Profile picture for ginny messina

Selling a home with or without next door lot

I'm selling a house that is on a double lot, with the second lot being buildable. The listing in the MLS is for just the house on one lot, with a note that the second lot is available to the buyer. So far, everyone who has been interested in the house cannot afford the lot, and--because the lot greatly enhances the setting--it's made them reluctant to make an offer. Two buyers specifically said "we would only buy it with the second lot, but can't afford to do so."

No one looking in a higher price range--ie, people who could afford both--has looked at the house. I would like to have two listings: one for the house alone and another for house-plus-lot. My agent says this is not possible but I'm quite certain I've seen it done. Any ideas?
  • December 13 2012 - US
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Answers (14)

I have seen agents take on a listing for the House and a different one for the lot, and mention something in the agent comments that fits your situation:  ie Lot next door is also for sale, seller would prefer to sell with apn x (ie parcel with a house on it) for "x amount," etc

Best wishes from So-Cal and good luck
  • December 13 2012
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Thanks for posting your question on Zillow.com.

You are going to have to consult with another local Realtor, perhaps your agent's broker?  Call in anonymously and ask.

I am sure the laws in PA where I am are different than where you are.

Best of luck. :-)
  • December 13 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
Whether you can list the property and the lot separetely depends on how the deeds are written.  To do that each of them must be on a separate deed.  You can probably list the home with the lot for one price, then the home without the lot for another price. And the lot separately.  Have a meeting with the broker manager and see what can be done.
  • December 13 2012
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Great question! Remember just because a lot is 'buildable' does not mean its always 'feasible' to build on it. 

Sounds like you may have 'over-valued' the vacant lot. I would get an appraisal on the vacant lot itself, then talk to the appraiser on any 'added value' the vacant land adds to the improved lot. A local appraiser and/or Realtor who deals in vacant land can give you an accurate assesment on the vacant lands true value. Sounds like the value the vacant lot adds to the improved lot may be more than the value of the vacant lot itself if sold separately - that sometimes happens.

Ive noticed in market depressions, vacant land is near worthless, but is overvalued during bull markets. You might want to agree to sell only the improved land with a clause not to build on the vacant land or transfee for a certain amount of time, something like that. ....

Variables include usability of the vacant lot, zoning and local restriction, cost of construction, cost of vacant land lending (which is almost impossible to get now), and many more variables. Get as many opinions as possible...
  • December 13 2012
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You could simply change the acreage and price in a second listing to reflect the addition of the second lot and make a note in the listing stating that that is what you have done.
  • December 14 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Vince is right. Asking an appraiser is a good place the start. If you want to sell the lot and house separately, you may need to fence off the lot from the main house so it is truly separate when the buyer comes to look at it. Many houses on double lots have lovely yards, but you have to be clear when you sell what is included and what is not.

I don't know how your market is, but in my market I would probably opt to sell the main house separate form the lot or to hold the lot back from the sale right now. Chances are you will not get much more for for the double lot and you may get more down the line if you list it separately.

Talk to your agent about how to split the lot from the listing. Also talk to your local building department about whether your lot is actually buildable and legally separate.
  • December 14 2012
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It is absolutely possible, and I think the other posts here have confirmed that. For what it is worth I don't like splitting up double lots. The majority of the time that extra lot actually improves the overall sales price COMBINED versus being separate. Certainly you probably know which way it goes, but extra acreage tends to make the LOT one of the best in the neighborhood. 

Of course the appraisal is a good idea, and it does sound like from feedback that what is happening is the house itself is becoming the barrier to the higher price. This does sometimes happen in your situation with the lot and needs to be put into consideration. This may answer my view above already.

However, if I was the listing agent the marketing plan seems very simple to me. Builders would be a slam dunk for this house, because they value these types of lots very highly. If it is an investor type house I attack that group as well, but that does not seem to be the case with you.

So to me the first step would be confirming the true value of that second lot. If you have it overpriced it really won't matter if you try to hold onto it and sell separate. I hold of the opinion that double lots tend to be appraised higher COMBINED then separate, however this should be determined during the appraisal process.

From there I would focus all my marketing efforts towards builders (they should be very easy to find in your community), and they will give a lot of really good feedback.

Lastly, I would see if there were any improvements to your actual home to get buyers at the higher price point pulling the trigger. In truth by doing that you are increasing the second lot. It all comes down to the 2 price points you can choose to sell your home in, and what your competition looks like. I just don't know all the information to tell you for certain the best route, but hopefully I have given you some ideas.

FYI drop the listing agent and go with someone who works with builders as an added layer. He will have a lot of contacts for you that will be helpful for this home, and can also give you more helpful insight on the double lot. If your current listing agent didn't know the answer to your question, and thus why you had to come on Zillow he is a dud. I don't confess to know everything about real estate, but if I don't I find the answer for my clients within 24 hours and am always honest with them. Realtors are supposed to be master networking agents, and he comes across as lazy to me.

Good luck!

~Chris 
  • December 14 2012
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Profile picture for Best Miami Beach
We would recommend that they just adjust the agent comments in the MLS.
  • December 14 2012
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Profile picture for Claudia001
The listing can be done separately, The house with the lot in a particular price amount and the home alone with another amount. According to my perception this will be appreciated, and you will get positive responses soon.
  • December 18 2012
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I would not sell the two parcels together, but market them to different buyers. I believe you will have the best success this way.
  • December 24 2012
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Profile picture for ginny messina
Thanks so much, everyone, for these replies. What I really want to do is have two listings--one for the house and a second one for the house plus lot. Because both listings would have the same street address, my agent doesn't know that the MLS will accept both listings. So, I'm wondering if it is legal/possible to do this. I'm gathering from the answers here that it can be done?
  • December 28 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
It can be done in my local MLS. The agent can list in in my area with no address, just a street name and zip code with the other details of the lot as long as it is a separate legal parcel.

Check with your local building department and make sure it is legally separate, but if it is I would bet there is a way to list it separately in the local MLS even if it currently shares a street address.
  • December 28 2012
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Go into your county's public record and check how the house and the lot are written in the deed.  If they are together, that will be the way that the Real estate agent have to list it.
Maria Cipollone
  • December 29 2012
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Profile picture for ginny messina
The house and the lot are separate properties. We purchased them at different times. The lot is definitely buildable but is currently landscaped in a way that makes it part of our yard.

It's a highly desirable lot in the heart of an historic town and with water/mountain views. We've actually had several requests to purchase it but want to keep it until we have sold the house so that it is available to the house buyer. 

What we want to do is have a listing for the house on one lot ($438K) and then a second listing for the house on its double lot (price to be determined but probably around $575K.)

Right now, the house is listed at $438K with a note that the lot is "available to buyer." But no one in the $575K range is looking at the house because it's just not coming up in their searches. 

  • December 29 2012
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