Buying a farmland is quite different from buying regular residential real estate properties in the urban areas. Unlike the condo properties and single-family homes you usually find in metro areas and the suburbs, farm lands usually include woodlands, crops, irrigation, pasture, and even hills. Buying these kinds of properties is a bit more complicated so it is important to be properly informed when buying a farm.
If you are planning to buy a farm in the rural areas, here are some important things you should remember.
Hire A Knowledgeable And Reliable Real Estate Agent
You will find a lot of real estate agents specializing in city properties and turnkey houses. However, you should look for real estate agents specializing in rural lands, particularly farmlands. Rural land real estate agents are knowledgeable in terms of types of soils in the area, farming practices, and the complicated water rights in the rural area. Find a good real estate agent that can guide you in decision-making especially about easements, zoning, and unclear issues regarding the land. Investing in a good real estate agent is essential for the proper and easier process of farmland purchasing.
Research About Nearby Markets
One important component when developing a farm is having distribution channels and local markets for your produce. Research first if there are local markets near the farm. How far is the nearest market, how much will be the distribution and transportation cost given the distance, and other costs associated with distance. It would also help if you research about other farms near your neighborhood.
Know The History Of the Land – Physically & Culturally
It can help you a lot later on not just in farming but in managing the land if you have information about the history of the farm. Know about the people that have lived in the farm before, particularly about their farming practices before and how they managed the land. Ask for various stories associated with the land and its structures. Although it does not automatically mean you should adapt to the previous land management practices applied to the land, knowing their previous practices can help you a lot in knowing where to start and how to proceed with farming.
When purchasing a farm, another essential component you should know about is the infrastructures already present. You should also ask if there are fences and other farming, equipment since you may need to buy new farming equipment or build a new barn depending on what comes with your land purchase or what structures are still functional.
Evaluate The Site Thoroughly
Before closing, it is highly recommended to visit the farm you want to purchase a couple of times. Take a look at the land’s sun exposure since sunlight is a major component in farming. Check also the sloped areas, since the slopes will affect your land management options. Make sure also to find out about the flood zones. If you are planning to grow crops, it is crucial that the land has good sunlight exposure.
Easements And Encumbrances
This is where understanding the laws on rural land purchase and getting a very good rural land real estate agent are crucial in the process. Farmlands are a bit complicated to purchase than regular lands especially if there are easements and encumbrances. Thoroughly read the title report and other attachments. Know every detail and understand its implications on the land purchase. If there is something you do not understand or want to clear, ask your real estate agent. If possible, inquire from a lawyer. Common easements involving farmlands usually include power, irrigation, and roads. For easier and clearer closing, hire a lawyer to clear the issues. Make sure that incongruities are cleared before finalizing the deal.
Develop Good Relationship With Your Neighbors
A good relationship with your neighbors can become an asset in your successful country living. Meet your neighbors beforehand and try to get to know them and develop good relationship. If your neighbors do not like you, it will become an additional adjustment on your part especially if you are new to the place. You will never know when you will need their help especially when it comes to your farm so make sure to start on good footing with your neighbors-to-be before buying the land.
Identify The Land’s Zoning Class And Tax Status
Zoning class may be one of the common issues you will find about the farm so make sure to understand this aspect about the land before making the purchase. Farms that fall into the exclusive farm use are categorized under the special tax assessment program. Under this special tax assessment program, farmland owners have to pay lesser tax for the property compared to other types of real estate properties. However, the special tax is usually only applied to lands with active farming. Some lands may not already be under the special tax if the previous owners have stopped farming the land. Make sure to check the tax status and zoning through your county tax assessor to know what you can do with the land and the limitations based on the zoning status of the land.
Assess The Soil On The Land
As a farmland, the soil is definitely one of the major components of your farm. Assessing the soil in your land is essential so you will know how to develop your farm. You can assess the soil through the NRCS or the Natural Resources Conservation Services soil survey tools, which are accessible to everyone online. To do this, access the tool from the organization’s official website. Once there, type the farm’s address and access the aerial map of the land. From this page, you can now see all information related to the land and its soil like the types of soil, classification, and drainage class. If you were planning to grow organic farm produce, it would also be better to test the soil for heavy metals and other residues.
Understand The Water Rights Law
Water is another major component in farming. Before buying a farm, understand first the water rights law imposed in the area or state. It is a complicated matter so it would help if you ask information from your county’s water master and understand your water certificate so you will know what is allowed in your farm when it comes to water usage and irrigation.
And lastly, always put enough time and effort in understanding all important details about the farm before making the purchase. Spending extra money for added information and services to clear issues on the land may be worth the cost once the purchasing process becomes smoother and clearer.