The Process of Selling Land in Colorado

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The Process of Selling Land in Colorado

Bart Waldon

As land values continue to surge across Colorado near record highs, 2021 data shows over $5 billion in vacant lots and raw land sold across the state. This 22% increase over years prior reflects aggressive development demand that leaves savvy Colorado landowners perfectly positioned to capitalize in selling holdings into intense hunger from real estate investors, builders, and new residents moving in. Land parcels that have sat idle for decades now garner multiple bidding wars and shocking sale prices. 

For those exploring options to sell undeveloped acreage, effectively navigating key documentation, valuation, marketing and transaction execution steps proves more vital than ever given short windows when listed strategically. Sellers preparing methodically around optimal pricing, assemblage potential, and preferential terms that cater to investor appeal will realize significant returns on land assets previously overlooked or undervalued on balance sheets. Now marks the ideal timing for properly listing land holdings held by longtime Colorado families or other patient owners suddenly fielding calls on legacy properties from aggressive agents of change.

Getting Started Prep 

Before listing land, sound prep work must happen to determine exactly what’s available to sell and any issues needing addressed to maximize value. Tracking down official deeds, title statements, plat maps and tax records provides baseline documentation. Review closely with a real estate attorney to verify full ownership rights.

Walk the property to check for encroachments, easements or access problems. Document all dimensions and geography thoroughly. Are there apparent environmental flaws or restrictions requiring disclosure? Identify utility availability. Taking time upfront to fully understand what you have makes transactions smoother later.

If defects emerge impacting land value during the review stage, determine if it makes financial sense to address those prior to selling. Adding access roads, grading pads or basic infrastructure can boost what buyers will pay. Consult developers on potential ROI for such improvements against added costs. They become the eventual owners.

Getting an Appraisal

Current appraisals help set reasonable value expectations when selling Colorado land. But the wide variance in development potential, location desirability and market growth factors surrounding vacant parcels make objective valuation tricky. Dense forested mountain regions differ vastly from Eastern Plains farmland or Front Range corridor infill, for example.

Appraisers consider sales of similar nearby land parcels to gauge pricing – or lack thereof. Rural regions with little demand or comps require relying more heavily on environmental attributes, views and adjacency growth indicators. Get multiple opinions to establish value range, but expect negotiation room.

Pricing Land Listings 

One main pricing dilemma owners face when selling land revolves around allowing room for buyer upside on development, while still realizing decent near-term returns themselves. Appraisals provide upper limits, but smart sellers build in speculative profit margins, knowing savvy investors still require worthwhile acquisition discounts to justify carry costs. Those focused on quicker flips seek steeper discounts.

A common tactic involves segmenting land into sections, with higher square footage pricing on frontage visibility areas and road access locations. Bulk sections get lower rates accordingly. Just avoid overly complicated parcel structures that deter serious buyers with easier options elsewhere. Find the optimal balance attracting offers, not blocking them.

Getting Listed for Sale

The predominant means serious investors search for land deals involves MLS databases compiled from broker listings. Gaining maximum digital visibility requires engaging an agent to list the selling parcel through Colorado’s RETS MLS platform. But not all realtors properly prioritize vacant land properties with the appropriate photography, promotion and advertising support.

Ensure the agent enlisted for listing a land parcel understands the unique marketing nuances of undeveloped properties. Negotiate clear expectations about signage, matterport virtual scans, drone footage, email/social media outreach campaigns, etc. upfront. If negotiations fall short of those provisions, press for concessions or seek a specialist broker instead. Don’t settle for lackluster exposure that underestimates market reach.

Additional Marketing Outlets 

Beyond MLS listings syndicated across dozens of affiliate sites, sellers need expanded online visibility through self-promotion channels as well, especially those forgoing formal broker representation to avoid commissions. Useful direct marketing outlets include:

  • Social media posts with images/details in regional real estate investor groups
  • Dedicated land sales website page with lead contact forms
  • Email or direct mail outreach to surrounding neighbors/businesses
  • Classified/Marketplace ad listings on Zillow & national land sites
  • Onsite signage with seller details for passing car traffic

The greater the marketing exposure through assorted streams, the faster conversations get initiated with serious buyers ready to transact around motivated pricing terms and factors. Waiting years for action proves unnecessary in most counties today.

