How to Sell Your Vermont Land Without a Realtor

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How to Sell Your Vermont Land Without a Realtor

Bart Waldon

Vermont is known for its gorgeous mountain views, quaint small towns, maple syrup, and independent spirit. With over 80% of the state covered in forestland, many Vermonters inherit or purchase land over the years. However, there may come a time when you decide selling your Vermont property is the best option.

You can sell your land without a real estate agent and their commission fees if you put in time and effort. We'll explore some key steps for a successful DIY land sale in Vermont.

Get to Know the Vermont Land Market

Vermont real estate, especially land, operates differently than other states. It helps to understand land values and trends in your county and town before listing your land.

Some tips when researching:

  • Check recent land sales - Browse listings on Zillow or local real estate sites to see the asking and sold prices for comparable land parcels. This gives you an idea of what your property is worth.
  • Learn zoning rules - Each town has its own zoning laws, which dictate what kind of development is allowed in each area. Know if your land has any restrictions before listing.
  • See if land values are rising - Over the last decade, land prices in Vermont have increased over 40% in some counties. Use sales data to see if there have been gains.

Getting perspective on the local land market prepares you to accurately price and describe your property to potential buyers.

Determine Your Vermont Property Boundaries

Clearly defining land boundaries minimizes any disputes. Mark your property lines plainly to show buyers exactly what they’re getting.

  • Review the deed - Your official documentation should have a detailed description of the land's boundaries. Verify no changes were made with abutting landowners.
  • Walk the perimeter - Physically follow your property lines to check for encroachments from neighbors or local logging activity. Also take note of any water sources/wildlife.
  • Mark lines and corners - Use visible markers like paint, stakes, or stone walls so buyers recognize the extent of the property. Signpost any trails or ambiguous areas.
  • Get a survey - For the most accurate boundaries, have your land professionally surveyed, especially if the deed description seems outdated or vague.

Accurately delineating what’s included in the sale makes it easier to market and offload your property.

Research State Laws on Private Land Sales

Vermont has specific laws around property sales that differ from other states. Be sure to educate yourself on the legal requirements before listing your land yourself.

Some key items to know:

  • No disclosure forms - Unlike with homes, Vermont does not require sellers to provide a property information report. However, you must still disclose any material defects.
  • Get location certificate - Before closing, the buyer will likely ask for a certificate confirming the property's town/county location to calculate transfer taxes.
  • On-site sewage details - If the land has an existing septic system, you must secure the necessary permit paperwork to legally transfer ownership.
  • Check for liens - Request a lien certificate to verify no financial claims on the land. It shows you have the right to sell the property.

While you don’t need a lawyer, having all the right documentation in line with state law makes for a smooth sale.

Determine a Fair Asking Price

Pricing land can be tricky without a real estate agent’s expertise. You’ll need to crunch some numbers using sales data and evaluation methods.

Some pricing tips:

  • Compare similar listings - See what other vacant land parcels are listed for in your county with analogous acreage, features, road access etc.
  • Calculate price per acre - For rural Vermont, a common metric is price per acre. Divide recent sale prices by total acres to find an average range.
  • Factor in land use - Forested, agricultural, commercial and residential lands have vastly different values. Ensure your pricing aligns with zoning and developments in the area.
  • Consider development costs - Things like clearing trees, running utilities or building a driveway to access the property can impact price. Estimate and disclose these to buyers.
  • Get an appraisal - For the most accurate price opinion, you can pay a licensed appraiser to evaluate your property based on all these value factors.

Taking these steps helps you land on an asking price that is both profitable for you and appealing for buyers.

Create a Detailed Listing with Photos

To generate interest when you list your land yourself, you need an informative, eye-catching ad.

Elements to include:

  • Vivid description - Paint a picture of the land’s best attributes - mountain views, pond frontage, hunting hotspots, open meadows etc. Mention its development potential zoning allows as well.
  • Multiple photos - Show off the property's beauty with wide shots of the landscape and close ups of special features. Also add images marking boundaries and access roads.
  • Bulleted amenities - Note proximity to ski resorts, trails, schools and other area attractions. List utilities available and details like road frontage.
  • Accurate acreage - Provide exact total acres, cleared vs wooded, breakdown of flat vs rugged terrain. Precise land measurements help buyers visualize.
  • Directions - Explain how to access the property and routes to local towns. Interested parties will want to easily find it.

With a thorough, well-crafted listing and great photos, you’ll soon have eager buyers contacting you.

Utilize DIY Marketing Techniques

Without a realtor’s existing connections, the responsibility falls on you to promote the land sale. Use a range of low-cost advertising methods.

