40 Important Homestead Questions With Answers You Need To Know

Homestead Questions and Answers

For years I was a presenter at Sustainable Preparedness Seminars where I gave seminars on finding and purchasing country and homestead property. At the end of these talks I would give time for the attendees to ask different questions they might have about buying country and homestead property.

I've compiled a list of the 40 most asked questions with their answers from those years.

So what are the 40 Important Homestead Questions that were most asked? The 40 important homestead questions most asked were about water, soil, owner financing, location for homesteading, surveys and easements, mineral rights, Real Estate professionals, rent before buying, and other miscellaneous topics. There is a good chance that at least some of your questions will be answered below.

To make it easier for you I have listed the Questions and Answers by 9 Categories of Topics below.

Table of Contents

WATER

What Gallons/Minute Flow In A Well Is Needed?

What flow rate in a well is needed? The gold standard minimum flow rate for a well is a flow of 5 gallons/minute all year round.

This means even in the driest month of the year there is at least a 5 gallon/minute flow. The term gold standard refers to the fact that nearly all banks and mortgage companies want to see at least a 5 gallon/minute flow from a well to finance the property.

If you plan on having a garden, orchard, berry patch, and livestock, 5 gallons/minute will limit the size of the garden, orchard, berry patch and the amount of livestock you can care for. You can find out about how much water you need here.

What Is The Average Cost For Drilling A Well?

The average costs for drilling a well depends on several factors such as:

  • The depth necessary to hit water 
  •  How difficult it is to get the drilling rig to the site
  • The reputation of the well driller. Some are known to have better success than others so they can charge more for their services
  • The part of the country you are in. California is more expensive than Montana as an example, and other factors.

The average depth of wells all across the U.S. is a little over 50 feet. There are some states that define a well as being more than 50 feet deep and anything 50 feet deep or less is considered surface water.

There are wells in the American West that are 650 feet deep and only produce 1/2 to 1 gallon of water per minute.

To find the average cost of drilling a well requires you to talk with a well driller in the area you are interested in moving to.

If there is no known and proven source of water on the property why would you risk offering on it and taking the chance of not hitting water when a well is drilled?

Water is the most important consideration when looking for property. Land without a proven source of water is worth ZERO Dollars as a homestead!

Is Riverfront Property In A Flood Plain?

So many times I see real estate ads for riverfront property. While this might be a property you would be interested in you need to know if this property is in a flood plain.

But how is the best way to know the answer?

To determine if the riverfront property is in a flood plain, talk to a County Extension Agent (County Agricultural or Farm Agent) or consult a 100 year flood map from the US Geologic Service.

You can get an idea by just looking at the lay of the land. If the river level is close to the river bank level there is a greater chance of flooding than if the bank is several feet above the water level.

The time to look should be done during the local rainy season instead of the dry season.

How Much Water, Gallons Per Minute And How Far Down Should We Drill Our Well?

How much water is needed on the land? You will need 5 gallons/minute flow as a minimum requirement for conventional financing of a land purchase.

How deep should the well be? Deep enough to reach the water table.

The water table is at different depths under different pieces of property.

If you are east of the Mississippi River, you stand a good chance of hitting water (but no guarantees of how many gallons/minute flow you will get) at a shallower level than the average west of the Mississippi River.

However, there are wells in the west that are shallower than some in the east. There is no real way to predict how far down you will have to go to hit water. It all depends on how far down the water table is in your area.

I do not recommend buying property without their being a proven source of adequate water, a minimum of 5 gallons/minute, on that property prior to Closing the sale.

Land without a proven and adequate source of water on it prior to closing is worth $ZERO as a homestead.

That said, 5 gallons per minute may not be adequate for a homestead with stock, garden, orchard, berry patch, and a large family.

There are ways that can be utilized to increase the available water on a homestead.

bridge over creekCan You Legally Bridge The Creek Bordering The Property?

Can I bridge the creek bordering the property? If the creek is entirely within the boundaries of your property, the answer is probably yes. Yes t

hat is unless there is some type of zoning ordinance or other regulation affecting your ability to build the bridge.

