Pros and Cons of Selling to a Oregon Land Company

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Pros and Cons of Selling to a Oregon Land Company
By

Bart Waldon

Oregon's diverse landscapes, from the rainy coastal forests to the high deserts and Cascade Mountain peaks, provide many scenic properties to call home. If you own vacant land here, you may be considering selling someday. Working with a specialized local Oregon land buying company can ease the complex process but also comes with tradeoffs to weigh. This guide examines the key pros and cons when deciding whether to sell your land to an established Oregon firm.

Navigating the Oregon Land Market

Before analyzing the implications of partnering with local land buyers, it helps to highlight key details on acreage in the Beaver State. Stretching over 95,000 square miles, Oregon offers abundant scenic parcels, especially west of the Cascades where mild weather and greenery abound.

Land prices vary substantially based on development potential, natural resources like water access and timber, and proximity to public lands for recreation. In remote rural regions, smaller bare parcels often sell between $500 to $5,000 per acre depending on the location and attributes. More valuable development-ready properties near urban infrastructure and high housing demand can list over $100,000 an acre.

In addition to value differences, Oregon lands themselves range widely - from barren desert in the east to irrigated farmland in the Willamette Valley to lakefront parcels in southern regions. The variability makes generalization difficult on typical costs and sale timelines. Still, most acreage falls between $5,000 to $25,000 per acre.

Why Marketing Raw Land is So Challenging

While homes or commercial buildings have relatively straightforward sale processes, vacant land poses unique complexities in Oregon and most states. Even seasoned real estate investors new to raw acreage get surprised by the hurdles. Consider why selling raw, undeveloped land is so difficult:

Volatile Valuations

So much depends on the location, parcel size, terrain, resources, zoning codes, access, overall condition and more. Small differences greatly impact pricing per acre, which complicates listing strategies. Determining an accurate fair market value and reasonable list price is notoriously tricky as a result.

Recent sales of similar nearby lots help set expectations but often fall across a wide range depending on specifics. And statewide data on average land values only provides ballpark figures. Facing difficulty setting the right ask price, many owners over-list initially only to cut again and again as months pass without buyers.

Limited Buyer Pool

The market for vacant land is small in the first place. After all, it only appeals to a subset of buyers looking for raw acreage instead of developed homes or commercial buildings. At any given time in your county, few buyers may actually be in the market specifically for the size, type, features and location of land you own. Reaching those niche prospective buyers poses advertising and networking challenges for individual sellers lacking connections in the land investor community.

Long Sale Timelines

Unlike quick home sales, marketing periods for vacant land easily drag on 12-24 months in Oregon until securing an offer. Some parcels stay listed for years if overpriced early on. The long carry times mean substantial holding expenses for owners paying property taxes, lien payments, maintenance and repair bills, real estate commissions, and other sunk costs over months and years awaiting buyers. These carrying charges quickly dent profits.

Marketing Difficulties

Actually, reaching interested buyers requires niche land-focused advertising and outreach across MLS listings, online forums, industry events, print publications and signage. Specific land investor websites and magazines have limited audiences compared to mainstream real estate channels. And without relationships in the land community already, making the right connections is unlikely. Signage in rural areas sees limited drive-by traffic as well compared to urban for-sale postings.

Complex Negotiations

Once buyers emerge, the talks involve much more than setting a price. Parcel condition disclosures, mineral rights, easements for access, timber values, water rights, atmospheric rights, riparian rights, zoning restrictions, regulatory changes, site contamination issues, sewer and utility availability and more all play roles. Buyers and sellers must navigate immense details impacting value and usage. Without proper experience, negotiations easily stall over these technicalities beyond just agreeing on price per acre.

Regulatory Requirements

Depending on the property attributes, size, access and intended usage, vacant land sales may require environmental impact reviews, permits, proof of development plans, density studies, septic approvals, changes to allowable zoning uses or full zoning reclassification submissions. Local county and state ordinances add immense complexity for owners unfamiliar with the codes and approval processes. Even experienced real estate agents may lack specialized expertise on these land-specific regulations.

In summary, selling raw land poses immense hurdles for valuation, marketing, negotiations, timing, expenses and regulations. Interacting with local government planning departments alone results mistakes for individual owners acting as their own agents. Now consider how experienced local land companies can help navigate these problems.

Working With Established Oregon Land Buyers: Key Pros

Partnering with a reputable land purchase company based in Oregon offers some notable advantages compared to selling yourself. Consider why leveraging their expertise matters:

Cash Offers Provide Fast Closings

Typical land listings result in a year or more from listing to closing even once finding buyers interested. Meanwhile, total carrying costs keep building from due diligence to closing procedures. An experienced local company often purchases land wholesale with cash up front, letting owners close deals in weeks or months rather than 12-24 months. The accelerated timeline puts profits in your pocket faster while reducing recurring tax payments and other ownership costs sooner. Trading quick cash for maximum value makes sense for many sellers needing exit strategies from unwanted parcels.

Specialized Knowledge

Land transactions differ fundamentally from homes in terms of valuations, buyer targeting, regulations, closing processes and more. Local companies focus exclusively on these types of deals across years in the Oregon market. They know the unique aspects like zoning codes, pricing metrics, value influences and buyer trends that typical real estate agents lack. Their real-world expertise makes the entire marketing and sale process smoother. New land codes and ordinances seem to appear each year while market values fluctuate. Established companies already understand the implications.

