What to Do After Inheriting Land in Connecticut

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What to Do After Inheriting Land in Connecticut

Bart Waldon

Inheriting property may sound like a boon, but when the asset is raw rural land, managing or liquidating it sight unseen often stymies beneficiaries. This dilemma affects over 56% of Connecticut residents that will receive at least one land parcel through inheritance or estate execution. With 72% of the state’s 6,004 square miles dedicated to forest, farmlands or open spaces ripe for development, inheriting portions requires savvy navigation. New landowners must weigh options like preparing sales, recruiting local support or conveying rights to simplify their sudden windfall. 

According to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture, over 40% of Connecticut’s farm estates changed hands from 2007-2017 highlighting the need for inherited land guidance across the state. As seasoned land managers guiding inheritors through acquisitions for decades, we urge newly bequeathed owners to act swiftly to evaluate holdings, resolve title issues, pay debts and extract value from gifted acreage through expedited sales channels where advantageous. This guide examines key steps upon obtaining Connecticut rural tracts to ease confusion around repurposing vacant territories handed down unexpectedly.

What To Do Immediately After Inheriting Land

Confirm the Title Transfer

The first thing to do when inheriting a property is confirming that the title or deed has been legally transferred to your name. Any land transfer requires proper documentation for recording purposes. Review the will or trust paperwork from the previous owner to ensure it officially lists you as the recipient. Then check in with the town clerk’s office to guarantee the new title with your name is reflected accurately in their real estate records. This step secures your ownership and rights to the land going forward.

Have the Land Surveyed

Another important early task is to have a licensed surveyor come out and survey the boundaries of your newly acquired land parcel. A survey will clearly designate the perimeter and exact acreage you now own. This prevents any confusion or disputes over the true borders in the future. Additionally, a survey allows you to maintain correct geographic data on the property that will be needed when you go to sell it or make any changes.

Analyze Current Condition and Property Details

Once the land is securely in your name, spend some time analyzing all the details pertaining to the lot. What is the land currently being used for if anything? Make notes on features like terrain, bodies of water, accessibility, vegetation, previous structures, etc. If vacant, what surrounds the area and how might the space be utilized? Understanding the condition and any special characteristics will allow you to formulate the next steps.

Additionally, review all available paperwork to see zoning designations, acreage breakdowns, property lines, rights of way, and liens against the land if applicable. Being informed on all the specifics is essential as an owner.

Evaluate Your Options

Determine Intended Use After compiling all the particulars on the inherited real estate, the next phase is deciding what you aim to ultimately do with the land. As the new owner there are several options on the table to weigh. Common routes taken with vacant land include:

  • Keep for personal use
  • Build a residential property
  • Construct commercial buildings
  • Farm the land
  • Lease out space
  • Hold as an investment property
  • Donate/gift the plot
  • Attempt to resell the parcel

Take time assessing your situation before moving ahead. Factors like the land’s suitability for building, market demand in the area, your own financial resources for development, and readiness to take on a project play key roles in identifying the ideal path.

Get An Appraisal Once the preliminary intended use is clear, get an official appraisal done on the land. An appraiser will assess the market value based on data of recent comparable land plots sold nearby. This provides a realistic estimate of what your inherited property is truly worth. It also sets a baseline for making any real estate decisions like listing it for sale.

Appraisals consider details like location, size, zoning regulations, terrain, road access and improvements so they can vary widely. Budget around $400-$800 for a thorough appraisal on a standard single family parcel. The cost scales up for larger, more valuable commercial land.

Explore Financing If Needed 

Check whether tapping into financing could assist with next steps. For example, securing a land loan or construction loan to build a home. Financing can also help free up personal capital to put towards other costs associated with the inherited land.

Common financing options to explore:

  • Local bank construction loans
  • Credit union land/lot loans
  • Private lenders
  • Government backed land loans (USDA)
  • Personal home equity line of credit

Be sure to shop rates and terms. Each lending source provides its own criteria, fees and repayment structures.

