What to Do After Inheriting Land in Maryland

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What to Do After Inheriting Land in Maryland

Bart Waldon

As a state with over 6 million acres of forests and nearly 12,000 farms spanning some 2 million acres of croplands, pastures and rangelands based on recent 2022 census data, inherited land proves commonplace for Maryland’s approximate 6 million residents. For the roughly 25% of population receiving unexpected vacant acreage annually either without clear plans or based outside the region, pragmatic steps exist navigating what to do next leveraging professional partnerships.

Roughly 70% of Maryland rests in private landowner hands. Recent 2023 analysis shows average farmland values varying from $17,500 per acre in southern regions to over $26,000 per acre in central areas closer to Baltimore as broader inflation filters into real estate.

Within dynamic pricing, inheritors dealing with the complex tasks of appraising land assets accurately, resolving estate administration hassles and evaluating optimal usage paths or liquidation strategies need experienced guidance aligning efforts to individual recipient priorities relative to the unexpected properties now their responsibility stewards.

Getting Oriented with the Inheritance

Upon receiving notification of a Maryland land inheritance, understanding the full details involves investigating the:

  • Location, acreage and property attributes like improvements, natural resources or liabilities. Property records research can uncover encumbrances impacting marketability.
  • Estate executor contact for inheritance paperwork like will excerpts; title deeds; tax assessments or payment needs; leases/rentals in place.
  • Competitive land sales, values and demand factors around the inherited property. Local real estate professionals provide area insights.

Reaching clarity on the land inheritance situation before acting enables selecting the wisest path forward for your needs and vision. Don't rush into decisions before grasping specifics.

Evaluating Options for Your Inherited Property

Once grasped the inheritance property specifics through due diligence, strategic direction is shaped by considering your multidimensional big picture, including:

Financial Situation

Available money and obligations influencing choices. Selling the land outright can provide funds to pay off debts or save, while holding long-term can involve annual property taxes, lawyer fees for title transfers, maintenance costs and other cash obligations for an uncertain period. Review budget tradeoffs.

Life Plans

How land ownership fits or better options exist for your personal, family or professional goals over the coming years and retirement dreams. Does this inherited asset align with priorities like education, home ownership, small business startup financing or your definition of legacy?

Time Investment

Energy and consistent efforts required to market privately or develop the land if retained. Rental property management also takes time. Do you have capacity for this extra administration?

With bigger picture framing spanning finances, goals and bandwidth, typical inherited land options are:

Keep the Land

Maintaining full property control allows later sale timing per your personal needs or pursuing next step land uses per zoning permissions like:

  • Leasing out for rental income generation. Marketing to find and manage good tenants takes time and skills, but builds passive cashflow.
  • Building residential housing or commercial development as funds allow. This leverages the land for your own projects.
  • Creating recreational spaces like parks, trails or activity amenities as desired. Land transitions into community assets.

Upside with flexible options over the long-term, yet also direct costs and administration unless outsourced to professionals. Budget for expenses and effort capacity.

Sell to the Open Market

Putting the inherited property on the open real estate market to access full property value involves either:

  • FSBO Listing - For Sale By Owner marketing without agent commissions but higher personal efforts for self-directed advertising, buyer networking, property showings and price negotiations. Savvy required.
  • Agent Listing - Real estate professionals list the property in MLS databases, market to their buyer networks, handle showings and guide pricing negotiations in exchange for commissions around 5-6% of the final sale price. More hands-off for the seller.

In both cases, thoughtful market pricing valuation through comparable sales analysis and effective networking with serious buyers will take considerable time and skill. Industry data shows average marketing time to sell vacant land is between 1-2 years in most areas.

Sale to a Land Company

A newer option is direct sale to trusted land buying companies and investors like Land Boss seeking property to expand holdings. These buyers purchase land directly for cash, avoiding open market variability, commissions and elongated sales timelines. Providing speed & convenience allows them to pay significantly below full open market rates given discounted pricing models. However inherited land sale discounts off typical market value pricing still fall within reasonable ranges between 30% to 50% amid real estate industry standards.

Calling on Key Professional Guidance

Seeking perspective from trusted advisors brings insights as next steps are weighed when inheriting property. Those navigating inherited Maryland land gain clarity from discussions with:

  • Real Estate Lawyers - Can handle legal aspects around wills, estate transfers into your name, and property transactions if opting to sell. They clarify ownership rights.
  • CPAs or Tax Accountants - Provide details on tax obligations or filing impacts tied to inheriting land and capital gains exposures from appreciated value if later opting to sell. Sound tax planning saves money.
  • Land Companies - If considering selling land below market rates for convenience, speak to multiple reputable buyers about process, pricing policies and closing timeframes. Above board professionals are transparent.

