We looked at land this past weekend, potential future homestead sites for us, and I realized how little I know about agriculture, land, home-siting…and pretty much anything else connected with these. For instance:
1. The land is 15 acres, we are told
But the land is not really fenced, except by properties around it, some far off, that have their own places fenced. So we don’t know how much land, exactly, is included in this plot.
I figured out sometime back that an acre is about 70 yards by 70 yards. I think that is helpful, as I can take 70 big steps and then square it and gauge how big an acre is. But try multiplying that visually in my mind by 15 and it didn’t give me a good idea of how much land 15 acres really is.
Katie and I spent about ten minutes trying to cogitate on this to see if we could make an educated guess of the property’s extents. But in the end we gave up and I called our realtor to ask their realtor just how big this land is.
2. The land slopes down to a valley and back out
Is it too sloped though? For building a house? For plowing a field? For digging a pond? On the one hand it doesn’t seem that sloped but then from another angle it does. What should be the most important considerations with sloped land? Erosion? Home-siting? General usability? Cows not being able to navigate it? Tractors tipping over on it? I have no clue.
3. There’s a (currently) dry creek that runs through the property
Is that good or bad? When it rains, does it become a raging river? Does it make large areas of the land unbuildable due to flooding? Can we dam it or make a pond at one end to capture much of that water and use it for animal or garden/crop watering?
4. Is the land arable/cultivatable?
I got some help from Kevin on this question. He said to check the soil depth and whether there are lots of rocks on the land. We don’t plan to be large-scale farmers, just homestead and have a big garden, but we would like the option in the future of experimenting with planting a few acres of wheat or oats, and so we would prefer a place where that was a possibility.
5. Mineral rights
What if these only “partially” convey? What do we need to watch out for? The worst case scenario I have heard is that a big oil company comes in and rips up your land and puts a big ol’ oil well right on your property. What are the different mineral rights and is it possible to buy all of them back?
6. All the other stuff we don’t even know we don’t know
My plan: to take videos of the land and post there here so you can help me out!
If you have ideas or resources or experience on these questions, do comment and let me know.