How to Find a Land’s Value

 Enter your email
How to Find a Land’s Value
Interacting with real estate involves the element of land value, an essential consideration known to have a considerable effect on property-related transactions. If you are a potential buyer, seller, or investor, understanding the technicalities of determining land value is critical. This guide will cover pragmatic approaches, tools, and wisdom that we can use to understand the mysteries of land value estimation processes in a dynamic world. Both when you are looking for a likely investment or evaluating your property, such an introduction is preparing to take us into the art and science of finding land value.

Table of content

What is Land Value?

How to Find a Land’s Value

  • Get a Certified Appraiser
  • Consult Real Estate Professionals
  • Evaluate Comparable Properties

Calculate the Depreciation of Land Value

What Factors Impact the Value of Unimproved or Vacant Land?


What is Land Value?

What is Land Value?

The two components of land value are the intrinsic worth of a property and any improvements made to it. However, it is necessary to differentiate land value from site value that characterizes the reasonable worth of a parcel in circumstances where there are no leases, mortgages, or other such factors affecting its valuation possibilities. Factors, including the demand/supply ratio or attributes of the land itself, such as the availability of valuable resources like oil, can lead to an increase in the price of land.

Property owners determine prices for using land based on its value, such as the price of the rental fee for the farmland. It is this calculation that takes into account market value, land taxes, and the capitalization rate. Land value is often determined through real estate appraisals carried out by other parties. These ratings are used by lenders when determining whether or not to provide financing options for potential buyers and/or in refinancing opportunities available through the sale of property.

Comparisons of the land's condition to similar real estate are part of the appraisal process. This differs from comparative market analysis, where recently sold properties are compared. The location and positioning of the land are significant factors influencing its value. A remote parcel may have limited value if it lacks access to amenities, utilities, and transportation. Conversely, proximity to popular destinations, such as cities or entertainment venues, can increase land value by making the property more desirable and useful.


How to Find a Land’s Value

In terms of real estate, the value of land plays a significant role in determining decisions such as purchase and sale or investment. In this manual, we will analyze how to pinpoint the land value using Lucas Land Company, employing licensed appraisers who price comparable properties and incorporating online tools of valuation.

Get a Certified Appraiser

Get a Certified Appraiser

The key step in the land value evaluation process is securing a qualified appraiser. It is necessary to identify an appraiser experienced in assessing land properties and fully knowledgeable of the unique challenges and concerns inherent in land valuation rather than residential buildings.

When seeking an appraiser, provide a brief description of the land in question. If the initially contacted appraiser cannot accommodate your needs, kindly request a referral to someone who specializes in appraising land. It's crucial to confirm the appraiser's license by obtaining their license number and verifying its active status through your state's Department of Real Estate or equivalent authority.

Before making a firm commitment, you should ask for a written quote for the appraisal fee. Remember that it can cost more to appraise land than buildings because of additional research and familiarity with records specific to the property. Schedule this appraisal at a convenient time when you can be present to answer questions and give essential information.

Collect the necessary documents to help in the appraisal process, such as plot plan or survey, title report, legal property description, latest tax bill, and, if applicable, current listing agreement. Study the organized report thoroughly after appraisal, ensuring land use local regulations are mentioned together with detailed information on the approach used by an appraiser to determine current market conditions. If there are any questions, immediately contact the appraiser to obtain clarification.


Consult Real Estate Professionals

Consult Real Estate Professionals

● Identify More Than One Agent:

Building trust is essential when seeking guidance on undeveloped land. If personal recommendations are unavailable, tap into your network or connect with individuals who have previously purchased vacant land to gather insights on their real estate agent choices. Confirm that the agents you approach possess expertise in the market for undeveloped land, as specialization in residential properties may limit their understanding of vacant lot valuations. Interact with multiple agents to gain a comprehensive range of perspectives, enhancing your overall assessment.

● Solicit Their Professional Insights:

Initiate contact with real estate agents confidently, introducing yourself and seeking their insight into the potential market value of your land. Pose the question, “If I were to list this property with you today, what is the maximum amount I could expect if I need to sell it in the next 6 months?” Arrange for a property assessment meeting to allow agents to thoroughly evaluate the land, emphasizing the importance of a well-researched estimate based on comparable property prices. This step ensures a more accurate and informed valuation.

