For many people, owning an uninterrupted expanse of America's prairies is a bucket list item. Buying vacant land, however, is not for the faint of heart. It can get complicated. Understanding a few key points is essential.
How many acres is considered a ranch?
There is no legal definition that defines how large a parcel must be in order to label it a ranch. It boils down to how much land you want to own and what is available on the market for sale. If you plan on raising cattle on your ranch, the USDA recommends owning about two acres per cow for proper care and feeding of the animal.
What is the difference between a ranch and a homestead?
What is an easement?
If a parcel of land has an easement, it means that someone has the legal right to cross over it. Rows of telephone poles that cut across rural land exist on landowner's property via easements. It is still your land, but the utility company has the right to enter it to do utility repair work. Conversely, you might have to access your land via an easement. Some parcels are land-locked and only accessible by crossing over another's land or using their driveway.
What is a seasonally-maintained road?
When you buy rural acreage, you understand that you may have a long driveway to maintain, especially in the winter months. Even with a tractor, snow removal can be tedious. Do not expect the main road to be plowed, however. Many counties have what are called 'seasonally-maintained roads' that are not plowed in the winter months. If you want to get out, you will have to continue plowing until you get to the main highway.
What does restricted-use mean?
Some rural land has use restrictions on it. The land may be a conservation area. While this can ensure that surrounding parcels are protected from being developed in perpetuity, it may also mean that you are not permitted to hunt on your land, or restricted on what species you can hunt. As an added bonus, there may also be a tax benefit to you.
Are there public utilities available?
If you are harboring under the illusion that ranch properties have all the amenities of suburban plots, you are mistaken. It is uncommon for rural land to have public utilities, like city water, city sewers, cable, and natural gas. You will need to provide these services for yourself in the form of a well, septic system, satellite television, and electric or wood heat.
Buying a ranch property can be a rewarding experience. If you understand the complications that can arise, the process can run smoothly. For help looking for ranch properties for sale, contact a real estate agent.