Ask Allen #10

COVID-19 and Land Sales: A Full-Service, No-Contact Approach for

Ask Allen #9

Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying or Selling a Plot of Land

For those looking to buy or sell a plot of land in the state of New York, many different factors can impact the success of a transaction. Property values can fluctuate based on the plot’s proximity to fuel supplies, municipal sewer or septic lines, and much more, making it important to work with a professional who knows the ins and outs of this real estate niche.

That’s exactly who buyers and sellers find when they choose to work with Allen Olmsted of by Canaan Realty, a leading land broker based out of Syracuse, NY. Having helped countless people buy and sell land, he primes each of his clients so they know exactly what questions to ask when as they enter a transaction.

“When you know exactly what questions to ask, you can get all the information you need about a property and foster an open, honest line of communication with your buyer or seller,” Allen says. “This way, you’ll be much more likely to strike a great deal on your land, whether you’re buying or selling.”

Questions All Buyers Should Ask

When scouring the market for the perfect piece of land, buyers should err on the side of caution to make the smartest investment possible. But with so many factors to consider, property hunters must be sure to do their research well before visiting their first plot.

“Buyers should always do their research, whether it’s online or by speaking to a broker, so they can determine exactly what their property goals are,” Allen says. “They should ask themselves how many utilities they want, what sort of fuel they prefer, and other important determining factors.”

Oftentimes, buyers prefer their land to have access to natural gas. But they also should ask themselves whether this feature will make or break their purchase. In many cases, alternatives like propane and fuel oil are often available in its place, warranting some deeper consideration from buyers.

Aside from these power sources, buyers should also determine their potential land’s access to municipal sewer or septic lines. While extensions can be put in place to reach these regulated systems, some buyers may want to consider putting in their own septic system. In these cases, the importance of testing cannot be understated, especially when even more money is on the line.

Important Considerations for Sellers

Although their goal is different from that of buyers, sellers should still consider the same things. For example, sellers should be able to answer any questions about their property’s utilities, including electricity, cable, high-speed internet, and other capabilities. Most importantly, they should be able to relay the extent to which their property is usable and buildable to prospective buyers.

“Sellers also need to talk to their brokers to find out exactly what they should learn about their property,” Allen says. “I often suggest that my clients learn whether their lot has been approved by the local town, how much it might cost to get connected, and anything else that will help them become the expert on their land.”

No matter what, sellers should always take the appropriate steps to keep their eyes wide open about the reality of their properties. With a limited pool of land buyers, they need to be able to wow whichever prospects come their way with honesty, good communication, and the right price.

“Sellers should always have their property tested for whatever their buyers will want to know,” Allen says. “That way, if any issues come up, they can address it directly with the buyer from the get-go. In my experience, sellers who follow this advice have more success.”

For those interested in receiving more insights about land buying or selling, Ask Allen is a video blog series that answers pertinent questions from buyers and sellers alike. To ask questions directly or learn about Allen’s featured Upstate New York properties, contact him at [email protected] or contact by Canaan Realty today.

Ask Allen #8

Navigating the Evolving Market of Rural Land in New York State


There was once a time when rural land was primarily purchased by dairy farmers or beef operations seeking a sustainable location to conduct their businesses. While these operations continue to be strong options across the state, New York land owners have been forced to consider how a once traditional pool of buyers has significantly changed over the past decades.

Yet for rural land owners looking to sell their property, there is good news. According to Allen Olmsted of New York Land for Sale by Canaan Realty, a leading brokerage for land sales, the uses of rural land are evolving, affording sellers opportunities to attract new kinds of buyers.

“We’ve seen several alternate uses for rural land, from alpaca farms and different types of livestock to windmill operations,” says Allen. “Sellers have to think outside the box, which is where we come in. There is good reason to use a land specialist who can identify alternate land uses that would be economically viable, as well as generate market value for the real estate.”

Identifying Alternate Uses

Across the state of New York, Allen has noticed that agricultural types of rural properties aren’t as appealing to traditional dairy and cattle farmers – especially for those who operate small businesses. Whether the industrialization of these industries or emergence of alternative products to meat and dairy are to blame, rural land sellers have been forced to change their game.

Ask Allen #7

New York Land for Sale Brings Recreational Properties to Lovers of the Outdoors

From the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes region, and all the way down to the Southern Tier, an abundance of recreational opportunities can be found across New York State. This attracts avid outdoors lovers seeking the perfect piece of recreational land to call their own. And while selling to this type of buyer may sound like an easy task, property owners are learning that more goes into a sale than relying on the natural wonders of the great outdoors.

“Recreational property buyers consider several factors that sellers need to be aware of,” says Allen Olmsted of New York Land for Sale by Canaan Realty, a premier brokerage for land sales. “And these things influence the outcome of the sale.”

The Many Uses of Recreational Land

Hunting and fishing are often top of mind when it comes to the activities possible on a recreational piece of land. But according to Allen, there are many other reasons why buyers seek out this type of property, such as hiking, camping, snowmobiling, skiing, and boating.  “A lot of times, we see families or groups of friends seeking out recreational land for a getaway in the woods,” says Allen. “Whether they want to hunt or use their RVs, buyers need to know the characteristics of the land to determine if that property will serve their desires.”

Sellers must take an accurate inventory of several characteristics when putting land on the market. For instance, the property’s location and physical composition are key, as the presence of water sources, hillsides, fields, and more dictate potential use of the property. Acreage, the types of wildlife, and other unique qualities can also influence the type of buyer interested in a plot of land.  “The nicest type of recreational property to consider has a cabin or established structure in place,” says Allen. “It should also have clear trails, well-defined boundaries, and maybe even roadways. Easy accessibility enhances the property’s marketability and makes it easier for buyers to view.”

Special Considerations for Hunting and Fishing

 While a property’s physical composition makes clear which kinds of recreational activities can be enjoyed, hunters and anglers have more to consider. For one, buyers need to know which types of hunting and fishing are permitted on the land, as well as which firearms and other hunting gear can be used.

“There are areas where you can only hunt with bows, and there are areas that can be hunted with everything – crossbows, rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders,” says Allen. “Different areas dictate what can be hunted or fished, from whitetail deer, rabbits, and bears to salmon and trout. Daily limits are also a consideration.”

Hunters and anglers will also be curious about the concentration of their desired wildlife population, such as game birds and waterfowl, in any given area. And for the property to be especially appealing to hunters, it must have a reliable source of food and water to support the herds they’re after. “If the buyer wants to hunt whitetail deer, does the property have enough bushes, nuts, and other food sources that the deer can readily find and survive on?” says Allen. “Are there grass fields and a viable habitat for the species? These are questions buyers need answered upfront.”

Allen also mentions that buyers reach out to him regarding glamping, as well as the specific factors associated with that particular type of land purchase. Glamping refers to resort-style services offered to people interested in an experience more “glamorous” than traditional rural camping.

Rely on Allen

Whether an individual is interested in buying or selling a recreational property, it’s vital to work with an expert like Allen. With over 108,000 acres and $200,000,000 in total sales, he knows what it takes to match the perfect buyer to the right piece of land.

“It’s important they find a professional that understands the unique characteristics of each property,”  says Allen,” and how it compares to other similar properties.”

For more information, watch the Ask Allen video series for additional insights or contact New York Land for Sale by Canaan Realty today. 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 #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].