Expecting Steep Discount Offers

Nearly all land listings - especially vacant parcels in remote rural regions - attract lowball bids from long shot buyers hoping for windfall bargains. Most owners bristle instantly at anything substantially undercutting appraisal prices or nearby comps. Dismissing these offers as insulting risks leaving opportunity behind though.

Remember that land flippers and specialized bulk investment groups seek big margins buying wholesale dirt cheap that they can resell higher through their channels. Counteroffering extreme lowballs risks no deal. Savvy sellers entertain creative terms and structures beyond just purchase price to find workable middle ground deals allowing upside for both parties. Don’t summarily ignore any buyer able to close quickly.

Maximizing Value Through Lot Packages 

Those struggling to sell individual land parcels can boost marketability dramatically by packaging contiguous lots as mini land assemblages. Squared-off acreage plots with greater frontage draw higher bids than ragged or irregular shapes. Investors love whole tract simplicity.

Assembling adjacent buildable lots requires negotiating successfully with neighboring holders, many of whom await windfalls themselves. Deals combining multiple properties into a single must-have opportunity create urgency converting window shoppers into contracted buyers able to meet fair terms. But incorporate closing contingencies protecting sellers against partial assemblages.

Navigating Closing & Conveyances 

With necessary buyer negotiations, marketing pushes and contract terms all addressed, the last major step involves navigating the closing process smoothly once under contract. Lean on qualified real estate attorneys to handle required sale documentation details. Missing small elements can derail deals rapidly.

Work closely with counsel to double check timing on finalizing deeds, title conveyances, tax payments owed, settlement statements and escrow filings. Ensure the buyer meets all contracted contingency stipulations too like inspections or proof of funds. Closings present enough stress without administrative issues sidetracking progress after months of prep finally pays off.

Those needing quick cash rather than waiting out long sales cycles in Colorado’s inconsistent land market do have options as well. Companies like Land Boss purchase land directly for fair prices and immediate payouts to owners. Contact us online anytime to discuss buying your property fast versus continuing the process alone. We provide fair valuations with no fees or commissions deducted, delivering cash fast for quality parcels in any county statewide.

With certain metro areas developing rapidly, timing proves opportune for Colorado land owners to capitalize on growth demand if employing smart pricing tactics and assertive promotion. Follow these key steps for maximizing sale potential. Here’s to smooth deals and satisfying windfalls!

Final Thoughts

Conclusion Selling Colorado land successfully in a timely manner involves proper planning around key documentation, valuation guidance, attentive listing promotion and flexibility negotiating creative offers. Patience pays off avoiding knee-jerk reactions to initial lowballs. Assemble parcels cooperatively to enhance appeal. And utilize experienced attorneys smoothly handling required sales conveyances when executing contracts. With diligence addressing details, sellers can capitalize on red hot demand across this extensive land of opportunity spanning majestic mountain ranges to fertile eastern farmlands. The rewards prove well worth embracing process wisdom guided by experts!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What percentage of land sales in CO happen above initial listing prices? 

In competitive buyer markets within reach of growing Front Range cities, over 30% of land parcels sell for premiums beyond original asking prices if priced moderately to attract interest from developers. Savvy sellers list slightly below actual desired targets.

How long should listing contracts run when selling land? 

Typically 6-12 month terms allow sufficient duration to market rural land effectively online and generate serious buyer conversations for owners selling themselves without agent commissions. But assess market conditions upfront when negotiating terms. Hot areas move faster while remote regions lag.

What closing costs do CO land sellers typically pay? 

Beyond possible commission splits with their representing broker, typical closing costs for land sellers relate to legal conveyance paperwork, half of title insurance fees, prorated property taxes due, municipality transfer charges, escrow services, recording fees and more. Budget 2-4% of the sales price.

What steps validate buyer funding ability before closing? 

Smart sellers confirm prospective buyers have financing lined up by requesting lenders letters approving loans early in the offer negotiation process before finalizing contracts. Review bank statements showing cash ability as well directly. Don’t assume all land buyers prove qualified despite initial interest and bids.

Should mineral rights transfer automatically within land sales? 

In Colorado, mineral rights don’t automatically convey when selling land. The default transfers surface rights only unless explicitly deeded over in writing. Given extensive subsurface resource development across the state, sellers should clarify this asset early when negotiating to avoid losing that value long term after relinquishing land ownership ultimately.

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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