What to Do After Inheriting Land in Nevada

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What to Do After Inheriting Land in Nevada

Bart Waldon

Nevada, the Silver State, is known for its sunny weather, vast desert terrain, mountains, and thriving casino and entertainment industry in cities like Las Vegas. If you've recently inherited land in Nevada or are expecting to, you likely have some questions on what comes next and your options. This comprehensive guide provides insights for new Nevada landowners on key considerations and possible next steps when land is left to you by a relative, friend or other party.

Get to Know the Local Land Market

Before doing anything else with inherited Nevada property, it’s wise to understand recent land values and demand in the local county where it’s located.

For example, land prices can vary greatly between Reno, Las Vegas, and more remote, rural counties. Do some research to find sales and listings of comparable land plots to yours that have sold recently in the same area.

Realtors active in the specific county can provide good insights on demand drivers, typical “days on market” and other trends influencing local vacant land prices. This will give you a realistic baseline for next steps with the inherited land.

Some key factors that can impact land valuations in local markets include:

  • Recent selling prices of similar vacant land parcels
  • Whether the area is seeing new housing/business development
  • Proximity to amenities like utilities, transmission towers, roads
  • Amount of land already on the market and time it takes to sell
  • Zoning and land usage regulations in that county

Once you have a general sense of the area’s land market conditions from research and chatting with realtors, it’s time to have professionals take an in-person look at your inherited land itself.

Have the Land Surveyed & Appraised

A survey by a licensed surveyor does an assessment of the land’s boundaries and exact total acreage. This verified plot information is crucial for getting an accurate appraisal and valuation next.

A real estate appraiser does just what their name says by inspecting the property and buildings (if any) to assign a fair market value. This professional opinion on the inherited land’s worth is also essential data for evaluating options.

Keep in mind appraisals on vacant land can be quite variable in Nevada as it's known to be a volatile real estate market currently. Value is ultimately dependent on what buyers will actually pay. Manage expectations accordingly.

Pay Any Taxes or Liens on the Land

This step is not exciting, but important to avoid major headaches later! Before doing anything else with inherited real estate, be sure there are no overdue property taxes or other outstanding bills secured by liens on the land.

In Nevada, property tax bills are issued by county assessors annually and due by the end of August. Any unpaid taxes results in hefty penalty fees that keep growing over time. The county will eventually put a tax lien on the land if left unpaid.

It’s wise to immediately pay off any lingering tax bills or other liens on inherited property to avoid the municipal equivalent of bad credit. Take this simple step to keep the land free and clear for your own plans ahead.

Decide Whether to Keep or Sell the Land

Here is the big fork in the road every land inheritor faces — should I keep or sell the inherited property? There are good reasons for both paths, so carefully weigh your position.

Reasons to Keep Land

  • Emotional connection to land owned by loved ones
  • Property has income potential for you (farming, leases, etc.)
  • Land market seems primed to increase in value long-term
  • Wish to use land plot for personal use someday

Reasons to Sell Land

  • Ongoing costs like taxes are currently unaffordable
  • No emotional tie to land or live too distant to use
  • Need cash payout now for other priorities
  • Lack bandwidth to develop land or wait 1-2 years to sell

Assess your own circumstances against the pros and cons of both choices. Speaking with professionals like real estate attorneys and land agents can also give impartial guidance.

Selling Inherited Land Yourself

If keeping the inherited land long-term isn’t practical, selling it yourself is an option. Be prepared for this to require substantial time and effort on your part, however.

To do a “for sale by owner” on vacant land, first formally assume ownership by recording property title in your name with the county clerk’s office.

Next, you’ll need to thoroughly market and advertise the Nevada land generally for it to sell in 1-2 years. This includes:

  • Listing it on MLS and sites like Zillow, Trulia, etc.
  • Erecting professional signage on the property
  • Networking with local realtors to represent and show the land
  • Personally showing plot to prospective buyers
  • Negotiating offers directly with interested buyers
  • Paperwork and legal filings to transfer land ownership

In summary — prepare yourself for an intensive process requiring heavy self-marketing of the land if you want to directly sell the inherited plot yourself.

