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SL Land Guide

  • Land in SL Mainland vs Island land

In Second Life, Residents can own their own land and are free to make it what they wish, subject to certain constraints such as the land rating (Mature and PG). New Residents who become premium members are allowed to own up to 512m of land without additional land usage fees, also commonly known as "tier fees".

Mainland land is available for purchase either at auction directly through Linden Lab, or an "aftermarket system" from other Residents. Parcel prices are typically, based upon a market structure. Property on the mainland with ocean views and beach access is usually more expensive. Mainland has its own associated monthly tier fees based upon the amount of land that is owned.

Private Islands (also called Private Estates) are also available for purchase by those who wish to own large blocks of land, or those who wish to have a higher degree of control over their land. Many private island owners also rent out or resell some of their Estate land. While the cost for this land is generally cheaper, the associated monthly fees may be higher and can be changed at any time by the island owner. The island owner is responsible for payment to Linden Lab for the island fees, and as well, has ultimate control over all the estate land – even parcels which they have sold to others.

A number of residents have created wonderful residences which show an amazing amount of creativity. On Second Life you can create your own place, and the land is filled with castles, gardens, sky homes, and quiet retreats.

There is also the commercial aspect of the land, and most areas on the Mainland come with no covenants which means that residents are free to build whatever they choose, whether it be a personal home, or a business. Commercial opportunities abound in Second Life, and business opportunities are at an all time high. However, although rules permit free choice of location and businesses, depending upon area ratings and covenants, there is growing concern that some areas are becoming over commercialized, and while residents are always free to purchase a private island to escape this, many cannot afford the associated costs. Most private Island Estates which have rentals, or sell land parcels, have covenants which residents must abide by. These covenants often include limitations on what kind of buildings you may have, whether or not commercial businesses are allowed to be operated, and various other rules pertaining to the land. When buying or renting on a private Island Estate, make sure to always fully read the covenant (this can be accesses by clicking on About Land > Covenant tab). Because of the proliferation of businesses and ad farms (generally 16m plots of land that have advertisements on them), several regions have tried to discourage commercialization so that the residents may enjoy peaceful neighborhoods without unsightly commercial billboards and businesses that bring so much traffic to an area that resident’s cannot enter their own land, however, on mainland that has no covenant this is not easily enforceable. It is all about freedom, and hopefully businesses will appreciate the fact and try to act responsibly.

Land fees -Tier fees and the 512m bonus

Understand the tier system: If you are purchasing mainland, you need to understand how the tier system works. The tier payment structure is based upon the maximum amount of land owned within a billing period, and residents who sell some or all of their land must manually ‘tier down’ via the secondlife.com website in order to receive warnings if they are returning to a higher tier level. All premium members have a free 512m allotment of land that is added to whatever tier level you are at, ie: there is no tier fee for owning 512m of land, if you are at the 1024m tier level, you may actually hold 1536m of land. Many people miss out on that extra 512m of land tier allotment when they move to a higher tier level. If thinking about island land, be aware of the tier payments there by reading everything completely before you buy. Island tier payments are payed directly to the Island owner and can be set, and changed, to whatever the Island owner decides.

  • Special note about Island land. While you may purchase Island land from individual Estate owners, all buyers should be aware that the Estate owner has the ability to reclaim the land at any time, and this is not controlled by Linden Lab. Any contract you enter into with an Island owner is between you and them, and if something happens to them, you could lose everything. This is not to say that there are not reputable Island owners, however there is always this associated risk. Always shop around and ask other estate residents about their experiences.