Check with the County Zoning Office or Commission and also ask them if there is any other place you would need to check with.

If the creek merely borders your property, you would need the permission (in writing) from any adjoining landowner to bridge the creek if there is no ordinance or regulation preventing the building of a bridge.

Be sure you have legal access across any other privately owned land to the proposed bridge site. See the section on "Surveys and Easements" below.

You should never take a Real Estate person’s word for whether or not you can build a bridge or where the property boundaries are.

The only safe way to know where the boundaries are is a recent survey with the corners and boundary lines flagged.

What Is Static Water Level?

Static water level is a term that refers to how far down in a well it is before there is water in the well casing or in the drilled portion of the well.

The closer this level is to the top of the well, the shallower the static level is. 

A shallow static water level usually means there is more water in the drilled portion of the well.

How Do You Verify The True Availability Of Water On The Property?

You need to make a contingency of the Sale to verify the true availability of well water on the property.

Making a contingency of the Sale Closing that requires the Seller to produce a Well Log, or a certified statement from a well driller, that the well has an output of however many gallons/minute, will tell the true availability of water on the property.

What if no well, spring or other source of water is on the property that can be tested and verified?

Make the Closing contingent on the Seller developing a good source of water of at least 5 gallons/minute or the contract is cancelled and you get your money back.

You can say that if a good source of water is developed and proven prior to closing, you will share in the costs of developing it at closing. Such as paying 50% of the cost of developing the source if it meets your needs.

It can not be overemphasized that land without a proven and adequate source of water before Closing is worth ZERO DOLLARS as a homestead or a place to live in the country.

If the seller is not willing to develop an source of water prior to Closing, you are better off canceling the Sale and looking for land elsewhere.

Does A Shallow Well Have A Higher Gallon Per Minute Flow Than A Deep Well?

Does a shallow well have a higher gallon per minute flow than a deep well?

The gallons/minute flow of a well depends on the size and depth of the underground aquifer the well is drilled into much more than on the depth of the well.

A shallower well costs less to drill than a deeper well with one exception. Many well drillers have a minimum charge for drilling a well, even if the depth is shallow.

They do this to cover the costs of moving their equipment to the drilling site and setting it up.

So if the minimum cost of drilling a well includes a well of up to 100 feet deep and a good source of water is found at 50 feet, you still pay the minimum charge even though the well is not 100 feet deep.

Is it the Buyer's Or Seller's Responsibility To Pay To Have A Well Checked And Have The Water Tested To See If It Is Good?

Is it the Buyer's or Seller's responsibility to have the well tested? If the land is advertised as having a good well, the Seller should be the one to prove it is a good well.

The reality is that very few Real Estate Agents or Brokers ever tell a Seller they need to have proof of the water being of sufficient quantity and of good quality. So it is up to the Buyer to get that information.

Any offer on land with a well should be contingent on the Seller providing a Well Log which states the gallons/minute flow of the well and providing a report from the local sanitation department, water control board, or laboratory that has tested the water and found it suitable (technical term is "potable") for human consumption.

If these are not provided prior to Closing and the results approved by the Buyer, the contract is cancelled and the Buyer gets all his money back and the Seller keeps the land.

What About Buying Land With A Shared Source Of Water?

Is it ever a good idea to buy land that has a shared source of water? If the shared source of water is from a well that is maintained by a Private Water Corporation where everyone is on a water meter and pays for the water they use, that is OK.

However, that is usually not the case when considering buying land that has a shared source of water. The usual case for a shared water is where there are two or more tracts of land that share a common well or other water source located on just one of the tracts of land.

The only way I'd be even half-way comfortable in this situation is if I had the tract of land with the water source.

One of the most litigated situations in rural Real Estate involves water rights disputes. I am not willing to trust someone else who controls a well that shares water with me when there is a drought or other water shortage situation.

Human nature is that the person who controls the water source will keep the water for themselves in a drought or other water shortage situation. Even if there is a binding legal contract to share the water.

The landowner without the water source on his land will have to sue to enforce the contract. That takes time and money and during this process water will have to be brought in from somewhere.

