The Marcus Haney Ag. Realtor Program


 10-Step Checklist for Buying Rural Property

In this hot market, the key to making smart property purchase decisions is to buy based on facts and information, not emotion. Here are 10 smart considerations for Rural Land Buyers.

1. Research the market.

Because prices are rising, some sellers purposely overprice their property hoping to catch the upward trend. Remember that the listing prices are simply what people are asking for the properties. These prices don't always reflect what properties are selling for. 

The Marcus Haney Ag. Realtor Program knows the marketplace, tap into this expertise!

2. Investigate the existing and available infrastructure.

Rural properties don't have city water and sewer service and may have limited or no access to electric, phone, cable television and high-speed Internet services. Ask about road maintenance, trash pickup and school bus routes.

3. Look for improvements.

Don't underestimate the value of existing barns, houses and other improvements already on the property, which can be very expensive to build new. Most counties require permits for installing septic systems and wells. Before buying a tract without water and sewer in place, get estimates from local contractors and talk to neighbors to find out typical well depth and septic systems required for the local soil conditions.

4. Know codes and restrictions.

If you purchase rural property with the intent to subdivide, check county subdivision laws and possible extended territorial jurisdictions of surrounding municipalities that may govern the area. Check for any restrictions on the property you are considering. Take the time to consider how the restrictions could affect you and how they could be viewed by future buyers.

5. Take advantage of property tax advantages.

Every state offers some type of agricultural property tax relief. All are geared at lowering the taxable value of agricultural production land, and reducing the property taxes on that land. Check with your local tax assessor to determine if your potential purchase may qualify for a tax credit, special appraisal or direct exemption. If it has existing Ag-use tax exemptions, learn the steps for maintaining those exemptions.

6. Shop insurance rates.

Many insurance carriers will not write homeowner's coverage outside the city limits. The Marcus Haney Ag Realtor Program can recommend insurers who offer rural property insurance.


7. Know your surroundings.

Pay attention to the land use and restrictions, or the lack thereof, on neighboring tracts. Is there an intensive livestock operation next door? Does the property front a noisy highway, or proposed highway? Is commercial development allowed on neighboring tracts? Check out “in common fence lines” and Irrigation district water delivery systems. If you buy a piece of property and discover later that there is a nuisance next door, it can give you real problems when you try to sell it later.

8. Investigate environmental factors.

Two primary potential environmental concerns are the presence of endangered species, and environmental contamination from actions of previous landowners. Areas designated for endangered species can be very restrictive in the use of your property, potentially impacting your ability to clear land, add buildings and fully enjoy your property. 

In addition, federal law holds landowners accountable for cleaning up environmental contamination, even when it occurred before they owned the property. Buyers can get some protection from liability for environmental clean-up costs by taking steps to determine any environmental hazards before the purchase.

9. Set a realistic budget.

In addition to the initial purchase price, plan on ongoing costs for maintenance and improvements like horse and livestock fencing and facilities, ponds, outbuildings, new appliances, landscaping, furnishings and general repairs. Be prepared for the cash needs for the property after your purchase. Owning rural property is usually not a spectator sport.

It's best to plan ahead if improvements are needed. If the property you buy is not as improved as you'd like it, consider what it's going to cost you to make the improvements you envision. Also, consider real estate taxes, and upkeep of roads. All of those things can be costly.

10. Use the experts.

When it comes to buying and financing rural property, go with expertise. The Marcus Haney Ag. Realtor Program knows the market, comparable sales and history of area properties. We can refer clients to top real estate attorneys or connect them with professional Ag managers for land management assistance. Because of our extensive Ag and rural living background we have many business relationships our clients find extremely beneficial. Our goal is to function first for our clients as a free professional Ag/Rural land business consultant resource and a facilitator of country real estate transactions second. We offer professional advice and input that allows clients to make decisions that will help them avoid potentially costly and painful mistakes in their land investments.

Local lenders understand the nuances of rural lending and structure loan programs specifically for rural property owners. Qualified lenders can review all the considerations with clients and help them protect themselves.                                                                 

Experience the pleasure of working with the Professional Ag./Rural real estate resource!

Marcus Haney.

CA DRE # 01917446      Prudential Commercial Real Estate      209-605-6727