Weigh Getting An Offer From A Land Buying Company 

Another possibility is to get an all-cash offer to buy your land from a local land buying company. Groups like Land Boss have funds available specifically to purchase plots from owners looking to sell. The benefit is it sidesteps the lengthy process of listing it. Companies buy land as-is and handle closing costs fast. Land Boss pays fair market value based appraisals and has bought/sold over 100 Connecticut properties.

Securing an offer lets you easily compare their payout against projected proceeds from other options. There’s no obligation to accept if the amount is lower than expected. However, it provides a simple avenue to liquidate the asset.

Estimate All Associated Costs 

Make a comprehensive list of any taxes, fees and development expenses associated with your intended plans. This may include things like:

  • Property taxes
  • Permitting fees
  • Site excavation/prep
  • Landscaping
  • Utility connections
  • Structure building
  • Road paving
  • Legal fees

Having total cost projections allows you to realistically budget and secure financing if required. Identify all anticipated expenses upfront so there’s no surprise bills down the road.

Decide Whether to Develop or Sell As-Is 

With all the research completed, carefully determine whether taking on the work of developing the land is feasible or desirable. Building a residential property or commercial space carries heavy demands. Or you may opt maximize profits by selling the parcel as undeveloped land. This avoids headaches of overseeing extensive construction.

If selling as-is, you can attempt to list it yourself or go through a licensed real estate broker. Be prepared it make take upwards of a year or more to finalize a sale. Working with a trusted land buying company provides another alternative to advertise it less formally. They will still pay fair value based on an appraisal.

Consult An Attorney on Any Offers 

It’s highly recommended to request an attorney’s input when evaluating any land purchase deals or letters of intent. They can review documentation to ensure terms and conditions suit your best interests as the owner. This includes checking specifics like:

  • Purchase price
  • Contingencies/clauses
  • Deposits/earnest money
  • Inspections allowed
  • Expected closing date
  • Liabilities covered

Paying a few hundred dollars for legal counsel can safeguard you from signing an unfavorable contract. They will also oversee details during the actual closing process if a deal progresses.

Final Words

Inheriting land can prove to be a great asset over time if handled properly when first received. While the list of what to do may seem extensive, taking it step-by-step makes the process manageable. Be sure to consider all your options by analyzing the property’s attributes and intended purpose. Seek professional guidance around development feasibility, appraisals and evaluating purchase offers. This will empower you to maximize the value of your land ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to accept inherited property in Connecticut?

No, you are not required to accept inherited real estate if you do not want the responsibility. You would need to formally document a ‘disclaimer of interest’ that must be done within a certain time period after being notified. This releases you from all liabilities tied to that land asset.

What taxes are owed on inherited land in CT?

Connecticut imposes real estate conveyance taxes whenever property changes hands. As the beneficiary, you are responsible for applicable conveyance taxes which vary based on the property value and your relationship to the previous owner. The rates range from 0.75% to 2.25% of appraised value.

Can I sell land I just inherited in Connecticut?

Yes, you have the right to sell inherited property at any point. There is no rule requiring you to own it for a minimum period of time first. As the current lawful owner on record, you can attempt to sell it yourself or utilize a real estate professional. Companies that purchase land directly like Land Boss are another option to conveniently liquidate the asset.

What happens if I inherit land jointly with others in CT?

If multiple beneficiaries are named, Connecticut essentially treats them as co-owners. All decisions and transactions related to the land require approval from each person. To simplify things, one option is getting the other beneficiaries to sign a quitclaim deed handing over full rights to one inheritor who buys out the rest.

Do I inherit the mineral rights attached to land received in Connecticut?

It depends on how the previous owner set up their will or living trust. The default is both surface and mineral rights transfer together when a new deed is conveyed. However, the documentation can also split these rights so you might only inherit above-ground usage while someone else retains rights to below-ground resources. Check paperwork closely to see if any limitations exist.

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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