Selling Commercial Land in New Jersey (The Easy Way)

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Selling Commercial Land in New Jersey (The Easy Way)

Bart Waldon

As the most densely populated U.S. state, New Jersey possesses highly valuable commercial real estate for business and retail operations looking to tap the sizable consumer base. For owners of vacant commercial land plots or improved sites, efficient sale strategies save time and money while maximizing sale price. This article offers key tips selling commercial land in New Jersey the easy way.

According to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture, over 730,000 acres of land across New Jersey is currently being utilized for commercial farming purposes. This sizable active farmland footprint provides opportunities for selling off unused plots for rotational fallow needs or shifting acreage mixes. Additionally, the sky-high property values that come with immense population density make commercial land divestiture an appealing prospect.

Streamlining Commercial Property Sale Prep 

Critical steps when prepping land for sale include:

Conduct Soil & Environmental Testing

Buyers want assurances no adverse elements are present impacting site build potential or financing options.

Rezoning Requests 

Petition municipalities to rezone vacant plots from current category to zone types aligning with buyer needs like industrial, retail, etc.

Parcel Subdivide Options 

Assess if segmenting acreage into smaller plot sizes lifts appeal to wider buyer groups – office parks, individual retailers, etc.

Boundary & Easement Validation

Confirm survey accuracy, access right of ways and utility easements through county clerk records.

Demolish Deteriorating Improvements 

Remove eyesore structures or obsolete irrigation fixtures, fencing occupying site.

These savvy upfront preparations make a site “build ready” upon acquisition, commanding higher valuations.

Pinpoint Ideal Buyer Groups

Research area recent build projects, retail/housing growth and infrastructure upgrades to identify natural prospect targets for specific land parcels, including:

  • Local/regional developers
  • National big box retailers
  • Business park REITs
  • Franchise restaurant brands
  • Hotel chains

Outbound engagement when aligned to mutual needs lifts success odds.

Optimal Listing Sites for New Jersey Land 

The following sites provide commercial/industrial agents broad reach marketing land deals to wide audiences:

Loopnet - Most popular commercial listing hub used by brokers, tenants, owners and investors.

Costar – Showcases available properties to over 5 million monthly visitors like brokers, owners, and high net worth investors.

Zillow – Besides residential, agents list land/lot inventory for tens of millions viewing property content monthly.

New Jersey MLS – Primary system used by brokers to list land and commercial sites tied directly into local listing syndication feeds.

These established listing sites featuring buyer self-service search tools based on criteria make for fast favorable matches.

Tactics to Drive Buyer Activity

Savvy listing agents deploy tactics aimed at fueling buyer interest such as:

  • Highlighting site usage flexibility based on zoning
  • Emphasize nearby highway access or foot traffic estimates
  • Outline lodging trends and household formation metrics
  • Provide boundary/ALTA surveys confirming exact acreage
  • List pricing 10-15% below district average per acre sale comps

Such shrewd positioning builds activity around land deals to drive bids and expedite sales at optimal values.

Streamline Contract Complexities 

Work through intricate deal terms around permits, zoning approvals and Due diligence period lengths to prevent common bottlenecks delaying inventory turnover.

Anticipating and addressing timing, financing, zoning, or environmental concerns upfront keeps transactions progressing smoothly towards successful closing.

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Commercial Land

Not Confirming Total Acreage and Boundaries

Failing to formally survey total acreage dimensions and demarcate all physical property boundaries via registered land surveyor early on risks title disputes down the line. Pay one-time upfront to conclusively affirm precise acre footage, outline perimeter markers and have legals recorded.

Attempting Sales Without Proper Zoning Designation

Seeking buyers without first having county planning departments rezone land from current categories like agricultural to target commercial usages makes property illegible for buyer development vision until lengthy application processes complete. Lead with proper entitlement well ahead of listing.

Overpricing Initial Listing Hopes

Setting unrealistic pricing hopes well above actual land value risks extended listing durations requiring multiple price cuts slowly chasing the market downward. Benchmark recent sales of comparable nearby sites to set all parties' expectations accurately from outset.

Neglecting Needed Site Improvements Avoid assuming buyers visualize future build potential rather than current eyesore conditions. Make incremental physical enhancements like debris removal, vegetation clearing or demolition of unusable structures to help buyers see possibilities.

Skirting Environmental Obligations 

Conduct Phase 1 testing for past contaminants early on confirming no adverse conditions exist instead of imagining best case scenarios. Surprises around hazmat mitigation or soil remediation introduces major friction threatening deals.

Failure to Address Access Hurdles 

Assume every access complication like recording public easement access through neighboring sites for landlocked parcels, validating highway entry permits or confirming water rights. Derailing deals due to buyer access blockade presents massive reputation risk.

The best positioned listings check every box around legal protection, site conditions and buyer usage intents well in advance of bringing any site to market. Avoiding easily mitigated miscues sustains transaction momentum towards closing.

Final Thoughts

New Jersey’s extremely high population density makes commercial site offerings scarce even while demand continues rising given business growth and infrastructure initiatives underway statewide. This buyer competition allows optimally prepared land sites able to be fast-tracked towards construction permitting to command premium sale pricing and faster turnover. Savvy owners prioritizing key sale prep steps, targeting ideal buyer groups through proven listing sites and addressing timing/approval intricacies converts land into 7-figure liquidity events. Work with specialized agents connecting both zoning insight and ties to private capital sources to streamline lucrative commercial land deals in New Jersey’s intensely valuable real estate ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of due diligence do potential buyers typically request when evaluating commercial land purchases? 

Buyers will want full environmental testing, boundary and infrastructure utility mapping, zoning confirmation letters, approvals timetables for permits, soil analyses, demolition cost estimates, and title history endorsements to satisfy due diligence around risks. 

What specific commercial zoning designations allow for the widest usage potential to attract buyers in New Jersey? 

Mixed use planning zone classifications provide the most real estate usage flexibility spanning residential, retail, hospitality, office and warehousing dependent on subsequent county approvals. 

What legal professionals are vital when navigating commercial land deals?

Experienced real estate attorneys help vet purchase contracts, affirm easements, validate permitting timelines, negotiate area improvement obligations and shield tax implications. 

What are examples of allowable tax strategies around commercial land divestiture? 

Tax deferred 1031 exchanges, installment structured sale notes, conservation easements, Opportunity Zone fund holdings, estate planning vehicles (trusts, LLCs) all aim to optimize after-tax net sale proceeds. 

What are risks around demolishing current deteriorating site improvements prior to sale?

Prematurely razing structures once stabilized risks reduced occupancy fee interim income that helps offset demolition costs if market headwinds cause sale delays. 

What sales listing enhancements effectively attract business buyers? 

Zoning flexibility confirmation letters, ALTA surveys with title policy endorsements, infrastructure capacity evidence, benchmark discount pricing, visible surrounding progress, favorable area demographics and rendering visualizations help demonstrate site potential and demand dynamics.

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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