● Assess and Contemplate the Option of Hiring:

After consulting various agents, critically analyze their level of knowledge and enthusiasm towards the project. Consider hiring an agent who distinguishes themselves with intelligent views and work ethic and who may help you in your undeveloped land transaction. An appropriate agent may be incredibly helpful in going through the purchasing or sales process of a piece of vacant land, guiding one throughout all stages.


Evaluate Comparable Properties

Evaluate Comparable Properties

● Explore Additional Available Lots:

Initiate the valuation process by identifying comparable properties within the vicinity of the land you intend to appraise. Start within a close radius, expanding only if equivalent properties are scarce. In urban areas, restrict your search to a 0.5-mile (0.8 km) radius, extend to a 1-mile (1.6 km) radius for suburban areas, and consider a 5-mile (8 km) radius for rural properties. If you need to look beyond these typical radii, ensure the reasons for doing so are clearly explained in the appraisal report.

● Search for Lots with Similar Characteristics:

Estimate the value of the lot by researching the prices paid for comparable lots, commonly referred to as "comps." Ensure that these properties are similar and conduct on-site visits to observe them firsthand. Keep in mind that various factors, such as size and location, contribute to lot value, and larger lots may not necessarily command a higher price than smaller ones.

● Determine the Sales Prices of Comparable Land:

Determine the prices paid for comparable properties by visiting the land assessor's office. If sales data for your comps is unavailable, consider exploring their asking prices. While exact matches may be rare, this information provides valuable insights into prevailing market conditions.

● Formulate an Estimate Using Comparable Sales:

Adjust your estimate based on the details of the land, considering factors like size and location. Even if you can't find an exact match, this information provides a foundation for understanding market dynamics. If no recent comps are available, explore historical data to find similar transactions.

● Evaluate the Influence of Zoning on Property Value:

Local zoning laws significantly influence land value, as they dictate permissible development. Investigate how the land is zoned, considering whether it allows commercial or residential development. Adjust your estimate accordingly based on the development potential permitted by zoning regulations.

● Modify the Value Considering Deed Restrictions:

Analyze the land deed for potential restrictions, such as liens, easements, or deed restrictions, which may impact property value. Liens and easements can lower value, while deed restrictions beyond zoning regulations can limit development possibilities.

● Assess the Attractiveness of the Land:

Subjectively assess the land's desirability by imagining how it would appear in a property listing. Take photographs and evaluate its aesthetic appeal. More desirable land can command higher prices, so adjust your estimate upward if the land surpasses the desirability of comparable properties.

● Verify whether the Land Falls within a Flood Zone:

Consider the impact of flood zoning on the land's desirability and value. Land in flood zones tends to be less attractive due to potential flood insurance costs. Factor in these costs when evaluating the overall value of the land.

Calculate the Depreciation of Land Value

Determining the loss of land value is a complex process that has many important factors to consider. To begin with, the acquisition cost should be understood. This includes the total cost of land, including any transactional fee and other costs related to purchasing it. Depreciation is an important feature of determining the loss in value over time and, therefore, must start with acquisition cost.

1. Acquisition Cost:

The acquisition cost comprises the total charges incurred to purchase land. This includes the purchase price as actual costs and other incidental expenses related to the acquisition process. It is necessary to determine this overall acquisition cost to compute depreciation. This figure serves as a benchmark measure of decline in value over time. On the other hand, in terms of land value, it’s always important to note that depreciation is usually applied for improvements over a piece of land and not necessarily on the underlying portion since even, according to people, it is generally thought of as having an unlimited life.

2. Land (Salvage) Value:

Taking the case of depreciation, the salvage value here for the land that may be evaluated as an estimated residual worth after exhaustion of its utility ends is, therefore, one determining factor. The total depreciation is calculated by subtracting this value from the acquisition cost. The land value (salvage) is a prediction of the land’s future worth once it effectively mentions life has been occupied. However, as for land, which is typically viewed as having an unlimited useful life, this idea applies particularly to assets that have a finite lifespan, like structures or improvements on the land.