Even if you win the lawsuit, you lose! It is now your enemy who controls your water. Not a good way to live.

I never recommend anyone buying land with a shared water source.

SOIL

How Can I Determine If The Soil Is Suitable For A Septic System?

How do I determine if the soil is suitable for a septic system? You need to do what is called a percolation test (or perc test).

In most areas this is done under the supervision of the County Sanitation Department or the County Health Department. In some locations it is done under an area Health District that covers more than one county.

Inquire about the perc test at the local courthouse or office where a building permit is obtained. This test typically involves a permit and costs for the permit. The permit cost may not include the cost of the test itself.

A clause in the Purchase Contract can protect the Buyer if a perc test fails. This should be done before Closing of the Sale and approved by the Buyer.

The payment for the perc test should be paid by the Seller, however it is negotiable.

flooding water on propertyIf A Stream On The Property Floods, What Effect Will The Flooding Have On The Property?

What effect will flooding of a stream have on the property? The effect depends on where the stream crosses the property, how much rainfall or snow pack melting in spring affects the stream.

Another factor could be if any ice dams form in early spring as the temperature rises above freezing and then drops back below freezing.

It also depends on the lay of the land around the stream; does the stream cut into the land and have banks normally well above the water level or does the stream routinely over flow its banks.

The effect of the flooding also depends on where the house, outbuildings, garden, orchard, places for animals are in relation to the stream? Are they up hill or down hill.

Where is the septic system and water source located in regard to the stream.

All these factors need to be taken into account to determine the effect of flooding on the property.

If the well or water source is down hill from the stream the water source could be contaminated by flooding.

If the septic system is located down hill from the flooding and up hill from the other source of water flooding can grossly contaminate the water source with dangerous bacteria.

If a garden area is down hill from the stream flooding could remove some of the top soil making it harder to have a productive garden.

If a house, outbuildings or shop are located down hill from a stream those buildings and their contents could be damaged.

What Factors Affect The Stability Of Hillsides Or Exposed Elevations?

What can affect the stability of hillsides and exposed elevations? Hillsides or exposed elevations without vegetation, trees or stumps present on them can become unstable enough to have a slide-off.

Look for previous signs of a slide-off including evidence of a previous slide off such as down hill trees and bushes laying on their side and pointing downhill.

Other signs include absence of vegetation on the hillside and exposed soil with large cracks in it.

If you suspect a slide-off area you might want to have a soil expert such as a County Extension Agent or a Civil Engineer examine the particular piece of land in question.

If a parcel of land is being considered that has an exposed hillside with signs of a land slide or instability there are two steps I suggest you take: 

  1. Get the soil evaluated and place a contingency in the Sales Contract that the seller obtain the evaluation and pay for it
  2. You must approve of the evaluation prior to Closing or the Contract is cancelled and you get back your money or make a much reduced offer on the land. The definition of a much reduced offer on the land is an offer well below the asking price justified by the potentially unstable soil on the exposed hillside.

Without other good reasons for considering the land, why would you even consider offering on that piece of property?

Other good reasons could include, an excellent proven source of water, plenty of space for house, outbuildings, garden, orchard, stock, etc well away from the problem hillside.

OWNER FINANCING

What Should I Beware Of In Owner Financing A Property?

What should I beware of when owner financing a property? When owner financing a property you need to know how to protect yourself and be sure the Seller performs his portion of the contract as well.

This question is probably tied with “What do you think about buying land with a shared source of water?” for being the most asked question I get.

Owner financing may be the only method of financing some country and homestead property.

If there is not an adequate source of water on the property, if there is no foundation under the house, or if there are more than 1 or 2 outbuildings the lenders in the area may not consider financing that property.

Owner Financing can be one of the most dangerous areas of buying country property.

To safely do the most common form of Owner Financing, a Land Sale Contract, you need to know the contingencies that should be included to protect the buyer and to assure that the Seller preforms his part of the deal.

What Are The Pro’s And Con’s Of Owner Financing?