These good conversations flesh out what lies ahead, bringing order to uncertainty as decisions are shaped.

Seek Win-Win Outcomes

Once details are clear on what the inheritance fully entails, takes pause to map out potential scenarios for the land based on intended uses, target timeframes, budgets and risk/reward tradeoffs. Evaluate multiple game plans across your key priorities whether financial, family or usage based. Review with advisors for fine tuning. The most enlightened path creates win-win outcomes by harmonizing personal goals and the land's highest potentials. Maryland's terrain offers promising opportunities with mindful planning.

Closing Perspectives to Mull

While inheriting property can feel chaotic initially when grieving loss or seeking direction, take heart that possibilities exist. Though decisions require education on the land itself and wise counsel on navigating what lies ahead. Discuss scenario plans with trusted experts making local progress daily. Listen more than speak.

There lies ahead new potential upon being bequeathed Maryland land. With diligent understanding and good guidance, inherited ground transforms into empowered decisions and better tomorrows. The terrain brings chances to build afresh. But first, breathe deep and climb the hill one step at a time.

Getting the Most Out of Inherited Land Investments

Upon acquiring new property, ideas abound on how best to leverage the asset. When inheriting land specifically, unique facets influence returns possible. Wise choices set the stage for future fruitfulness.

Assess Infrastructure Needs Evaluate what preparatory investments might boost land use, enjoyment or marketability down the road in areas like:

  • Roads & Electricity - Access and power open up build possibilities
  • Drainage & Clearing - Habitat improvements attract more buyers
  • Survey Lines - Clear demarcations add value for partition sales

Target Income Generation Seek options that aligned with location attributes and zoning can provide ongoing income streams through channels like:

  • Billboards - Advertising rents deliver passive revenue
  • Cell Towers - Leasing land for network sites makes consistent money
  • Farming Leases - Crop sharing or rents for agricultural land use

Explore Appreciation Options Depending on property specifics and budget, major projects can boost property value appreciation substantially via avenues such as:

  • Residential Development - Site planning and infrastructure for a housing subdivision
  • Commercial Buildings - Construct storage facilities, shops or office spaces as allowed
  • Amenity Creation - Adding lakes, trails, camping and more unlocks premium pricing

The above provides an overview of key areas to analyze. Do vision, gauge ROI, and invest wisely in inherited land.

Final Thoughts

Inheriting land in Maryland opens up a crossroads with multiple paths forward. Before charting your preferred course, ensure the complete inheritance picture is clear on location specifics, tenure status, tax impacts and legal transfer requirements first. Then conduct diligent explorations of financial tradeoffs, personal life priorities and possible land use scenarios. Sketch rough plans and distill using seasoned local insights from advisors in your community of trust. When direction resonates as the best fit within and without, you are ready. As stewards of the land's story moving forward, may the inheritance bless those visions rising in the heart. This is merely the start of a new chapter with Maryland's iconic landscapes and waters within reach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to pay inheritance taxes on land passed down to me in Maryland? 

Maryland collects both estate taxes and inheritance taxes. As the beneficiary, you are responsible for paying inheritance tax of 10% on land value, after deductions. There are exceptions for spouses and immediate family.

I inherited a house on land in Maryland. Do the same rules apply? 

Yes, inherited houses in Maryland follow the same estate/inheritance tax rules and processes as vacant land. The house value impacts taxes owed. Immediate family exemptions also apply if inheriting a family home.

I want to sell inherited property in Maryland. How long does this usually take? 

Industry averages show marketing and selling vacant land takes 1-2 years through traditional real estate channels. Inherited property can sell faster through direct sales to investors paying cash, though often at discounts from market prices.

What expenses come with inheriting rural land as I decide what to do with it? 

Key costs may involve property taxes, lawyer fees for estate transfers to your name, maintenance of land/buildings, insurance, and potential income taxes when/if the inherited property gets sold in the future. Project budgets.

I inherited forest land that I want to preserve and pass down. What steps can help? 

For sustainable forests, consider placing land under conservation easements limiting development while retaining ownership. Reduce taxes + preserve ecosystems for heirs. Consulting foresters help steward the habitat.

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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