Buying Rural Land in the Texas Hill Country
Buyer Representation When Buying Rural Land
Demand for rural land has been and continues to be very strong in the Texas Hill Country. Many of the buyers are looking for recreational land and have not had experience with the purchase of raw acreage. It is important for buyers to understand many of the issues which are not commonly encountered in the purchase of a home in an urban area. Using the services of a REALTOR® who understands the complexities of Fredericksburg Texas real estate market can mean the difference between success and failure when investing in land. Below, I have noted a few of the important issues to consider.
Many rural tracts of land will have frontage on county or state maintained roads. However, others may be accessed only through easements. Easements can fall into several categories. From the buyer’s point of view, a “deeded easement” would be the best form of easement access. Some easements may be by prescription. Although this can be fine, banks and mortgage companies may not be willing to lend on property that is accessed only by an easement which is not recorded. A second consideration which would be very important when a property is accessed by easement is the maintenance of the access road. There are some cases in the Texas Hill Country where land can be accessed only by an unimproved easement road which may be miles long. If there is not a road maintenance agreement in place, then it may be difficult to maintain the road without a great expense to the landowner. These access issues are a very important variable in determining land price.
The importance of water availability to the value of in the Hill Country real estate market or anywhere else is self evident. Very often rural tracts of land for sale around Fredericksburg have no existing well. This means that someone who enters a contract to purchase that land must protect themselves against the possibility of buying land where drilling an adequate well may be difficult. A buyer should consider several options to ensure that water will not be a problem. First, the buyer and his or her Realtor can go the Hill Country Underground Water Conservation District. It is located at 508 S. Washington in Fredericksburg, Texas. The geologist who manages the office can give a buyer a very good idea of how deep a well will have to be and what its water production might be on a given parcel of real estate. A second tool that a good buyer’s Realtor might suggest, is that the contract be written so that the buyer has the right to drill the well prior to closing. The language can be written so that the well must produce some minimum quantity of gallons per minute of potable water. This helps ensure that the buyer has an opportunity to learn about water problems prior to taking ownership of his or her Hill Country ranch.
Another issue often overlooked when buying acreage for sale in Gillespie Country is the availability of electricity. Rural areas of the Texas Hill Country have electricity provided by an electric cooperative. However, a buyer of land will have to pay the coop to bring the electricity to the site desired. This can cost thousands of dollars. In cases where power lines are not already located on the subject property, the buyer will have to have a neighbor sign an easement allowing the power company to string electrical lines from an adjacent property. This is usually not a problem, but it is occasionally.