Tips for Buying Land at Ranch Auctions

For those who were born to live off the land, the desire to have a ranch can be intense. Anyone can buy land at Ranch auctions by following four steps.

  • Be realistic and honest about the budget needed to support the farm or ranch and the family and about how that money will be earned
  • Do research on the land and the general area to ensure it meets the buyer’s needs
  • Be willing to alter timetables
  • Find out what mortgage lenders require and get things in order.

Below, prospective bidders at farm and ranch auctions will get some tips on looking for their next piece of land.

Where to Start the Search

The USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that most new ranchers rely on other income sources. If a buyer’s plan includes that sort of income, they’ll need to find a job, decide how they’ll commute, and buy land accordingly. If a new rancher decides to sell some of the meat they raise, they’ll need to determine whether the customer base is sufficiently large and how they’ll make sales, such as through farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture programs. The search can be narrowed by determining which areas have the best employment prospects, markets for farm or ranch products, and farm and ranch support services.

Creating a Ranch Marketing Plan

A solid marketing plan is the cornerstone of a successful sale at Colorado ranch auctions. There is an abundance of great resources for marketers, which can help the seller get maximum exposure for their farm or ranch. These resources will give ranchers and farmers an idea of their marketing options, and they’ll provide valuable tips on business planning as well. With the right research, a property owner will provide the best opportunity to maximize the selling price of their property and will also help potential buyers locate property that matches their needs.

Evaluating the Land

Now that a potential bidder knows where they’re looking, it is time to start looking for auctions such as Wyoming ranch auctions. Not all properties are listed online. Even in the digital age, much of the rural land is sold without advertisements. Call a local real estate agent and ask around at local businesses frequented by farmers and ranchers to determine who may be willing to sell. When inspecting properties, be sure to ask the right questions – and don’t rely on sellers’ or agents’ answers.

  • Is there enough clean water to meet the family’s and the farm’s needs?
  • Can the soil be farmed?
  • Are utilities, fences, and buildings in working order? If not, how much money and time will improvements require?

Before making a bid, check out the area. If it’s not local, take a trip to view potential properties. Subscribe to local papers, talk to neighbors, and look at the area on Google Earth. Landowner maps, sometimes known as plat maps, show property lines and identify owners of large parcels of land. They are worth the asking price if a buyer is serious about bidding on California ranch auctions.

Getting the Money to Make a Bid on Farmland

There are conventional avenues to investigate for borrowing money including relatives, a self-financing landowner, the government, or a commercial lending institution. For many buyers, a combination of several lending sources is needed.

  • Looking like a good risk. Because lenders are mainly interested in the chances of getting their money back, including interest, the bidder’s job is to prove they’re a viable risk. To determine what lenders look for in a borrower, check out publications from the Land Stewardship Project and resources from the NSAIS.
  • Using government-backed programs. Several loan and grant programs help new farmers buy land. Most are handled through one of three agencies: the Farm Service Agency, the Farm Credit Administration, or USDA Rural Development.

Think Outside the Box

If a person has no experience, no money, no employment, and no appeal to lenders, it is still possible to buy farm or ranch land. Start by getting a farm internship. The NSAIS website has a national internship list. Regional and state agricultural organization websites have other opportunities, and there are ways to get unpaid and paid apprenticeships on farms around the country.

Enroll in sustainable farming classes that include business aspects of ranching and farming. These may be had through local sustainability organizations or regional groups, through state universities and extension offices, or through private schools. The USDA keeps a list of schools offering programs on sustainable agriculture.

Review listings of foreclosed properties at county tax offices, with local banks, and online. If a buyer goes this route, they should learn how auctions work to avoid many of the potential risks of buying a foreclosed property. In many areas, farmland is too expensive for a first-time farmer. Here, renting or leasing land is a viable option. Check online classifieds and other sites for listings or use the landowner map referenced in the section above to directly contact a landowner. Check out the National Farm Transition Network’s programs that connect retiring ranchers with up-and-comers. Finally, a group of beginning farmers can get together, pool their resources, and buy an otherwise unaffordable piece of land.

In Closing

There are many paths to land ownership, and Ranch auctions are one of the most popular. These auctions often allow new ranchers and farmers to buy land, which makes it easier for a buyer to get their start. However, there are factors to consider before making a bid. By following the tips above, a new rancher can make his or her investment a successful one.