Buying a ranch property can be different from buying a home, apartment building, or office facility. Whether you plan to use the property as a working ranch, rent it out, or reserve it for recreational purposes, the nature of a ranch property can often mean you have to prioritize certain things if you want the property to be usable.
For instance, a ranch property could be out in the wilderness. In an undeveloped area, you can't take access for granted. Here are three access-related considerations to think about when buying a ranch property.
1. Water Access and Rights
If you plan to use the property for ranching and farming, you'll need to have a reliable source of high-quality water to keep any livestock and plants alive. For a large property, this could mean you'll need multiple wells. Even if you don't plan to have livestock or plants, you'll still want at least one well so you don't have to backpack all your water in.
If the property doesn't currently have wells, you can factor the cost of drilling wells in with the cost of the property. However, you need to gather as much information as possible first. The price of well drilling can vary widely based on the depth of the well, and if the aquifer contains arsenic or some other contaminant, you'll need to factor in water treatment as well.
You also need to make sure there are no legal barriers between you and the water rights for any streams or rivers on or adjoining the property.
2. Access and Fencing
In ranch territory, roads are much more scarce than in populated areas of the country. This can lead to more frequent access problems. If no roads lead to the property you're looking at, you may end up having to pay for access rights in an easement across someone else's property.
On the flip side, you need to check and make sure that nobody else has easement rights on your property, which would potentially prevent you from having the entire property fenced off. And speaking of fences, you should also consider the fencing situation on your property. Fences can be added and taken down, but for a large property, those costs could be prohibitive.
Even if you have the right to access the entire property and control access for everyone else, that won't always mean your property is easy to access. If the terrain is hilly or even mountainous, the ranch property could have limited viability as a working ranch. Fencing on hilly or mountainous properties is especially difficult.
These are just a few of the considerations you'll need to keep in mind as you shop for a ranch property. As you can see, the requirements may be very different from what you'd look for when buying a vacant lot or a vacation home. Talk to your real estate agent about access rights, water rights, easement, and terrain before deciding on a property.