6 Things Everyone Should Know Before Buying a Ranch



The agricultural industry is as old as time, and with over 2 million farms and ranches spread across the U.S. today, it’s no wonder that more and more people are looking at investing in ranch land.

Whether you’re in Texas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arizona, or wherever there are some common threads that bind ranches everywhere together. If you’re considering purchasing a ranch for the first time, there are some things you need to be aware of. Purchasing property like a ranch can yield great rewards, but that’s not without a little risk.

As you start to search for the perfect ranch land, be sure to keep the following items in mind. These tips could help ensure that all goes smoothly, and you’ll see a nice return on investment.

1. Get Clear on the Intended Use:

What do you envision the primary use of the property to be? Will you raise cattle, crops, or a mix of both? Will you run the ranch yourself, or will you hire a manager and lease out operations? Identifying the primary use of your future property will lay the foundation for the rest of your search.

2. Understand Your Property’s Water Needs:

Once you have a better understanding of what the property will be used for, then you can establish what the water needs will be. Some ranches can function off of wells while others need rivers, ponds, or lakes. You must also consider that water rights vary amongst regions of the country and within states. Water will be crucial to any ranch operation, so do not skip this step.

3. Draft a Detailed List of What’s Included:

Ranch property is a little different from other land purchases, so crossing all your t’s and dotting all of your I’s is essential to this process. Create a list of all items you feel should be part of the contract and ensure the seller agrees to the terms. This could be things like gates, feeders, miscellaneous equipment, treatment or removal of existing farm/hunting leases, portable sheds, or even livestock panels.

4. How Much Labor Do You Want to Put Forth?:

This piggybacks off of number one, but it can’t be said enough just how important it is to clearly define the amount of work you’re willing to put in. Ranching is a tough job, and it can be dangerously easy to fall out of a routine and miss some important steps.

5. Don’t Forget About the Animal Waste:

Although it doesn’t seem like something you could ignore, you’d be surprised. Waste management is a huge and necessary function of any ranch, so do your research on what your options are in the area you purchase your land.

6. Are You Prepared for the Seasons?:

One item may first-time ranch owners don’t consider is just how fussy the seasons can be. Your sales and activity will fluctuate greatly by season, and if you’re not intentional and prepared, you could find yourself in trouble.

Buying a ranch is a huge opportunity that can be a truly wonderful investment. However, you will have to do your homework. As you search for the perfect ranch land, be sure to keep these six items in mind.

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