Access to Extensive Buyer Networks

As an individual owner, finding viable buyers interested in your land parcel poses immense difficulties. Oregon buyer groups are small and disconnected to begin with. Local land companies constantly network with these buyers through past deals, marketing events, community relationships and more. For example, some companies connect with over 100 buyers monthly interested in local land parcels. Tapping into an established pool of buyers makes selling quicker and easier.

Creative Deal Offerings

Depending on your financial timeline, needs and the property specifics, local companies may provide options beyond just purchase offers:

  • Owner financing - The company buys the land but lets you hold a mortgage to receive payments over years as they prepare developments.
  • Partial sales - Only sell the portion of your acreage that you need immediate cash from and retain the balance.
  • Land swaps - Exchange your property for another they already own that better fits your personal goals.
  • Lease-to-own - Lease the land to the company but retain ownership during preparations for eventual full purchase.

The flexibility caters deals to each seller’s exact circumstances and financial requirements. Maximizing sale prices matters less to some owners than easy exit strategies or future payments.

Potential Risks of Working With Land Buyers

Utilizing an established Oregon land buying company also comes with a few potential downsides to consider:

Below Market Value Offers

Land companies obviously need to profit reselling purchased properties. They accomplish that by proposing offers at significant discounts to comparable sales, often 30-50% less than maximum land values. The lowball bids ensure profitable margins for the companies while keeping risks lower across their buying portfolios. But compromised values prevent owners from fully realizing top dollar that open markets may offer at the right times. 

However, actual recent sales often fall across wide spectrums when analyzing values per acre. Landing cash deals at reasonable figures from experienced buyers may compare favorably to years holding out for top prizes and shouldering carrying costs which further dilute returns.

Less Control

Entering purchase agreements with land companies means compromising certain decisions about the land’s future usage. Developers, mining companies, agricultural interests, logging groups or recreational buyers may eventually purchase the rights companies acquire. These end owners likely have plans differing from your personal wishes as former owner occupants and stewards. But initial acquisition contracts can include clauses about conservation easements, restricted developments, deeded timber rights or repurchase options to protect environmental concerns. Without oversight restrictions though, companies may freely resell land to the highest bidder.

Tax Implications

Cashing out equity below maximum values minimizes capital gains tax exposure compared to higher sales from list prices. But owners still must report transaction amounts and pay obligations from profits. Consult closely with financial and legal advisors about capital gains, investment profit reinvesting and other reporting details to avoid surprises at tax time.

Risks of Unknown Future Owners

Once a land company acquires your parcel, eventual end owners are outside your control. In most cases, reputable Oregon land resale businesses market responsibly to qualified farmers, ranchers, developers, conservation groups and more with sustainable practices and plans matching the region. But even with the best screening, unhealthy mining, aggressive logging or irresponsible developments could happen if buyers fail to submit accurate proposals. Performing due diligence on the companies themselves provides confidence about vetting processes for future buyers. 

Ask questions early about their practices, sustainably commitments and sales timelines to other partners. Get any guarantees in writing for extra protection. And remember, final end users always require county approvals on construction permits, timber harvesting licenses, grading plans and more. If environmental impacts seem likely from proposals, public hearings allow concerned voices to prevent the worst cases. So, remain engaged with local government permit requests and planning meetings to protect community land interests.

Key Takeaways - Selling Oregon Land

The decision to work with local land professionals depends entirely on your personal scenario, priorities and financial timeline when exiting ownership. Reputable Oregon companies can ease sales complexities with their market knowledge, buyer connections, quicker closings and creative deal structures compared to self-marketing. Yet, compromised values and loss of control over eventual usage require careful evaluation against benefits.

Selling land solo rarely yields efficient outcomes for most owners new to the process. Yet even beneficial partnerships with companies mean risk tradeoffs. Ultimately alignment with goals and risk tolerance remains paramount when deciding between the options. Oregon provides abundant scenic acreage thanks to hard work establishing value. Now specialized local partners can help current owners smoothly transfer ownership to new stewards - for equitable win-win deals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a typical discount that an Oregon land company might offer below full market value?

Most land companies in Oregon offer between 30-50% less than the maximum assessed values or recent comparable sales. This allows them room to profit while still presenting reasonable cash offers to motivated sellers. Actual discounts vary based on factors like parcel improvements, resource rights, zoning codes, buyer competition and more.

Does selling to a land company avoid paying capital gains taxes?

No, sellers must still pay capital gains taxes on any profits despite selling below market prices. Taxes get calculated on the actual transaction amount. Owners do not pay taxes on unsold value potential at higher prices. Always consult financial and legal tax advisors for guidance on minimizing tax obligations from land deals.

What types of guarantees can sellers ask for in land sale contracts?

Common clauses in Oregon land sale contracts to protect former owners interests include repurchase options, conservation easements, restricted development permissions, deeded resource rights like water and mineral claims, and notifications upon future resales. Consult a local real estate attorney to structure the proper protections.

How can sellers research the reputations of land buyers?

Look for testimonials from past sellers, community involvement through conservation partnerships and donations, longevity operating locally, Better Business Bureau ratings, and status as a licensed and insured company within Oregon before finalizing contracts. reference checks.

Can sellers lease back the land or retain usage rights after the sale?

Absolutely, many contracts allow previous owners usage rights or even full leasebacks with rental fees for fixed time periods. These arrangements allow enjoying the cash benefits of selling while still temporarily utilizing familiar lands. Define continuation occupancy rights, improvements permissions, and usage scope details in the contractual fine print. Consulting attorneys assists creating balanced leaseback terms.

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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