What to Do After Inheriting a Land in Florida?

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What to Do After Inheriting a Land in Florida?

Bart Waldon

Receiving word that a vacant land parcel or family homestead now belongs to you through inheritance brings mix emotions - fond reflections on past generations balanced with practical realities around potential tax liabilities, needed upkeep costs and disposition logistics going forward. This is especially true for beneficiaries inheriting property in Florida while residing out of state. With over 9 million acres of Florida still categorized as timber or unused land according to Department of Agriculture analytics, much likely stands in the names of senior residents now passing assets to non-resident descendants unprepared to manage offsite holdings properly. 

Yet immediate decisions loom regarding the inherited real estate, even just selecting whether to sell quickly or possibly retain with intend towards future personal occupancy or use. Navigating the unique edicts around Florida inheritance, property valuation, title transfers and sale legalities remains essential to avoid missteps amid already sensitive situations around managing inherited land or family homes from afar. This guidance aims simplifying key considerations for beneficiaries soon after Florida land transfers occur.

Learn About the Land

The first thing you’ll want to do upon inheriting land is learn as much as you can about the property. Where in Florida is the land located? How large is the parcel of land? What type of land is it – residential, agricultural, commercial? Is there anything currently built on the land such as a house or other structure?

You’ll also want to find out details of how the land is zoned. Zoning laws determine what can legally be built on the land. Is it zoned for residential, commercial, agricultural use? This is important information for deciding the future of the inherited property.

It’s also crucial to understand what condition the land is in. Have there been any environmental assessments done previously? Are there any noticeable issues like overgrown vegetation, excessive garbage dumping, or stagnant water collecting? If the land has been neglected, there may be cleanup required before doing anything with it.

Consulting with local Florida real estate professionals can provide important insight into the land value. A real estate appraiser can assess the market value of the property. Real estate agents familiar with the area can offer information on what similar nearby properties have sold for.

Consider the Financial Responsibilities

Inheriting land also means inheriting the financial responsibilities that come with land ownership. Make sure you understand what recurring expenses are attached to the property.

Property taxes will need to be paid annually. The tax amount will depend on the size and value of the land. Failure to pay property taxes could result in the land being seized.

If there is an existing structure on the land, find out what insurance costs are. Homeowner’s insurance or commercial property insurance will need to be paid to cover things like fire, theft, and liability. If the land is in a high-risk flood zone, you may need flood insurance too.

Ongoing maintenance costs are also a consideration. Is there a lawn that needs regular mowing or landscaping that requires care? What about the maintenance of any buildings or fences on the property? Estimate these costs annually.

If the property has utilities like electricity or water, these monthly bills will need to be paid as well until the land is sold or transferred.

Decide Whether to Keep or Sell the Land

Once you have a good understanding of the inherited land, it’s time to make a big decision – keep it or sell it?

There are good reasons for wanting to keep inherited land. If the land has been in your family for generations, you may have an emotional attachment. The land may also be in a desirable location like near the ocean or in an area seeing significant new development.

However, there are also excellent reasons to consider selling inherited land. The financial responsibilities and ongoing costs could be overly burdensome. You may live out of state far from the land. Or you simply have no interest in the tasks of being a landowner.

If you decide to keep the land, the next steps will be preparing a plan for using the land and funding the costs. Maybe you hope to eventually build your retirement home there or use it for agricultural purposes. Creating a financial plan for the recurring taxes, insurance and maintenance is key.

If selling the land makes the most sense, you have several options for how to go about it.

Selling Land in Florida Yourself

Selling land on your own without a real estate agent is possible. This allows you to avoid paying agent commissions. However, there are challenges to expect.

You’ll have to handle tasks like:

  • Researching land values – It takes effort and experience to appropriately price land for sale. If you price it too high, it may not sell. Too low, and you lose out on higher profit.
  • Marketing – To attract interested buyers, you’ll need to actively promote the land. Options include posting online classified ads, putting up signs, having open houses. This takes time and local know-how.
  • Fielding buyer inquiries – When buyers start contacting you, you become responsible for answering their questions and scheduling property visits. This can be time consuming.
  • Negotiating offers – Working directly with buyers means you’ll have to handle negotiations yourself. It’s important to know tactics so you don’t accept an offer that’s too low or turn away an acceptable one.
  • Paperwork – You’ll have to understand real estate contracts, transfer deeds, disclosures and other legal documents needed in a sale.

Going through the selling process on your own can be challenging especially from out of state. But it can be worthwhile financially by avoiding agent commissions.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Another option is to hire a qualified real estate agent to represent you in selling the inherited Florida land. There are some great reasons to go this route.

