By Caroline Kirby
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, considering the potential liability of a property is often an afterthought for many buying land. While every state has its own laws which certainly curb the liability placed on landowners, there are some things you should keep top of mind to ensure you’re protected.
What is landowner liability?
The National Agricultural Law Center cites landowner liability as being the “duty of care owed by landowners,” and while some states classify liability as more of a general duty of care, others are more specific.
If you open your land up to others for activities such as hunting, fishing, riding ATVs, hiking, camping, etc., then you will definitely want to ensure your property is covered.
Do your due diligence and get clear on the laws in the area where you plan to buy land. Once you know what you’re working with, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from liability issues on your property.
What are potential liabilities on your land?
Every land and region will differ, but in general, there are some common issues that you can get ahead of with a little planning. Regardless of if you plan to live on the property or it will mostly be vacant land, there are some potential liabilities you could be exposed to. The most common issues are often:
• Road or sidewalk defects
• Insufficiently lit areas
• Attractive nuisance doctrine
• Inadequate security
While the other items are straightforward, the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine is lesser-known to many. This is a law in many jurisdictions created to protect children. Cornell Law defines this as “a landowner may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury results from a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.” This is especially applicable to properties that have items such as a dock, a piece of machinery, or even a tiny home that could reasonably attract a child’s attention.
How can you protect yourself from liability?
Whether you’re looking to purchase more land or have owned a property for years, it’s worth taking a look at the following steps to ensure that you and your property are as safe as possible. Want to protect yourself from liability? Follow these steps:
• Take a walk around your property and identify any potential hazards such as potholes, broken equipment, no caution or warning signs, etc. This is especially important if you have a vacant property.
• Speak with an attorney to draft up a liability release form for people who will use or enter your property.
• Create a specific list of rules for activities that you have on your land and ensure they are visible to visitors.
• Look into liability insurance as this could ensure you are protected from all angles.
Manage your risks and protect yourself by getting clear on your legal responsibilities. If you’re looking for more helpful landowner info, check out LandHub’s blog library for more resources!
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by Laura Mueller
Selling land, like selling a house, is easier when you do it with an experienced real estate agent by your side. Finding that agent, however, can sometimes feel like a guessing game, despite the importance of working with someone who won’t just represent your interests but who will be able to get your property sold as quickly—and for as much money—as possible.
If you’ve been investing in land for a while, then you might have already found someone who you trust to get the job done. But if you’re new to selling land, or if you’re unsatisfied with your current agent, you’ll need to put in the work to find someone who you trust and communicate well with—and who can provide you with a smooth sale from start to finish.
The best way to find an agent to sell your land is usually through referral. Recommendations, especially from people you trust, go a long way toward proving an agent’s competency. Whether you go that route or start your search on Google though, there are always going to be certain things you want to look for when deciding if an agent is a good fit for your listing. Here are five of them.
1. Past Experience – The best residential real estate agent might still struggle to sell your land. That’s because the land market is its own unique sector, with different buyers, processes, and best practices than the residential market. Make sure to work with an agent who has put in the time and has a record of successes to show for it.
2. Marketing Abilities – You want an agent who is going to go above and beyond when it comes to marketing your listing. And the best way to see if that will be the case is to look at their current listings and how they’re marketing those. Are there videos and drone shots? Is the copy thorough and well-written? Are their listings highly visible and showing up in multiple places? If they’re giving that level of service to other sellers, it’s safe to assume you’ll get the same.
3. Time to Sell – The land market can be a tricky thing, so it’s not unreasonable for properties to take some time change hands. Still, it can be helpful to ask for information on a potential agent’s average sale time, as well as their specific strategies for maintaining interest in active listings over time and ensuring that properties get sold sooner rather than later.
4. Reviews – Even if you don’t have a referral from someone you already know and trust, you should still tap into past client reviews to get a taste of what to expect. Look at testimonials, and ask for references too. The more information you can get directly from previous sellers, the better.
5. Specialties and Designations – Is the agent part of any professional land selling associations? Do they specialize in certain types of land, such as agricultural or timber? These details matter when you’re choosing who to work with, and speak volume to both agent competency and the size and scope of their network.
Ultimately, it’s essential not to rush your real estate agent search. Taking your time at the outset could make all of the difference between how fast your land gets sold and for how much, as well as for the overall quality of your experience.
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By Laura Mueller
We’re in the midst of a serious seller’s market, and if you’ve been thinking of listing your land, right now just might be the best time to do it.
All real estate markets ebb and flow between buyer’s markets and seller’s markets. In the former case, an influx of inventory puts buyers in the driver’s seat, providing them with more control over prices and contract terms. In a seller’s market, however, there are more buyers looking for properties than there are properties to sell—and that creates steep competition that savvy sellers can put to use to increase sale prices and close more lucrative deals.
