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How to Sell Land Fast! Have you considered selling land at auction?

Sam Kinloch

Selling land can be more complex than selling a property, given that the groups of buyers interested in a plot of land may be diverse and depend on multiple variables, such as the planning consent granted, the size of the land, its location, and any restrictions on future use. But it’s possible to sell land quickly by auction!

In fact, land sales make up a significant proportion of our auction sales and the right plot of land can sell for multiple times the guide price!

As a well-established auction house with long-standing expertise in selling plots of land from commercial lots to parking areas, woodland to agriculture land alongside potential development sites, the Clive Emson team can provide tailored advice about selling your land via auction and other options to sell your land by auction quickly and with certainty.

Looking for a quick idea of how much your land will sell for at auction? For tailored suggestions around the price you might expect to receive when selling your land at auction, please contact the Clive Emson team at your convenience or fill out a land valuation form here.

How to Sell Land Fast! Have you considered selling land at auction?

The considerations for selling land at auction

If you’re unfamiliar with selling at auction, we suggest that you read our guide on selling property at auction here. We outline the auction process in detail, what to expect pre and post-auction and other key considerations.

The process for selling land at auction is very much the same as is the speed of the sale (immediate exchange of contracts and completion within 20 days), however, there are some additional considerations that may affect the sale of the land and the price you can achieve at auction. For example:

Do you have the right of access?

There are some plots of land that may not be accessible to the buyer should they wish to build on the property or use the land for any functional purpose. The right of access to land refers to the legal right that allows individuals or entities to enter or pass through another person's property for specific purposes. This right is typically subject to certain legal restrictions and conditions, and it can vary from one property to another.

In this case, the buyer's solicitor will need to pay close attention to the title documents which will outline the details of the right of access to the land and whether your buy can legally execute their plans. If not, this is likely to impact the guide prices.

Are you selling a ransom strip?

Ransom strips, often referred to as "ransom land" or "ransom parcels," are narrow strips or parcels of land that are strategically situated between two larger pieces of property, effectively blocking or restricting access to one of the adjacent properties.

If the buyer needs to traverse someone else's property to reach the land, the property owner may have the legal authority to prevent your access until certain conditions, often involving compensation, are met - affecting the guide price.

These strips of land can be a source of contention and legal disputes between property owners, and they often raise complex legal and practical considerations. Again, this information will be outlined in the title deeds for the land and will need to be closely examined by the buyer's solicitor.

How to Sell Land Fast! Have you considered selling land at auction?

How to Price Land for an Auction Sale

One of the tricky elements of selling land is that you need to calculate what the land may be worth to your intended buyer. The good news is that vacant land in a prime spot for development can be considered highly valuable. In fact, we’ve sold several land plots for significantly over the guide price.

This process is less straightforward than having a residential or commercial property valued since perceived value relies on factors such as:

  • The location, gradient and potential uses of the land for building or development.
  • What the land might be worth as a finished development - this can be impacted by proximity to major roads, schools, amenities and business areas.
  • The anticipated cost of building on the land, such as whether older structures would need to be demolished and whether the land is easily accessible for larger vehicles.
  • The right of access or other restrictions to the land as outlined in the title deeds.
Clive Emson can help to value your land, using our experience to ensure sellers make an informed decision about the reserve price to set against their land and the guide price as an indication for prospective bidders.

Attractively priced land may sell very quickly, but it is important not to undervalue your land or feel that you need to accept a price well below the estimated market value purely to achieve a sale.

Why List Land for Sale at Auction?

The auction sales process is different from a conventional private treaty sale, with the benefit of completing the transaction quickly and with certainty. Auctioneers require the successful bidder to submit a deposit on the day, usually a percentage of their final bid.

From there, they have 20 working days to remit the full balance – this may vary in some scenarios, but all registered and approved bidders must be cash buyers and have the funding in place to move forward immediately.

If your primary goal is to sell land , an auctioneer can recommend:

  • Reserve and guide prices to attract strong interest without undervaluing your asset.
  • The right auction date to list your plot of land; giving them sufficient time to market the lot to relevant buyers and allow bidders to register to attend.
  • Selling techniques to demonstrate the value of the land, including compiling a comprehensive legal pack for potential buyers to download directly from the auctioneer’s website.
  • Dates or timings for block viewings, where applicable, allow bidders to see the land in person and verify whether it is suitable for their purposes.
Selling land at auction is considerably faster than any other sales method and means you have control over the minimum price you are prepared to accept. You can also sit in on the auction if you wish and watch the bids arriving – the process is transparent, and you can view the value of the most recent offer, when it was placed, and whether your reserve has been met.

Related reading: How do online land and property auctions work? 

Is it Easy to Sell Land at an Auction Sale?

Often, yes, land sells well at auction because the buyer audience includes, those looking to get planning permission and build a home, investors and developers who specifically look for fairly priced plots of land, along with potential buyers of equestrian land or small holdings

There are other buyers who are looking to invest in woodland or farmland for development purposes.

Other bidders include agricultural investors and commercial bidders with specific requirements, such as looking for large land areas that could be used for industrial or light industrial development or extensive outdoor space to construct warehousing, HGV storage or facilities.

Land buyers may also include organisations that require large plots of land, such as those engaged in animal welfare, livestock or breeding programs.

These buyer demographics often consult auctioneers and register on mailing lists to be notified when new plots of land become listed at auction, and where land is in a premium location or has other desirable characteristics, bidding can become very competitive – meaning sellers commonly achieve far above their original reserve price.

How to Ensure You Achieve a Good Price for Land Sold at Auction

Alongside speed, transparency and certainty, you can improve your prospects of achieving a reasonable price for your plot of land by following the advice of your auctioneer.

Working with an experienced property auction house is essential, where you receive guidance each step of the way. An auctioneer familiar with the local area, other similar plots of land that have successfully sold, and what buyers are looking for will ensure your listing highlights all of the features that bidders will prioritise.

As we've explained, land isn't as simple to value as a property. It is worth the amount a buyer is willing to pay, so the potential use of the land and the likelihood of achieving planning permission may be fundamental to the guide price you set.

Another tip is to ensure you have all the information and documentation needed for the legal pack, including the title deeds, which bidders will need to review as part of their pre-auction research and due diligence.

For any further assistance, information about how the auction process works, or tailored suggestions around the price you might expect to receive when selling your land at auction, please contact the Clive Emson team at your convenience or fill out a land valuation form here.

Alternatively, you are welcome to browse previous sales via our website, where you can review past auction results, live listings included in upcoming auctions, and our guides to selling or buying at auction.

About the Author

Sam Kinloch

Sam Kinloch

Director & Senior Auction Appraiser

Sam’s career in the dizzy world of property auctions began when he hung up his chainsaw and headed in from the forest. Joining the team in 2003 Sam now sits on the Board of Directors and has been instrumental in the adoption of online auction services.
Out of the office you can find him flying around the velodrome or sipping coffee at a local café.

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07968 780714

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