Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
lazylarry
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by lazylarry » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:19 pm

So I have this random lot of residential land ($1000 value) that I had bought numerous years ago in the hopes that I could do something with it. I didn't, and have been paying minimal property taxes on it ($10/yr). I've actually never even seen the lot (and it's not a very nice lot), and bought it from a realtor. I'm realizing that it's more of liability than anything. I'm wondering about the best way to get rid of the lot? Also, I haven't been paying HOA fees (somehow I got added to the HOA fee list in past two years), but I also don't know if they really care as they don't answer my emails and I"m a pretty small fish. Its the kind of rural HOA that has cookies and milk at meetings.

Should I get a realtor and try to sell it? If so, how do I find a realtor who will help sell such a bad piece of property? Can I don'ate it to charity? Can I sell it somehow to an HOA or realtor for a bargain price? I really just want to try to get rid of this thing.
Asking questions: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212 | My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026

livesoft
Posts: 58299
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:20 pm

Start by contacting the adjacent landowners. Be careful though, they may try to give you their lots.
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

JGoneRiding
Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:26 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by JGoneRiding » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:10 am

its greatest value most likely is to the adjacent owners. I was going to buy a chunk of land more in the 17-25k range. Then found out that the county was months from finalizing an agreement with the state to red zone that area and it would only be buildable by tanking in water. Unless I could dig a well and have a finalized building plan with in 3-6 months (I couldn't afford that) so I told the out of state never seen the land owner all of this.

The land is now more or less worthless EXCEPT to the adjacent owners that could infact build on it by tying into their existing grandfathered wells.

But if there are houses next to it and it is really that cheap one of them will almost for sure want it if the whole area is small useless lots you might be able to donate it to the HOA itself or the state or there are some charities.

Cruise
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Cruise » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:03 am

My wife was executor of her parent's estate, which included a parcel of land that sounds like it might be next to yours.

We tried Realtors: No one was interested. We investigated giving it back to the county, but a friend of a relative decided to take it off our hands for free.

tim1999
Posts: 3340
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by tim1999 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:04 am

At that price I'm guessing its not buildable and is worthless. No realtor is going to be interested in listing it unless you gave them 100% of the proceeds, and even then, who would want to buy it? Maybe offer it to adjoining property owners for free. I can't see a charity wanting it, because they can't sell it either, and now have to pay the property taxes.

Lesson learned: never buy a piece of land unless you have visited it and verified with the municipality or county that it is a buildable lot. If the price sounds too good to be true, it is probably because it's not buildable land and/or has environmental issues.

surveyor
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:05 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by surveyor » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:35 am

Depending on the local tax laws you might be able to just stop paying the property tax and let the county sell it in a tax sale. You would, of course, want to ensure that the county can't go after your other assets for the delinquent tax.

Donating it to the HOA is a good suggestion. As is contacting adjoining owners to see if they are interested in it. Most counties these days have a GIS (google "XXX county gis"). Locate your parcel and then click on adjoining parcels to determine who the owners are. Typically there is also a link to a parcel report where you can see where their tax bills go. Mail a letter to get discussions started.

Gropes & Ray
Posts: 1056
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:28 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:22 am

I might be weird, but if my neighbor offered me a lot for $1,000, it would have to be pretty awful for me to not snatch it up. Room for my dog to play, if nothing else.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 1699
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:52 am

Gropes & Ray wrote:I might be weird, but if my neighbor offered me a lot for $1,000, it would have to be pretty awful for me to not snatch it up. Room for my dog to play, if nothing else.
Well that would be only if you were using your lot, not if you were another absentee owner with no plans to build.

> I haven't been paying HOA fees (somehow I got added to the HOA fee list in past two years

Unless this was done improperly (and such things have been known to happen) this may mean the the lot always has been subject to the HOA fees and rules. There may be complications when selling the property even if you find a buyer.

Hockey10
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Hockey10 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:19 am

+1 on contacting the adjacent owners.

