Whether your desire to own a ranch stems from looking for an investment property or has been a lifelong dream, there are some things you should consider before choosing property. Once you have narrowed down the options and made a few personal decisions, you will need to fully check out the property before you buy.
First, you must analyze what you really want from the property. Is it your desire to live there or vacation there? Will you manage it yourself? Do you want to own a working cattle ranch, a guest ranch, or just take pride in owning some land as get-away property?
Land Size & Maintenance – How much land can you, or do you want to handle? Caring for land takes time, with or without livestock. It is a full-time job and then some.
Zoning & Property Access – Double-check the property zoning to assure you will be able to utilize the land as you want and build what you want. Check to ensure the property is not landlocked and has public road access.
Hunting & Fishing Restrictions – If you like to fish or hunt, check out whether there are any possible restrictions for this on the property. Be sure to check into any state regulations regarding licensing, and if there are any stipulations on species and/or numbers allotted within a species, regardless of your private property associations.
Wetlands & Existing Easements – Property protected by the Federal Wetland Protection Act, is subject to just that. If the land you are considering has any protected wetland area, that may inhibit how you build and how you may want to utilize areas of your property. Check your property easements for county or state access. You will know if others may utilize your “private” roads.
Soil Type & pH Levels – If you are looking to farm the land, you will need better soil type and pH levels than for general ranching purposes. Have the soil tested before you buy.
Groundwater Contamination – Try to learn what the property was used for by the current and previous owners. Have any wells, or other water sources checked for possible contamination.
People, Animals, and Finances
How Many Animals will the Property Support?
You may envision a herd of 100 cattle to maintain on a 50-acre ranch. That may be doable, or it may not. Much depends upon the terrain of the land, and if all 50 acres will be accessible to the livestock. Check again with experts in the area such as a local agricultural advisory office to help access those needs.
How Are the Neighbors?
Whether you are moving into an urban home or rural area, you should learn about the neighborhood. Are the neighbors warm and friendly, and do they have similar interests and goals? Make sure you will fit in and be comfortable before you buy.
Understanding Finances & Taxes
It is always important to know not only an asking price of a property, but to also understand the day-to-day costs, as well as property taxes. Meet with a local financial advisor to learn what your ongoing expenses could be after purchase.
If you are considering buying ranchland in the West, contact us at E&V Ranchland for more information. We have decades of real estate experience in ranching, farming, and recreational land. Whether you see a property listed on your website, or are looking for something a little different, contact E&V Ranchland and let us help you find your perfect dream property.