Selling land

The Legal Aspects of Selling Your Land and What You Need to Know

Selling land requires different sales tactics than selling a home. Vacant land doesn’t speak for itself, so it takes more effort to lure potential buyers in.

An experienced land buyer can help you understand the market. They can also guide you through the closing process.


Zoning is a complex process that can have severe consequences for land owners who violate zoning regulations. Zoning laws typically include rules that regulate maximum building heights, how close buildings must be to property lines, and how large or small structures can be on the lot. There are also specialized zoning districts, such as historical, agricultural, and residential.

The zoning process varies by municipality. Generally speaking, the goal is to keep residential, commercial, or industrial areas and limit the structures that co-exist within a district. 

Zoning also prevents homes from being built too close together, which can lead to fire risks and other safety issues. It’s why home buyers typically look for a single-family home on a lot with a zoning that allows this type of construction.

Property Taxes

As with all real estate, you must pay property taxes when you sell your land. This may vary depending on how much you bought for the land and your tax rate. Talking to before you make the sale is a good idea.

It’s also essential to make the land look attractive before putting it up for sale. Rubble and other debris can be off-putting to potential buyers. If they can’t imagine what they can do with the land, they may not be interested in making an offer.

Your lawyer will take care of any legal matters during the selling process. They will ensure that the transfer of deeds and titles goes smoothly and that everything is done correctly. They will also be there to help you close the deal.

Deed Requirements

There is more to selling your land than posting a “For Sale” sign. The deed is the document that enables the transfer and must be adequately prepared to avoid legal problems.

A real estate law specialist may assist in drafting the appropriate deed and other relevant paperwork for a land transaction. For example, a lawyer can assemble the required affidavits, including a flood zone statement and name affidavits for each seller and buyer.

It would be best to have a legal description of the property and proof that you have a clear title to the land without any other claims (“encumbrances”). This can be done through a deed or certificate of title. Five different types of deeds can be used in property sales: the warranty deed, the special warranty deed, the bargain and sale deed with a covenant against the grantor’s acts, the quit claim deed, and the release and satisfaction deed.

Legal Documents

When selling land, it is essential to have several legal documents in place to secure the sale. These include a purchase contract, a deed, and a settlement statement listing key financial details.

Having the rights to any other assets with your property is also essential. These may be things like a timber stand or a ranching operation. Having these in place can make the sales process go much more smoothly for both parties.

When selling your land, you must also prepare to clear it of any rocks and other debris. This can help you sell the land more quickly by improving its appearance to prospective purchasers.

In many states, there is an implied promise in every land sale contract that the seller will convey “marketable title” to the buyer at closing. This means the buyer has a clear and marketable right to use the land without any doubt or impairments.

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