Buying Land - Farm & Ranch, It's More Than What Meets The Eye

Posted by Jeremy Montoya on Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 at 3:00pm.

As Realtors, we face questions from our clients who have a variety of needs and wants in the property they desire. We encounter various situations and hurdles that make purchasing Property A over Property B or C a better choice all while reassuring out already anxious, stressed clients that everything will work out. That’s what we do and why we want to work for you!

In purchasing a residence, you can encounter many unforeseen issues such as HVAC faults, lending, appraisals, and HOA restrictions just to name a few. However, when purchasing Farm and Ranch Land, the topics of discussion and potential issues vary greatly. 

During recent transactions, I have had clients looking to purchase their own little piece of this great State of Texas here in the Brazos Valley.  Whether looking here or elsewhere, there are several terms and definitions you should familiarize yourself with in order to make an educated purchase toward your future farm and ranch property. 

 Here are some topics you should be familiarize yourself with:

  • Surface Type/Topography: What type of land are you buying?
    • Wooded vs. Pasture Land  
    • Mixed vs. Marsh Land
    • Flat vs Hilly
    • Creeks/ponds/tanks vs Run-off routes
    • Land Use:Does the property you are seeking meet its purpose?
      • Recreational: Hunting, Fishing, Camping
      • Commercial: Mixed Use vs. Industrial vs. High Density
      • Development Options: High Density Residency vs. Single Family
      • Surface rights:  It is important to know if there are any easements or leases located on the property and the scope of their restrictions. With an easement or lease, unknown or unfamiliar parties would have access to the property without written prior consent. Would you be comfortable with this potential liability or traffic on your property? It’s a personal question to take into consideration.
      • Size of Property: What is your general purpose for the land?
        • Homestead: Homesteads can be good but always review Homestead Exemption guidelines for better understanding of how they effect you. Feel free to visit (http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo) for more information.
        • Livestock: Take into consideration your current population and what it may grow to be in the future. A general rule of thumb is 1.5-2 acres of land per cow/calf combo to feed for a year. This again may vary based on the coverage of the land surface. 
        • Hunting: Be sure to review local regulations on property size restrictions to discharge firearms.  This also varies based on type of firearm.  The best solution is to contact local law enforcement officials for clarification. 
        • Boundary Markings: How is your land separated from your neighbors? This should be considered when looking at the property’s use and possible future costs for install/repair of shared items.
          • High Game Fencing is often used on hunting grounds or on land with valuable farm species (i.e. ostrich, antelope, exotics, etc.)
          • Pipe Fencing is great for livestock or ranching, but can be expensive to install or repair. 
          • Barbed Wire fencing is very popular with ranching or open range hunters.  This allows for more native animals (i.e. deer, hogs, etc.) to travel between properties.

Any of these boundary markings can get expensive with larger properties but should be considered when deciding on what property to purchase.  

  • Oil, gas and Other Natural Resources:Do they convey?
    • Whether buying or selling, mineral reservations are huge in the state of Texas.  Do they convey with the sale of the land?  If they do, what percentage is being sold?  How much of the total mineral rights are reserved if they are purchased with the land?  There are numerous ways to research this topic. However, the best solution is to meet with your Realtor who can help you gather the proper information and put you in contact with the right people.
    • Exemptions/Restrictions: Does the land currently hold any exemptions or restrictions?
      • Examples of exemptions are timber or agriculture. If there is not an exemption, review the minimal requirements to garner exemption, the time since exemption was last held, and how restrictions associated with the exemption are maintained.
      • Are there any current restrictions that may cause a hold on land use?  Examples of these are wetland, endangered species, etc.
      • Location, Location, Location:Where is your ideal property located?
        • Do you want to be near neighbors? Near a commercially zoned property?  Proximity to the closes town, emergency services, etc.?
        • Will there be a possibility of new roads or developments in the near future?
        • Are you near a water source if you are utilizing the land for farm/ranch? If you are near a river, tributary, or run-off creek, does this put you in a flood-plain which could restrict additional uses?

Of course location is a huge factor especially with larger plots of land. Development, growth, and changes can be made over the years and should be taken into consideration when deciding on your purchase.

Although these topics may seem overwhelming and hard to understand, using a Realtor, like myself, who is dedicated to you and your representation can make it easier. We are here to work for you, get you answers, be honest, and put you in the best position to make a purchase that suits your wants and needs. The next time you are considering buying, selling, or investing, contact TM5 Properties for all your Real Estate needs. #TM5Properties

Jeremy Montoya
Cell: 979.820.1011

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