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Buying A Home With Acreage

Austin Callison

My experience goes as far back as my upbringing in a small ranching community in Northern California...

My experience goes as far back as my upbringing in a small ranching community in Northern California...

Oct 24 5 minutes read

Does the land suit your intended purpose?

  • What are the zoning ordinances?
  • Are animals allowed? (Some areas prohibit certain animals while allowing others. Don't assume you'll be able to keep chickens just because the current owner has horses.)

Is the water suituable for your needs?

  • Do you need access to irrigation?
  • Does the property have a well? What is the flow rate of the well? Has it ever been tested? How long ago? Has the well ever run dry? How deep are the wells typically in that area and how deep is the well for the property you're considering?
  • What kind of water treatment system is installed, if any, and what does it take to maintain it?

What is the septic tank situation?

  • Is the home on a public septic system or an individual or shared septic tank?
  • When was the last time the septic tank was pumped?
  • Have they ever had issues with the septic tank?

Is the property heavily timbered?

  • Do you intend to harvest the timber?
  • If so, will the lay of the land make harvesting easy or difficult?
  • Where will you market your timber and how will you get it there?

Has the soil ever been tested?

  • Will the soil support the type of crop you're considering growing? If you intend to grow crops, you'll want to find out about soil testing and crop production on this land and surrounding properties.
  • Is the land flat enough for crop production?
  • How far to the nearest processor or market?

Are there any environmental protections in place?

  • Has any part of the land been designated as wetlands, endangered species, historical or cultural site, or otherwise protected area?
  • Have the current owners received any notifications from the government regarding possible assessments, actions or changes in the near future that would affect the property?
  • If the seller, or their agent, can't answer these questions there are local public resources within the state and county you can inquire with.

Is the property in a floodplain?

  • Special flood insurance for homes in floodplains can make the cost of ownership higher over the long term. You'll want to know ahead of time, so you can determine if this is something you can tolerate.

Are there any unwanted noises, smells, or hazards in the area?

  • Just because you can't smell it today, doesn't mean you won't be able to smell it sometimes.
  • Have any of your potential neighbors recently been granted a zoning variation to build something that you might find objectionable?

Easements or Rights of Way?

  • Does the property share any common facilities with any neighboring properties? Examples include a shared water source, driveway, septic system, common green spaces, etc.
  • Whose responsibility is the maintenance?

What about mineral rights and water rights?

  • If there is water on the property, or flowing through the property, be sure you have a good understanding of the ways you can and cannot use that water.
  • If mineral rights are a concern in your area, you'll need to know if you'll own the mineral rights to your land, or if someone else already does.

Do all current improvements transfer with the sale?

  • In other words, will the current owners be taking any outbuildings, corrals, or any other personal property with them when they move?

Can you get the services you need?

  • Can you get services like cable, satellite, Internet, and phone service to suit your needs?
  • Will you be able to get natural gas, should you need it?

Do not be afraid to be direct in asking if there are any other problems with the home. When in doubt, request a home inspection. Also, your agent can help alleviate some of the stress of asking so many questions by acting as a liaison between you and the seller. Asking these questions in advance will better prepare you for making an informed decision on your next purchase.

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