How to Sell Your Illinois Land Without a Realtor

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How to Sell Your Illinois Land Without a Realtor

Bart Waldon

As the leading soybean producer and second-highest corn output state nationwide with average per-acre pricing ranging $7,500 on lower quality soils up to over $12,000 for prime Central Illinois cultivation areas, Illinois anchors its economy in agriculture. Nearly three-quarters of total land gets dedicated to farming purposes spanning over 26 million acres. Yet beyond harvested croplands, the state still holds nearly 5 million acres of unutilized vacant rural land parcels according to USDA data, often sold off slowly by aging owners and heirs lacking farming passions if listed conventionally. 

While real estate agents prove essential for selling residences, their broad buyer networks fail attracting niche land investors. Luckily modern online platforms now exist where owners can market farm acreage and vacant plots directly to specialized land buyers. We’ll review strategies for sidestepping agent commissions while still effectively showcasing your Illinois holdings to ideal audiences eager to acquire new unspoiled development areas next.

Do Your Research on the Illinois Land Market

Before listing your land for sale, take time to understand the current real estate market in Illinois. Study sales of comparable vacant land parcels in your county and surrounding areas to determine a fair asking price. Land values can vary greatly depending on location, so make sure you are pricing your property appropriately.

Consult Illinois land records to view past sales prices and look for any deed restrictions or easements on your property that could impact value. Drive around the area to see what nearby lands are listed for. Online sites like Zillow also provide estimated values for land parcels.

Get Your Property Surveyed and Appraised

Having an official survey and appraisal done on your land provides critical information you need when selling. A survey shows the legal boundaries and exact total acreage, while an appraisal from a licensed professional helps substantiate your asking price.

Order a survey first so the appraiser has the correct details about your parcel. Expect to pay $500-$2,000 for a survey and $400-$1,000 for an appraisal, depending on the land size. This upfront investment is well worth it.

Check State and Local Zoning Regulations

Before advertising your land for sale, research the state and local zoning laws that apply to your property. Zoning determines what future usages are permitted, such as residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial.

Rezoning requests can be time-consuming and costly, so understand the current zoning first. Being transparent will avoid issues down the road. List the parcel’s zoning designation in your sale materials.

Remove Any Liens, Mortgages or Back Taxes

Buyers will conduct a title search and expect your Illinois land parcel to have clear, marketable title. Make sure to settle any outstanding debts secured by liens, resolve any boundary disputes with neighbors, and pay off any owed taxes prior to listing. The last thing you want is a great offer derailed by title problems.

Create an Eye-Catching Listing for Your Property

Develop a concise, honest listing sheet that highlights your land’s best features and includes photos showing the terrain. Driveways, views, wooded areas, road access and water features are key selling points to emphasize.

List the parcel size, dimensions, current zoning, property survey, sale terms, and your contact information. Distribute this listing sheet to local real estate agents and post it on social media groups and classified ad sites.

Market the Land Outside Your Local Area

Cast a wide net and don’t just limit yourself to buyers in your county. Utilize digital listing services that are searchable nationwide to maximize the number of potential buyers viewing your Illinois land sale.

Run ads periodically in the real estate sections of major metro newspapers in nearby cities to gain more visibility. Reach out to investors who flip land contracts or are looking to develop large projects.

Be Responsive and Available to Prospective Buyers

When you receive inquiries from interested buyers, strive to respond promptly to build trust and momentum. Communicate clearly on pricing and any firm deal terms. Set appointments to show the property at their convenience, not yours.

Ask the buyers thoughtful questions to understand their vision for the land and timeline for purchase. Getting site access is key, so keep the parcel tidy and walkable. Follow up regularly even if no offer comes right away.

Negotiate the Sale Yourself or Hire an Attorney

When you get a fair offer without contingencies, you can draft the purchase contract yourself using online templates. Or, for a few hundred dollars, have a real estate attorney handle contract negotiations and drafting for you.

Don’t let the legal details get overwhelming. Work through any buyer requests objectively and bargain in good faith. Strive to reach a “win-win” deal.

