How to Sell Land By Owner - 4 Steps Needed to Sell Land

Want to sell land but not sure where to get started? Selling land by owner can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Who buys vacant land? And what paperwork is required to sell vacant land without a realtor?

Fortunately, selling unwanted land is straightforward once you break it down into a few manageable steps. Learn the four steps to selling your land in this comprehensive guide on selling land.

Key Takeaways

  • 🏡 Selling land by owner can be a cost-saving option, but it requires more work
  • 📄 Documents needed to sell land include a sale contract, disclosures, a closing statement, and a deed
  • 📢 Advertising methods for selling land by owner include for sale signs, a neighbor letter campaign, and listing the land online
  • 💰 Selling land for cash to a land buyer is an alternative that offers a quick and hassle-free process

Want to sell land but not sure where to get started? Selling land by owner can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Who buys vacant land? And what paperwork is required to sell vacant land without a realtor?

Fortunately, selling unwanted land is straightforward once you break it down into a few manageable steps. Learn the four steps to selling your land in this comprehensive guide on selling land.

Why sell land by owner?

For many people, the motivation to sell land by owner is to save costs and keep more of the sale price in their pocket. Cutting out a realtor can reduce costs. But, it can also be a lot more work.

For other people, finding a realtor to list your raw land may take a lot of work. Rural areas especially have fewer professional real estate agents.

If you find a real estate agent, they may not be excited to put your land on the market. Commissions on land sales can be as high 10% of the sales price. Still, for a small piece of land, this may not add up to a very significant commission.

Going into the process, you should know that selling your vacant land is much harder than selling a house in most places. Selling a home is easier because everyone needs a roof over their heads, but not everyone needs land. You may need to sell more than someone needs to buy your land. Time on the market is a key difference between selling a home compared to land. You may hear about homes selling quickly in your area, but that doesn't mean it's the same for land.

Another difference when selling land is your buyers may not be able to get bank financing. More people could afford the purchase of land with a loan. One solution for this is to offer owner financing if you don't need to be paid in full immediately.

Pros and cons of selling land by owner


  • Save realtor commissions
  • No middlemen


  • Property listing
  • Time and energy to respond to potential buyers
  • Doing the paperwork yourself

Documents needed to sell land by owner

Several documents are needed to sell land. It’s best to be aware of all of these documents from the beginning.

The most negotiated document is the sale contract or purchase and sale agreement. Once the contract is signed by both parties, you may need to make several disclosures to the buyer about the property. As part of the closing, a closing statement will be prepared listing the key financial details of the transaction. Finally, the deed needs to be drafted. The deed is the document that gives its holder to ownership of the property.

Contract to sell land by owner

The most important legal document for selling land is the contract between the buyer and seller. The purpose of the sale contract or purchase agreement is to establish a binding land agreement between two parties. This document lays out the terms of the sale, including price, closing date, and any contingencies. It is important to make the contract clear and concise, so that both parties understand what they are signing.


Disclosures are another important part of selling land. These documents list any issues with the land the seller is aware of. These might include environmental hazards or zoning restrictions. It is crucial that both parties are aware of any issues before closing on the sale.

To help avoid liability, the seller should provide disclosures to the buyer, even if you’re selling unimproved or vacant land. Most likely, you’ll mark most disclosure items as ‘unknown.’ Still, the disclosures could point out issues, such as buried tanks, trash, or environmental issues.

Closing statement

The closing statement, also called the settlement statement, is a document that lists the financial details of the transaction. This includes the amount of money paid by each party, as well as any taxes or fees associated with the sale. The closing statement ensures that both buyer and seller are aware of all costs involved in the transaction.


The deed is the document that conveys equitable and legal title to real estate. When selling land by owner, you should be aware that certain rules apply for a deed to be valid. Let a title company or real estate attorney prepare the deed for you. Or if you prefer to do it yourself, make sure you use a state specific document template.

For more detail, see our article on the paperwork for selling land by owner.

1. Preparation - getting ready to sell your land

Before you can start advertising your land you’ll need to get a few things in order. Taking these initial steps will make the rest of the process of selling land easier.

Take photos of your land

Not sure where to start? Most ways to advertise vacant lots and land require photos, so consider taking care of that before getting started. You could take the pictures yourself, but it’s best to get professional aerial drone imagery.