The land market saw a surge of increase in 2020, with many buyers opting to ditch their small urban homes for private and expansive rural properties—a trend that’s been burgeoned by a sharp uptick in remote work opportunities. Combine that with record low interest rates on loans and it’s easy to see how the land market has quickly become the place to be if you’ve got property to sell.
So how can sellers take advantage? Here are three big ways that a land seller can benefit from today’s high demand, low inventory market.
1. They can sell for more
Low inventory helps sellers make more money in two ways. One, they can list properties for more, and two, they can often drive up the sale price even higher through competitive bidding.
Bidding wars are common in a seller’s market. And because the right piece of land can be even harder to come by than the right residential home, competition is even fiercer among new land buyers than it might be otherwise. That offers huge potential for sellers to make an impressive return on their initial investment, and is an opportunity that likely won’t stick around when the market eventually shifts.
2. They have less need to make improvements
The steeper the competition the less that buyers are willing to risk complicating a potential sale in post-offer negotiations. For sellers, this means a heightened ability to sell their land “as is,” without the need to make hefty (and often expensive) improvements in order to lure in more buyers.
Some improvements might make sense if you’re a seller trying to attract residential buyers—such as putting in utility lines and an access road, if you haven’t already. But they’re not necessarily going to make or break a deal, and you might even be able to skip them entirely if demand is high enough in your area.
3. They have more control over sale terms
Whoever runs the market holds more power over contract terms and conditions. This is good news for sellers, who in addition to raking in more cash on their investment also have a chance to create more attractive deals on their behalf. This could be financially based—such as putting the full burden of closing costs on the buyer—but it can also be more personal, for example, choosing to only sell to a buyer who promises to continue with native planting or conservation efforts or who won’t hunt on the land.
Such a great seller’s market won’t stick around forever. If you’re thinking of listing, now is the time to get on board—and fast. Call your local agent to learn more about selling potential in your area, and use our easy online listing platform to get more eyes—and more offers—on your property.
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By Natasha Gocev
The best way to increase your business flow is to actually follow the latest social media marketing trends. Nothing brings more leads at a low price than a strong presence on social media. The more your brand is on social media, the bigger your success will be. The good thing about the Internet is that you don’t have to lose time and money on a wide range of marketing to reach clients. Investing time and energy into growing your online brand will eventually pay off much more than those post cards you keep paying to mail out.
Today, your potential clients are at your fingertips, but you need to learn how to find them. Compared to traditional marketing, social media helps brands to promote without being overwhelming and overbearing. On the contrary, it helps to effectively build the brand and reach a phase where people recognize it. Read below to learn how can your business profit from the active 79% of Americans with social media profiles.
Reach a Wider Audience
The best way to break into new markets is to use powerful tools such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. These social platforms will expose your brand to a wider audience with little cost. According to the Pew Research Center, 73% of Americans use YouTube, 69% use Facebook, 37% use Instagram, 28% use Pinterest, 25% use Twitter, and 27% use LinkedIn. These numbers show great opportunities to reach new leads by engaging your business on these social platforms. The good thing is your company can’t lose anything by trying. Nothing to lose but lots to gain as long as you stay away from sensitive subjects and always act in a professional manner.
Direct Connection with Audience
It’s well known that time costs money, therefore why lose time promoting your business to people who are not interested in what you sell? Instead, it’s much better to focus on the audience that needs and wants your products and services. Social media allows you to have a closer relationship with the audience that follows your social media profiles and learn what they like or dislike. It’s easier to deal with possible issues and provide better customer service when you have a direct connection with the audience. Being responsive to posts and comments on social media will help to improve customer’s needs as well as your overall marketing campaign.
Build Your Brand
Feel free to expose your brand to followers who will hopefully bring new leads. Thanks to social media platforms, current followers can retweet and share content with their family and friends and thus help expand and build your brand. Most importantly, surveys have shown that once the clients get affected by your brand, they usually stay loyal. All you need to do is get it out there as frequently as possible by interacting on social media. Once customers have a positive image of your brand, loyalty is almost guaranteed.
Increase Traffic to Website
Combining social media marketing with a welcoming website, a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy and creative digital marketing is the best way to increase traffic to your website. If you’ve ever tried driving traffic to your website using google ads, you know how cost prohibitive they can be. Social media platforms, however, can help do that at a fraction of the price. You can share quality, informative and entertaining content on your platforms and add a link to your website. Thus, customers can click on the link and go directly to your website to get more informed about your services and products. With one click both sides are satisfied, customers get more familiar with your brand and you increase the traffic to your website, which helps rank better in google searches.