What are the pro's and con's of owner financing? On the pro's side; owner financing does not usually require a credit check, payment of fees associated with borrowing money.

Owner financing may be the only way some property can be financed.

On the con's side; owner financing can have pitfalls and problems for the unsuspecting purchaser.

Two types of owner financing are particularly dangerous for Buyer's of property. They are Land Sale Contracts and Contracts for Deed.

Land Sale Contracts and Contracts for Deeds do not give the buyer any ownership interest in land until the last payment is made.

LOCATION FOR HOMESTEADING

Where Are The Best 2 States For Homesteading?

Where are the 2 Best States for Homesteading? The 2 best states are Idaho in the American West and Tennessee in the American East.

There are several factors to consider in choosing the Best States for Homesteading:

  • Climate
  • Growing season
  • Desert, grassland or forest
  • Ability to home school children
  • Precipitation including rainfall and snowfall
  • Proximity to needed or desired facilities such as church or medical care
  • Other considerations that need to be looked at to come up with the most ideal place for you and your family

The location for a country home or country homestead should be made with personal needs and desires taken into consideration.

For example; If you or someone in your family is intolerant of heat, Southern California and much of Arizona and Nevada would not be a good location for them.

If someone is intolerant of heat plus high humidity, they would be miserable in Florida and much of the south during a large portion of the year.

Likewise, if someone was intolerant of very cold winters, it would not be beneficial to move to a northern climate or at an elevation where there was the chance of snow for 4 or 5 months of the year.

I recently received an e-mail from someone else who is in the business of advising people on country locations.

Three of his 5 Best Locations included States that have laws limiting or prohibiting the collection of rain water, requiring all residents to be connected to a public utility grid, (many homesteaders want to be off-grid electrically), or States with regulations limiting the drilling of wells on even privately owned property.

It appeared that he had listed his favorite States instead of researching and giving sound reasons for his choices.

Does The Property Have Year Around Legal Access Or Only When The Snow Melts?

Does the property have year around legal access or only when the snow melts? Legal access is a Recorded Easement across any other privately held land you have to cross to get to your property.

Only being accessible when the snow melts refers to the ease of getting to your land during certain parts of the year and in certain weather conditions.

Legal access is usually noted on the Deed to the property or referenced in the Deed and Recorded in the County Deeds Office.

I know several families who can only drive part way to their property during winter and have to park their 4WD vehicle and snow mobile the rest of the way home.

Talking to those who live next to property you are considering purchasing is one great way to learn what the road conditions are all year round.

You can learn whether the County plows the road and how often it is plowed. You can also learn whether the road is privately maintained and what the arrangements are for maintenance and plowing.

This also gives you a feel for the area and whether you would feel comfortable living with these people as your neighbors.

What Is The Most Important Property Amenity?

What is the most important property amenity? The most important property amenity for country or homestead property is water. However, you also need;

  • Good soil,
  • Variety of trees,
  • Southern exposure in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Relatively flat land for home site, outbuildings, garden and pasture
  • Good year around access

The point is this; you need a complete and well rounded approach to searching for and purchasing country or homestead property.

Without this type of approach, the chances of your being satisfied with the property you end up buying or purchasing are very slim.

Making the largest purchase of your life requires more than just a "most important" type approach.

Is 5 Acres Of Undeveloped Land For Sale For $10,000 Overpriced?

Is 5 acres of land for $10,000 overpriced? It depends on the area and what amenities the land has.

With any land for a homestead you need the following amenities;

  • A proven source of adequate water
  • Good soil
  • Mixture of trees
  • Adequate year around access

In the areas that are good homestead areas $10,000 for a 5 acre plot of ground is rarely overpriced! The most successful searches are those using a proven method.

SURVEYS AND EASEMENTS

How Important Is A Survey?

How important is a survey? Without a survey you can not know for sure what is included in the price of the land.

In many parts of the country fences, creek or springs, meadows or wood lots and even buildings may be partially or completely off of the land when a survey is done.

When a Seller and Real Estate Professional advertises land as having certain amenities and containing a certain number of acres, the only way to know for sure is by having a current land survey done.

