How to Buy Land in Montana: Things You Need to Know

Located in the northern extreme of the western USA, Montana is a state that draws in millions of tourists interested in beautiful Rocky Mountains scenery and outdoor recreation activities. Indeed, so many people fall in love with Montana’s hunting land, lake fishing opportunities, and views that they have dreams of purchasing land in the state.

Why do you want to buy land in Montana?

If you’re looking for an unspoiled nature retreat, few states offer better real estate opportunities. Montana is one of the country’s most sparsely populated and underdeveloped states. What this state lacks in urban amenities it more than makes up for in wide open space, wildlife, and pristine mountain trails.

However, you don’t need to be a nature enthusiast to get the most out of a Montana property. Indeed, since Montana isn’t as industrialized as other regions, the land here is exceptional for farming and livestock. Agriculture is the top industry in Montana, and it’s easy to find a lot that will produce a wide variety of crops. Anyone who wants to invest in fertile farmland will find acreage in Montana to support plenty of cereal grains, vegetables, and crops. Montana also ranks high for its cattle and veal exports, which gives ranch owners even more ways to add value to their property.

Outside of livestock and agriculture, Montana has been gaining a reputation as one of the nation’s top tourist destinations. As mentioned above, millions visit central Montana annually to see this state’s splendor in sites like Jefferson River, Flathead Lake, and Montana’s islands. Property owners that offer beds and baths on a road within feet of big attractions could attract tourist revenue. A few cities to add to your Montana bucket list might include:

Although Montana is one of the least populous states in the United States, it has a wealth of industries and activities for people to explore. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “rancher,” you’d be surprised at how many reasons there are to become a Montana landowner.

What kind of land is available in the state of Montana?

Most geologists split Montana into two major regions. In the west, you’ll find most of Montana’s soaring mountains in Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, and Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. However, as you travel east, you’ll notice Montana is mainly composed of badlands, hills, and prairies. Therefore, people more interested in farming or ranching in Montana tend to focus on the center, south, and eastern counties.

Currently, a few of the most popular territories for Montana farmers include the following:

While Montana isn’t as industrialized as other US states, you can find many modern amenities in cities like Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Philipsburg, Kalispell, Bozeman, and Butte. Just remember that “big cities” in Montana usually have fewer than 100,000 people.

So, no matter where you purchase an acre of land in Montana, you should expect it to be rugged and rural. Although there are many modern properties in Montana’s larger cities, they probably will be more rustic than what you’re used to in more populated US states.

What is involved when buying land in this state?

Since Montana isn’t as developed as other states, buying land here can present a few unique issues. Property lines may not be as well-defined, and locals may claim land in a vast pasture without proper legal paperwork. If you’re going to buy land in Montana, you need to be prepared to inspect your acres and establish a relationship with people in the surrounding area. You must also work with the proper legal channels to claim the territory you want.

Working with a land broker familiar with Montana’s zoning laws is beneficial. Anyone new to the Montana land market should consider working with a professional realtor, broker, agent who can explain the unique legal aspects of claiming a piece of Big Sky Country.

If you’re unsure where to begin your search for Montana land listings, here’s a shortlist of the most popular counties in the state:

Montana land benefits

Benefits of Montana Ranch Land

Montana is a haven for anyone who has an adventurous & outdoorsy spirit. There are countless heart-pumping opportunities like high-elevation hiking, mountain biking, fishing for bass and catfish in lakes and ponds, riding on horses, wildlife viewing, and hunting spread throughout the state. A few of the top game animals in Montana include elk, ducks, and deer. People who are most interested in getting away from the “hustle & bustle” of modern life will feel right at home with drives on Montana’s open roads, passing by the prairie landscape, and soaking in the idyllic mountain scenery.

While many people built a Montana home to take advantage of this state’s great outdoors, there are many commercial opportunities. Agriculture and livestock are of central importance to the Montana economy. People who want to farm crops like wheat, beets, apple, cherries, hay, and barley will find plenty of fertile fields and lots to make use of. Montana is also one of the nation’s top exporters of veal and cattle. Outside of agriculture, Montana is still a major center for oil refineries, lumber and timber, and coal mining.

While Montana doesn’t have the biggest cities in the USA, it has been attracting many working professionals and families to more populated areas like Billings. Many people in Montana work in the state’s booming tourism industry, which welcomes roughly 12.5 million people yearly. Visitors come from around the world to enjoy Montana’s scenery and taste some craft beer in its fine dining scene. People who lease properties with cozy bedrooms and baths in Montana could take advantage of this tourist traffic.

Are there risks to buying land in MT?

If you’re going to buy land in Montana, you have to account for this state’s bitterly cold winters. Temperatures can reach as low as – 50° F in mountainous regions, and snowfall averages are around 20 inches in most regions. Those unprepared for frigid conditions, ice, and potential snow damage aren’t the best fit for Montana ranches and farms.

Those who purchase land in Montana should also remember this state is one of the least populated in the USA. People who love large crowds, nightlife, and hot entertainment will only find a few opportunities for interaction in this state. Also, new homeowners should recognize Montana is one of the least diverse states in the USA.

Is buying land in Montana a good investment?

The cost of land in Montana has significantly increased over the past decade. While past price performance can’t predict the future, Montana has many attractive features for investors. In addition to its robust agriculture, livestock, and mining industries, Montana is fast becoming a dream tourist destination. If these data trends continue, a Montana listing could increase to a high price, especially if Montana attracts thousands more businesses and homebuyers in the future.

How to finance the purchase of land in MT?

People who purchase land in Montana often work with a local bank to acquire a lot loan. While this is the most popular way to finance a land parcel purchase in Montana, there are dozens of other options depending on your situation. Typically, Montana land brokers have the most up-to-date details on land financing options so you could figure out the best choice for your needs. Working with a Farm Credit is also a good solution to consider.

What are the tax implications of buying land in the great state of  Montana?

While Montana isn’t tax-free, it has many attractive tax policies for those who purchase land in the state. For instance, Montana has a graduated income tax and a corporate tax rate capped at 6.75%. The property tax in Montana is now set at 0.83%. Lastly, Montana is famous for being one of the few states in the USA with zero sales tax.

Please keep in mind that tax laws are constantly changing in the US. Although Montana’s tax policies often rank as some of the most desirable in the country, these percentages aren’t set in stone. It’s best to check the taxation policies in your Montana county for current information.

What should you consider before buying land in Montana?

Since many areas in Montana are sparsely populated and less industrialized, you need to figure out the water situation in your land. For instance, can you build a well on your property? Also, what are the zoning and septic system permitting laws? These restrictions will influence whether you can add bathrooms to homes on your land site.

For those who are interested in growing in Montana, consider your plot’s soil quality. Also, be sure to figure out all of the significant weather hazards in your areas. Have a plan beforehand to handle Montana’s extreme temperature fluctuations, especially its frigid winter season. Real estate agents often help give you an idea of whether the land for sale in your location has any special considerations.

You should also consider how far of a drive emergency services are from your property. Since Montana’s size is so large and there are so few houses here, you may not have easy access to a hospital, police force, or even a community center on your county road. Be sure to consider these safety risks before choosing the region you want to buy land on a map of Montana.