Keep an Eye on Competition
Staying up to date on what your competitors are doing has never been easier, thanks to social media. By using social media channels to track what competitors are doing differently you can tailor your message and actions to stay ahead of them. Both sides are trying to keep the brand’s reputation and sell products/services to a greater number of customers. Therefore, it is important to find ways to stand out with new ideas better than what competitors currently use. Observe, implement, and find ways to get better are the golden rules of success. All of that is much better nowadays thanks to the power of an effective social media management strategy.
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By Caroline Kirby
It can be overwhelming and confusing to inherit land, especially because it’s usually after the death of a family member or other loved one. Whether you’re trying to navigate the sentimental meaning tied to the property, your own emotions, the questions tied to land ownership, or a mix of all, don’t worry.
Here’s a helpful guide to getting started with this topic.
How to Sell Inherited Land
While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, it may be comforting to know that selling an inherited piece of land or property is not all too different than selling any other piece of land. Generally, once the land’s title has been transferred to you, then you are free to do what you want with it.
The one major thing to be aware of is that selling inherited land will determine what taxes, if any, you will have to pay once you sell it if a profit is made.
Before moving further, the estate must go through probate. This is the legal process of getting an asset out of the name of a deceased person; it can often be avoided if the asset (in this case, real estate) has been placed in a living trust. For small estates valued between a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars, many states allow for summary probate. This is an expedited process that doesn’t take much time or require legal counsel.
Once the estate goes through probate, the court grants the executor of the will have the authority to distribute the estate’s assets and settle any debts. If you are the executor and you have siblings or other family members who share the inheritance of the land, you will need their permission before selling. After all of this is settled, then you may proceed with the selling process.
If you don’t want to handle the process at all, then you can hire a real estate agent, and that’s it! No need to read the rest of this article. However, if you choose to take this on yourself (which is not too difficult), then here’s what you need to know.
• Contact a professional, like an appraiser, to value the land for you. This will ensure that you place your property in the best place on the market.
• Reach out to the owners adjacent to your land first and see if they’d be interested in buying the property. This could be the easiest route and save you lots of time and effort.
• Get the word out! Assuming the neighboring landowners aren’t interested in purchasing the property, then put large signage up on your land. This can be as simple as writing “For Sale” with a phone number below.
• If you do not live near the property, you can hire a real estate agent to view the property and make any recommendations to make the land more likely to sell or to say if it is good as is.
• List your land on appropriate websites, like LandHub.com, which offers month to month plans and free cancellation.
Selling inherited land can be an emotionally charged process, but it doesn’t have to be too difficult. Use the advice above as you begin to explore your options.
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by Laura Mueller
In the world of real estate, winter is often considered a dead zone as far as sales go. But the same logic that applies to the housing market doesn’t quite translate to the land market. And in fact, there are actually a few reasons why winter might just be the ideal time to go live with your listing.
There’s no perfect time to list your property (we promise—we would tell you if there was!), but there are also no rules about certain times of year when you should wait it out. Below, we’ll cover some of the primary reasons that you should consider listing your property in the winter, and why you might have a lot more luck than you think.
1.Winter Doesn’t Mean Fewer Buyers
The biggest problem with selling a house in the winter is lower rates of demand. People are loathe to move in dreary weather and in the middle of a school year, so they usually stay put until early spring. But land buyers don’t have these same limitations. If a buyer wants land—for development, for recreation, or for any other reason—they’re going to stay on top of what’s out there so they don’t miss out on what they need, no matter what time of year it is.
2. Buyers Are Getting Ahead of the Game
People buy property for a lot of reasons, many of which are weather dependent. If a buyer wants land for building or planting, winter isn’t going to be the ideal time to do it. Instead of being an impediment though, it’s actually an advantage. Buying in the winter means that there’s still plenty of time to get everything in order before the ground starts to thaw and improvements or adjustments can be made. And a strongly interested buyer is going to take advantage of that and give themselves wiggle room to get the sale finalized and plans underway.
3. There’s Less Competition
A lot of land buyers still mistakenly believe that the seasonal slog of the housing market applies to land sales too. As such, you’re likely not going to be seeing as many new listings pop up as you would during other times of year. That’s very good news, especially when taken into consideration with the points above.
4. Winter Can Highlight Key Features of Your Property
Instead of thinking of all the things that winters takes away in terms of appeal, think of what it adds. There’s nothing like a blanket of snow to really show off the scope and size of a property, plus it gives you an opportunity to show buyers what winter access will look like. And with no A.C. to facilitate a comfortable walkthrough in the heat, it can actually be a benefit to forego a hot and humid showing in favor of a chilly one. Even better: no bugs!
There’s no way to predict how fast your land will sell, but don’t let winter weather deter you from going on the market. There are a lot of benefits to listing in the colder months, and it may be just the ticket to getting a leg up on the competition.
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