Ask Allen #6

How Taxes Influence the Real Estate Market

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 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 propertycontact Allen at, 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].


Ask Allen #4

For New York Land for Sale by Canaan Realty 


Why Buying Land is a Solid Investment Right Now

If you’re thinking about purchasing land in New York, now might just be the best time to do so. Allen Olmsted, a Syracuse-based Realtor with 30+ years experience in buying and selling land, says that market trends are looking especially good at the moment. As thousands of his clients have found success over the years, Allen and his team at Canaan Realty have seen firsthand just how smart an investment in land can be.

Buying Land Is an Excellent Investment Opportunity

According to Olmsted – who has sold over 100,000 acres of land across the state – most buyers love the simplicity of land investment. It’s stable, long-term and hands-off. Especially when compared to the stock market, owning land is far less stressful. It doesn’t wear out or depreciate with time. And most importantly, even though it’s a finite resource, there’s a lot of land available in New York right now.

Currently, Canaan Realty has more than 100 listings on their website, spanning from just outside New York City all the way to Buffalo. “In my opinion,” Olmsted says, “land is always a great investment. If purchased correctly at a fair market price, land will retain or even increase its value even if it’s never developed.”

In order to get the most value for your investment, however, it’s important to choose land with discernment. It’s all about understanding what the land has to offer and how other factors might influence its value. With that said, even if you don’t have any prior investment knowledge, you can still find success with buying land as long as you have the right guidance.

The Buying and Selling Process Is Easier than You Think

By nature, the land real estate market is fairly complicated. Not to mention, less familiar than buying and selling houses. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Olmsted says all you have to do is make a few decisions about what you want, and the Realtor can take care of the rest.

One of the first things to decide is which type of land you want to purchase. There are four main types:

  • Commercial
  • Residential
  • Agricultural
  • Recreational

Next, you have to think about what you want to do with the land. Do you want to build today, or perhaps in the future? Will you use it for camping or hunting?  Then it’s time to identify your top three priorities. Some examples of common features include location, size, views, school district, slope and waterfront access. At this point, you’re ready to weigh your top priorities against your budget.

Olmsted, who’s deeply passionate about land and has regularly navigated complex land sales, says that there may be additional factors to consider. For agricultural properties, you’ll want to know how much open ground is available and how much is tillable, as well as the soil composition.  Additionally he says that hops, hemp and marijuana are some other emerging markets for land and present particular considerations as well.

For commercial properties, he suggests looking to see if there are any incentives, like tax breaks, to take advantage of. In addition, Olmsted says he likes to help buyers assess traffic conditions as well as navigate through different approval processes that may be required in regards to state permits or municipality approval.

If you’re looking at a residential property, it’s important to find out what utilities are already in place. For those that are missing, figuring out how to get them there is key. And finally, for waterfront properties, Olmsted encourages his customers to think about how floodplains and zoning might affect the land.

“Something new that’s been coming up more and more recently is solar,” he adds. “I’ve helped a lot of land owners navigate that process, too, issues like obtaining interconnectivity agreements from the local utility to conducting environmental studies of the land.”

Lenders Are Expanding Their Land Financing Options

In the past, buyers struggled to get financing for land. In many cases, banks simply weren’t familiar with land sales and were hesitant to lend. “Back when I first started,” Olmsted recalls, “there were very few lenders who would finance land. But that’s really changed in the last 10 to 15 years.”

Right now, it’s a lot easier to find lenders who are willing to finance larger properties at the right value, all in one piece. For example, buyers can finance a house on a 50-acre plot in a single package rather than splitting them up.

So far, Canaan Realty has had the best luck with privately held institutions, like credit unions and savings banks. They often recommend Syracuse Securities, Community Bank Farm Credit East, among others, to their buyers looking for financing help.

Learn More about Land Today

As Olmsted and his team at Canaan Realty demonstrate, the buying and selling process can go much faster and smoother if you have someone with the right industry knowledge, an intimate familiarity with the area and an understanding of the language to explain everything and walk you through the process.

If you’re interested in buying land in New York, browse the current listings available at And if you have any questions about investing, financing, marketing or selling, you’re welcome to contact Olmsted by calling 888-457-6261. As one of the leading land experts in the state, he’s happy to lend a hand wherever he can.

Ask Allen #3

Allen talks about the complicated process of buying and selling commercial properties and land.

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Allen explains why fall in Upstate New York is the perfect time to buy or sell land.

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Allen discusses his philosophy on being involved in helping clients buy and sell land real estate.