I bought a vacant lot a long time ago in North Carolina when I was stationed at Fort Bragg. It was the worst investment I ever made. About 10 years later I finally decided to sell it. I got an appraisal done by a local appraiser. I then drove out to the lot and was happy to see that a brand new home had been built next door. (This was a retirement community with many vacant lots and only a few homes on my street). I knocked on the door and asked the homeowner if she knew of anyone that wanted to buy a lot. She said that she and her husband had just bought the vacant lot on the other side. I gave her my phone number. Her husband called me that night, and after about 2 minutes of price haggling, we agreed on a price which was very close to the appraised value.

Moral of the story - don't buy vacant land unless you intend to build on it soon. While you own the lot, you may get hit with HOA fees, property taxes, water bills, sever bills, etc....

lazylarry
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by lazylarry » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:08 pm

Thank you all! It's a really crummy piece of land but I'll try to see if I can find who the adjacent landowners are. If not, I'm going to try to sell it to HOA or give it away to HOA/landowners. Thanks!

EDIT: So I was able to figure out all that and will mail the adjacent lotters. One thing I don't know how to do are the actual mechanics of selling the lot. I vaguely remember that there were notaries and signing things involved but really don't know what happened when I bought it. Is there a good site that could show me how to do this? Or should I just get a realtor to help us facilitate the actual transfer? Also, the county happens to own one of the lots beside mine, should I still contact them?
Asking questions: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212 | My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026

Gropes & Ray
Posts: 1056
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:28 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:22 pm

A deed is used to transfer land title. They have to be notarized. Depending on the state there may be other requirements as to form. Shouldn't be too hard to google a decent form. Consider using a quitclaim deed. That is a deed where you make no guarantees as to title. It will depend if the buyer is willing to accept that.

Closing companies usually write the deeds. For a few hundred bucks you could hire one to do the work. But you can quickly pile up $1k in closing costs to ditch the lot. It's a little hard to give advice for how to transfer a lot worth so little because such a thing is rare.
Last edited by Gropes & Ray on Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 3199
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:31 pm

Document Service Co. for title transfers. Then docs to county recorders office. Lease cost method depending on your location and laws. Just did 2 title transfers last week. Call around and inquire at various document service preparation companies for fees. They are competitive and do the same thing. Escrow company fees can exceed the cost of the lot. Go the cheaper route.

lazylarry
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by lazylarry » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:53 am

So the bad news is that I mailed those folks (2 adjacent lot owners)...nobody got back to me. I gave phone number and email address and mailing address and it's been about a month. I've also emailed homeowner's association with no reply. Looking at the actual value of the property, it is $500 (with possible homeowner's fees pending that I haven't paid). I'm thinking that it's more of a hassle and liability to wait to sell it than to just get rid of it. Does that make sense? What's the best way to get rid of it or say that I don't want it anymore? Or can I call the county and ask them to just take it off my hands?
Asking questions: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212 | My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026

tim1999
Posts: 3340
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:14 am

You could stop paying property taxes on it, and the taxing authority may eventually take the land from you after putting years of liens on it. The laws regarding this vary from state to state. Consulting a local real estate attorney may be helpful.

I doubt the county would agree to take it off your hands for nothing unless it adds to some kind of larger open space project in the area. You could always wait awhile, and send a second letter to the neighboring owners offering it to them for $1.

As far as handling the transfer, a local title insurance company/closing company can facilitate this.

Gropes & Ray
Posts: 1056
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:28 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:35 am

You can offer it to the County. They are under no obligation to take it, but they might if they think it would be useful for utility locating or something similar.

User avatar
mcfroggin
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 7:14 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by mcfroggin » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:55 am

What state is it in?
Enjoy life but save vigorously!

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 12132
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Watty » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:14 pm

lazylarry wrote:What's the best way to get rid of it or say that I don't want it anymore?
You would want to get the HOA fees straighten first out since no one will want it with that unknown.

The HOA may have a newsletter, web site, facebook page, or bulletin board where you could offer the lot for a nominal price. You could also list it on Craigs list. You could also go to the next HOA meeting to meet the people and get suggestions as to what to do with it.

There may be places in that county that will auction off land. You would have to pay to put it in the auction but you might be able to get rid of it that way.

If it is a large lot then it could have some trees on it that have some value. If you mention that you are going to harvest the trees the HOA or the adjacent neighbors may be more willing to take it to prevent the trees from being removed.

