First Time Acreage Buyer – What You Should Know

First Time Acreage Buyer? 

Van Alstyne Tx Horse Property With Ag ExemptionYou’ve made the decision to buy acreage but do you know what to ask or some of the important things to consider.  Your first question should be; what am I going to do with it?  Are you going to build a new home, raise livestock, farm,work from home or invest for the future? What you intend to do with your acreage will directly affect the questions to ask.

Many people assume they want creeks, ponds, hilltops and lots of trees.  They are often surprised when they discover flood plains, coyotes, beavers, snakes, skunks, building challenges and tree trimming after spring and winter storms. Depending on how much acreage you buy you may need to upgrade your mowing equipment from the push mower.

Inexperienced buyers often take for granted the water supply, electricity, sewer, refuse pick up, police, fire and ambulance service, dog control, internet, zoning and building codes. Before moving from the city where these things are expected, be sure to check on these items along with any deed restrictions and mineral rights. Investigate who supplies the water, picks up the refuge and provides police and fire services. Most fire departments in rural areas are volunteer or better equipped for fighting brush fires than home fires. Police may be the local sheriff who is responsible for the whole county.

That beautiful 20 acres can look ugly fast if you can’t get the $3500 water meter or even a water line, need the power run 1000 ft from the road, the neighbor’s vicious dogs run free or the home was built on improperly compacted pond fill. If you expect to be working from your home office someday, you might be using a satellite for your internet access. There is a real possibility that DSL or cable won’t exist, and a good cell signal may not be available. Building inspections are not necessarily required outside the city limits in certain counties.  Make sure you know the builder or get a good home inspector before you buy.

If you intend to have livestock, be sure the fencing is appropriate and in good shape. Fencing is often overlooked but can have a significant cost to install.  Property already fenced will save you thousands of dollars. Check with the county concerning agricultural exemptions and roll back taxes. The old gray mare won’t qualify the property for an agricultural tax exemption and building your dream home may trigger roll back taxes if you improperly change the land use.

Have you arranged financing?  Most land over 10 acres is financed by owner, local banks or specialty lenders. Mortgage brokers in the city probably won’t be able to finance raw land or want to finance rural home purchases. Rates will be higher, down payments larger and qualifying the property harder. If there is a home, it will frequently have to be worth 35% of the total property value. I call this the old farm-house penalty. The more land you have the less likely you can meet that criteria with an old farm-house.

There are many other considerations including drainage, environmental, and easements. Do you know if the adjoining town used the property as a dump site or if there is an access, gas line or power easement?  Seek the advice of a Realtor with experience in country properties. They can guide you to the perfect property for your needs and make the buying process much easier. There is a lot to be considered, but the payoff of making the right purchase decision can be tremendous. Living on acreage in unincorporated areas of the county has it’s challenges, but the privacy and country style of life is well worth it.

Van Alstyne and the surrounding area has a lot to offer with good schools, a relaxing pace of life, friendly people, helpful neighbors, closeness to major roads and beautiful land. Be informed and buy smart!

To learn more about available acreage properties contact Van Alstyne Realtor Keith Laursen at 469-233-1234 or via the contact form at



About Keith Laursen

I am a Fathom Realty Realtor specializing in town and country properties in the cities of Van Alstyne, Anna, Melissa, Howe, Gunter, Tom Bean, Whitewright, McKinney and Plano, TX.

My trusty horse and I will help you "spot" the best in real estate. Remember, it can't sell if it's not spotted!
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