Be conservative on pricing expectations as buyers will negotiate hard on vacant land compared to homes. Appraisal value does not easily translate to actual selling value for raw land plots.

Using a Land Buying Company

A different approach for liquidating inherited land is to use a professional land buying company that specializes in buying and selling vacant plots.

There are several active in Nevada that simplify the sales process into one place after assessing a property. These companies make fair cash offers and handle all the closing details upon acceptance. They buy land as-is, pay market competitive prices, and some may even buy inherited land at a discount.

For those more interested in a fast, convenient land sale over maximum price, reputable land buyers with lots of Nevada transaction experience are worth considering.

Create a Living Trust

Another option to explore with inherited land is putting it into a living trust, which acts as a legal entity to hold the land on behalf of beneficiaries. This can allow you time to decide whether to ultimately keep it long-term or sell it.

A living trust makes it smoother to transfer property ownership to heirs in the future. It avoids issues like going through probate court, saves substantially on estate taxes, and prevents disputes over land assets, for instance.

Situations where a living trust could make sense include:

  • Want to retain ownership but presently short on cash for taxes/fees
  • Have multiple heirs in mind to bequest land to down the road
  • Inherited land as joint owner and want to avoid conflict over it
  • Concerned about protecting land asset from creditors/lawsuits

A real estate attorney can provide guidance on creating a living trust tailored for inherited land. It can buy you time to evaluate options with the land while having a vehicle to hold and manage the property.

Final Thoughts

Inheriting land in Nevada can be a true blessing or a burden depending on your situation when it happens and how you decide to handle the property. Hopefully this overview gives a helpful primer on key considerations when land ownership falls in your lap.

Get to know the local land market, have the property surveyed and appraised, settle any taxes/liens, weigh keep vs. sell options carefully, and research land professionals near the plot. Consider if a living trust makes sense to buy you more time deciding what to do with inherited land.

Navigating decisions on land left to you can be complex, but know there are good options. With the right information and support, inherited property can become a valuable asset for you or heirs down the road. Best of luck charting your path forward!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What taxes or fees typically come with inheriting land?

When land is inherited in Nevada, you generally need to pay applicable estate taxes at both federal and state levels before the property can be transferred to you. Property taxes also continue being annually owed based on the land's assessed value. There may be appraisal, legal, and recording fees involved with formally assuming ownership too.

If I inherit land jointly with family, what happens?

If the inherited land deed names multiple beneficiaries, it becomes jointly owned amongst those individuals. It's wise for co-inheritors to have an attorney draw up a legal agreement clarifying rights/responsibilities for the property to avoid potential disputes later. All parties would need to agree to any future sale or transfer decisions regarding jointly inherited land assets.

Can a bank put a lien against inherited property?

Yes, liens against real estate you inherit could be possible in certain cases. For example, if the previous owner had outstanding debts tied to the land. Before finalizing inheritance, it's essential to settle such loans, unpaid taxes, mechanic's liens or other obligations tied to the property through a process called “clearing title”. This releases any encumbrances so you receive it free and clear.

What about inherited mineral rights to land?

Mineral rights related to subsurface natural resources are a separate legal asset than land ownership rights in Nevada. The deceased's estate would dictate if these transferred to heirs or not. Have an attorney review details to understand if any oil, gas, water or mineral rights transferred along with surface rights to inherited real estate.

If I inherit land but don't want it, what are my options?

If keeping the inherited property doesn't fit your situation, you have a few options to divest it: List/sell it yourself through a private sale, use a real estate agent to represent your sale for a fee, utilize legal services to give it to another party, or work with a land buying company that purchases property directly for cash. Each path has upsides and downsides to weigh given your priorities.

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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