Selling vacant land in Florida without a realtor or lawyer is pretty easy. We’ve laid out the the key pieces of information and documents you’ll need in order to sell land in Florida. Here’s the best part – most of these documents can be found online for free.
1. Parcel Number
The most important thing to know about the land in Florida you want to sell is the Parcel Number.
Every property in Florida has a Parcel Number – the Walmart down the road, the million dollar homes on the beach and the hunting shacks in the panhandle.
A Parcel Number can tell you…
- The size of the property in acres
- A map showing the property boundary lines
- The exact name of the property owners
- The assessed value of the property
In Florida, Parcel Numbers are assigned at the county level.
Each county in Florida has a government office called a Property Appraiser. It’s the job of the county’s Property Appraiser to report on the value (or appraise) every parcel within its county.
The Property Appraiser assigns a Parcel Number – a string of numbers and sometimes letters – that is unique to every parcel.
Some Florida counties use the term “Parcel ID.”
Here’s what a Parcel Number in Okeechobee County looks like – 1-09-34-33-0A00-00023-K000
And, here’s what a Parcel Number (called a Parcel ID) in Broward County looks like – 504210020050
You’ll need to know your property’s Parcel Number in order to sell your land in Florida.
Every county in Florida allows the general public to look up Parcel Numbers online for free. You’ll need to know exactly what county in Florida your property is located in.
Once you know what county in Florida your land is located in you can do an internet search for “XYZ County Property Appraiser.”
Once you have navigated to the county’s property appraiser’s site look for terms like ‘Search Records’ or ‘Search Real Property’ to find the website’s search feature.
2. The Deed
In Florida, organizing and recording official legal documents – like deeds to real estate – are the responsibility of the Clerk of Court.
The Clerk of Court is another county-level government office. What’s great about selling land in Florida is that most counties offer a great deal of their official records (including deeds) online…for free.
Plus, the state of Florida collects official records from all its counties on one website – https://www.myfloridacounty.com/ori/index.do
Another option to find your deed is to search the county’s Clerk of Court website. Do an internet search for “XYZ County Clerk of Court.” Note – some counties refer to the Clerk of Court simply as ‘County Clerk.’
Most deeds created after 1990 are easily accessible online for free.
Once you have located the deed you’ll need to pay attention to who is listed as the owner on the deed. This is a legal document so details matter.
If one or more of the property owners listed on the deed has passed away the property may need to ‘go through probate.’ Probate is a legal process that can costs thousands of dollars in attorney fees and take months to complete in order for you to sell land in Florida.
You can avoid the probate process and still sell land in Florida if there is specific language on the deed. (The probate procedure may only be necessary if one of the property owners listed on the deed has passed away.)
Florida law allows the seamless transition of ownership to surviving owners if one of these clauses are written on the deed…
- “Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship”
- “Husband and Wife”
In Florida, if one of those clauses are written on the deed, the interest in a property from a deceased person automatically transfers to the living person.
Please note that we are not giving legal advice nor are we real estate attorneys in the state of Florida.
3. Purchase and Sale Agreement
A Purchase and Sale Agreement is the contract between you and the person who will buy your Florida land. Realtors and attorneys tend to put together lengthy contracts. The reality is that a Purchase and Sale Agreement can be a simple, straight-forward document that all fits neatly in one page.
You don’t need a lawyer or fancy wording to create your own Purchase and Sale Agreement.
You’ll need a signed (by both you and the buyer) Purchase and Sale Agreement in order for a title company to get started on their part. (More on this below.) The Purchase and Sale Agreement gives the title company the information to they need to act as a middleman between you, the seller, and the buyer.
Here’s what a Purchase and Sale Agreement should include:
- The Parcel Number
- Name(s) of Current Property Owners (from deed)
- Name(s) of Buyers
- A Closing Date
- Purchase Price
- Who will pay for Closing Costs
- Who will pay for Property Taxes
- Deposit (Earnest Money) if any
Here’s a breakdown of each of these…
The Parcel Number – The Parcel Number defines the exact property that is being sold. Be sure to write the parcel number on the Purchase and Sale Agreement exactly how it is written on the Property Appraiser’s website.
Name of Current Property Owner(s) – Write the name of the owner(s) exactly as you see them on the deed. It’s also helpful to include the mailing address of at least one of the owners.
Name of Buyers(s) – You will want to include the buyer’s mailing address on the Purchase and Sale Agreement. The title company will send the buyers documents in the mail.
Closing Date – This is an agreed upon target date where the transaction should be completed. Title companies typically will need 1-3 weeks in order to get all the paperwork they need to “close” – or finalize – the transaction. The title company may be ready to close sooner than expected. Sometimes title work can be complex and requires more time. If you include the clause “or within a reasonable time” on your Purchase and Sale Agreement you’re stating to the title company that both and the seller have some flexibility on when the closing date is.
Purchase Price – The purchase price is the amount that will be paid for the land. This doesn’t mean you (the seller) will receive the entire purchase price in form of a check. Any deductions from the purchase price depending on who is paying for closing costs and property taxes.
Closing Costs – The term ‘closing costs’ refers to the various fees, cost of insurance and taxes it takes to have a title company handle the transaction. The title company charges a fee for their services. Plus, there are taxes collected by the county to record the sale of the land. How to cost of closing costs can be negotiated. When negotiating with your buyer, consider one of these three options:
- Buyer to pay all closing costs
- Seller to pay all closing costs
- Buyer and seller to evenly split all closing costs
Property Taxes – Give direction to the title company on who will pay for property taxes. It’s customary for the seller to pay for past due property taxes – taxes that haven’t paid in over a year. You (the seller) don’t have to write a check to the tax collector. The title company can take the amount owed on taxes out of your proceeds and pay the owed property taxes on your behalf.
Another question to answer on the Purchase and Sale Agreement is – who will pay for the current year’s property taxes? Payment of the current year’s property taxes is another item to be negotiated between you and the buyer. The amount of the current year’s property tax depends on the transaction’s closing date.
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Once both the buyer and the seller (you) have signed the Purchase Agreement it’s time to hire a Title Company.
Another great thing about selling land in Florida is that Florida, unlike some other states, does not require a real estate attorney to review a real estate transaction.
Most real estate transactions in Florida are handled by a title company.
A title company, among other things, can act as a middleman between you and the buyer. The title company will be in charge of making sure everyone in the deal gets what they want – the buyer gets the land and the seller gets the money.
The average cost for a title company to complete your transaction is about $600 – $1,000. This cost includes the title company’s fees, taxes to record the transaction and a title insurance policy. The total cost goes up based on the property’s purchase price.
It’s recommended that you hire a title company that has an office in the county where your land is located. A ‘local’ title company may have better access to county records like deeds and surveys.
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