How To

6 Ways to Get Your Land Sold Faster

  • Title Search & Title Insurance

This is the first thing you should do before putting your property on the market. If you did not do this when you purchased or inherited the property there is no better time than right now. Issues such as access and un-discharged mortgages to name two could cost you a sale, money or both. If any issues are discovered correct them now. A cursory title exam should cost from $400 - $750.

  • Survey

Do this when you purchase. If the seller has not already done so, try to negotiate this as part of the sale. Once done, be diligent about keeping the boundary lines cleared and painted. Occasional maintenance will save thousands of dollars later. Survey cost will run from $1,000 and up depending on the size of the lot and other factors.

  • Soil Test

Most every buyer asks if this has been done before coming to visit a property. Take this issue off the negotiating table by being proactive. A preliminary soil test in a choice location will satisfy most buyers. Cost will range from $250 for a preliminary to $400 - $750 for  full septic system design.

  • Offer Owner Financing

If you have no immediate need for cash, holding paper is an option which could help sell your land faster and for more money. Conventional banks often require down payments beyond the means of many buyers. Your reward will be a rate of interest much greater than the current rates on CD's, savings accounts and bonds. Hire a professional to help set this up and comply with government regulations regarding private financing.

  • Walking Trails/Clearings/Food Plots

A day or two of work on your land creating access trails, clearings to open views and establishing food plots for game is sweat equity worth the time investment. Potential buyers don't want bushes hitting them in the face any more than you do. Cost - Your time and equipment; $600 and up if you hire it done.

  • Driveways & Access Roads

Being able to drive onto a property is a BIG plus for most potential buyers. If your property has a driveway or existing road system maintain it over time. Consult a land professional before starting this project. DOT driveway permits and other issues may apply. The cost will vary widely depending on slopes, required culverts, the availability of local gravel and other factors.

Comments

  1. Mark on

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    How To Buy Land In Maine

    Purchasing a property, especially land, can seem like a difficult task. To make it easier you need to start with a plan. Here is a step by step check list of how we approach purchasing.

    1. How much can you spend? Are you paying cash, getting bank financing or hoping to find a parcel with owner financing? If you are financing the purchase, work with a lender to see how much you can borrow. This is the most important step. Knowing your price limits and securing financing before you start looking at parcels will save you time, money, shorten your search for land and improve your negotiating position. Statistics from the statewide MLS show the average parcel of land that sold in Maine during the last 12 months closed at about 87% of asking price. This would indicate that looking at lots priced more than 15 - 20% above your price limit is most likely a waste of your time.

    2. Pick a location or at least narrow it down. Prices will vary a lot in Maine depending on where you look.  Do a little research online and you can find out a lot about most areas of the state. Call local chambers of commerce for information on the areas of interest.

    3. Start looking for property. The internet makes this process much more efficient. Most sites will allow you to save searches and notify you when new land comes on the market that matches your criteria. If you are working with a land broker you can ask them to set up a saved search on the statewide MLS. The broker can program this to automatically send you new listings.

    Helpful Hint - When using search engines like Google, be specific using search terms for the type of land you are looking for. For example: timber, waterfront, farm, recreation, hunting, fishing, development, investment or combinations  of these terms and others.

    If your timeline is more than 3 months out, subscribe to local magazines such as the Northwoods Sporting Journal. While the property you see advertised there has probably been on the market for a month or more, local magazines, newspapers or journals can help you experience the flavor of different areas, the recreation available in these locations and any current social and or political issues.

    Helpful Tool - Download Google Earths free software to your computer. Don't confuse this with the online Google Maps, this is a more useful tool. Ask the owner or Realtor to email you a shape files which will show you the approximate locations of the property you are looking at. These files can be opened in Google Earth. This bird's eye view (and in some areas street views) showing the outlined area of the prospective land can help answer a lot of your questions.

    4. Now that you have located some promising Maine land, have studied the data and maps sent by owners or brokers, it's time to take a trip to see the properties. If you are not familiar with Maine weather, you should know to bring layers of clothing and sturdy foot wear for changing conditions. Other good items to help make looking at land more enjoyable would include a small back pack, raincoat, snacks, water bottle, a Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and camera.

    If you are going it alone, also bring detailed maps of the area, a compass and GPS if you have one and know how to use them. Because Maine is a large state with a lot of remote regions of interconnected forests, if you have no experience in land navigation we highly recommend bringing along someone who does. Our agents always let someone know where they are going just to be safe, we advise you do this as well in case you do not return on time.

    5. Get on the property to look at the features that attracted you to it. Be sure to view some property lines and abutting properties for potential concerns. Are there nearby areas of interest that make the land more appealing? If so, take time to see them.

