By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)
Do you realize that you can build your fortune through buying vacant land?
You are saying: “No way!!”
I am saying: “Yes…WAY!”
There are lots of great ways to make a lot of money in real estate, not the least of which is buying and selling vacant land. This is an effective way to do real estate deals with no hassle, no rehab, no insurance and no worries of vandalism and theft. Plus, there is virtually no competition for these properties since many investors are simply not going after this incredibly lucrative portion of the market place. I was actually in the real estate business for several years before I discovered this very profitable part of the market. In addition, in this current market buying and selling vacant land is another good strategy to continue making money in the real estate business.
If you live in an area that is particularly rural, then buying and selling vacant land is a more lucrative means of doing real estate deals. Since it can be more difficult to find homes to purchase in more rural areas, vacant land is definitely the way to go. There are several different ways to find vacant land deals.
One is to simply drive around and look for them. However, since it can be kind of difficult to find addresses for properties this way, it is probably a much better idea to create a direct mail campaign to the owners of vacant land. Some of the parameters I use for this list are out of state owners of vacant land, especially those with past due tax bills or people who have inherited vacant land. These are some of the most lucrative deals out there. Be especially aware of those properties that front main highways since these will create even more valuable deals for you.
In many cases, these owners have inherited these properties and they are not interested in doing anything with them. They are usually tired of paying tax bills, so they stop paying them altogether. They are usually highly motivated sellers and fairly easy to deal with. In fact, in many cases, they may have never even seen the property and are unable to give you directions to it.
This is when it becomes really important for you to be able to work with your tax assessor’s office and get a mapping program so you can locate these properties with just the parcel identification number. There are also some national companies that can provide information such as mapping programs for you for a monthly fee. This tool alone has saved us hundreds of man hours and hassles in locating properties. In the case of vacant land, unless you know exactly where it is, one piece pretty much looks like another.
Make sure you take the time to develop a relationship with a title agent or real estate attorney in your area and make sure you have title work done before purchasing these properties. Sometimes there are probate issues or liens to handle before you close which may also include past due tax bills. Some of these sellers will try to work directly with you without having a title search done on the property. Don’t do it!
I find that vacant land deals are very profitable for me personally. I live in Florida and here in Florida we have hurricanes. It is so much easier to work with vacant land because you still have the same big profits without the worries of damage, insurance, vandalism and rehab. In fact, some of the properties we have purchased were so inexpensive that we paid cash for them and put them into our portfolio to hold on to for retirement income when we sell them later on. They are already worth a lot more than we paid for them, so we figure the pay check will be huge later on as property values go up even more. And some, we will simply wholesale for a good profit. You can also purchase land into your Roth IRA.
In addition, with the current market being what it is today, purchasing land at huge discounts gives you the advantage to be able to sell it at “bargain basement prices” and still make excellent profits. Since you are selling the property at a lower price, it usually sells very quickly.
Once you purchase these properties there are several ways to resell them at huge profits. One way you can sell these lots is to list them with a local Realtor who is familiar with selling vacant land without touching them. Whether or not you are able to sell your properties this way will depend a lot on how motivated the Realtor is. You also need to make sure that these local Realtors are part of the MLS system. Surprisingly we have found that in many rural areas they are not. You want to have as much exposure as you can for the properties you are looking to sell right away. Some of the best buyers for these lots are folks from out of town looking for a vacation get away. So they will purchase vacant land and build a home on it.
Another thing that some of my students have done is to buy some acreage, split it into pieces, sell off some of the pieces and keep part of the land for themselves. They will make enough money off the sale of the split that the pieces they keep for themselves end up being free.
The other thing you can do is to list these properties on your property for sale web site where people, just like you and me, who may want to build vacation homes in the area where your vacant land is will see them. You will be able to get attention from many parts of the country. You may also want to put a “For Sale by Owner” sign on your land or run an ad in the local newspaper and the newspaper in the next largest city near you. I have done this and it has produced many buyers for me.
If you want to take the time and you have your team in place to take care of these matters, you can also partially clear the land and add water or electric and then raise your asking price. The more ready the land is for development or home placement, the more quickly it will sell and the more money you can make!
Depending on where the vacant land is located and how much there is, there are also opportunities to develop these pieces of land and resell them at really huge profits. One way to develop your land would be to get involved with a builder and have homes built on these pieces of land and then resell them with the land and the home already on it. Personally, this is not my favorite way to deal with vacant land because it’s time consuming and the more hands on and the profits are made later as opposed to sooner.
A better technique would be to hire an engineer to take a look at the property, determine its best use, possibly change the zoning, and then do the other things necessary to get the property ready for development, such as splitting the land into smaller parcels and then reselling it. This is one of the best ways I know to build in huge profit margins without ever touching the property yourself. I find this to be a really lucrative way to handle properties especially when you are buying in an area that is an hour or more from where you live. In my case, my vacant land business is about three and a half hours from where I live most of the time.
Another technique you can employ to make vacant land work for you is to explore the possibility of leasing land you own. This way you make cash flow on the property on a monthly basis and you still own the land. For example, you could lease a piece of land for RV storage. We have leased land to someone who needed extra room to expand a worm farm business. On another occasion we leased property we had with many pine trees to a company that harvests pine straw. A billboard company leases a property for a billboard that we own on a main highway. The possibilities are endless with a little ingenuity.
Another real advantage to working with out of state owners of vacant land is that you will run across investors who purchased groups of properties a long time ago so they have several properties with a lot of equity in them to sell. This creates wonderful scenarios where you can purchase multiple lots at well below current retail. The seller still makes money on the deal, creating a win-win solution for both parties. That’s what the real estate business is all about, creating win-win solutions for all of the parties involved.
If you live in an area where there is a lot of vacant land, these techniques are definitely worthy of looking into because many of your competitors are simply not thinking about purchasing vacant properties. They are missing a huge opportunity since these properties are usually easy to purchase and reasonably easy to resell at huge profits.
Vacant properties can be a big “bonanza” for you!
For more information on marketing to the owners of vacant properties as well as all kinds of sellers and lenders, visit my website at www.vacantlandgold.com.