Country Calling: Factors to Consider When Buying Rural Land

The allure of rural living, with its serene landscapes and the promise of a peaceful lifestyle away from the bustle of urban centers, has captured the hearts of many. Buying rural land can be a significant investment towards achieving this dream. However, it comes with challenges and considerations markedly different from purchasing property in more developed areas. Whether you’re a first-time land buyer, a real estate investor, or someone dreaming of rural living, understanding the nuances of buying rural land is crucial for making informed decisions.

Real estate investors Steve Daria and Joleigh each bring a unique perspective to the complex process of buying rural land. They emphasize the importance of due diligence, particularly in zoning laws, water rights, and ensuring proper land access. Their collective wisdom underscores how informed decisions can lead to profitable and sustainable land ownership in rural settings.

Introduction to Buying Rural Land

Buying rural land is an enticing prospect for many. It offers the opportunity to own a piece of nature and develop a home, farm, or recreational retreat.

The process, however, involves more than just selecting a picturesque location and purchasing.

It requires thorough research, an understanding of the land’s potential uses, and knowledge of the legalities and logistics of rural property ownership.

buying rural land

Understanding Zoning and Land Use Regulations

Before buying rural land, it’s imperative to delve into the intricate realm of zoning laws and land use regulations governing the property.

These regulations are the foundation for what can and cannot be done with the land, exerting significant influence on potential activities ranging from residential development to agricultural endeavors or commercial ventures.

Zoning Laws

Local governments establish zoning laws to control the development and use of land within their jurisdictions.

They classify areas for residential, commercial, agricultural, or industrial use, and each classification comes with its own set of rules and restrictions.

Land Use Regulations

Land use regulations go hand in hand with zoning laws, providing detailed requirements for land use within certain zones.

These may include building setbacks, height restrictions, and environmental protection rules.

Understanding these directives is essential for ensuring your plans for the land are feasible.

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Assessing Access and Utilities

One of the challenges of rural land ownership is ensuring access to essential services and utilities.

Unlike urban areas, where infrastructure is readily available, rural properties may need more direct access to roads, water, electricity, and internet services.

Road Access

Ensure the land has legal access, preferably via a public road.

If access is through another person’s property, verify that there is a legal easement in place and understand the terms of this easement.


Investigate the availability of electricity, water, sewage, and internet utilities.

Some rural properties may require drilling a well, installing a septic system, or using alternative energy sources like solar panels.

Considering the Land’s Topography and Natural Features

Rural land’s physical characteristics can significantly affect its usability and value.

Water sources, soil quality, and topography should be carefully evaluated.

Soil Quality and Land Use

The soil type affects its suitability for agriculture, gardening, or building.

Conduct soil tests to understand its composition, drainage capabilities, and any potential contamination.

purchasing rural land

Water Sources

Access to water is critical, especially for farming or livestock.

Determine if there is a reliable water source on the property, such as a river, lake, or groundwater, and understand the rights and permits required to use it.


The land’s topography influences the type of development it can support.

Steep slopes may be unsuitable for building or farming but could offer stunning views for a residential property.

Financial Considerations and Incentives

Buying rural land involves more than paying the purchase price.

Prospective buyers should consider ongoing costs, potential income sources, and available financial incentives.

Ongoing Costs

Be aware of annual taxes, maintenance costs, and any required improvements to make the land usable for your intended purposes.

Income Opportunities

Rural land can offer various income opportunities, such as leasing for agricultural use, timber harvesting, or developing a commercial venture.

Financial Incentives

Some regions offer financial incentives for land conservation, sustainable farming, or developing renewable energy sources.

Research available programs that could offset some of your costs.

Navigating Legalities and Environmental Concerns

Understanding rural land ownership’s legal and environmental aspects is crucial for protecting your investment and the natural environment.

Property Boundaries and Surveys

A current land survey is essential for confirming the property’s boundaries and identifying easements or encroachments.

Environmental Restrictions

Be aware of any environmental protections or restrictions that apply to the land, such as wetlands preservation or endangered species habitats.

These can limit your use of the property and require additional permits for development.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Rural Land

Below, we address some of the most common inquiries prospective buyers have when considering the acquisition of rural land.

How do I finance the purchase of rural land?

Financing rural land can be more challenging than urban properties, but financing options are available, including traditional bank loans, agricultural loans, and owner financing.

Can I build a home on any rural land I purchase?

Not necessarily. You must check zoning laws, land use regulations, and environmental restrictions to ensure that building a home is permitted.

How do I ensure the land has legal access?

Review the property deed and consult a real estate attorney to verify legal access via a public road or easement.


Buying rural land offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, pursue agricultural interests, or enjoy the peace and solitude of country living. However, several factors must be carefully considered, including zoning laws, access to utilities, the land’s natural features, financial implications, and legalities.

In-depth research and consulting with professionals can ensure that your purchase aligns with your goals and dreams for rural living. Remember, buying rural land is not just a transaction; it’s a step toward creating a legacy and a lifestyle in harmony with the natural world.

**NOTICE:  Please note that the content presented in this post is intended solely for informational and educational purposes. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice or relied upon as a replacement for consultation with a qualified attorney or CPA. For specific guidance on legal or financial matters, readers are encouraged to seek professional assistance from an attorney, CPA, or other appropriate professional regarding the subject matter.

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