When considering investing in vacant land or acreage, one potential cost that should not be overlooked is that of getting utilities to the rural property. This can be expensive, or relatively moderate, depending on a variety of factors. When looking at a particular property be sure to investigate how close the nearest electricity lines are to the property, if there is natural gas available, and whether there are any municipal water and sewer lines accessible.
The Process and Cost of Installing Power
The cost of installing power is contingent upon the process and location, but in most cases you should expect to spend $10,000 or more. The local utility company should be able to tell you where the nearest power lines are to the property you are considering. Do not depend upon the seller or their agent to give you a definite answer, although they may, if indeed power is already available on the property, or at the existing roadway where the driveway is or may be. Be wary of the ambiguous answer of “nearby.” Nearby is relative. It could mean right next door or quite a ways down the road.
Most utility companies will charge you for every foot they have to extend a line to your property and on your property. They should be able to provide an estimate for you even before you purchase a property, which could potentially influence whether that purchase is feasible.
You will also need to find out whether the lines are accessed from public property such as a roadway, or private property next door, in which case you will need the permission of that property owner to do so. Often, that is not a problem, but it could be which may be a red flag regarding the neighbors.
As with many today, you may be interested in investing in solar power. That’s a good idea, but you will still need access to the local power grid. Through solar, you may be able to generate more than you require and receive credits from the local power company.
Municipal Water or a Well
For many rural properties, municipal water is not available. Thus, you will need to rely on a well. Drilling a well is one expense, installing the equipment and holding tank is another. Try to find out how deep some more recently drilled wells in the area have gone. This can tell you how deep the groundwater table is and how deep your own well would need to be dug. If the land is in an area not rich with water, consider having your well dug even a bit deeper than the current need. Recent droughts have become a major problem for many private well owners, as well as municipal wells, and some have had to had their wells dug deeper which can be much more costly than adding some additional feet in the first place.
The power needed to recycle the well will depend upon the usage. A well for only a house does not require the power that one will need to irrigate crops. If you plan on doing farming, consider drilling two separate wells – one for personal use, and one for the farm.
If you do have access to municipal water, compare the cost of not only hook-up but monthly water bills versus the power to pump your own water.
Sewer Lines Versus a Private Septic Tank
If municipal water is available to a property, so is a sewer line. The choice of which to utilize often coincides with the water decision. If you use public water, you will use municipal sewer. If you need to build a private septic system, you will have to assure the lines are in a location clear of being driven upon or built upon. The septic system also requires a buffer area from the well and water lines.
With the modern age of satellite television, internet, and cell phones, getting access to these in even the most remote of areas generally is not a problem. Most likely you will even find companies bundling the cost of all three, and competing for your business with others. Find out what others in the area are using and feel is the most reliable and price effective.
Gaining access to utilities can be a major expense when purchasing rural land for a homestead, and/or a farm. It is a consideration that should be thoroughly investigated before the purchase of new property to assure that it is not only accessible, but affordable as well.
Buying rural land is not only about the asking price of the property, but the expenses of building up the property to your requirements, adding utilities, fencing, and more. And, don’t forget there are annual property taxes. Before you invest, consider all aspects of what you want, and what any particular property will need to meet your desires. Speak with experts in the field. Look around at the properties listed on Land Broker MLS and see what is available in the areas you are considering. Our co-op of broker listing offers an array of land properties in sizing, development, and locations for your consideration.