Stick to Your Asking Price at First

A common mistake is immediately dropping your asking price at the first lowball offer. Be patient and stand firm on value initially. Don’t take it personally when buyers test with very low amounts.

Gather multiple bids to see actual market activity before adjusting. Keep emotions out of it, and remain calm but assertive with counteroffers. If needed, gradually reduce to encourage more interest.

Close the Sale and Transfer Ownership

Once you come to agreement on price and terms, the buyer will open escrow and you will sign the sale contract. The buyer deposits earnest money that you keep if they default. Require the full purchase amount at closing, done at a title company.

The company will oversee the legal transfer of the deed. You fill out the real estate transfer declaration for taxation purposes. Then the land is sold, and proceeds are yours!

Selling land yourself requires diligence, but eliminates agent commissions and gets you motivated buyers unfiltered. Arm yourself with information, actively promote the listing, demonstrate flexibility in negotiations, and you can successfully close deals sans realtor. For many Illinois landowners, this direct approach is far less hassle and more financially rewarding.

Ways to Sell Your Illinois Land Online

Utilize Online Listing Platforms

The internet opens up countless options for marketing your land to buyers across Illinois and beyond. With the right online listings, your property will get mass exposure to motivated buyers searching for land deals.

Classified Ad Sites

General classified ad sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace enable you to quickly create listings for free. You can include several photos and all key details on your Illinois land parcel. Monitor your ad and re-post it regularly so it stays fresh.

Land Specific Platforms

For more exposure to serious land buyers, post on sites like Lands of America, LandWatch, and Landflippin. These have search tools tailored for land specifications. Paid tiered subscriptions on these sites allow you to enhance your listing.

For-Sale-By-Owner Sites

FSBO platforms let you list residential or commercial properties direct from the owner. Options like and cost under $100 per month for enhanced listings. Great for visibility outside just the land investor audience.

Local Listing Sites

Target active buyers in your specific Illinois county or region by posting on hyperlocal sites like These niche platforms only circulate listings to area buyers.

Getting your land sale in front of as many potential buyers as possible is now easier than ever thanks to these digital marketing channels. Don't just post and pray though - monitor your listings, bump them periodically, and use compelling photos and copy to generate interest.

Final Words

Selling vacant land does require more time and effort than listing a traditional home, but think of it as your own personal for-sale-by-owner project. By thoroughly preparing your listing, pricing intelligently, leveraging online exposure, and negotiating calmly, you can successfully coordinate an Illinois land sale yourself. Have patience through the peaks and valleys of the process. Stay organized and persistent in marketing the property. And don't be afraid to get creative in finding potential buyers. With the right motivation and skills, you can save agent commissions and gain experience in closing real estate deals on your own terms. So rally your inner salesperson and get ready to manifest a profitable sale. You’ve got this!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What paperwork do I need to sell vacant land myself in Illinois?

At minimum, you need the legal property survey, deed, plat map, title insurance documents, and any disclosures about easements or liens. Have these ready to show buyers. You’ll also need a purchase and sale contract, bill of sale, closing statement, and real estate transfer declaration for tax purposes.

What taxes are owed when selling land in Illinois?

You must pay capital gains tax on any profit from the sale. Illinois also collects a state transfer tax of $1 per $500 of sales price, paid when recording the deed. Some counties add on a local transfer tax too. Discuss tax obligations with your attorney or accountant.

How long does it take to sell land without a realtor in Illinois?

It typically takes 4-12 months to sell vacant land yourself. Price it competitively and be patient. Utilize digital marketing to reach more buyers. Don’t get discouraged by lowball offers at first. Wait for a fair price from the right buyer.

Should I require a buyer deposit or earnest money?

Requesting 5-10% down as a refundable deposit can weed out non-serious buyers. This good faith money is applied to the purchase price at closing. Don’t release your deed until you receive the full amount owed.

What steps should I take to transfer land ownership in Illinois?

Filing paperwork is key. You sign/notarize the deed to convey ownership, while the buyer signs the mortgage note if financing. Record the deed with the county recorder office to make the transfer official. A title company handles escrow and closing details for you.

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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