If you don't do anything with it then whoever settle your estate will have that hassle and possibly legal fees so even if you have to pay to get rid of it that could be doing them a favor.

ddorsett
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:48 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by ddorsett » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:30 pm

Try contacting the local Habitat for Humanity and see if they are willing to take it as a donation. Then, possibly, take that donation as a tax write off.

KALS
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by KALS » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:02 pm

The HOA might also be able to foreclose if you do not pay the fees. It might be willing to take the property off your hands in satisfaction of past due amounts. Hope this helps.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 14511
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:16 pm

Visit the lot. Scout out the neighbors. Act like you are (or will be) doing something there that might not make the neighbor(s) or the neighborhood happy. Then, they might offer to buy you out.

Gropes & Ray
Posts: 1056
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:28 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:22 pm

dm200 wrote:Visit the lot. Scout out the neighbors. Act like you are (or will be) doing something there that might not make the neighbor(s) or the neighborhood happy. Then, they might offer to buy you out.
Ha! I like that. Go submit a zoning variance application for something really awful, and then offer the property to the neighbors when they come to the zoning board hearing to protest.

KALS
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by KALS » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:07 pm

dm200 wrote:Visit the lot. Scout out the neighbors. Act like you are (or will be) doing something there that might not make the neighbor(s) or the neighborhood happy. Then, they might offer to buy you out.
Goats or chickens. A small spec cell tower or wind turbine. :happy

LarryAllen
Posts: 779
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:41 am
Location: State of Confusion

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by LarryAllen » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:11 pm

It's a good reminder why buying stuff is not always a good idea. Reminds me of so many people who own timeshares they don't want. It's just a liability (bigger liability than the OP has) but you need to get rid of it. Bummer. Good luck.

Nearly A Moose
Posts: 610
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:28 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:58 pm

You may have some personal liability associated with the land. Someone's kid goes to play on it, steps in a hole and breaks his leg, and you're hit with a lawsuit. This is a state by state issue, and it's been a long time since I took torts or property.

I'd second the suggestions to look for charitable ways to get rid of it, depending on where it's located. Youre probably spending enough time on this that it's worth it to give it away or sell to someone for $1 just to be done with it.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

livesoft
Posts: 58299
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by livesoft » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:46 pm

dm200 wrote:Visit the lot. Scout out the neighbors. Act like you are (or will be) doing something there that might not make the neighbor(s) or the neighborhood happy. Then, they might offer to buy you out.
Send another letter to the adjacent landowners. This time tell them that you want to BUY their lots. I bet you get a response. :)
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

22twain
Posts: 1196
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:42 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by 22twain » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:11 am

KALS wrote:
dm200 wrote:Visit the lot. Scout out the neighbors. Act like you are (or will be) doing something there that might not make the neighbor(s) or the neighborhood happy. Then, they might offer to buy you out.
Goats or chickens.
Pigs!

lazylarry
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by lazylarry » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:01 pm

Haha appreciate the lively conversation. I can't visit it as I'm in another state (it's in TX and I'm in PA)! Maybe I will send the HOA/County a letter (I finally found their address) seeing if they would like my piece of lands with pigs and who knows what else. I guess since it's Texas I could maybe also tell them that any oil they find is theirs, maybe that would make somebody bite. Who knew it could be so hard to get rid of land.
Asking questions: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212 | My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026

lazylarry
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by lazylarry » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:43 pm

Hi,
Just checking to see if there were any more thoughts on this. I sent another batch of mail out with no luck to other owners. I was debating emailing/mailing the HOA, but wanted to check - I haven't paid HOA fees probably in about 3-4 years (each year is $75) and maybe more. I do pay property taxes which are $10. The property is worth $500, so the cost of selling would exceed the worth of the property for me and likely any buyer. I don't want to pay extra money to get rid of this property really, unless it's a minimal amount. Any other suggestions as to cost-free ways to get rid of this property? Or should I bite the bullet and basically pay a realtor/charity/HOA to take it?

I really want to get rid of this property due to liability risk (e.g. if someone gets injured on the property - low risk but still) but can not because nobody wants to take it. I'm also not sure what to do if nobody wants to buy my property even if I pay them to take it.
Asking questions: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212 | My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 14511
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by dm200 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:00 pm

1. Within the limits of what can or cannot be done, without spending a lot of money - do things (or hint at doing things) that will make the lot a nuisance.

