Everyone dreams of a chance to own a rural spread. Even diehard urbanites sometimes wish for the quiet splendor of country living. But buying rural property comes with its own set of challenges.
You could be looking to get away from the city’s bustle or make a vacation home while securing future investment. One sure thing is that you’ll get more land for your buck with rural property. And there’s nothing to equate the peace, beauty, better air quality, or less traffic and crime that comes with a country setting.
So, what should you keep in mind when buying rural property?
What You Should Know Before Buying Rural Land
When you are planning to buy rural land, it’s common knowledge that you should perform all inspections, especially if there are buildings or other structures on the land. The land’s allowed use by the local government or county council should also be consistent with your purpose of buying country property.
But there are other factors first-time buyers should consider before investing in rural land or property. These include:
Your rural property, particularly if used for agricultural purposes, should have a tax appraisal done. An agricultural valuation sets the value of the land according to its productivity and not its market value.
A 2% tax rate applies for any rural property that’s valued above $500,000, meaning you’ll be paying around $10,000 in taxes annually. With an open space valuation, you’ll be able to defer the property’s taxes to agricultural productivity, only paying on the land’s agriculture production for that year.
For instance, if your rural farm produces $20,000in timber, hay, or cattle, you’ll pay your 2% taxes on this figure and not the half-million-dollar market value. Your taxes for that year will be $20,000 x2% = $400.
By managing wildlife on your rural property, you can further maintain the tax incentives or exemptions. Check if there are tax delinquents on your land, and the local appraiser or tax office should offer a conclusive report.
What if, after buying a rural property, you find that you can’t even access it? Floods, snowfalls, or a neighbor moving an easement or stock route can leave you with no ingress to your land.
If you access your property from an interstate or state highway, there’s not much to worry about. The conditions of that road, however, are your responsibility. You’re accountable for fixing potholes or snow plowing even if you share access with adjacent properties.
The local government has few requirements for maintaining a country road. Muddy, slick, snowed, or rained-out roads will hamper your access, and you must consider chain tires, four-wheel drives, or snow plows.
Talk to the county transport office or neighbors, and ascertain where the flood plains are. Check on the conditions of the roads to your rural property when the weather gets rough. If you use private property to gain access to your land, ensure the easement has a deed agreement, and if not, seek one.
Inspections and surveys will discover issues or defects with your rural property. Soil and biological surveys act to save you future costs should the land’s past use become an impediment to your intended operations.
You may be planning to do some farming only to discover there’s chemical residue from past use as a storage or dumping site. Local Land Services or LLS search should reveal risks to animal diseases or other hazards on a property.
A survey also shows the true dimensions of your rural property, information that’s usually available from the county assessor. You’ll get to know the land’s boundaries, the acreage you’ll be paying taxes for, and the presence or absence of water bodies, pipelines, or abandoned wells on the property.
You’ll also find aspects of the allowed use of the land for the property, usually to do with environmental protection.
Entitlements, Native Titles, and Mineral Rights
Sometimes, there is no access to utility water or power services in rural property. Water or power generating resources on your land should be registered and approved by the local government. Besides compliance, a rural property with water bores, irrigation access from rivers must have these licenses of approval.
Native title claims on a rural property are similar to easements and water entitlement as they can hamper your use of rural land. The right to minerals on your rural property can belong to someone else, and you should ensure there is a surface mining waiver. Otherwise, you’ll have little say in where the rights owner decides to drill, open cast mine, or build a road or pad.
Once you’ve bought rural land, you can avoid unpleasant surprises and make the experience as idyllic as the country property itself. Find experts to work with, preferably local, who have networks that assist in rural conveyances that will ultimately protect your investment.
Many types of easements will impact your rural property’s value and what you can do on it. Visit with the neighbors, and find out what issues the area experiences so you’ll be prepared should the worst occur.