provide greater insights on property values in your specific city, county, or region. Online sites like Zillow also share estimated land values, but those are rough guides. Understanding the true market value based on recent sales of comparable vacant land can help set a fair asking price when selling yourself.

Selling Land on Your Own

For the highest potential sale price, putting in the work to sell the land yourself is an option. With this path, you must handle all the marketing, negotiations, paperwork, and closings. Here are some tips:

  • Price it right - Setting a competitive, realistic asking price gets buyers interested. Price too high and it may sit unsold. Check prices for recent vacant land sales in your county.
  • Maximize exposure - List the property on multiple sites like Lands of America, Loopnet, and Craigslist. Create a custom website for the property with photos.
  • Advertise online and offline - Run local newspaper and radio ads. Post professional signage along the road frontage. Blanket the area to reach more buyers.
  • Highlight amenities - Play up key features like views, road frontage, zoning classification, timber value, etc. Help buyers visualize owning and using the land.
  • Offer owner financing - Carrying the loan yourself opens up more potential buyers. Set reasonable terms at competitive rates to entice buyers.
  • Negotiate fairly - Avoid rejecting low offers immediately. Have wiggle room to negotiate a fair price for both parties.
  • Inspect thoroughly - Before accepting an offer, complete due diligence like title search, surveys, permit review, etc. to avoid issues.

With preparation and persistence, you can market the land effectively. But it takes significant time and effort most sellers don't have.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Rather than sell yourself, you can hire a real estate professional to handle the listing and sales process. They have greater access to buyer networks and more experience pricing and negotiating land deals. However, there are trade-offs to consider:

  • Commission fees - Agents charge 4-6% commission on the sale price. This cuts into your profits significantly. Still, their marketing resources may help boost the price.
  • Time to sell - Even with an agent, selling raw land can take 6 months to a year. Vacant land sits longer with a smaller buyer pool. Have patience.
  • Paperwork know-how - The agent handles title searches, deed preparation, disclosures, and other documents. Their expertise here is valuable.
  • Listing reach - Agents list properties on MLS and have connections with other agents to expand exposure of your land for sale.
  • Negotiation experience - Experienced agents have negotiated hundreds of deals. They know strategies to push for the optimal price.

Weigh the time investment and costs of hiring an agent versus their ability to maximize your land sale return through greater exposure, resources, and expertise.

Auctioning the Land

For a quick sale, auctioning your land gets results fast. The auction company handles marketing to generate buyer interest. When auction day comes, buyers bid against each other, with the highest bid winning. Some benefits of auctioning land include:

  • Quick process to sell within weeks, not months or years
  • Buyer competition drives up the final hammer price
  • The seller doesn't pay commission fees to the auction company

However, there are also downsides to consider:

  • You lose control of setting a minimum or reserve price for the auction. The final price depends on bidding interest.
  • Auctions may attract lowball investors who drive down the price.
  • Marketing exposure may be limited compared to traditional listings.

If you need a fast sale and are comfortable with the risks of auction pricing, this option can convert your land to cash quicker than most methods.

Working with Land Buying Companies

For a guaranteed cash sale with no waiting on bank financing, selling to an established land buying company is often the simplest route. These real estate investors have cash on hand to purchase properties outright and handle everything from due diligence to closing.

There are several benefits to selling your land to a trusted land buying firm:

  • Cash in hand fast - Access immediate funds within days or weeks instead of waiting months for bank loans.
  • As-is condition - Sell the land as-is regardless of issues like liens, zoning restrictions, toxicity etc. The buyer handles any needed cleanup or approvals.
  • No commissions - Avoid the 4-6% real estate commissions by going direct to the buyer. More profit stays in your pocket.
  • Flexible terms - Some companies offer structured payments over time instead of a lump payout. This provides cash flow from the sale.
  • Close on your timeline - Investors can close quickly once an agreement is reached. No need to wait on financing contingencies.

The trade-off is the buyer will pay a discounted price compared to full retail. But for fast, convenient closes, this option has major advantages over traditional sales.