Searching for land Tips to finding the right land

Sim performance: There is no use owning land you cannot use because the sim it is on is too laggy (which is generally caused by greedy commercial owners on a small plot of land that either run too many scripts, or offer camping, or gambling - a responsible commercial owner will ensure that they own enough land so that sim performance is not impacted negatively for everyone else on the sim, but alas this is not the case in many areas) One can always check sim performance by opening the Statistics Bar (View Menu>Statistics Bar, or Ctrl-Shift-1) The best statistic guide for sim performance is generally the Total Frame Time which measures how long it takes for the sim to run everything that is going on in each frame. A complete guide to the statistics bar can be found here: http://secondlife.com/app/help/guides/stats.php . With the proliferation of scripted gadgets and attachments, a generally good performing sim area can become lagged quite quickly as the number of people on the sim increases, so it is generally a good idea to observe the performance of a sim at different times of the day, see what kind of businesses are located there, and check out the traffic ratings of the respective parcels in the sim.

Land Location

The location of the land you buy is important, and there are certain considerations to take into account based upon whether you intend the land as residential or commercial. Mainland sims come with no covenants, which means that residents are free to build whatever they wish upon their land (subject to the region ratings – either PG or Mature) This is a mixed blessing, as it allows residents to freely build whatever they wish, but it comes with the possibility that the person next to you may put up huge walls, or advertisements. It is always a good idea to scout out the land before you buy it, keeping in mind that land in established sims with good performance is often more expensive than land in new sims. For new buyers, it is often better to buy the cheaper land in a newer sim, as if you don't like it, it will be easier to sell. If you want that 'perfect' place, then it is better to spend the money on waterfront, or scout out a parcel in an established sim, as sims that have expensive parcels are rarely filled with lag causing businesses. When buying or renting on a private Island estate, check the covenant to see what kind of building is allowed, whether commercial properties exist, and whether there are script restrictions.

There are many different types of terrains available on Second Life, from rock, to hill, to flat green, to waterfront, to ocean plots, and the terrain type should be considered depending upon what you want to build on the land. Mainland has a terraforming limit of +-4m from the ORIGINAL terraforming of the land (be aware that the land may have already been altered before you buy it and could be anywhere from maximum low to maximum high level). It has become a common practice for many to flatten their land as much as possible to make building easier, so it is quite possible that the land has already been altered. Private Island estate land can have various terraforming levels much greater than mainland, but the level you may terraform at is controlled by the Island Owner and any covenant restrictions they may have. On land that you own, you may build anywhere from ground level up to 768m above ground (Ocean plots you may also build under the water down to the ocean floor level). Many people also create ‘prim land’ on parcels that are hilly, or are ocean plots, in order to create a textured surface to build upon. The ground textures on Mainland are set and tied to the altitude of the land (they may change slightly when you terraform the land up or down). Private Island owners have the ability to create custom terrain textures for their islands, and can change them at any time.

Buying Land

Buying land is often a daunting process with so many different properties on the market, the best plan is to figure out what you want the land for, the type of land you want, and how many prims you will need (prims are individual objects, though many things are made up of multiple prims) - what kind of location you want ie: business or residential area, and whether you want a good investment. There are quite a few ways to find land for sale; you can use the land search which has filters that will show you only Mainland, Estate, or Auction land. You can also filter the land search by size and price. Land for sale in the Search listings can be directly teleported to by clicking the Teleport button on the search listing page when the property is selected. You can also find land for sale by using the inworld Map and checking the box which will show land for sale – however, not all land for sale is shown on the map, and sometimes the listings and prices you will see on the map are not ‘real time’ current.

To buy land (mainland or Island), all you must do is either click on the land and select buy, or click about land then press the buy button. Once this is done, you will see an interface which gives details about the land you are buying as well as what your tier fees will be if you purchase the land - pay close attention to the tier fees as this will be your monthly charge. If you are buying Island land, the tier is separate and will be included in the Island Covenant - once again, make sure you understand what you are paying for. Once you confirm the buy, your account will be immediately debited, and the land is yours! If you are buying land for a group, there are two ways to do this. You may either buy the land for yourself, then deed the land to the group, or if you are wearing the group tag for that group, and the group has sufficient tier donations to cover the land size, you can press the ‘buy for group’ button on the about land dialog box. The current owner of the land (either and individual or a group) will be shown in the About Land dialog box, and when considering a purchase, it never hurts to send a message to the current owner in hopes of negotiating on the price. Once you have purchased the land, your name (or group name if bought for group) will show up in the About Land dialog. At this point you will have access to all the land controls and can rename the parcel, set security access, set media content and restrictions, and set parameters for building, object entry, and script running on the parcel.

