What to Know About Tear Downs in Arlington: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers

September 28, 2023 | Real Estate | By: The Goodhart Group

As a new age of buyers hits the market looking for the latest and greatest, the concept of tear downs has gained significant traction. In this blog post, we will explore both the selling and buying of tear downs in today’s market in Arlington. In Arlington, Virginia, tear downs have become increasingly relevant due to several factors: 

  1. Increasing Demand for New Construction: The demand for new construction homes in Arlington is on the rise. Tear downs offer buyers a chance to create personalized, modern living spaces that meet their specific needs and preferences. Young buyers don’t want to live in an old and outdated home, they want all of the most modern conveniences and contemporary designs. Plus in Arlington, you are allowed to build bigger homes compared to the lot size versus other cities such as Alexandria where you can only have a certain size home per lot size.  
  2. Limited Land Availability: Arlington’s land availability is limited, making tear downs an attractive option for buyers who are unable to find suitable existing homes. Tear downs provide an opportunity to build a custom-designed home in a desirable location.
  3. Investment Potential: Tear downs can be a lucrative investment opportunity. By purchasing a well-located tear down property, buyers can build a new home that appreciates in value over time, providing a potentially higher return on investment.

Want to know more about life in Arlington? Check out these other posts from our blog!

Selling Tear Downs

Homeowners in Arlington looking to sell an outdated property on a larger plot of land, may want to consider selling their property “as-is” as a tear down property. Instead of putting money into your home to get it ready for the market, it may make more sense to market your property to flippers or developers. Why? This can save you time and money!

If you sell your home “as-is” you don’t need to spend time or money preparing your home for the market. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Yes, however, keep in mind that some homes might net more money by putting time and money into renovations. It’s important to work with an experienced realtor who can guide you in the process. Not every home is a good option for a tear down. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Land Value

The value of a tear down property lies primarily in the land rather than the existing structure. Buyers are often interested in purchasing these properties to build new homes that meet their specific needs. Therefore, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the land’s value and potential, which can be determined by consulting with a real estate professional.

Zoning and Regulations

Before listing a tear down property, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Arlington’s zoning laws and regulations. Understanding the maximum allowable square footage, setbacks, and other restrictions will help potential buyers assess the property’s development potential.

Market Demand

Arlington is a highly sought-after location with a strong demand for new homes. The proximity to Washington DC and vibrant communities make tear downs an attractive option for buyers looking to build their dream home. An experienced realtor will help leverage this demand to attract potential buyers and negotiate favorable terms.

Buying Tear Downs

If you’re considering purchasing a tear down property in Arlington, here are some essential factors to consider:


Location is paramount when buying a tear down property. Research the neighborhood, nearby amenities, and the overall desirability of the area. Proximity to schools, transportation, and shopping centers can significantly impact the future resale value of your new construction.

Building Costs

When purchasing a tear down, it’s essential to consider the cost of demolishing the existing structure and building a new home. Engaging with Realtors, architects, contractors, and builders can provide valuable insights into the potential costs involved. Conduct a thorough cost analysis to ensure your investment aligns with your budget. Want an introduction to a great architect, contractor, or builder? We can help!

Permits and Approvals

Before proceeding with any new construction, buyers must familiarize themselves with Arlington’s building codes, regulations, and permit requirements. Engage with the local authorities and professionals who can guide you through the process to ensure a smooth transition from tear down to new construction. And be realistic about your timeframe! Most often, new construction homes are completed behind schedule!

Thinking about buying a home in Arlington? Check out these blog posts for helpful guidance.

The Bottom Line

In Arlington’s competitive real estate market, tear downs have become a relevant and sought-after option for both buyers and sellers. Understanding the selling process, market dynamics, and factors to consider when purchasing a tear down property is crucial to make informed decisions. By leveraging the demand for new construction and the limited availability of land, tear downs offer buyers the opportunity to create their dream home in one of Arlington’s most desirable neighborhoods.

If you’re looking to buy or sell in Arlington, we’d love to help. Let’s chat about your options today!