If the Seller is claiming his land includes certain amenities, he should have the land surveyed at his cost. If he is not willing to provide a survey, then either have it surveyed yourself prior to Closing or look for land elsewhere.

No access to land

I Can't Cross A Neighbor's Land To Access The Land I Inherited From My Uncle. What Can I Do?

I inherited land from my uncle who had a verbal agreement with a neighbor for access to his land. That neighbor has died and the new owner will not let me cross his land. What can I do?

You could offer to purchase a strip of land across the neighbor’s property to access your land. However, you would be at the mercy of whatever price the neighbor places on that strip of land.

As an alternative you might be able to make a land swap. Swapping a portion of the land you inherited for a strip of land from the neighbor giving you access to your property.

The problem is, there was no “legal” access to your uncle's land and it is now landlocked. What your uncle had was a Prescriptive Easement, sometimes called an Easement by Prescription.

Unless the State the land is in has a statutory period of time the Prescriptive Easement had to be used to prevent a land owner landlocking the property you inherited, your options are limited. If the Prescriptive Easement was used for the statutory period of time and you can prove it, you can sue for access.

If you sue and win you can access the property but you may have made an enemy out of your neighbor. Do you want to live next door to an enemy?

Another alternative is to offer the land for sale to that neighbor or another adjoining landowner and take whatever funds you get off the sale and look for land elsewhere.

Even if you don't get what you'd consider "fair market value" you are not stuck with land you can't get to and it was not land you bought. So if you can sell it you are much further ahead and can look for something somewhere else that is not "landlocked."

Legal Access or a Legal Easement to access land means there is a Recorded Easement in the same county office where Deeds are Recorded.

This Easement grants passage over someone else land to access property.

Without a Recorded Easement, many instances turn out like this one. That is why I caution Buyers to beware of a “Prescriptive Easement” or an Easement by usage for a period of time stated in that State’s law.

Only accept a Recorded Easement to access property you are considering purchasing.

Why Are Easements To Access Your Land Important?

Why are Easements to access your land important? If you have to cross private property to access your land, an Easement is needed.

Easements, sometimes referred to as "right of ways," come in more than one type. Real Estate professionals often tell potential Buyers that they have a Prescriptive Easement.

A Prescriptive Easement exists merely by the fact it has been used for a period of time recognized by that State’s law.

You do not want a Prescriptive Easement. What you want is a Deeded Easement, an Easement Recorded in the same County Office that Deeds are recorded in.

This is notice to the world that you have the right-of-way across the land that is encumbered by the Easement. It is the best guarantee that you can continue to access your land unhindered.

Why Are Easements That Are On Your Property Important?

Why are Easements on your property important? If there are any Easements on the property you are considering buying that means someone has the right to use your property even after you have purchased it!

The best way to avoid discovering there are Easements on your property after purchasing it is to do a thorough walk over inspection of your property before Closing.

This will uncover any potential Prescriptive Easements. A thorough search of the Public Records will uncover any Recorded (legal) Easements across the property you want to purchase.

If there are any Recorded or Prescriptive Easements across the property you are wanting to purchase you have to decide if you can live with them or not. If you can't live with them, don't purchase the property!

MINERAL RIGHTS

What If The Land Has A Reservation Of Mineral Rights Or Timber Rights?

What if there is a Reservation of Mineral Rights or Timber Rights? This is where a previous owner has reserved to himself the right to come back and extract minerals or cut down timber after he no longer owns the land.

In some parts of the Country Mineral Rights and Timber Rights are reserved on rural property quite often. This is particularly true if the property was once Federal Government Property.

A Reservation of Mineral Rights means you could wake up one morning to find someone digging up your garden to extract the minerals under it.

A Reservation of Timber Rights means you could wake up some morning and find a logging crew cutting down the trees you thought were yours.

When possible the sale of land should be contingent on the removal of a Reservation of Mineral Rights or Timber Rights by the Seller prior to Closing. If they can't be removed either markedly reduce your offer for the land or look for land elsewhere.

REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS

What Is The Difference Between A Realtor And A Real Estate Broker Or Agent?

What is the difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Broker or Agent? A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors.

A Realtor can either be a Real Estate Broker or an Agent. Agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors may be called Realtor Associates.

For ease of writing and typing I use the term Realtor to apply to any Real Estate Professional, whether a member of the National Association of Realtors or not.

Much the same as the term Lawyer or Attorney may be applied to anyone who has graduated from Law School whether they hold a License or Bar Appointment to practice Law or not.

I realize some Real Estate Professionals do not want to be associated with the National Association of Realtors and to those, I am not implying any disrespect.

What Is A Buyer’s Brokers Or Buyer’s Agent:

What is a Buyer's Broker or Buyer's Agent? This is a Real Estate Professional who does not list homes and land for sale and have a full color brochure listing their for sale properties.

In all 50 States a Realtor who lists property for sale, even if the property they are showing a Buyer is listed by a different Realtor, is legally the employee of the Seller of that property.

These Realtors who list homes for sale are not Buyer’s Brokers or Buyer’s Agents.

They may hold themselves out as “working with both Buyers and Sellers” but that does not make them Buyer’s Broker’s or Buyer’s Agents!

Some States allow a dual role Real Estate Agent. In those States an Agent or Broker can be a Buyer's Agent or Broker and at the same time list Real Estate for sale.

In States where this dual agency is in effect, it behooves the buyer of Real Estate to know this fact and not look at any land listed by that dual role Buyer's Agent, Broker or the Real Estate Company they work for.

Looking at land listed by them or their company places them in a situation where they are the employee of the Seller and obligated to get the highest price possible for the Seller.

Thus they can not be a good Buyer's Agent or Broker when they are showing land they or their company has listed for sale.

They are placed in the position of supposedly getting the best price for both the Seller and the Buyer.

Since the Seller and the Buyer have different interests, it is impossible for a dual role Broker or Agent to fulfill his promise to both Buyer and Seller.

Typically, a Buyer’s Broker or Agent will have the Buyer sign a contract that states the Buyers Broker or Agent will look for land for the Buyer, negotiate the best sales price, and assist the Buyer throughout the process for a specified fee set out in the contract.

Not every area of the Country has Buyer’s Brokers or Agents.

If you employ a Buyer’s Broker or Agent, be certain that the contract spells out when and how they get paid and when and how you can be released of their services without having to pay them.

Beware of “exclusive” contracts with a Buyer’s Broker or Agent if you plan on seeing property shown by a regular Real Estate Professional who is not a Buyer’s Broker or Agent.

If Most Real Estate Agents Work For The Seller, How Do You Find A Buyer’s Agent?

How do you find a Buyer's Agent? You can do a search on the internet for "Buyer's Real Estate Agents" in the area you are looking for property.

One of the sad facts about looking for property is that there are not Buyer’s Agents in all areas of the country.

When they are present, they are not anywhere near as common as Seller’s Agents.

Remember, that any Real Estate Salesperson who takes listings from Sellers is an employee of the Seller and it is that Agents job to get the highest price possible for the Seller.

Caution: There are Real Estate Sales People who advertise as “working with buyers and sellers.” These agents are not a Buyer’s Agent!

In some States there is allowed dual role agents who can be both Buyer's Agents and Seller's Agents.

See the question above for a caution if using these dual role agents.

I am looking at an ad by a Real Estate Agent that says; “There are 760 Residential Listings available and only 110 have pending offers. buying or selling, let me represent you with your next transaction.”

This agent is not a Buyer’s Agent. He "represents" Buyer's but he is not a Buyer's Agent!

By his own admission he represents Sellers and because he represents Sellers he is always the employee of the seller in any transaction!

Did you notice the other piece of important information from his ad?

There are 760 Residential Listings and only 110 pending offers on 760 listings. He just told you that his area of the country is experiencing a Buyer’s Market where there are many more listings than there are Buyers!

What Is A Buyer's Market?

What is a Buyer's Market? A Buyer's Market is where there are many more properties listed for sale than there are Buyer's for those properties.

