The purchase of a farm and ranch property is a relatively large investment for most buyers. In fact, according to recent statistics provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average price for an acre of farmland in the United States recently rose 2.4 percent from previous figures, to $3,020 per acre. When the statistics were broken down even farther, to show specific land usages and locations, the numbers were even higher. For example, an acre of cropland in Iowa costs, on average, $8,200 per acre, while an acre of pasture land in the same state now averages $3,200 per acre. Because of the cost involved, those planning to purchase farm or ranch land must be especially careful to verify important details before making their offer to ensure they are getting a good value for their money.
Determine exactly what will be included in the sale
Getting a good deal on farm or ranch land starts with knowing what is included in the sale and what the current market values are for each, including:
- homes, barns, outbuildings, silos, and other structures
- vehicles, farm equipment, and implements
- tools, accessories, and improvements such as fencing, gates, corral systems, squeeze chutes, and electrical, water, and gas infrastructure
- livestock, crops in the field, seed, and stored hay or silage
When touring the land and working to determine the value of these assets, it is important to remember that there may also be many items that the seller has not offered to include with the property. When this happens, prospective buyers may be able to negotiate for these items to add even more value to the property they buy.
Test water and soil samples to rule out issues
Without fertile soil and abundant, potable water supplies, the value of farm and ranch land quickly declines. Since depleted soils and insufficient or impure water can be difficult to spot during a casual tour of the property, prospective buyers will want to reserve the right to take soil and water samples and know the results of the tests before making their offer.
Ensure that boundary lines are accurate and undisputed
Farm and ranch land, especially those that have been owned by the same family for generations, often suffer from boundary line discrepancies and disputes that can threaten the value of the land. To make sure that any farm or ranch land you are considering does not have existing boundary issues, prospective buyers should always request and inspect a copy of a current survey before making an offer.
The process of buying a farm or ranch property will be easiest when prospective buyers seek the assistance of a real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling this type of rural property.