How to use the land interface to sell

When using the land interface to sell, there are a couple of important things to do. First, know what you are selling, and how much you want to sell for. Use the land search to see what the current market rates are, and take a look at any land for sale around your property in order to get an idea of the value (a special thing to note when looking at surrounding prices – just because your neighbor’s parcel is set for sale at a certain price does not mean yours is worth that much or that it will sell at a similar price. There is quite a bit of land set for sale that sits for a long time without selling because the price is just too high).

The land selling interface itself is pretty straight forward, you set the price you want to sell for (the L$/per meter value will be displayed once you enter a number). Check if you want to sell the land to anyone, or to a specific person. If it is to be for sale to a specific person, this will open the person chooser where you will search for and then select the person’s name - make Sure their name is in the for sale to box. Once that is done, you can select whether or not you want to transfer ownership of objects on the land or not - Note: only objects which are transferable will transfer if you choose to transfer objects with the sale. Other objects will be left on the property, but the new owner will not own them. Once that is done, you will complete the transaction by clicking sell - you will then see a confirmation box - double check the info and if everything is correct, click OK

Beware of bots - double check everything - review common mistakes

If you make a mistake in setting the price of the land, or intend to sell it to a specific person for cheap, but mistakenly set it for sale to anyone, there is a good chance that a landbot will purchase the land before you have time to correct your mistake. Landbots are automated avs which use a altered Second Life client to search the land database for good deals. The instant one comes up they auto TP to the land and buy it in less than a second. While there are a couple of bot owners who will gladly return land that was sold by mistake, some will not, and this can be a costly mistake. Currently Linden Lab has a history in not getting involved when such mistakes are made as they consider this a resident dispute, so make sure that you double check all the details of the sale before pressing sell, and then double check the confirmation before clicking ok - best advice, when selling land - take your time!

Safe and good selling tips descriptions, advertising etc

When setting your land for sale, it is important to put a good name and description on the parcel you are selling - a parcel with a name like Joe's place will not gather as much interest as something that says - Flat Green with Fantastic views - also put in a good description with any highlights you think the land has.

Best Advice

Buying land in Second Life can be a fun and rewarding experience if you take your time and do a little research before buying. By following a few simple guidelines, you can have your own land and begin creating your vision. Common resident land questions and answers:

  • Do I have to be a premium member to own land?

In order to own mainland, you must be a premium member. Basic members may rent mainland, or rent or buy private island estate land.

  • Where do I find land for sale?

Land for sale may be found using the in-world search, or by using the large in-world map and setting it to show land for sale (it will show up as yellow on the map if it is for sale)

  • How do I donate land to my group?

There is an excellent section on group land in the knowledge base which can be accessed by logging on to the support portal and searching for ‘group land’ (it is highly recommended that these articles be read to properly understand how group land works)

  • What is the difference between Mainland and Island land?

Mainland consists of land on one of the large continent masses, has no covenants, may be resold by the owner, and has associated tier fees which are payable directly to Linden Lab. Island land is privately owned, may have covenant restrictions, may or may not be able to be resold dependent upon the Island owner, is ultimately controlled by the Island owner, and has associated tier fees which are paid to the Island owner.

What do I do if I have a problem on or with my land ?

If it is Mainland and you are the owner you may logon to the support portal, and search the knowledgebase for answers to common issues, if you cannot find the answer, you may submit a support ticket, or if it is a serious immediate issue you can use the Live Chat option. If the land is on a private Island, you should contact the Estate owner or manager. If you are a concierge level user (you pay $125 or more a month in tier), you may logon to the support portal, click the special concierge link, where you have access to submit a support ticket, live chat support, or phone support depending upon your location.


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