    6. Now that you have found some acres that satisfy your wants and needs, it's time to write an offer. The emphasis is on the word "write". Verbal agreements don't carry much meaning with an owner who does not know you. Review required property disclosures for any potential hazardous materials, rights of way, tax status and other issues. Write in any contingency you need including due diligence inspections if you have unanswered questions. Don't forget to bring your checkbook for earnest money deposit.

    Words of wisdom we can pass along from our own experience. If you find a property that you like and want and you know that the price is fair. Don't mess around offering a lot less, UNLESS you are prepared to lose it to another buyer. A land owner and their real estate agent know when they have a properly priced lot. Even if the property has been on the market for a few months don't assume the owner is going to sell way below market. The average time on market for Maine land last year was over 7 months. Even well priced land in Maine can take some time looking for its new owner.

    7. Your offer was accepted! It is time to start the closing process. Ask your lender or your land broker for a list of title companies or attorneys that handle real estate transactions. Work out your due diligence, get that title checked, buy title insurance and close the deal.

    8. Enjoy your Maine land.

    Comments

    1. David Rivela on

      I'm trying to purchase a lot of land( about an acre or 2) with a manufactured home included on the lot. How do i go about doing that?
      • Phil McPhail on

        You will need to do a construction loan with your bank or mortgage company. Some sellers will finance the lot sale with a balloon payoff when your construction or new purchase loan is completed.

    ARE YOU PREPARED TO BUY MAINE LAND

    Are you planning on buying a parcel of Maine land this year? If so, you need to know a few things before you start, especially if you are not from here and/or have never purchased land before.

    FINANCING

    Before you fuel the car or buy the plane ticket, have you considered how you will pay for it? Obviously, if you have cash this item can be checked off your list. If you intend to get a loan to complete the purchase, you should know it is not the same process as getting a home mortgage. Most US banks do not do land loans. So if you planned on using the BIG bank you have a credit card or your home loan with, save yourself a lot of time and money by asking if they will finance raw land. Ask them questions like:

    • What down payment would be required?
    • Is there a limit on how many acres they will accept?
    • Do they do business in Maine?
    • Do they have approved appraisers and title companies in Maine?
    • Is your credit score high enough for their land loan program?

    If you find out they will not do the loan, you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars in travel expenses. There are a few solid lenders who finance raw land in Maine. So if you need financing give us a call to get the list. Also, many sellers will consider owner financing their lands.

    GREAT EXPECTATIONS

    Maybe before calling the lenders, you should ask yourself why are you buying land? What is your intended use of the property? Did you get all the information on your target properties to be sure the ground will meet your needs and desires? For example, if you intend to use the land for raising cattle, is the land zoned for that use? If not, you are going to waste time and money coming to see it. Make a list of your concerns and get the answers before you come, a few example as follows:

    • Is the zoning in line with your intended use?
    • Is the property in a tax program that prohibits your intended use?
    • Are the soils OK for your use?
    • Does the property have utilities to it? If not and you require them, how far and how much to extend them?
    • Does the property have year round access?

    CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT

    The next item of preparedness that I nearly always forget to tell my customers before they get here is the appropriate clothing to wear for a visit to Maine. If you are looking at forested land, for example, and are unfamiliar with Maine, the forest here can be very dense and the ground uneven. Here is a checklist of the minimum gear you should have with you when you come.

    • Good pair of boots - waterproof if you have them
    • Sun or safety glasses to protect your eyes from tree branches
    • Layered clothing options for changing weather conditions
    • A waterproof coat

    If you are working with one of us to show you the land, the above list will get you by. If you intend to do some exploring on your own, think about the following items:

    • A good compass
    • GPS
    • Maps of the areas of interest
    • Backpack
    • Water bottles
    • Snow shoes in winter

    CUSTOMER OR CLIENT

    The final question to ask yourself is are you confident enough to represent yourself or should you hire a broker to help you with the process. If you have the time you can do your own research and represent yourself in the process, but if you do not have time a good land broker is worth a look. Maine does require a real estate agent representing a buyer as a client to have a written buyer brokerage agreement, so if you do decide to go this route be sure to carefully review the contract to see what the agent's and your obligations are to each other.

    Comments

    1. Allyson Vignola on

      Thanks for this! Can you send me the list of the Maine lenders that you're aware of that will finance a land-only loan? This is an improved lot, so not just raw land. We've found Maine Savings but that's it so far. Thanks for any help!
      • Phil McPhail on

        Please send me your email and which part of Maine you are in. We will send the information directly to you. phil2@lifestylepropertiesme.com
    2. Bill Hardie on

      Can you send me a list of lenders for the Brooksville, ME area? Thanks!
      • Phil McPhail on

        Please send me an email (so I can get yours) and I will send a list to you directly. phil2@lifestylepropertiesme.com