Decide on your asking price

You’ll have to set an asking price for your land before putting your sign in the ground. Once people start calling you, you’ll need to be confident about your listing price. Do your research, and come up with the fair value of your land. Once you're confident how much your land is worth, be firm with the prospective buyer.

Do I need a land survey?

A land survey or topographical map of the property is not always necessary, but it can make it much easier to sell your land. This document shows the boundaries of the property, as well as any features that are on or near the property, such as trees, fences, and buildings. Having a land survey done helps buyers to visualize the property boundaries. A survey may also be necessary to create a legal description of the land if there isn’t one already.

Do I need a second phone number?

Consider getting a second phone number to sell your land. This can be done free or inexpensively and helps protect your privacy. Many ways to market your land involve publicly listing your phone number. Using a second number will keep your personal phone number private.

2. Advertise your vacant land for sale

Traditional ways to sell land by owner

If you’re looking for a buyer for your land, you’re going to need to market the property for sale in several ways. The land selling market is a bit different than the house market. Want to sell your land quickly? The best way to sell a piece of land is a combination of local outreach and online marketing. Since you’re trying to sell land without a realtor, you’re going to have to replicate many of the steps a real estate agent would take.

Attract buyers with a For Sale sign

A simple sign is a low-tech method to let passersby know that you’re selling land. The point of a sign is simply to let people who are passing by know that your land is for sale. It also helps buyers to find your property.

A for sale sign helps to:

  • Alert passersby that your land is for sale
  • Help a potential buyer find the property

A neighbor may be interested in your vacant land

A For Sale sign is good for catching the attention of passersby. But wouldn’t it be good if there was a way to reach everyone near your property? You can do that with a neighbor letter campaign. What do we mean by campaign? It’s an organized way of sending out many letters at once.

The people living closest to your land are some of the most likely buyers. Through a neighbor letter campaign, you will get in touch with these potential buyers quickly and easily. For that reason, neighbor letters should be one of the first things you do when promoting your land.

List your land for sale online

After you have your sign up and have notified your neighbors, the next step is to create your online listing. Wondering how to sell land online? It's similar to other ways to sell your land. You just need to present the features of the land and sell the potential.


With millions of visitors per month, is one of the most visited websites in the US. If you only know Craigslist as a place to find a used sofa, there’s much more to it. Craigslist is also home to millions of listings for properties.

The main reason to use Craigslist is that it has high traffic. It also has a specific category for placing a land listing and it is free to use.

There are some downsides to the platform too. Craigslist attracts bargain buyers, so it’s not the ideal website to use for selling the most valuable kinds of properties. There are also a lot of ‘tire kickers’ - people that will ask questions but are not serious about land buying.

Still, since it’s free and allows you to create detailed land listings, it should be one of the first places you list your land for sale.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is another free place to list your land for sale by owner. Facebook is used by approximately 200 million Americans, so it’s not surprising that it’s a great place to get exposure for a parcel of land.

The classifieds area of Facebook is called Marketplace. You can buy and sell just about anything there, including real estate. Marketplace has an active land market. But you won't find a specific category for land.

The unique thing about Facebook is that people can share your ad with their friends who are looking for land. Facebook Marketplace encourages people to share your listing. It’s also free!


When buying or selling your lot online, many people first think of Zillow. Zillow is the number one most visited real estate website, with tens of millions of visitors every month.

Zillow makes it easy to create attractive real estate listings, like those offered by real estate agents. Zillow’s interface makes it simple for you to connect with potential buyers. Also, it’s free to post your listing on Zillow!

The main problem with Zillow is it makes it hard to find for sale by owner listings. That’s because it prioritizes listings by real estate agents. That’s why for many sellers, it may make sense to list your property for a flat fee on the MLS (described below). This will still get your listing on Zillow where it will be shown with listings from realtors.

Either way, as the number one real estate website, it’s an essential step in advertising your land for sale.


What is the MLS? MLS is the acronym used for multiple listing service, and there isn’t just one MLS. Hundreds of MLSs cover various local areas and overlap each other.

An MLS is simply a database for realtors to post their listings for sale. Other realtors participating in that MLS can view these listings through websites such as Zillow or The public can also view these listings via the internet.