Following the rule of Supply and Demand, when the supply is much greater than the demand, the price drops.

So in a Buyer's Market the Buyer is in control and can offer a lower price for land than if the market was a Seller's Market where there were more Buyer's than properties for sale.

In a Seller's market the prices paid for property are higher because there are more Buyer's than Seller's and that keeps the price high.

Will Real Estate Agents Take Advantage Of You If You Ask Questions?

Will Real Estate Agents take advantage of you if you ask questions? This depends on factors such as the basic honesty of the agent, how badly he needs to make a sale and how they rate you in intelligence about the looking and buying process.

Like any profession, there are good agents, bad agents, and in-between agents. Your best protection against being taken advantage of is to be an educated Buyer of Real Estate.

What Do I Do When The Realtor Asks “What Do You Think?”

What to do when the Realtor asks "What do you think"? When the Realtor asks "What do you think" about the properties he/she is showing you, say something simple.

A good example to follow is “There are things about this property I like and there are things I don’t care for.”

Then keep on looking at that property or ask what other properties the Realtor has to show you.

Its best to always keep a cool and calm reserve when looking at property to buy.

Should I Work With More Than One Realtor At A Time?

Should I work with more than one Realtor at a time? I prefer to work with 2 or 3 Realtors at the same time for the following reasons:

  • You see a bigger variety of properties.
  • If one Realtor is not to your liking you can avoid working with that Realtor and still have Realtors to work with.
  • If you have some free time and one Realtor is not available when you are, chances are one of the other Realtors will be available.

A caution though when working with more than 1 Realtor; If you are about to be shown a property you have looked at with another Realtor, tell the Realtor who is getting ready to show you that property that you have already seen it.

Ask to be shown the other properties this Realtor has lined up for you to see.

Once I had a Realtor get upset and downright rude with me for using another Realtor and not him exclusively. That was his loss, I never used him again and cautioned others to avoid using him as well.

There is no law or regulation that requires you to only use a particular Realtor or that prevents you from changing Realtors if you so desire.

Realtors prefer that you only use one, them, but there is no law saying you have to use just one.

If Representative Agreements Exclusive How Do I Get Multiple Buyer’s Agents?

If Representative Agreements are exclusive how do I get multiple Buyer's Agents? Not all areas of the country have Agents that are exclusively Buyer’s Agents.

In most areas where they are located, there is just a small number of them-sometimes only one or two. Whether or not the contract with a Buyer’s Agent is “exclusive” will depend upon the contract language.

If there is only one Buyer’s Agent in an area, it doesn’t matter if it is exclusive. However, I’d check to see if an “Exclusive Buyer’s Agent Contract” prohibited me from using a regular Realtor if I choose to do so.

Be sure under what circumstances you can terminate an Exclusive Buyer's Agent Contract without having to pay any money.

Understand that if you later buy property that any Real Estate Agent, even one whose contract has expired showed you, you will most likely be liable to pay that Agent a fee. Courts rarely rule in favor of the Buyer in cases like this.

If A Buyer’s Agent Ends Up Not Working For Me, Can I Fire Him?

If a Buyer's Agent ends up not working for me, can I fire him? A contract with a Buyer's agent is usually for a specific period of time.

If nothing is found within that period of time you are usually released from the contracts terms.

A Caution; if you buy a property the Buyer’s agent showed you, even after the time period is over, you will owe the Buyer’s Agent his fee.

The Courts look upon this as an attempt to cheat an agent out of a commission and will award the Agent the fee, damages and usually his court costs and attorney fees as well.

RENTING BEFORE BUYING

Rent before buyingIs It A Good Idea To Rent Before Buying Property In An Area Of The Country You Are Not Familiar With?

Is it a good idea to rent before buying? Not only is it a good idea, the most savvy purchasers of country property rent for at least a year before purchasing in an area of the country they have never lived in before.

There are many reasons for this but I’ll only name three:

  • You get to learn what the area is like without having the chance of not liking the area and then having to try and sell to move away.
  • You get to learn about the growing season and what crops grow well and what crops don’t grow so well in that area.
  • You become “locals” and have a much better chance of learning about properties for sale that may not be listed with a Realtor.

