lot in LA that I need to sell fast

17 Replies

After going through litigation against our sister, with regards to our family estate, my brother and I are property rich and cash poor (our sister embezzled almost a million from the estate). We have fairly large vacant lot that was appraised in June for $155k. We would like to sell it fast in order to get the cash. How can we do this. I see signs around saying "we buy houses or lots for cash". Should I call one of them? I'm sure we will have to take less than the appraisal price, especially in order to get cash quick but I'm not sure how low we should go? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks. 

Hire a good realtor that specializes in new construction and represents builders for a living.  The we buy houses signs very seldom buy lots or land and they are only looking for the home runs.. Have just a tad of patience it will be worth thousands to your bottom line.

I've sold off vacant lots in the county of los angeles and did fairly well since a new trend out here is new construction with many of the fix and flip investors. Location (obviously), zoning, use and usability of the lot are key factors. 

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Folks, this is NOT the Marketplace.  Discussion in this thread is limited to advice to @Sheri Fierro on how to sell this lot.  

Thank you Jon, that really was what I was asking. I'm a total newbie and trying to figure the best way to go. Like if calling one of the advertisers who's sign says "we buy houses" cash. 

I did see a sign near where my lot is that says it buys houses and lots for cash. That is why I got the idea of doing a quick cash deal. Just not sure how it works. 

My brother and I just inherited quite a lot of rental properties and our family home, a condo in the desert and also a negative bank account. We are getting a fairly decent amount of rental income but not having any cash is a bit scary. We do not even have the account with the security deposits.

I've been reading a lot on Bigger Pockets. There really is a ton of information. Thanks for all the help.

I like Jay's advice. Find and agent who specializes in lots and dealing with builders. You might call the bigger brokerages and ask for who does this.  Talk to several. 

Any ideas, @Karen Margrave?

A Vacant lot may or may not be very marketable. There are so many factors to consider.

A buildable lot in a high density, desirable area is one thing. A lot with issues, is something entirely different. 

Since you tell us nothing, as to the facts, don't know if this is vacant parcel with a graded pad in the suburbs, a pad suitable for parking heavy equipment in a rural desert area or an unbuildable scrapper lot in a mountain community. 

Where and what is it?

Depending in the facts, you might be able to sell to a builder/developer for part cash, part paper (carryback note until sold with subordination clause for builders construction loan). Normal brokerage fee for land is 10% that I've observed. Plenty of brokers will list just to see their sign on your lot without regard to real effort in marketing it.

I don't know Alfred Rosas however I grew up in the Fullerton area, went to HS and both colleges there and considered the big land owner Merrill B  one of my closest friends. He knew about every parcel in the city, even the few he did not own, especially downtown. 

If you are just looking to get a cash cushion why not take an equity loan on one or more of the rentals and then sell the lot a fair market price, even if it takes a little longer.

Most of those "we buy houses" signs are put up by wholesalers who, despite their signs, have no intention of buying anything.  They're looking for deals they can flip to other buyers.  The only deals that will be interesting are steeply discounted ones.  So, you will take a significant loss even if one of them finds you a buyer.

As @Rick H. outlines a lot may be easy to move or may be very hard or even impossible to sell.  I would start by searching the mls in your area for vacant lots.  Then call the listing agents for these lots and have a chat.   If you find multiple lots listed by one person, start with them.

List it on zillow, craigslist and your phone will ring. Screen best agent per Jons and company recommendation. If it's worth 155k it must have development potential but not a lot or at huge expense. (Hilllside)



I've been buying and selling a lot of land lately. To sell it fast is always about price. Like @Matt R.  said post it on Craigslist and Postlets (which is a zillow site) that posts to a bunch of others. You will get a ton of calls.

Getting a cash buyer will usually take a builder or developer. Or you will have to work with the end buyer to get financing, which isn't as straightforward when it is raw land. If you do find someone who wants it and plans to build you can go to their builder and hopefully roll the land into the deal.

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@Sheri Fierro  I agree that you should find a good real estate agent who specializes in new construction. The first thing I'd ask him/her is to pull sales comps because your property might be worth more than what it appraised for. 

Thanks for the heads up Karen. 

@Sheri Fierro  I can appreciate your candor, however, a word (or words) of caution. Don't spell out to the public that you are a newbie, you attract all the sharks with your blood in the water. That is info that is unnecessary to give out to accomplish your goal.

From a moderator standpoint, Jon has already warned the community about making solicitations, yet they keep coming, if this persists, the thread will be locked. To all BP members, this is not a thread to offer services, solicit the original poster, or post your contact info in the post. It violates forum rules. Thank you.

Sheri, my next piece of advice is for you to either do yourself, or hire so done to do. Find out the highest and best use of the lot, the zoning, and the build ability of it. Next you will want to find out how big of a structure can be built on it and how much it would take to accomplish that. From there, you will need to get comps of the property after the improvements. Once you have those facts and figures, you can then back out the cost of the dirt so you know what it is worth. Selling it is the easy part so long as it is priced properly.

As to your rental holdings, you may want to contact someone with lots of experience who could either consult you and your brother on the best way to get the most out of your holdings. Again, be careful spilling info about your experience, that is unnecessary and opens you up to bet burned.


Thank you for the advice. We are doing good with the rental properties and everything will work out. At the first of the month, things were a bit hectic since I wasn't sure what the costs for the month would be. Fortunately, my dad was a great business man and I did learn a lot from him about property management. There is just some expenses that need to be taken care of out of the trust. Attprneys fees, another benefiviary, etc That's why I've been looking into selling. I do have an agent who is helping me with the lot and my brother and I know we should sell the family home but for emotional reasons, we are hesitating. I appreciate the help and have heard from the "sharks", within the first five minutes of the posting.

Thanks again and I am realizing patience is a virtue!

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