A real estate agent will handle the tasks that make selling land difficult. An experienced agent already understands the local land values so they can accurately suggest a listing price. They have better access to listing services to market the land. The agent will screen buyers, show the property, and negotiate sale terms.

Essentially, the agent does the hard work so you can step back. Once you have an offer, the agent can advise if it’s a smart deal and help you close the sale.

The catch is that you’ll pay the agent a commission as compensation for selling the land on your behalf. Typical land sale commissions range from 5-10%.

To get the best service, It’s important to find an agent experienced in land sales for that specific Florida area. Interview a few agents before selecting one to represent you.

Selling to a Land Buying Company

A third option worth considering is selling your inherited Florida land to a land buying company like Land Boss. Companies like these purchase land directly from sellers looking for a fast, straightforward sale.

This can be an ideal solution if you’ve inherited land you have no use for or that feels like an unwanted burden. Companies will buy all types of land in any condition.

After submitting basic details about your land, you can get a no-obligation cash offer within days that requires no real estate agents. If you accept the offer, the company handles all the sale paperwork and closing. Transferring deed is the only step needed on your end to collect payment.

Land buying companies purchase properties at below retail market value since they aim to acquire land at attractive discounts. But their offers provide several advantages over selling the land yourself or using an agent.

Benefits of selling inherited land to a land buying company include:

  • Speed – The whole process happens quickly, so you can be done with the property fast. No lengthy listing period.
  • Simplicity – There's minimal work on your end. No showings, negotiations or contracts to handle.
  • Cash payment – Receive your payment in a lump sum wired directly to you. No financing contingencies.
  • Flexibility – Companies buy land in any location or condition. No limitations on property issues.

This approach can relieve you of an unwanted inherited property quickly and smoothly. Within weeks you can have the land sold and cash in hand without ever visiting the property.

Selling land yourself may take over a year. The convenience and speed of selling to a land buying company is tough to beat.

Consult Legal and Tax Experts

Throughout the process of handling inherited land, it’s wise to consult legal and tax professionals.

An estate planning attorney can offer guidance on the inheritance itself and your rights regarding the land. It’s important to understand if there are any liens against the property that could cloud the title. An attorney can provide direction on transferring ownership to comply with laws.

A tax professional should also be tapped to discuss potential tax implications of acquiring the land. Inheritances may be subject to taxes depending on your relation to the deceased and other factors. You’ll want to understand this early in the process.

Decide Smartly, Act Promptly

Receiving an inheritance of land in a sunny locale like Florida may initially seem like good fortune. But the realities of owning land – and the responsibilities that come with it – can cast a shadow over the situation. Fortunately, you have several options.

Carefully weigh keeping the land or selling it, and be sure to research land values. If selling, choose the path that best suits your needs -- a DIY sale, real estate agent, or quick cash sale to a land buying company. Consulting experts is wise to avoid legal issues or surprise taxes.

Don’t let inherited land remain a burden. With the right approach, you can resolve the situation promptly and make the most of this acquired asset.

Final Words

Inheriting property can be a blessing or a burden depending on your situation. Take time to thoroughly research any inherited land so you can make informed decisions. Weigh the pros and cons of keeping or selling the land in Florida or any other state. If opting to sell, choose the best method based on your priorities like speed, maximizing profit, or minimizing hassle. With prudent planning and quick action, you can resolve an inherited land situation smoothly. The property that once felt like an albatross around your neck can be transformed into a valuable asset and opportunity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What taxes may be owed on inherited land?

Inherited land may be subject to estate taxes at the federal and/or state level. The amount varies based on the value of the land and your relationship to the deceased. Consulting a tax professional can help you understand what tax liabilities you may face.

Can I sell inherited property if it has no will attached?

Yes, you can sell land passed to you without a will. However, it's important to verify you have full rights to the property. An estate attorney can help you handle the transfer of ownership properly.

Is it better to use a real estate agent or sell on my own?

Using an agent has benefits like marketing assistance, screening buyers, and handling negotiations. But you pay commissions. Selling directly yourself allows you to earn the full sale profit but requires more time and effort.

What costs come with owning inherited land?

Standard costs include property taxes, insurance, maintenance/upkeep, and utilities if present. Estimating these annual expenses will determine if ownership is financially viable.

How quickly can I sell land to a land buying company?

The process can often be completed in as little as 2-3 weeks after submitting details for a purchase offer. The speed and convenience are advantages over traditional sales.

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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