How to Sell Your Washington Land Without a Realtor

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How to Sell Your Washington Land Without a Realtor
By

Bart Waldon

Selling vacant land or raw acreage on your own in Washington state can seem intimidating, but with the right planning and effort, you can successfully sell your property without an agent and keep more profit in your pocket. This guide covers key steps to take when selling Washington land FSBO (for sale by owner).

Understanding the Local Land Market

Before listing your land, research recent sales of comparable vacant land parcels in your county and region. This will give you an idea of current fair market value based on factors like:

  • Location - Land values often vary greatly even within the same county depending on proximity to amenities and population centers. Rural properties typically sell for less than land closer to towns.
  • Lot size - Smaller parcels often sell for more per acre than large multi-acre spreads. A 5-acre lot will likely command a higher rate per acre than a 20-acre lot.
  • Access and road frontage - Land with extensive road frontage or driveway access in place sells for more than landlocked parcels requiring an easement.
  • Zoning and use - Land zoned for residential or commercial use tends to sell for more than agricultural or forestry land. Properties within city limits also fetch higher prices.
  • Utilities - Land with electricity, water, sewer/septic, and other utilities at the lot line sells for a premium over raw undeveloped acreage.

Look at both current listing prices and sold listings from the past 1-2 years to gauge fair market value ranges. County assessor records, Zillow, Trulia, and other sites provide sales histories. Also drive around the area looking for FSBO signs on vacant lots.

Pricing Your Washington Land Accurately

Once you have thoroughly researched comparables, set an asking price at the higher end of the fair market value range for your property’s location, acreage, and amenities. This leaves room to negotiate down if needed while still netting you top dollar.

Be realistic - if your land lacks access, utilities, or other attributes that drive value, don’t inflate the price far beyond what similar parcels have recently sold for.

Remember that selling land yourself means you won’t have the benefit of a real estate agent’s marketing reach and expertise. Price the property accordingly, allowing some margin for you to potentially negotiate down while still making your minimum acceptable amount.

Creating a Strong Online Listing

To attract interested buyers, your online land listing needs to be as detailed and appealing as possible. Here are key elements to include:

  • Location – List the county, city/town, full address or parcel number. Proximity to local landmarks is helpful.
  • Lot size – Total acreage and dimensions. Surveys help confirm exact boundaries.
  • Zoning – Note permitted land uses and existing zoning classification. Buyers want to verify their intended use is allowed.
  • Access – Detail frontage on public roads, deeded easements, rights of way to the property. Limitations lower value.
  • Utilities – List availability of electricity, water, natural gas, sewer systems, or need for a septic system.
  • Topography – Describe terrain (hilly, level, wooded, etc.) and any water features like streams or ponds.
  • Potential – Highlight ideas for use like room for horses, farm potential, residential or commercial development opportunities.

Accurately representing all attributes and limitations builds trust with buyers. Vague descriptions waste everyone’s time.

Using Photos and Video

Quality visuals are vital for land listings to attract interest. Take high-res photos of the entire property from multiple angles at different times of day. Drone video can provide a helpful bird’s eye view on topography and boundaries when done legally and safely.

If hiring a professional drone operator isn’t feasible, see if a friend has basic quadcopter skills to capture amateur video. The more visual content you can provide, the better.

Leveraging FSBO Listing Sites

To maximize exposure for your land listing, advertise it on websites dedicated to for-sale-by-owner properties. Options tailored to land sales include:

  • Lands of America – popular for rural land with good owner traffic
  • Land And Farm – focuses on agricultural and recreation land
  • Land Watch – broad inventory of properties nationwide
  • Craigslist – worth trying, especially in more urban areas

Take advantage of these sites by filling out listings in full detail, uploading photos/video, and double checking accuracy. Monitoring your listings frequently and promptly responding to buyer inquiries also helps attract serious buyers.

Marketing Locally

Don’t rely solely on online listings. To generate local interest, have a professional looking “For Sale By Owner” yard sign made for the property. Position it for maximum visibility from the road.

