Blog & FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

Finding Help

Our Agents love to teach, here are a few blogs we have written about topics you might be interested in:  If you don’t find what you are looking for reach out to one of our agents and they area happy to help.

  • The problems confonting a home buyer are different from the problems facing a land buyer.  We are all fairly familiar with houses, most of us have lived in one. The land buying process is different and requires a different kind of expertise.
  • There are many types of land to choose from.  A good land agent knows a lot about the technical issues and can answer the following questions. Which type of soil will support my building pad? Is water availabile in the area? What kind of septic system do I need?
  • Land purchasing involves researching use issues as well.  A competent and motivated agent can find hidden liens on the property, restrictions, and be able to explain what state lawswill  affect you. Can you bring in a modular or mobile home? Can you split the land? Are horses, other domestic animals and/or livestock welcome there?
  • Land financing is different from financing a home. Most banks won’t lend on vacant land. An experienced agent will know which owners are willing to let you make monthly payments after a down payment and will most likely know investors in the area who might carry a note for you.

ELISE HARRON

“I did not set out to “become” a rural land specialist… I realized that I AM a Rural Land Specialist, and then I BECAME a Realtor!  So I already understand the development costs and hurdles of changing a rural piece of land into a homestead, a farm, or an escape property.”

“I have 18 years of experience building some of the largest Master Planned Communities in Las Vegas. I have built custom homes up to 13,000 sq ft.  I have installed 5kW to 12kW grid-tied Solar Systems and 2kW to 6.5kw off-grid Solar Systems.”

“I don’t want to “work” anymore – I want to drive around visiting with my new friends and neighbors, finding them the perfect property (or home) and providing them with a near perfect Escrow and Closing.  Being a realtor does NOT qualify as work for me.  Let’s see, I get paid to drive around to rural properties visiting with lots of new and unique people, I get the excitement of locating just the perfect property and see them smile as they have finally found “the ONE.”  ”

Land issues in Arizona are complicated, be sure to hire a land specialist to help you with your purchase. There is just too much to know.

  1. Elevation is the key to climate, vegetation, and type of view.
  2. Well water is pretty readily available from Kingman to the edge of Mohave County further east water gets very dicey and drilling may not be an option.
  3. Much of the Rural Zoning is AR36 (Agricultural/Rural with minimum sized parcels of 36 acres).  Some areas allow properties to be split and some don’t.
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What Type of Land Do You Want?

Dream about hunting birds have my breakfast spaghetti yarn for groom yourself 4 hours – checked, have your beauty sleep 18 hours – checked, be fabulous for the rest of the day.

What kind of rural Arizona land fits your particular needs.  What are you dreaming of?  Your plan for the land is the key to finding the unique parcel that will work for you.  Size, remoteness, terrain, soil, water, power, climate and the view are all things to be considered in looking for land.

How Big?  How much land would answer your needs?  Rural properties come in plots from under an acre to entire sections (640 acres). In the Kingman, Hackberry and Wikieup areas 36 to 40 acre parcels are the most common. Think about what you need for what you are dreaming of doing with it?
Windmill Ranch View

How Remote?  Rural Arizona land can be 5 miles from town or 70 miles away.  Think about how far you want to go for groceries, supplies, entertainment, and medical care?  Do you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle or do you want to be able to get in and out in your 2-wheel drive. Do you want to be a mile from a paved road or 6 miles?

What Does It Look Like? –– Land in Northern Arizona comes many varieties. Some lots are flat, sandy, open and treeless, some are sandy and very rough with rock formations and washes, some are heavily treed with juniper and pinion pines, some are rugged, mountainous properties with hidden streams and canyons and others are cool high parcels with huge Ponderosa Pines.

What is the Soil Like?  Is the land fertile enough to support that large garden you are thinking of?  Is it porous enough to allow for a traditional septic tank to be installed?  Is the soil stable enough to allow for a stable building pad. Is the well estimate affordable or quite high?
Willow Creek Ranch Entrance Canyon
Is Good Quality Water Available? Some areas have great drinking water close enough to the surface so that you can drill a well but in others you have to plan to haul your water from a community well or pay to have it delivered.

