Buying Land In Second Life: Part 3–Eden Or Lemon?

Ok!  We decided whether to rent or buy in Part 1 and then where to find land for sale in Part 2.  Now it’s time to get down to it and go shopping!  Land shopping that is.  But wait.. there’s land for sale all over Second Life – how to tell if it’s Paradise or a lemon?

Lucky you have me along!  I’ve been in Second Life for almost six years now and bought my first parcel in my first month here.  Since then I’ve learned a few things and now you will too.  So grab your hiking shoes and let’s go land shopping!


Hold on though.. take your hand off the doorknob for a second.  Let’s talk about your intentions.  No, I’m not trying to marry off my daughter, I’m talking about your intentions for the land.  What are you planning on doing?  Why do you want land?  It’s a good idea to have a plan in mind before looking around since that will influence your decision. 

For example, if your desire is to sail your boat and watch the sunset over the water from your deck every evening, a landlocked parcel is probably not the best route to take.  A few things to think about.  Do you want a roadside parcel?  A parcel by the water?  A snowy parcel?  A parcel on a mountain?  Are you planning on putting up a house?  If so, do you want to live on the ground or in a skybox?  Or both?  What’s your price range?  What size parcel do you want?  What kind of maturity rating do you need?

So many questions!  Don’t worry, we’ll address them.  For now though, let’s do a bit of window shopping.  I’ve chosen to just skim around the world map for this first visit and found this parcel and taken the liberty to teleport over:

Odd shaped 1

Parcel Shape

You can see the location of the property on the map as well as the actual property laid out below me.  But wait.. there’s a lot of land there.. what’s part of the property and what’s not?  Hmm… if only there were a good way to tell.  Fortunately for us, there is.  Let’s turn on property lines so we can tell exactly what’s going on.  To do this, hit Ctrl-Alt-Shift-P in the viewer.  Suddenly things are a bit clearer:

Odd shaped 2

Now we see exactly what we’d be getting.  The “L” shaped parcel is what’s for sale.  Wait though.. do we really want a odd “L”shaped parcel?  Looking at the properties, the land is 6080sqm, but only 8m across on both legs of the “L”.  Kind of narrow.  If you’re looking to make this your home, most houses you can buy in Second life aren’t going to fit.

Odd shaped 3

Here I’ve right-clicked on the land and chosen “edit terrain” from the menu.  Even though I don’t own the land and can’t actually edit the terrain, I can still highlight it to get an idea of the dimensions.  The higlighted area is two “squares” across.  The smallest area of land you can highlight in Second life is a 4m x 4m, or 16sqm chunk.  The parcel is two squares across, so 8 meters wide. 

As a reference, a premium account in Second Life allows you 512sqm of land for free.  A typical useable 512sqm parcel in Second life is a rectangle measuring 16m x 32m.  The majority of creators in Second Life assume this as the smallest useable parcel length, so most are going to be geared to fit in at minimum a space 16m across.  This parcel is only 8m across, so a house may be problematical.  You have to take into account the shape of the parcel and what you’re going to use it for.  Turning on property lines makes this much easier to avoid possibly purchasing an odd shaped parcel that you can’t use.


If you’re buying a house in real life, are you drawn to the house by the railroad tracks?  The one next to the rowdy biker bar?  Maybe the one downwind of the sewer treatment plant?  Just like real life, Second Life has it’s own desirable and less than desirable spots.  Let’s do a search this time for land and see what we find.  I’ve just done a simple search for mainland sales, general or moderate rating, no price or size specified, then sorted from smallest to largest land sizes.

Bad Neighborhood

Yes!  This looks promising!  Land for sale in the Ratmaw region!  Who wouldn’t want to live in an area bringing to mind the oral cavities of rodents!  Just kidding.. it’s L$425 for a 512sqm parcel.  Seems reasonable, let’s take a look.  *Insert teleport sound here*

Neighborhood 2

All righty then.. the reason for the cheap price is a bit more clear.  The neighbors are a bit… exhuberant… in their choice of landscaping.  You can see me standing on the parcel and the huge wall next to it.  Again you have a choice to make.  If you’re just planning on living in a skybox and ignoring the ground, this is probably a good deal.  A nice rectangular 512sqm parcel for a steal at L$425.  However, if you want to live on the ground, maybe not so much.  You’re slotted in at the base of the neighbor’s 90m high wall.  Not to mention the other two huge builds nearby.  If any more of those go in, you could end up living in a canyon.

