Selling land online today is actually pretty easy. But there are a couple of things you should know when you sell land online for the first time, to make it a safe deal. In this article you’ll learn how to sell your land online and not get scammed.
Why sell land online in the first place?
Selling land online has a couple of benefits compared to selling land the traditional way.
- Attract buyers from anywhere – not just folks who happen to see your “For Sale” sign.
- Property typically gets sold faster – the more people who know about your land for sale the faster it can sell
- Keep more of the proceeds from the sale – real estate agents typically take 10% to 15% of the sales price as their commission
If this is the first time you want to sell a property online, I suggest that you read our How to Sell Land Online – A Complete Guide for Sellers article first.
Is selling land online unsafe?
If you do it the right way, selling land online is 100% safe. It all comes down to how you ‘close’ the transaction. When closing the right way you’ll stay protected, whether you meet your buyer online or in-person.
But let’s start with the fundamentals. There are basically two ways to sell your land online…
1. Sell Your Vacant Land to an ‘Online Cash Buyer’ Company
There are professional land buying companies out there that buy undeveloped land for cash. The major benefit for selling your vacant land to a we buy land company is that the company will do all the work for you. These companies can make the transaction easy and painless for the seller. For instance, you don’t need to take photos, put up a for sale sign, field calls from prospective buyers, etc. Plus, they can buy the property quickly.
Here’s what you can expect when selling to an investor. You…
- Don’t need to take photos, write ads, and create a perfect listing for your vacant land
- Don’t need to answer calls from scores of prospective buyers
- Don’t need to market your perty on Social Media
- Just need to sign a few documents
- Can sell your land within weeks instead of months
- Won’t get top dollar
Here’s how you can separate good from bad online cash buyers. Good online cash buyers…
- Will have been in the market for a couple of years
- Don’t ask for any money from the seller
- Cover back taxes, liens and closing costs
- Send obligation free offers that don’t change
- Have zero hidden costs
- Have testimonials from past sellers
2. Sell Your Land Yourself (FSBO)
Essentially, this comes down to submitting your property’s information on real estate websites like Zillow.com. If you have the time and energy for selling your land on your own, you’ll likely sell for a higher price. But, you should be familiar with the process of a real estate transaction? You also need to have high quality photographs of your vacant land? Nowadays drone footage is more and more requested from potential buyers. You should also be ready to answer dozens of calls and emails from prospective buyers. And you should be prepared to answer questions about the zoning and restrictions of the property accurately?
When you sell your land yourself you’ll…
- Likely sell for a higher price (compared to selling to an investor)
- Need to take photos, write ads, and sales copy
- Need to answer several dozen calls from prospective buyers
- Need to know the basics of completing a real estate transaction
How to close the transaction?
Once you’ve found a buyer and both of you have agreed on a price, it’s time for closing the real estate transaction. “Closing” a reals estate transaction basically means completing of a real estate transaction.
So the real question when selling land online is how to complete the real estate transaction with someone you won’t meet in-person. How can we successfully and safely ‘close’ without meeting with our buyer face to face?
In this article we’ll only cover cash transaction with no financing involved. For a cash transaction the closing basically consists of two things – a seller who provides a deed and a buyer who provides the money.
A deed is a document that states you are selling a particular piece of property. For the deed to become a legitimate legal document you must…
- Sign the deed in the presence of a notary
- Have the deed recorded in the official record
Now the question is how you’ll get the money and the buyer gets the deed. Imagine you send the buyer the deed, but the buyer doesn’t send you the money. Or put yourself in the buyers shoes. You probably wouldn’t be willing to send a check to the seller without having certainty for getting the deed in exchange.
Here’s how you sell your land online and not get scammed
Protect yourself from getting scammed and hire a trusted middleman to handle the closing process. This middleman will collect the money from the buyer before you sign the deed. You can confirm that the money is in place before signing over your property. Then, after you have confirmed the money is in place, you can sign the deed and send to your middleman. The middleman will then provide the deed to the buyer.
Close with a Title Company or Attorney
Most real estate transactions are handled by some sort of middleman. Each state has it’s own laws on what type of entity can be this middleman. Some states require real estate attorneys while other states allow for a title company. Title companies and attorneys generally do the same thing. And, generally, title companies will be more affordable than attorneys. The title company will collect the money from the buyer upfront. Then collect the signed and notarized deed from you, the seller. These title companies are legally obligated to make sure the seller gets their proceeds.
So, that’s it! You can safely sell your land online by hiring either a title company or attorney to act as the middleman for your transaction. Here’s a summary of what can title companies and attorneys do for you when selling land online:
- Title Companies and Attorneys are legally obligated to make sure you get your money
- They can properly prepare the deed and other legal documents for you to sign
- They typically cost $1,000 or more
- Highly recommended if you sell to an investor or you sell by yourself
But there’s one caveat – Title companies and attorneys can cost thousands of dollars to hire.
A simple example: What if you are selling your land for $1,000? Wouldn’t it be silly to hire a title company, pay them a thousand dollars and there’s nothing left for you?
Close with a Notary
There’s also a solution for smaller size deals. You can work with a notary, which will act as the middleman. The buyer will send a cashier’s check (funds are already provided) to the notary. The notary will physically meet the seller. Sign the deed, notarized and then physically hand the cashier’s check to the seller.
- A notary can act as a middleman in your closing
- The notary will meet you in person and physically hand you a cashier’s check
- Only recommended if you are selling to an experienced investor
Sell to an online cash buyer
I hope this article was helpful, so that you can sell your land without getting scammed along the way. If all of this seems too much of an hassle to you, feel free to contact us for a no-obligation offer. We’ll take care of all the paperwork and sure, we’ll work with a middleman to make the transaction 100% safe, for you and for us.