  • Yard sign - Place a large, readable “Land For Sale by Owner” sign along the property's road frontage for daily visibility.
  • Online ads - Post your listing on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and popular local sites like Vermont Property and Front Porch Forum.
  • Flyers - Print color flyers with listing highlights to distribute at feed stores, town halls and other community hubs.
  • Tell friends - Spread the word about your land sale to all your Vermont contacts. Word-of-mouth referrals can go far.
  • Camp on-site - Position a camper or tent on the land during peak seasons so you can engage interested passersby who stop to inquire.

Drive-bys, foot traffic, and digital browsing will lead the most promising buyers your way.

Prequalify Interested Buyers

As potential purchasers reach out about the advertised property, vet them before investing time in showings. Screen for those who can realistically buy your rural land.

Questions to ask:

  • Are you working with a lender or paying cash? What’s your price range?
  • What attracted you to this property - location, access, land use goals?
  • Are you familiar with zoning laws and land values in this town?
  • Have you owned vacant land before? Do you have plans to build or camp on the parcel?
  • Would inspections or land survey contingency clauses delay your ability to close quickly?

Gauge buyer motivation, ability to secure financing, and familiarity with the area. Follow your instincts on who seems serious and capable when it comes to closing the deal.

Handle Negotiations and Paperwork Solo

Without an agent advocating on your behalf, you’ll have to skillfully negotiate offers and handle contracts yourself.

Some key points for the process:

  • Start high - Price property above your minimum acceptable number, leaving room to negotiate down. Counteroffers are common with land.
  • Consider contingencies - Decide if you’ll accept contingent deals dependent on buyers first securing funds, inspections etc. These may fall through.
  • Research forms - Vermont has specific offer/purchase contract templates available online needed to finalize sale terms and conditions.
  • Set fair earnest money - Require 5-10% of the purchase price upfront upon signing purchase agreement to confirm serious intent.
  • Involve lawyers - Though not required, consider having real estate attorneys review documents to ensure your interests are protected.
  • Know closing costs - Without a realtor fee, estimate closing expenses like municipal/state transfer taxes, attorney charges, recording fees.

Staying firm yet flexible during negotiations while properly handling legal paperwork frees up a realtor for other clients while putting more money in your pocket long-term.

Be Accessible Until Closing

Even after sales contracts are signed, buyers may have lingering questions or land access requests since you’re not using a real estate agent.

To keep the closing on track:

  • Provide contact info if they want to do additional site walks, surveys etc.
  • Transfer key permits/documents like septic approval, lien certificate etc.
  • Clearly mark boundaries if they plan hunting, camping or other activity pre-closing
  • Funnel attorney/title company requests to you directly
  • Return requests ASAP to reassure anxious buyers
  • Set expectations - reiterate closing date and required funds

Staying responsive and keeping an open line of communication maintains trust on both sides for a smooth transfer of property ownership on the big day.

Final Thoughts

Selling your Vermont property on your own is certainly more work upfront. But you reap the long-term rewards through the ability to earn more net profit. Savvy sellers who research local land values, create enticing listings, tap into DIY marketing, skillfully negotiate, and communicate promptly with buyers can successfully navigate a for-sale-by-owner land deal. Pay attention to every detail in this process for best results. And you’ll finalize the sale without paying a dime in realtor commissions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a real estate attorney to sell my Vermont land myself?

While it's not legally required, it can be helpful to have a real estate attorney review all purchase and sale agreements before signing to ensure your interests are protected. An attorney can also provide guidance on state property laws and paperwork filing.

What costs will I pay when selling my land without an agent?

You avoid paying realtor commissions, but closing costs typically include municipal/state transfer taxes, attorney fees if you use one, title search charges, recording fees for the new deed, and potentially survey costs if buyers request an updated land survey.

What are the steps to sell land yourself?

Major steps include researching your local land market, surveying/marking exact property boundaries, evaluating property value, creating online and print listings, marketing through various DIY methods, vetting and negotiating with potential buyers, handling purchase paperwork/contracts, facilitating inspections if required, and staying engaged with the buyer until closing.

Where should I list my Vermont land for sale by owner?

Great places to advertise include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, print flyers on community boards, yard signs on property road frontage, telling all friends and family, and popular local sites like Vermont Property or Front Porch Forum.

How can I determine a fair price for my land?

Examine recent vacant land sales in your county, calculate price per acre, research the zoning/allowed usage for comparison, factor in any development costs, and consider an appraisal. List slightly above your minimum acceptable price to leave room for buyer negotiation.

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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