3. Years of Useful Life, According to the IRS:

Though the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does offer parameters for the allowable useful life of different types of property, land is usually treated differently. To illustrate, the land is usually taken to be of indeterminable useful life since it does not depreciate or wear out over time the way structures and improvements do. Consequently, the IRS rarely allows depreciation deductions for land’s inherent value. According to the IRS, depreciation considerations mainly address structures or improvements put in place on the land and not attributes of its intrinsic worth.


What Factors Impact the Value of Unimproved or Vacant Land?

What Factors Impact the Value of Unimproved or Vacant Land?

Determining the value of your property involves considering various factors that may enhance the estimated worth beyond initial expectations. If you're contemplating selling your land beyond simply researching comparable listings, there are key elements that could contribute to a higher valuation. Explore these factors to gain insights into why your land might be more valuable than initially thought.

● Infrastructure:

The availability of utilities can greatly impact land value. Listings with existing or nearby access to utilities, such as electricity and water, are often more appealing to buyers intending to build new homes. On the other hand, for buyers seeking land for recreational purposes, minimal utility requirements may be preferable, potentially saving costs on unnecessary improvements.

● Land Size:

As stated by the U.S. Census Bureau, residential homes typically have a lot size of about 8,892 square feet. If your land covers anywhere up to several acres, then its potential value increases significantly. Not surprisingly, they not only appeal to new home builders but are almost equally important to developers and investors looking for subdivisions or shopping center sites.

● Adjacent Locale:

The adage "location is everything" holds in real estate. The appeal of your land can vary, and while oceanfront living might entice some buyers, others might be drawn to different features. Setting a fair market value and identifying the right buyers, developers, or investors is crucial for successful land transactions.

● Land Use:

The intended use of the land significantly influences its value. For instance, land suitable for recreational purposes may not command the same price as land near major attractions or prime building locations. Understanding the potential uses for your land allows you to assess its value accurately and target the right market for a successful sale.

● Accessibility:

The convenient location on the land, with easy access provided by existing road frontage and driveways, can significantly enhance its value. Maintaining the access points of such a property makes it more appealing to potential buyers. Even minimal upgrades, as well as adding a driveway or parking space, can make the land more alluring.

● Terrain/Usable Area:

Desirable locations, like those close to the beach or famous attractions, can enhance the appeal and value of your land. If your land lacks these features, highlighting unique attributes such as scenic views, open spaces, natural habitats, or wildlife presence in your listing can significantly boost its value.

Discover your land true value

Get a no-obligation offer in just a few minutes.

How do you calculate a lot’s value?

To ascertain the true value of a property, it's crucial to assess its potential final market value. This involves considering various factors that could influence its worth in the real estate market. Once the potential final market value is established, the next step is to deduct construction hard costs, development soft costs, and the expected developer's profit from the equation. This calculated deduction results in the determination of the actual lot value, providing a clearer understanding of the land's intrinsic worth in the context of development and construction expenses. This method allows for a more comprehensive evaluation, ensuring that the actual lot value is derived by factoring in both the potential market value and the associated costs involved in bringing the property to its full potential.

What constitutes the market value of land?

The market value, also referred to as the guidance value in certain states or the circle rate, is an estimated value recorded by the state government. It signifies the minimum value at which a property sale can be registered with the state government. This valuation is crucial for various real estate transactions.

What does the belting method of valuation entail?

The belting method is rooted in road frontage, assigning greater value to land along the road compared to its back counterparts. To determine the true value of the land, the entire plot is divided into strips through lines parallel to the centerline of the road, with each segment referred to as a "belt."

Can land undergo depreciation?

Unlike buildings, land does not depreciate over time. Due to its enduring nature, the original purchase price needs to be allocated between the land and the building, recognizing that the land retains its value and does not experience a reduction in worth.


Frequently Asked Questions

Selling land requires the right tools and timing to get the best value for your property. We know how important it is to choose a suitable company for business transactions of any size. So we've gathered here for you our most frequently asked questions.