Is Power Close Enough to Tie to The Grid?  Don’t be fooled by the presense of electric lines near your parcel – some lines only transmit power. In many rural areas, especially on larger parcels, if you want power, you will have to install a gas generator, solar and/or wind power.

Is the Climate What You Want?  Many areas of Arizona are blessed with longer periods of mild weather so you will be able to enjoy your rural land for much of the year. Some areas are low and hot and some are high and cold in the winter.  Find out before you buy!

What Kind of View Entices You?  In some areas of Northern Arizona there are long open views from any parcel in an area, in others you have to find land on a hilltop to get a long vista, while others have trees and boulder views.

  •  Land issues in Arizona are complicated, be sure to hire a land specialist to help you with your purchase. There is just too much to know.
  •  Elevation is the key to climate, vegetation, and type of view.
  •  Well water is pretty readily available from Kingman to the edge of Mohave County further east water gets very dicey and drilling may not be an option.
  •  Much of the Rural Zoning is AR36 (Agricultural/Rural with minimum sized parcels of 36 acres).  Some areas allow properties to be split and some don’t.
types of land collage 5d36e5

Why Buy Land?

Dream about hunting birds have my breakfast spaghetti yarn for groom yourself 4 hours – checked, have your beauty sleep 18 hours – checked, be fabulous for the rest of the day.

THE PROS TO BUYING RURAL LAND

  • Affordability – Parcels of land in many rural areas of Arizona are still affordable! Land prices fell with the market in 2008 but have been slowly rising. In many cases you can find land with part of the work done.
  • Savings on Vacation and Family Trips – Instead of spending money for vacations every year, find an area you love and create an affordable vacation retreat or hunting camp, with or without RV hookups, a septic, a small solar system and a well. Your family can come back year after year.
  • Improve as You Can – Slowly improve the property by cutting in a drive, clearing a building site, putting in a septic system, drilling a well and then bringing in a structure. Eventually you can live on the land full time — working from home, homesteading, or retiring there building a sustainable life style.
  • Large Lots Furnish Peace & Privacy – In rural areas, parcels of 20 acres and more will give you the peace and privacy you crave.
  • Natural Beauty & Wildlife – Part of the year or full time, you will be surrounded by natural beauty and experience the seasons first hand.
  • Investment in Family’s Future – Buying rural land is an investment for your family’s future; your property can become an asset for your children and grandchildren and a natural spot for family get-togethers.

THE CONS TO BUYING RURAL LAND

  • No Guarantees – There are no guarantees that real estate prices will not decrease at a later date.
  • Not a Quick Cash Out – Land, unlike a CD or savings account normally takes some time to sell.
  • Buying a problem – The main problems people run into stem from not knowing enough about the land when they buy.  Buyers can end up with parcels with liens (charges against the property), land with no water available, rules about not spliting the property or forbidding the use they planned for. A real estate agent who specializes in land will not let you make those mistakes.
  1. Land issues in Arizona are complicated, be sure to hire a land specialist to help you with your purchase. There is just too much to know.
  2. Elevation is the key to climate, vegetation, and type of view.
  3. Well water is pretty readily available from Kingman to the edge of Mohave County further east water gets very dicey and drilling may not be an option.
  4. Much of the Rural Zoning is AR36 (Agricultural/Rural with minimum sized parcels of 36 acres).  Some areas allow properties to be split and some don’t.
Cedar Hills 3 16babf

Water

Water quality and availability on the land you buy is essential to enjoying your country acres. Water availability varies in Northern Arizona.  Some land supports sucessful drilling and some does not.  

