How to Get Rid of Land That Won't Sell
Sometimes land just doesn't want to sell. It's normal for land to take months or even years to sell. But at a certain point if you haven't received any offers it can seem hopeless. Unwanted land can become burdensome if the property is a nuisance to neighbors. And there are costs to maintaining vacant land such as property tax.
In this article, we look at the common reasons your land isn't selling. By making some adjustments, you may be able to sell your vacant land. If you still can't find a buyer, we take you through 5 ways to get rid of land that won't sell.
Common reasons a property fails to sell
The most common reason a property fails to sell is the price is too high. This can happen when a property owner sets the price based on another property that was sold.
This is called the comparable sales approach and is widely used in real estate. The problem with vacant land is determining what is a comparable sale. Raw land varies significantly in its physical features, even properties located near each other.
Also, the value of land comes largely from what it can be used for. Useless land tends to be worthless land. Other properties that sold near you may have been zoned for a different use. For example, commercially zoned properties normally sell for more than residential ones.
Simply put, if your vacant land has been advertised for a long time and it hasn't sold, it is priced too high.
If the price is the same or lower than similar properties near you, review your marketing next. Marketing is how you advertise the property for sale to reach the largest number of potential buyers.
If the property was listed with a real estate agent, they may not have done much besides list it on the MLS. The MLS is a database for real estate agents to post their listings for sale. The public can also then see the MLS listings through websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.
Often the real estate agent won't earn a very good sales commission on land. This means sometimes real estate agents don't put a lot of effort into the listings. Two things to look closely at are the photos and the listing description. A single photo taken from a cell phone with a description like '5 acres for sale' won't get the job done.
You need lots of photos, preferably including aerial drone images. The listing description should tell prospective buyers about what the land can be used for and nearby attractions.
If you're trying to sell land by owner, your land may have even less marketing exposure. It takes a lot of effort to sell land by owner, so often land owners stop once they've listed the property one or two places. Normally, that won't be enough. Consider some of the additional ways to advertise land discussed below.
Undesirable area or features
If the property is priced well and marketed broadly, then there may be some fundamental defects with the property or the surrounding area. These defects could be physical features like wetlands, steep terrain, dilapidated structures, or land where people have dumped trash.
Or maybe it's just an undesirable area. What might have been an attractive property when your family first bought it many years ago may have changed. There may not be demand for the land if people have moved away or it's become a depressed area.
Title issues can be another reason land won't sell. Typically, title issues would only be discovered after you've signed a contract with a potential buyer. There are many types of title issues including liens, easements, and property boundary issues. Most likely, you will need to resolve the title issue before you can get rid of the land.
5 ways to get rid of unwanted land
List land for sale online
Before you give up on selling your land, try listing it online. There are many websites where you can list land for sale. Some of them are free and some are paid. You can start with the free websites. These include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Zillow.
They all reach different audiences, so we recommend posting to all of them. Selling land online is all about maximum exposure. You want your listing posted in as many places as possible.
There are also specialized land websites where you pay to list your property. The great thing about these websites is that everyone visiting these sites is actually looking to buy land.
One is the Land.com family of sites which include Lands of America, Land And Farm, and LandWatch. According to Land.com, these are three of the most visited land websites with 12+ million visits per month to the network of sites. The additional exposure you'll get comes at a cost though. The 'Standard' listing starts at about $90 per month.
Contact adjoining property owners
Don't overlook neighboring property owners if you're struggling to sell your land. Even if you have a real estate agent, the adjacent property owners may not know your land is for sale. Neighboring property owners may not have seen your for sale sign or listing online.
Nearby land owners are some of the most likely buyers of your land. The best way to reach many people at once is to send a letter to each property owner within a radius of your vacant land.
Sell to a cash buyer
The other option for getting rid of land is selling to land buyers like us. Vacant land buyers can make the transaction easy and painless for you as the seller. You won't need to take photos, put up a for sale sign, or take calls from a prospective buyer. Land buying companies are also used to buying land without contract contingencies.
It's also a way to sell land fast. Normally, they can also give you quick cash for your land in less than two weeks.
The downside to selling to a cash buyer is a discounted sale price since the land buying company needs to make a profit. The land buyer also has to go through all the steps to sell the vacant lot that you may not want to. Still, if you have not been able to sell your land this may be a trade-off worth making.
If you'd like to receive a no-obligation cash offer for your land, you can complete our simple form below. Why not get a fair cash offer before giving up on selling your land?
Donate the property
You can also consider donating the property to a charity or non-profit. The benefit of this is you may receive a tax deduction. It's often possible to get a tax deduction for the assessed value of the vacant lot. That's an advantage because the assessed value may be higher than the property's real market value.
Some charities that accept land donations include Disabled American Veterans, Kars4Kids, and Habitat for Humanity. Keep in mind that most of these charities have a screening process for accepting your land as a donation. For most charities, the purpose of accepting the land is to sell it to raise funds for their organization.
Stop paying the real estate property taxes
If you've tried everything else and just want to get rid of your land you can stop paying the property tax. Every city and county has a process for possessing real estate with unpaid taxes.
This process is called tax lien foreclosure or tax deed sale, depending on your state. In tax lien foreclosure, a real estate investor buys a tax lien certificate at auction. The investor can later foreclose on the property if the back taxes are not paid. In a tax sale, the property itself is sold.
Either way, this should be considered your last resort in getting rid of a property.