Selling Commercial Land in Delaware

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Selling Commercial Land in Delaware

Bart Waldon

When selling commercial vacant land or development sites in Delaware, following key steps tailored to investors maximizes sales outcomes. As demand rises for commercial real estate in the rapidly growing First State economy, prices for developable land parcels follow suit. According to national land trend data, the average price per acre for commercial tracts in Delaware approaches nearly $68,000 in higher-demand areas as of 2022. Yet pricing proves only one piece of successfully closing deals for those looking to divest of Delaware commercial land holdings at peak value. 

Choosing brokers familiar with development feasibility, financially delineating needed site preparations in listing details, staging parcels for visualization and leveraging real estate attorney support well-versed in Delaware land contracts each prove critical for owners seeking top dollar. Specifically pricing commercial acreage 20-30% above market comps then allowing room for buyer negotiation also boosts profitable closes. This overview covers the top tips for successfully selling commercial vacant land in Delaware’s hot real estate investment marketplace.

Navigating Delaware's Commercial Land Sale Process

For those new to transacting in the First State, selling commercial land parcels follows a straightforward sequence of steps. As with any major property deal, conducting ample due diligence is key before listing land for sale. And being well-versed on zoning codes and permit needs for proposed commercial uses streamlines finding the right buyer.

On the whole though, Delaware imposes minimal red tape around commercial real estate transactions. The state takes a decidedly pro-business posture, with local governments focused more on enabling development rather than obstructing it. This regulatory light touch makes the commercial land sale procedure pleasantly simple.

Step 1: Confirm Property Details and Commercial Viability

Before attempting to sell, the first step involves confirming all specifics around the land itself:

  • Official parcel boundaries & total acreage
  • Current zoning district & permitted commercial uses
  • Existence of wetlands or other protected environmental features
  • Flood zone status
  • Available access points from surrounding roadways

In addition to verifying property details, sellers should research the local commercial real estate market. Assessing feasibility for supporting different business uses based on area demographics and similar existing developments prevents overestimating potential.

It also helps to connect early on with local zoning officials to discuss commercial concepts. Delivering project plans aligned to codes and growth outlooks right from the start smoothers subsequent permitting stages.

Step 2: Handle Title Search, Surveys and Legal Validation

Though not the most thrilling items on the selling checklist, taking care of title, survey and legal loose ends makes a world of difference down the road.

Starting with the property's chain of title, examining deed transfers dating back to the original land grant clears up any ownership uncertainty. Title companies adeptly manage title searches, providing title insurance policies to protect buyers from claims by third parties.

Also important for delineating property lines and identifying encumbrances, a professional survey gives both sellers and buyers confidence in the parcel’s boundaries. Combined with clean title, a stamped survey prevents arguments over the land’s physical extent.

And on the legal end, confirming the site isn’t saddled with any lingering liens avoids hassles during a sale. Paying off judgements, loans taken against the property or overdue tax bills ahead of listing the land allays buyer concerns during underwriting.

Step 3: Assess Infrastructure Needs and Development Costs

Commercial land buyers want to see upfront how expensive it will be to transform raw land into usable business space. By self-funding initial site plans, engineering studies and utility connections, the seller eases doubts about development potential.

Even budgetary estimates for extending water, power, roads and other infrastructure demonstrate readiness to accommodate commercial buildings and operations. The greater the unknowns around site readiness, the higher the risk premium factored into offers by prospective buyers.

Additionally, checking with county officials about local impact fees and related costs provides greater pricing transparency. Disclosing required offsets and exactions prevents buyers from getting blindsided by extra expenses after acquiring the property.

Step 4: Price Realistically Based on Comparable Sales

The right listing price sets commercial land sales up for success. Over-pricing based on aspirational future valuations after buildings get constructed usually leads sellers to wait interminably for unqualified buyers.

Instead, analyzing similar commercial acreage recently sold or still for sale around the area gives practical context for pricing. While no two parcels have identical attributes, previous sale comps indicate what the current local market supports.

Also helpful are rules-of-thumb using standard per acre prices for commercial and industrial land in the given region. Price per acre often falls somewhere between raw land values and prices for already developed property. Keeping to modulated pricing in line with other commercial listings in the market attracts qualified buyers.

