With its beautiful ranch properties, rolling hills and hardy pine forests, Texas is an ideal place to buy land.
But finding the perfect property is just the beginning of the land buying process. In order to know how to buy land in Texas, there are a number of state-specific trends and regulations to understand.
Here are the answers to some common questions Texas land buyers ask:
What does rural land in Texas typically cost?
It's wise to keep in mind that land values can vary vastly depending on features of the specific property you're considering, such as location, access, special amenities and natural features. However, the Real Estate Center of Texas A&M University has a website dedicated to data on purchasing rural land in Texas, including average pricing data, at this link. You can use the tool to research the cost of land in Texas, with a database of past price trends in the region where you’re looking for land.
According to the current data on the website, these are the 2015 median prices-per-acre for Texas’s seven Land Market Regions:
Austin-Waco-Hill Country: $3,251
Far West Texas: $922
Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom: $5,683
Northeast Texas: $3,378
Panhandle and South Plains: $1,084
South Texas: $3,321
West Texas: $1,393
How long does it take to purchase land in Texas?
Once you make an offer on a property, there are several required steps before you can close on it:
Survey: A boundary survey, which must be performed by a registered land surveyor, will confirm the acreage of the land, confirm where the property boundaries are, and determine whether there are any encroachments on the property. (Note: There are rare instances when a survey is not needed, for instance, if there is a former legal description available.)
Title policy: A title policy is a one-time expense that will ensure you are protected if someone else tries to claim they own the land after you purchase it. The title company will research, for example, whether there are any liens on the property and confirm that the seller truly owns it.
Appraisal: An appraisal, required by lenders, will determine the value of the property to ensure the purchase price is appropriate. For smaller loans (less than $250,000), your lender may use an in-house appraiser to determine the value. Federal law requires that you use a state-certified appraiser for purchases above $250,000.
Possibly a timber inventory: If you’re buying timberland, a timber inventory will determine how much timber is on the property and give you an estimated value
Do mineral rights come with my Texas property?
Typically in Texas, mineral rights have been severed from the property and there is no need for further digging.
But if you’re concerned and want to know for sure, how do you find out if your property has mineral rights? The property's title commitment may identify someone who conveyed the rights to the minerals beneath the land, but it's not failproof. And even if the deed conveys mineral rights, there may be a previous landowner who reserved the rights, which would trump what the deed says.
The only way to know for sure if a property has mineral rights is to hire a professional landman to conduct an intensive mineral title search, which can be costly. You can find a landman by contacting the American Association of Professional Landmen.
So what does it mean to the land buyer if mineral rights are not included? If the property is small, in the 40 acres or less range, it probably won't mean much.
"People worry that a company will put a well on their property. They could, but they're more likely to go to a larger landowner who has 100s of acres," Stout says, explaining it’s better for the company’s operations.
If a company does install a well to drill on the property, it will typically compensate the landowner for surface damage, Stout says.
How do I get utilities on a remote rural property in Texas?
A: Even recreational land buyers, who only want to use their property for outdoor recreation, ATVing or RVing typically want to at least have electricity on their land, Stout says. To get it, you first need to find out who the provider is for the area surrounding the property.
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