Tips for Getting the Best Offer from Land Buyers

Even when selling at a wholesale price, use these tips to maximize the offer from a land buyer:

  • Provide all property details - Having boundary surveys, title history, disclosures, and other documents allows the buyer to properly assess the land value.
  • Get quotes from multiple buyers - Don't take the first low offer. Shopping around creates competition.
  • Suggest creative terms - Offering owner financing or keeping mineral rights can help boost offers.
  • Be flexible on closing date - A delayed closing may enable a higher price. If you don't need immediate payment, a later settle date makes room for a higher offer.
  • Start high - Begin negotiation at the top of expected value before working down to reach an agreement.
  • Sweeten the deal - Offer to include any existing structures to add value for the buyer.

With preparation and negotiation savvy, selling to a land investor can still result in a win-win deal for both parties.

Questions to Ask Potential Land Buying Firms

Not all real estate investment companies operate the same. To ensure you choose a reliable buyer, ask these key questions:

  • How long have you been in business buying and selling land? Look for an established track record.
  • What types of financing do you have available? Seek companies with their own capital to buy versus relying on outside lenders.
  • How soon can you close once we have a signed purchase agreement? The shorter the better to get your cash quickly.
  • Do you purchase land as-is, regardless of any issues or restrictions? Confirm they buy unconditionally without requiring cleanup or approvals.
  • What are your typical purchase prices compared to fair market value? Understand their valuation methods. Discounts of 10-30% off retail may apply.
  • Are there any fees for the seller? Most cover all due diligence and closing costs but verify.

Vetting land buyers thoroughly on the front end is key to ensuring a smooth, successful closing.

Sell Your Washington Property for Cash with Land Boss

At Land Boss, we make selling your Washington land for cash simple, fast, and straightforward. Operating in the state for over 5 years, we've bought and sold hundreds of properties, providing fair cash offers to sellers and taking care of every detail along the way.

After providing some basic details about your property, we perform an objective market valuation based on the location, size, and amenities. Within 2 days or less, you will receive a cash offer with funds available to close in as soon as 7 days. We take care of title work, appraisals, legal filings, and all closing costs too.

Our team works quickly to get you cash fast with no hidden fees or commissions. We buy land as-is, regardless of condition, so you don't have to deal with cleanup or existing issues on the property. Let us take that headache totally out of your hands.

Final Thoughts

Selling land in Washington can be complicated given the varied terrain and land values across the state. While you can attempt to sell yourself or hire an agent, the process requires substantial time and effort. If your goal is to convert your unused land to cash quickly, partnering with an established land buying company that makes straightforward cash offers is often the simplest solution. Taking the time to understand land values in your area, considering your priorities for the sale, and finding a buyer that meets your needs can lead to a smooth, successful land sale on your desired timeline. With the right buyer and strategies, you can turn your Washington property into cash fast.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to sell land in Washington?

Selling raw vacant land yourself often takes a minimum of 6 months but can take over a year to find the right buyer. Hiring a real estate agent may shorten the process, but there is still often a 3-6 month timeframe to sell land. For the quickest sale, land buying companies can buy for cash and close within weeks or a couple months. Auctions can also accelerate sales.

What information do I need to provide to land buyers?

When requesting an offer from land buying companies, having property details like the parcel number, acreage, zoning classification, property survey/boundaries, information on utilities access, title history, and disclosure of any easements or other encumbrances is helpful. Photos and location maps are useful too. This allows them to accurately value your land.

Should I sell my Washington land myself?

Selling the land yourself is an option if you have ample time and are willing to handle showings, marketing, negotiations, and the closing process. You retain full control. But most sellers don't have the time, so hiring a real estate agent or working with a land buyer makes more sense for busy sellers needing convenience.

How are land buying companies different from real estate agents?

Land buyers actually purchase and take ownership of the property with their own cash reserves. Real estate agents simply list and market the property on your behalf for a commission fee, but they do not buy the land themselves. Land buying companies buy at wholesale pricing but provide speed and convenience traditional agents can't offer.

What closing costs will I pay when selling land?

If selling to a land buying company, you typically pay no closing costs as the buyer covers title fees, recording fees, transfer taxes, and other typical transaction costs. When selling yourself or using an agent, closing costs can range from 3-5% of the total sales price. These costs include commissions, title insurance, legal fees, and more.

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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