What you may not know is that listing on the MLS without a realtor is also an option. A flat fee MLS listing is when the seller pays a flat fee to a broker instead of a commission.

That's a brief overview of some ways to sell land by an owner. For more detail, see our article on selling your land without a realtor.

3. Negotiate a contract to sell land privately

Once you’ve found a buyer, you’ll need to negotiate the purchase and sale agreement. The sale contract establishes the purchase price as well as the terms of sale. Important terms established in the sale contract include the earnest money deposit, the closing date, and any contract contingencies.

The contract contingencies might include a clause for inspections. Another common clause is a financing contingency. This contingency means the buyer only moves forward if they secure a loan.

Once you’ve agreed on the terms of sale with your buyer, you can draft the purchase and sale agreement. You can prepare a simple real estate contract without an attorney. We don’t suggest you try to create the contract from scratch. Instead, there are two easy ways to do this using templates.

The first option is to use contract forms provided by your state’s real estate commission. These are the forms used by real estate agents. In some states, these forms are publicly available. In other states, these templates may only be available to licensed real estate agents. If you don’t have a realtor helping you with the sale, you could also ask your local title company for a purchase and sale agreement template.

The second option is to use a contract from a legal document provider such as US Legal or Rocket Lawyer. These websites offer contract templates specific to state law for a fee. The forms tend to be very simple and easy to use. 

Regardless of the template used, all contracts have some things in common. Some of the most important items in the sale contract include:

  • Date of the contract
  • Identity of the buyer and seller
  • A description of the property
  • Sale price
  • Earnest money deposit amount
  • Closing date
  • Option fee, if applicable
  • Signatures of the buyer and seller

Once the contract is signed by both parties, you can send the contract to the title company. It’s not a requirement to use a title company, but it makes the process of selling the land much easier.

4. Closing - final step to selling land

The final step in selling your land by owner is closing. Closing is when the title to the property is transferred to the buyer and when you as the seller receive the sales proceeds. Often, a title company is used to handle the closing. While not a requirement, using a title company makes selling a property much easier. The title company will create the closing statement and prepare and record the deed. They also act as escrow agents. This means the title company holds the earnest money in FSBO sales.

The title company will also transfer the closing funds from the buyer and to the seller once the deed is signed. Overall, using a title company protects both the buyer and seller and creates trust that the transaction will be handled professionally.

Two key documents to understand as part of the closing are the closing statement and the deed.

Closing statement

The closing statement is a document that lists the financial details of the transaction. Also called a settlement statement or HUD-1, the closing statement includes the amount of money paid by each party. The closing statement also shows any taxes or fees associated with the sale. The closing statement ensures that both buyer and seller are aware of all costs involved in the transaction. As the seller, make sure the closing statement reflects the terms established in the sale contract. Details to check are the split of transfer taxes and recording fees, as well as property tax prorations.


The deed is the document that transfers the equitable and legal title of land from your name to the new buyer. When selling land by owner, you should be aware of the rules for a deed to be valid in your state. Here are some common requirements:

  • Buyer and seller must be named
  • Wording must make clear the intent to convey the property
  • Property must be adequately described
  • Deed must be signed by the seller and delivered to the buyer

In most cases, the buyer will also want the deed to be recorded in the county clerk’s records. To do so, the seller’s signature on the deed needs to be witnessed by a notary before it can be recorded. Often the county clerk will have specific instructions for recording documents. The title company will prepare the documents for recordation. If you’re not using a title company, contact your county’s recorder of deeds for their instructions.

Alternative - selling land for cash to a land buyer

If you want to sell land without the hassle, one alternative is to choose to sell your property to a cash buyer. Our business buys land as-is, so we’re able to use a simple, one page land sale agreement in most cases. As a professional land buying company, we make the land selling process easy. You won't need to look for a buyer or market the land for sale. We buy land directly from the property owner, with no middlemen.

Looking to sell quickly? A land buying company is also a better solution if you want to sell land fast.

When you sell to a land investor, you sell the property at a discount. But you won’t have to pay any real estate commissions. The other benefit of selling land for cash is that it’s fast - usually the entire process takes less than two weeks.

If you’d like to find out more, consider selling your land fast by requesting a fair cash offer from us.