Make eye-catching flyers with land details, photos, and your contact info. Post flyers at feed stores, tractor supply stores, hardware stores, community boards, bus stops - anywhere that gets local foot traffic. The small investment can connect you to buyers not scouring the internet for land.

Communicating Responsively With Potential Buyers

As you receive inquiries from prospective buyers, respond promptly and transparently. Be upfront about any easements required for access, rocky or swampy areas, permit needs or other limitations.

Providing this information proactively builds trust and credibility. Avoid exaggerating the land’s attributes, as disappointed buyers may negotiate very aggressively or walk away completely upon seeing the property first-hand.

Offer to meet interested buyers to walk the land. Having them visit the property can actually lead to better offers if they visualize potential and don’t just view remotely.

Negotiating Fairly Yet Firmly

Once you receive an offer, negotiate carefully and firmly to maximize your sale price. Have a minimum price outlined beforehand that you’re willing to accept - then start 10-20% above that number to leave room for buyers to negotiate down while still meeting your goal.

Avoid immediately accepting an offer far below comparable sales just to make a quick sale. Counteroffer or politely decline offers that would net you less than your minimum acceptable amount. Buyers may initially lowball, so stand your ground respectfully.

On attributes that don’t affect price, like closing date flexibility or inclusion of personal property, you can be more accommodating to build rapport. Pick key priorities rather than stubbornly rejecting all concessions.

Handling Paperwork and Payment Professionally

As you reach agreement, take care with final paperwork and payment collection to protect yourself. Require payment in certified funds - don’t accept personal checks that could bounce.

Sign all closing documents alongside the buyer during an in-person closing. This allows you to collect payment and sign over the deed simultaneously once funds clear.

Record the deed transfer with the county registrar promptly so the new owner is legally registered. This transfers liability and prevents issues down the road should they fail to record properly.

Following these best practices protects you from potential scams or non-payment issues during FSBO land sales.

With proper pricing, marketing, negotiation, and paperwork handling, you can successfully sell your Washington land without a realtor. While it requires effort on your part, the payoff of keeping the full sale price makes it a worthwhile endeavor. Do your homework and execute a strategic sales process to sell your land on your own terms.

Final Thoughts

Selling land on your own in Washington certainly takes gumption, but the payoff can make it well worth rolling up your sleeves. By thoroughly researching the local market, pricing competitively yet fairly, creating compelling and honest listings, tapping into grassroots marketing tactics, and arming yourself with patience and tenacity for negotiations, you can maximize your chances of success. Sure, it will take time and concerted effort without hand-holding from an agent. But the financial upside of retaining the full sale price makes DIY worthwhile for many sellers. Stay focused on the end goal, educate yourself fully, avoid cutting corners, and set realistic expectations. With determination and a systematic approach, your self-guided land sale can culminate in a lucrative, rewarding outcome. It won't be a cakewalk, but being prepared and proactive will serve you incredibly well on this undertaking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of paperwork is involved when I sell land myself in Washington?

You'll need to get organized with documents like the deed, parcel number, plat map, disclosures, purchase agreement, settlement statement, and potentially easements or right-of-way forms if access is tricky. Dot your i's and cross your t's by consulting a real estate attorney.

Should I spring for a survey before my DIY Washington land sale?

Surveys are strongly recommended to clearly establish the boundaries and acreage, which prevents messy disputes down the road. It also shows you're a serious seller willing to go the extra mile.

What are some tips to avoid being scammed in a FSBO land deal?

Always meet buyers in person, require certified funds at closing, verify payment before transferring the deed, and steer clear of folks pushing for wire transfers or other red flags. Protect yourself thoroughly.

What costs will I pay for a DIY land sale in Washington?

No agent commissions, but you'll pay for marketing, signs, flyers, and your own time invested. Excise taxes and recording fees apply too. Weigh the costs vs potential savings.

Should I offer owner financing when selling my land myself?

It opens up your buyer pool but carries risk if they default on payments. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if you’re open to it.

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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