The Process of Selling Land in Illinois

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The Process of Selling Land in Illinois

Bart Waldon

Illinois spans over 55,500 square miles featuring flat terrain with rich fertile farmland along with urban center growth. Around 71% remains designated as agricultural real estate yet land prices have risen annually - 7.2% for tillable acres and 4.8% for overall rural property currently. With commodities exports boosting demand plus out-of-state investors attracted, the Illinois land market provides attractive selling opportunities. But effectively monetizing owned acreages or development sites still requires methodical maneuvering of process intricacies with legal, documentation and negotiation proficiencies.

Selling land solely as a private individual rarely delivers ideal outcomes without true real estate expertise guiding arrangements around statutory intricacies. Understanding key trajectory touchpoints and securing skilled navigation support enables smoother sales completions satisfying all stakeholders. So, what does effectively orchestrating the Illinois land sale journey entail exactly?

Planning & Preparation

Managing open acreage or intended purpose sites as true income-yielding assets requires proactive management well before any sale considerations emerge. Steps maintaining marketability include:

#1 - Confirm Existing Ownership Standing

Run title searches identifying all lienholders or boundary disputes possibly impeding clean title transfers later. Also check for mineral/oil rights separations clouding legal selling rights.

#2 - Account for Site Condition Impacts

Document any environmental contamination, infrastructure access barriers or adverse weather effects that could hamper development. Disclosing issues upfront attracts fair offers versus deterring buyers completely later on.

#3 – Keep Government Tax Obligations Current

Delinquent county property tax obligations triggering potential foreclosure actions severely erode market values and negotiating power. Prevent forced distress sales scenarios via good accounting.

Taking such advance measures facilitates quicker turnaround when the right opportunities arise with interested parties. And proactively resolving any friction points expands the pool of prospective buyers substantially compared to comparable sites remaining encumbered by complicating factors they must address. Putting in such groundwork translates into higher sales prices and quicker closes ultimately.

Valuation Considerations

Illinois assessors categorize land types by highest and best usages dictating fair property valuations then utilized. But limited geographies supporting projects as zoned makes comparable land scarce for estimating across the state. Still these valuation methodologies apply for appraisals:

Commercial/Industrial Land 

Based on nearby infrastructure, development demands, location access and any natural resource value. Sales of similar zoned plots provide comparisons.

Agricultural Land 

Tied to crop yields and commodity prices representing the annual income generating ability plus any rich soil attributes. Comparable site production rates help gauge.

Residential Land 

Dependent on development potential if infrastructure accessible or nearby home value levels if plots accommodating single builds in rural locales. Nearby new build estimates assist.

Market analyses should align recommended listings with property realities - not over-inflated aspirations. Reasonable selling periods spanning 6-12+ months still prevail in many areas. Patience persists as vital.

Sales Exploitation

Spreading awareness of marketing listings and nurturing buyer relationships remain critical for motivating ideal offers too. Tactics facilitating connections include:

#1 - Engage Multiple Listing Services

MLS databases enable broad visibility of sale offerings to all regional realtors and their clients. Though commissions owed on deals, expanded audiences can stimulate bidding wars.

#2 - Target Developers Directly

Research pre-approved projects in planning stages with officials to identify developers primed for shovel-ready site acquisitions catering to their needs.

#3 - Network Local Investor Groups

Connect at meetups or through referral partners to connect with private capital buyers seeking stability or strategic fits.

Casting wider outreach nets through these channels connects compatible buyers eager for listings matching their agendas.

Negotiations & Due Diligence

With buy offers on the table, granting site access for due diligence assessments allows trust-building as terms get defined through bargaining. Welcomed evaluations may involve:

  • Environmental testing for any contamination
  • Flood plain mapping risks analysis
  • Archeological scanning protecting artifacts
  • Surveying for precise acreage boundaries
  • Infrastructure capacity measurements

Addressing identified issues before contract finalizations leaves no surprise hurdles stalling closings down the road. Proactively work through constraints together.

Win-win positions satisfying both buyer and seller needs should remain the negotiations focus throughout property transfers. Compromises bridging gaps lead to better outcomes all around typically.

Closing Guidance

The closing finish line demands precision handling of real estate law technicalities impacting ownership transfers like:

  • Tax rolls updates to trigger needed payments
  • Title policy issuance from underwriters
  • Lien suspensions until sale proceeds get dispersed
  • Recordation filings to register deed exchanges

Without legal guidance navigating protocols, hurried mistakes risk delay payouts getting to sellers while buyers may face new tax burdens or policy gaps. Attorney support smooths out gaps.

While selling land independently seems simple initially, recognizing Illinois process intricacies, airing risk exposures upfront and securing guidance steering negotiations and documentation completions properly will facilitate transfers optimizing favorableterms for both buyers and sellers ultimately. Don’t navigate blindly and cross fingers all works out fine legally in the end. Seek expertise.

Final Thoughts

Selling land in Illinois seems fairly straightforward initially but in practice it requires navigating many statutory process intricacies minimizing risk for both buyers and sellers. By confirming true property rights and status before listings, conducting rigorous due diligence targeted to usage plans, widely marketing as turnkey-ready, cooperatively addressing constraints discovered, and securing legal guidance wrapping up closing formalities smoothly - sellers can expect to not only close deals faster but also command ideal sale terms. Treat land as the true asset it is by maximizing at every stage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What seller obligations exist when transferring Illinois land ownership legally?

Accurately depicting property conditions known, filing taxes owed to date, suspending liens by closing, updating tax rolls/deed registrations, and maintaining mineral/water rights documentation.

What sales options exist beyond listing with an agent on MLS?

Targeting developers directly via permit reviews for site needs matching land uses works well. Also networking local investor meetups frequently produces private capital buyers.

What due diligence should Illinois land sellers expect from serious buyers before closing deals?

Requesting environmental testing, flood plain mapping, infrastructure capacity measurements and precise plot surveying protects their acquisition risks. Be transparent.

How can I estimate fair market value when selling land in Illinois?

Search actual sales of comparable zoned vacant plots via public sales records. Adjust for location and site condition differences relative to your parcel. Consult multiple experts too.

How much proceeds from selling farmland get owed as capital gains taxes?

No taxes apply if the property sits as an investment asset over one year. But gains on tracts held under a year get taxed as ordinary income at a higher rate. Check eligibility.

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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