Step 5: Market Strategically to Attract Business Buyers

Blanketing the entire marketplace rarely converts to on-target buyers for specialized commercial land plays. The key is conducting outreach surgical enough to capture buyers specifically capitalized for local commercial investments.

Leveraging targeted digital marketing and alerts on commercial listing hubs draws investors proactively searching for sites matching the property’s parameters. This might include online land marketplaces,, and alongside traditional MLS listings.

Trade publications and industry directories also efficiently connect with business decision-makers in relevant sectors. Running print and digital ads in logistics magazines, for example, broadcasts availability directly to end users for industrial needs.

And networking through local commercial brokers, chamber events and trade fairs helps spread the word to fellow businesses who might know buyers not actively scouting but open to opportunistic acquisitions.

Following these key steps for preparing and showcasing land mapped for commercial use sets the trajectory for closure within a 1-2 year timeframe. Savvy owners willing to front-load site validation, planning and marketing give buyers the confidence boost to pull the trigger. Though inherently less liquid than some real estate niches, Delaware’s commercial sector in particular rewards patient sellers who smooth the path for future construction visions.

Final Thoughts

Selling commercial land requires attention to detail in preparing your parcel and navigating the transaction. But for sellers able to exhibit strategic patience, the payoff makes an ideal long-term investment. With site work completed upfront and accurate pricing in place, finding buyers gets easier in business-booming markets like Delaware. As with any real estate deal, it comes down to mitigating doubts for developers ready to break ground. Check off every box proving a site’s commercial readiness, and enjoy the perks as future tenants start paying off construction loans. In Delaware’s famously business-first environment, commercial land deals stand primed to deliver stable returns over time through enabling the next generation of economic growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What permissions and approvals do I need to sell my commercial land in Delaware?

Before listing your commercial land for sale, you'll want to make sure you have all necessary permissions and paperwork ready. This includes confirming the land is properly zoned for commercial use, with preferred uses spelled out. Check in with your local town planning office to inquire about any limitations, setback requirements, or impact studies needed to enable development. Also be sure there are no outstanding liens, title issues, unpaid taxes, or legal judgements affecting the parcel. Taking care of any encumbrances ahead of time ensures a smoother sales process later.

How long does commercial land take to sell in Delaware?

In Delaware's active commercial real estate marketplace, a reasonably priced and strategically marketed land parcel tends to sell within a 1-2 year timeframe. More complex development plays with extensive infrastructure needs or entanglements could extend closer to 3 years. But well-located sites zoned and entitled for straightforward projects like warehouses, small office buildings, or strip retail centers often sell more swiftly. Taking proactive steps like having conceptual site plans, quotes for utility connections, and preliminary engineering studies available also speeds buyer commitment.

What drives pricing and demand for commercial land in DE?

Commercial land values track closely with Delaware's business climate, employment outlook in key sectors, and local development momentum. Site-specific factors like highway access, visibility, and "shovel readiness" enabling timely builds also impact pricing. Demand concentrations further depend on area industry anchors - with logistics parcels in high demand near the bustling Port of Wilmington, for example. Understanding historical per acre sales comps for comparable sites gives the truest sense of market-supported value range to expect.

How do I effectively market my land to attract buyers?

Targeting your outreach is critical for commercial land, which appeals to a niche investor profile. Digital listing aggregators like Loopnet, Costar and Crexi that enable buyers to easily sort for property criteria are a must. Trade magazines, industry events and CRE broker networks also efficiently get the word out. And given Delaware's heavy concentration of logistics and manufacturing, advertising in relevant B2B publications ensures you cast the widest net for prospective end user buyers.

Should I sell to a land buying company for cash or wait for an end user?

This depends on personal liquidity needs and holding capacity. Companies that purchase land wholesale for all cash- no financing, no contingencies - provide guaranteed exits at closing. But they'll buy at larger discounts, with more pricing upside selling directly when the project's end user buyer materializes. Weighing flexibility of holding costs vs. locking in funds to redeploy sooner guides strategy. With either route, focusing first on de-risking the property through zoning, infrastructure analysis and other validations raises its value perception.

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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