  You are also considered “locals” by Realtors in the area and are treated differently than outsiders.

I have not known anyone who rented first, that was ever upset that they did not buy first. I do know several though who wished they had rented before buying!

Is It Possible To Rent A Country Homestead?

Is it possible to rent a country homestead? Yes, it is possible. You just have to look for that type of rental.

It would definitely give you a taste of homesteading without the large investment in case you were to decide it wasn’t for you.

How Does Renting Or Leasing Compare To Buying?

How does renting or leasing compare to buying? Renting or leasing gives you the opportunity to learn if you like the area.

If you decide it is not the area for you, you are not stuck trying to sell to move.

If you decide this is the area you really want to live in long-term and you are looking for property you are considered to be a “local.”

That makes it easier to find property not listed with a Realtor and Realtors treat locals different, better, than they treat those who are coming to the area.

Locals are considered to know more about the property values in the area and may know some of the history of the area.

Realtors tend to treat locals as more knowing more about the area. This means locals can get better deals because of their knowledge of the area and property values there.

MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS

How Far Should Utilities Be From The Property?

How far should utilities be from the property? In the ideal situation utilities should be close enough to the property that you can connect to them without paying a lot of money to do so.

In a rural area the utilities available may be limited to just electricity. How far away the power lines are will determine the cost to connect to them.

The charge varies depending on;

  • The State
  • The distance the electricity has to come from
  • Whether it is overhead or underground

I have a friend who is building on country acreage. He is bringing the electrical a mere 150 feet onto his property and it has to come in underground.

The charge from the electrical company for running the power lines 150 feet with my friend digging the trench and setting a meter base is well over $2,000!

Underground electrical cables used by an electrical company are copper cables with a special insulation that is rated for underground burial. The cable is not cheap!

If the power lines were to come in even only 150 feet it would require the setting of a power pole plus the electrical cables and would still cost around $1,000.

You may want to compare the cost of power coming to the property with the cost of a good solar electrical system with generator back-up for those times when it is overcast or the power is out for any reason.

What Is The Difference Between Country And Homestead Property?

What is the difference between country and homestead property? The difference between Country and Homestead Property is that Country Property can be just a small piece of land with a cabin or cottage on it. 

A homestead usually implies room for a garden, orchard or berry bushes and some animals.

A homestead is a place in the country where the owners live as independently as is possible.

A homestead can include a garden, orchard, berry patch, chicken pen and house, pasture for horses and cattle.

There can be fields for growing hay or wheat, a pond stocked with fish, a barn, shop, and other outbuildings, a root cellar, and even an off grid electrical system.

The difference is really one of degrees. A homestead is more like a self-sufficient or self-sustaining place to live.

Can You Purchase A Country Homestead From HUD?

Can you purchase a Country Homestead from HUD? There is a HUD Foreclosure website, HUD.com.

If there was any property suitable for a Country Homestead on that website it would probably be able to be financed with a HUD guarantee.

In order to find out anything on HUD.com you have to give a credit card number and pay a monthly fee to access it. There is a 7 day free trial before your credit card is charged a monthly fee.

If you find anything you are interested in you must submit a bid through a Realtor. You can not submit a bid without using a Realtor.

How Far Away From The Power Lines Should A House Be?

How far away from power lines should a house be? A house should be at least 1/4 mile in a straight line from High Tension Power Lines. If it is farther away that is even better.

High Tension Power Lines are connected to those big metal monsters that look almost like they are marching across the land.

If there is electrical company power to the house, the the house will be right next to a regular power line.

About The Author

John Brownlee

A retired Lawyer and Health Care Provider, he teaches people how to locate, evaluate, and purchase Country and Homestead Property. He and his wife, Linda, have taught hundreds of people how to suture wounds in an emergency. He teaches both Preparedness and Health Care Classes and has been a Presenter at Sustainable Preparedness Expos. He holds a General Ham Radio Operator's License.