2. Become annoying to the neighbors

3. Hire some homeless folks to appear to be "occupying" the lot.

A neighbor might, then, buy the lot. :sharebeer

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 12132
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:07 pm

One more thought. If mobile homes would be allowed on the property then you could contact a mobile home seller in the area to see if they would take it.

stan1
Posts: 5145
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by stan1 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:09 pm

Give it to a neighbor (no cost). This is an expense and nuisance for you not an investment.

Have the adjacent lots been built on or are they also vacant?

Halicar
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:41 am
Location: Midwest

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Halicar » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:23 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:43 pm
Hi,
Just checking to see if there were any more thoughts on this. I sent another batch of mail out with no luck to other owners. I was debating emailing/mailing the HOA, but wanted to check - I haven't paid HOA fees probably in about 3-4 years (each year is $75) and maybe more. I do pay property taxes which are $10. The property is worth $500, so the cost of selling would exceed the worth of the property for me and likely any buyer. I don't want to pay extra money to get rid of this property really, unless it's a minimal amount. Any other suggestions as to cost-free ways to get rid of this property? Or should I bite the bullet and basically pay a realtor/charity/HOA to take it?

I really want to get rid of this property due to liability risk (e.g. if someone gets injured on the property - low risk but still) but can not because nobody wants to take it. I'm also not sure what to do if nobody wants to buy my property even if I pay them to take it.
I don't want to scare you, but this reminds me of a case we studied in law school (Pocono Springs Civic Association v. MacKenzie) where the lot owners were stuck paying HOA fees on a worthless lot, presumably for the rest of their lives--they couldn't sell it, give it away, or even abandon it. Their heirs may have even been on the hook after they died (or when they die).

riverguy
Posts: 262
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 10:33 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by riverguy » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:27 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:43 pm
Hi,
Just checking to see if there were any more thoughts on this. I sent another batch of mail out with no luck to other owners. I was debating emailing/mailing the HOA, but wanted to check - I haven't paid HOA fees probably in about 3-4 years (each year is $75) and maybe more. I do pay property taxes which are $10. The property is worth $500, so the cost of selling would exceed the worth of the property for me and likely any buyer. I don't want to pay extra money to get rid of this property really, unless it's a minimal amount. Any other suggestions as to cost-free ways to get rid of this property? Or should I bite the bullet and basically pay a realtor/charity/HOA to take it?

I really want to get rid of this property due to liability risk (e.g. if someone gets injured on the property - low risk but still) but can not because nobody wants to take it. I'm also not sure what to do if nobody wants to buy my property even if I pay them to take it.
Just stop paying the property taxes on it. Depending on your state law, at some point in the future it will go up for sale. Someone will buy it for taxes owed or the county will take possession of it. They may not bother though since it is such a low amount.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 3006
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:30 pm

Find out what will happen if you stop paying taxes on it.

Put an ad on Craigslist offering it at a nominal price.

Focus on the fact that you are trying to get rid of it, not make money off of it.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 1699
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:36 pm

Watty wrote:
Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:14 pm
lazylarry wrote:What's the best way to get rid of it or say that I don't want it anymore?

If you don't do anything with it then whoever settle your estate will have that hassle and possibly legal fees so even if you have to pay to get rid of it that could be doing them a favor.
My understanding is that you can disclaim an inheritance. So this, at least, is something OP doesn't need to worry about.

This is starting to sound like the problem of disposing of a timeshare, where the question is how to PAY as little as possible to get out from under.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 3367
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:51 pm

While heirs could refuse the property, the back fees could be a claim against the estate.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

quantAndHold
Posts: 1260
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:04 pm

Assuming the only entity that's likely to have any liens on the property is the HOA, couldn't you quitclaim the property to the HOA?

quantAndHold
Posts: 1260
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Best way to get rid of lot of land?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:15 pm

Thinking about this some more...did you know that the property was subject to a HOA when you bought it? Is it in the purchase contract? Does the HOA actually have the legal right to assess fees? Do you get accountings of how the HOA is spending the money? What are they actually spending your $75 on?

Something seems not quite right here.

Post Reply