From residential properties in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse or Albany to commercial, recreational and agricultural sites across New York, all prospective property owners know that there will be taxes involved in their real estate transaction. However, the influence of taxes can impact more than just a buyer’s bottom line, as they also play a huge role in available inventory and how sellers are thinking.
“Taxes are inevitable in New York, but there are nuances that you should be aware of and consider as you’re buying,” says Allen Olmsted of Canaan Realty, a leading brokerage for land sales in New York State. “There are a few tricks to the trade for savings opportunities that a qualified and experienced broker can help buyers to navigate.”
The Timing of Taxes
Regardless of the type of land buyers are looking for, all property owners share a common consideration – how the timing of certain tax bills may influence their decision to sell. According to Allen, taxes at different times of the year tend to motivate a seller to list their properties on the market.
“Maybe they just received their next taxing bill, or they have a raw piece of land or asset sitting there that’s not really generating income,” Allen explains. “That would be a key time when they realize they don’t want to keep the property any longer and pay taxes on something they’re not really using.”
From mid-January to early February and mid-September to early October, Allen sees a higher level of activity in land for sale across the entire state of New York. There's also generally an uptick around the time personal income tax and fiduciary tax returns are due each year on April 15.
“From a buyer’s standpoint, those certain seasons with a higher activity for land sale listings would mean potentially more inventory on the market for buyers to take advantage of,” says Allen.
Navigating Tax Exemptions
The timing and amount of their tax bills aren’t the only factors sellers consider when it comes to how taxes affect when they’ll sell and for how much. Buyers must be aware that certain property types may be subject to tax resolutions, which influence who the seller will sell to and may even yield savings opportunities for the right buyer.
“Depending on the composition of the property and physical location, you may be able to get some moderate to significant reductions on your taxes,” says Allen.
Allen highly recommends that buyers be informed of any tax resolutions that may apply to the type of real estate they’re seeking, whether it’s waterfront acreage or a hunting property. Deadlines vary for each type of land, something Allen helps NYLand.forsale customers navigate on a regular basis.
“With agricultural properties, for instance, if the buyer happens to be a farmer, the agricultural exemption can help reduce the taxes,” Allen explains. “There’s also a similar exemption for timber properties or land with trees that can be managed.”
Preparing for the Purchase
When it comes to taxes, New York is arguably the most difficult state for buyers to wrap their heads around. That’s why it’s so important to work with a broker like Allen, who knows how sellers think and draws on his experience of over $200,000,000 in land sales to advise clients on tax nuances for each type of land.
“Not all properties qualify, but you want to be aware of the ones that do,” says Allen.
Most importantly, buyers should be aware of how to manage the tax consequences that will impact their purchase. While most buyers won't have this kind of knowledge at their fingertips, a broker or agent who understands the relevant timeline and all the applicable tax programs can provide a significant advantage when exploring the market.
And while taxes play a huge role in any real estate transaction, the right broker will never push clients to act on a property solely to take advantage of a tax break. Instead, their role should involve helping buyers consider the whole picture.
“When’s a good time to buy? The answer is always when the buyer is ready to buy,” says Allen. “That’s the best time to buy.”
For assistance navigating the process of purchasing any type of land in the state of New York, or to find a property, contact Allen at NYLand.forsale, a branch of Canaan Realty, today. To learn more about the New York land market, subscribe to his Ask Allen video series, which covers topics pertaining to buying and selling land in the state.
If you have additional questions about the land market, let Allen know what you'd like to hear him vlog about next by sending an email to [email protected].