For our next visit I’ve purposely sought out another less than desirable parcel:


Welcome to Zindra, the adult continent.  If you want to put up a parcel featuring adult content in Second Life, you need an adult rated parcel.  Zindra is the only place in Second Life that has adult rated mainland for sale. 

That all is a bit of a digression for the point in question here though.  The parcel for sale here is the one at the base of the corner of the two huge walls.  The blue peeking over the walls at the back is the huge adult club next door to the parcel.  Currently as I write this at 8:00AM SLT on a Thursday morning, there’s 23 people including myself in the region, most of them next door at the club.

Is this a good parcel to buy?  Well.. if you’re into a lot of ground clutter, lag, and possibly being locked out of your land, then go for it!  I know from experience – trying to drive my motorcycle though the region this club used to be in… not visiting it Winking smile – that it does a large business.  It’s not unusual for the club to attract enough avatars that it fills up the sim, making it impossible for anyone else to get into the region until someone leaves.  If your home is in the same region, you may be locked out at times, waiting for someone to leave.  Kind of a bummer for land you’ve bought and are paying tier on not to be accessible to you all the time.  In addition, avatars cause lag.  That’s just a fact of Second Life.  The more avatars in a region, the more lag.  Do you want a laggy home?

Attractive nuisances can definitely detract from a parcel’s utility and value.  Being in the same region as a popular club can cause lag.  So can other things like infohubs.  You might want to wander around the region a bit before pulling the trigger on a parcel.  Get a feel for movement through it.  Does it lag?  Get an idea of what’s around.  Check the “People” window.  Are there a significant number of avatars in the region?  If so, what are they doing?  A bit of snooping around at the outset can save a lot of frustration later.

Maturity Rating

All land in Second Life is assigned a maturity rating, even private islands.  This regulates what you can and can’t do and should factor into your land buying decision.  Land maturity ratings break down to three ratings – General, Moderate, and Adult.  Maturity ratings can be set by the owner of a private island or anyone he gives that power to. 

Maturity ratings for mainland are set by Linden Lab and cannot be changed by landowners.  Ratings apply to an entire region.  That is, all parcels in the region carry the region rating.  Individual parcels in a region cannot be set for different maturity ratings.  The existing maturity ratings were created about the time that the Teen Grid was merged into the main Second Life grid.  Since that time, teens 16-17 years old are allowed on the main Second Life grid, but are restricted to regions with a General rating. 

If you’re wanting to set up a playground for child avis or a simple dock for your boat, a General rating is probably fine, possibly even preferred.  However, if you want to get into more… ahem… adult activities, you’re going to want to go for the Moderate rating at least.  Even nudity is not technically allowed in a General region.

Moderate regions are a bit more lenient.  Public nudity can be acceptable, and more intimate activity is allowed behind closed doors.   Most people can set up a home in a Mature region with no issues whatsoever.  As a rule of thumb, think of it as an “R” rated area, while an Adult rating would be equivalent to an “X” rating.  For more details on Linden Lab’s maturity ratings and policies, see  Maturity Ratings and the Adult Content FAQ

Happy Hunting!

We’ve hit the high points of what makes land a good or bad buy.  In addition to what we’ve covered here, each person has to take into consideration their own desires and needs.  Location, price and size need to be taken into account. 

A quick word here, certain features will make land more desirable, unique, or rare in Second Life and this will naturally drive the price higher.  Land that has access to the Blake Sea, land on the side of a road, land next to a Second Life Landmark like the Great Wall, all will tend to run a bit higher in price.  If you’re looking for a simple flat parcel to call home though, I’d look in the range of L$1 or less per square meter as of now (Feb 2016).  There’s plenty of land out there in that price range.

Now a shameless plug… if you’d like to see some really nice land with water access to the Blake Sea and surrounding areas and possibly rent a parcel there from a really nice blogger, feel free to stop by the Phenywheny region.  My partner and myself own a large percentage of it and rent out parcels, mainly just for the fun of doing it.   I’m often around there somewhere myself, so give me a yell if I am!

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