What to Do After Inheriting Land in Vermont

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What to Do After Inheriting Land in Vermont
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Vermont is known for its beautiful mountain scenery, quaint small towns, and independent spirit. If you have recently inherited vacant land in the Green Mountain State, you may be wondering what steps to take next. With proper planning and decision-making, your Vermont land inheritance can either provide you with extra income or a wonderful place to build your dream home. This guide will walk you through everything you need to consider after inheriting land in Vermont.

Get to Know the Vermont Land Inheritance Laws

Before making any decisions about the inherited property, the first step is to review Vermont's real estate inheritance laws and regulations. This will impact the taxes owed, the titles transfers, selling rights, and more.

Under Vermont law, the deceased person's property and assets are distributed according to their will or, if no will exists, state intestacy succession laws. For real property like land or buildings, the ownership must be officially updated through probate court with new deeds and title transfers reflecting the inheritance.

The probate process for recording the change of land ownership with inherited property typically takes 6-12 months in Vermont. During this time, you cannot yet sell or subdivide the land until you receive the new property deed. Any Vermont inheritance tax owed must also be completed before transferring deeds.

Review Details of the Land Parcel

Once the probate proceedings begin transferring ownership, the next step is gathering all the details on the specifics of your Vermont land inheritance, including:

  • Surveys & Boundaries: Obtain a professional land survey to verify the acreage, boundary lines, easements, and exact measurements of the property. This verifies the land details.
  • Title Search: Hire a title company to research liens, back-taxes owed, other claims, or restrictions tied to the land's title history. This ensures clean ownership.
  • Zoning & Regulations: Check municipal zoning maps for the inherited property's zoning classification, which determines suitable building uses. Ensure you understand state and local regulations on land development, subdivision, or sale.
  • Appraisal & Value: Hire an accredited appraiser specializing in vacant land valuation to assess your inheritance. This will reveal the market value if you want to sell it. Values can shift depending on factors like acreage, road access, utilities availability, and location.

Completing this due diligence provides a clearer picture of what you have inherited in Vermont and the options at your disposal.

Assess Your Options with the Inherited Land

What makes the most sense to do with vacant land in Vermont will differ for each person depending on your situation. Before rushing into a decision, carefully consider these common options:

Sell the Undeveloped Land

Selling the Vermont property may be the best route if you live out-of-state or have no plans to personally develop or use it. With abundant natural beauty and open space, demand exists from buyers looking to build a residential property or private retreat on vacant Vermont land. However, finding buyers can take 1-2 years unless selling below market value to an investor.

A faster and easier option is getting an all-cash offer from a dedicated land buying company like Land Boss that purchases property directly from landowners. Their network of buyers provides a simpler way to sell your unwanted land inheritance for immediate funds to use elsewhere as you choose.

Hold the Property as an Investment

If your inherited property has long-term development potential or is in a high-growth area, keeping the land may prove wise as an investment. The value could significantly appreciate over the next 5-10 years. In the meantime, expenses would be low since it is vacant land with no structures.

You could also use an investment strategy like dividing the land into smaller parcels. This adds value by creating shovel-ready sites people can build on right away. Making the land more sellable down the road.

Build & Move There Yourself

For those wanting to relocate to idyllic Vermont, building a country home or cabin on inherited land can make for an ideal residence. With proper planning and budgeting, your custom-built dream home can become a reality. Just be aware that construction costs in Vermont can be 20% higher than U.S. averages.

If going this route, understand regulations apply on minimum living space size, waste disposal requirements, emergency access, construction codes, etc. for residential buildings. Also budget for adding access roads, utility connections, septic systems, and land clearing as needed.

Handle the Legal & Financial Responsibilities

Once you decide what to do next with inherited property in Vermont, take steps to fulfill legal and financial obligations tied to the land:

  • Update Wills & Estate Plans: Meet with an estate planning lawyer to update your will, trusts, and other end-of-life preparations to include the inherited real estate asset if keeping it long term.
  • Pay Ongoing Property Taxes: Understand that annual property tax bills from the town or municipality will continue arriving for the Vermont land. Either pay these taxes yourself or sell it to transfer this tax burden onto a new buyer. If inheriting out-of-state, find a local property manager to handle tax payments.
  • Obtain Liability Insurance: Consider a vacant land liability insurance policy for protection in case of injuries, accidents, or illegal dumping that occurs on the property during your ownership. This coverage is fairly affordable but protects against lawsuits.
  • Monitor & Maintain: Check on the land occasionally during ownership. Address any trespassing, boundary disputes with neighbors, fallen trees/limbs, or other issues in a timely manner. Proper land maintenance protects the value of this inheritance.

While handling the finer details, remember to consult licensed professionals like real estate attorneys, appraisers, title companies, or surveyors for expert guidance.

Weigh the Benefits of Selling Land in Vermont

Trying to manage out-of-state inherited property can prove challenging. If ready to sell your Vermont land, a reputable land buying company brings good reasons to consider:

  • Cash Fast - Receive all cash directly into your bank account on your own timeline, regardless of market conditions. Much faster and flexible than selling traditionally.
  • No Showings – Avoid having random strangers touring the remote property when selling to a land buying company. Saves you headaches.
  • No Fees – No real estate agents to pay commissions to, so you keep more profit from the land sale.
  • As-Is Condition – Vacant land always sells in its current condition. No need to spend on clearing brush, improving access, or other preparations.
  • Free Consultation - Knowledgeable land buying companies will review all specifics of your Vermont inheritance and make fair cash offers backed by decades of real estate valuation expertise.

For inherited vacant landholders wanting to opt-out of the responsibilities that come with ownership, choosing to sell generally makes smart sense in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Inheriting land in pastoral Vermont may seem like a dream come true. While often viewed as an asset, managing remote property from afar can prove challenging. Be sure to conduct due diligence, weigh different options carefully, handle obligations properly, and consider the benefits of selling vacant land you no longer want. With ample natural splendor and charm, Vermont also makes an excellent destination if building your own countryside residence is the goal instead. Just be realistic about the responsibilities, costs, and work involved before deciding either way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to pay inheritance tax on land I inherit in Vermont?

No, Vermont does not have an inheritance tax, so you will not need to pay any special taxes on land you inherit in the state. You will owe federal estate taxes if the estate value exceeds $12.06 million.

How long does probate take after inheriting property in Vermont?

The probate process for inheriting property and transferring deeds in Vermont typically completes within 6 to 12 months. During this time, you cannot sell or subdivide the inherited land until the new property deed transfers into your name.

What expenses come with inherited vacant land in Vermont?

Ongoing expenses you’ll need to budget for include annual property taxes to the municipality, maintenance costs for addressing issues like fallen trees or erosion, liability insurance premiums, as well as travel costs if visiting from out-of-state. Consider these costs before deciding whether to keep or sell.

Can I build a house on rural land I inherit in Vermont?

Yes, you can build a house or residential structure on Vermont land you inherit as long as it aligns with state and local zoning regulations. Be aware you’ll need to budget for driveway construction, utility connections, digging a well/septic system, permitting fees and significant construction costs when building in Vermont.

How do I sell inherited property in Vermont as fast as possible?

The fastest way to sell inherited Vermont land is typically to contact a dedicated land buying company. They specialize in buying rural vacant land for cash fast, allowing you to sell the entire parcel in as-is condition without waiting years for the right buyer. This provides immediate liquidity so you can move on.

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