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Buying Vacant Land Next to my Home

Schoharie, NY |

I have the option to present an offer for vacant land next door the home I currently own. I really want the property but have no idea what it's worth and don't want to offer too much or too little. It's For Sale By Owner and he is probably 3 weeks away from getting an appraisal done on the property. He said he would share the appraisal with me when it's done but also said I could make an offer before that if I wanted. The land is within village limits and has access to village water, but would require private septic (same as my property). I don't want to build on it, just have it for open space. I found out it was assessed at $3200 but the value is probably more than that (assessment was 8 years ago). I have never bought vacant land before so have no idea if I should just make a verbal offer and then follow up with a contract if he accepts or if I should call a real estate agent and then hire an attorney to guide me through closing. To complicate things further, I'm a few days away from getting my real estate salesperson license and I believe I'm obligated to share that information with the seller in the interest of disclosure. Can I just tell him or should I have him sign something. Since I have no experience in the field, the license won't help me do the deal myself but I know I need to make sure he's ok with it. What is the best way to proceed? Is there anyway to find out what it's worth before seeing the appraisal?

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Attorney answers 1


You have a few options. First you can order your own appraisal and keep it to yourself, you have no obligation to disclose that you are doing so. Since it is vacant land, the appraiser will not need access to it like he might if it were a home that needed an appraisal. Tell him you are in a rush and he will get it to you before the seller's appraisal. Second, you can look through newspaper notices, classifieds or county records for recent vacant land sales. Third, you can wait for the seller's appraisal. Chances are no matter what you offer, if it is low in his mind, he will likely wait for his appraisal anyway, either to show it to you or to get his own idea of what its worth. Telling hiim you are a broker is no big deal because he will know you are also the adjacent landowner anyway and that you are not looking to "flip" the property. He does not need to sign a broker's agreement with you, if thats what you mean. Finally, it is always safest to close with a lawyer. The money you "save" will not be enough to make up for the expense if there are problems. Also make sure to order title insurance as well.

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