  • When buying a home or land in the country, you need to know if there is an adequate quality water supply.
  • Have your agent get a Well Estimate before you buy. 
  1. Water availability varies across the northern part of Arizona (The Arizona Department of Water Management Well Map).  The dense red areas on the map show an abundance of wells with a dot for every on. Areas with few dots is how that water is deep and most residents haul water or pay to have it delivered. 
  2. Well water is pretty readily available from Kingman east to the edge of Mohave County, but once you enter Yavapai County the water table is much deeper and wells more expensive.
  3. Many communities there function on a shared well agreement where you can “haul water”  (aka “water haul properties”) to your homestead for a cost per gallon paid to the Property Owners’ Association. 
  4. Other areas rely on water delivery because their community may not have water or may not have made arrangements for shared water service.  This is vital information to know before buying your parcel.
  5. When you are contemplating purchasing land in Northern Arizona, the water situation will make a difference to your cost and your lifestyle.  Ask the following questions.
  6. Have the property owners around your prospective land drilled wells and found good water?
  7. At what depth?  How much did drilling their well cost them and who would they recommend?
  8. Is everyone around your prospective property hauling water from a community well?
  9. Are your potential neighbors paying to have their water delivered?
  10. With this information, a phone call to the water authority and to the Well Driller (or a couple) in your area, you will be able to come up with an answer you are comfortable with.
  11. Find out about the water situation before you buy your dream property!  
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Off-Grid Living

Dream about hunting birds have my breakfast spaghetti yarn for groom yourself 4 hours – checked, have your beauty sleep 18 hours – checked, be fabulous for the rest of the day.

On many rural properties, grid-tied electrical service is not available and alternatives must be used.  Don’t be fooled by seeing lines nearby, they may be transmission lines (like in the picture below), not distribution lines. Ask the electric provider in the area. That being said, it is becoming very common to have Solar power systems installed. New solar systems are great and more affordable than ever.

To find out if you could or would want to tie in to the grid near you? 

  • Look at where are the power lines in relationship to your parcel? What kind of lines are they?
  • If there are lines nearby, call the power company; they will have a cost formula for distance and the number of poles that will have to be added.
  • If there are not power poles running into your parcel and your neighbors have never had to look at “toothpick lines” in their view corridor, you may want to re-think a long extension!
  • There is a lot of interest in going green, installing solar systems in grid-tied areas. But in many rural settings, there is not much choice.
  • Wind power is too erratic, though it’s good for solar system back up. If you want to be able to pump the water up from your well, turn on your lights, use your computer and other electrical devices quietly without fuss generally you need to install solar.
  • A 30% Federal Tax Credit expires at the end of 2016.
  • Solar power is MUCH cheaper today and the technology is better. A relatively small Off-grid system with a backup generator will run you between $12 and $15K.  A very large off-grid system will get you into the $30K range.
  1. Not hiring a Licensed Contractor – electricity is dangerous!
  2. If your ground mounted panels are not on a metal frame it is installed WRONG.
  3. If your system is not grounded – it is installed WRONG.
  4. If your roof is not a snow load engineered roof and your panels are installed on your roof it may be installed WRONG.
  5. If your lead –acid batteries are not vented outside of the room they are in, it is installed WRONG.
  6. Direct Current (DC) is dangerous!  Alternating  Current (AC) will shock and throw you, Direct Current holds you and fries you. Very serious caution needs to be used – please hire a professional
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Soil

Rural Arizona land soil types vary greatly. Soil type has implication for building structures, for drilling a well, for gardening and for septic system installation. 

You could hire a soils engineer to evaluate the property you are interested in or you can have your rural agent find, in Arizona anyway, the original public report which has to be filed by the subdivider or developer of the land to see what soil anaysis is already reported.   If there is no compressive or expansive soil in the report, you can locate your building site where you want it.

The well driller will also consider the soil type when evaluating possible well sites. Sometimes the well can be stable with PVC and sometimes a steel casing is needed. The driller will furnish an estimate based on past wells in the area and let you know the best place to drill for water. Gardeners will also want to look at the soil and ask successful growers in the area about their experiences.

A perc test is performed when a licensed contractor sends an engineer or technician to your prospective property and locates the “spot” on the property where you are most likely to place your future septic system.  He then digs a precise hole of a specific depth and dimension.  He pours a measured amount of water into that hole and carefully observes with a stopwatch how long it takes for that water to “percolate” into the soil.  That’s why it is called a “perc test”. The results of your perc test tell you whether or not your soil drains well and whether you can or cannot have a traditional septic system. In our area of Northern Arizona that means you can either install the $5,500 traditional septic system or $7,000- $13,000 for a non-traditional septic system. 

  1. Land issues in Arizona are complicated, be sure to hire a land specialist to help you with your purchase. There is just too much to know.
  2. Elevation is the key to climate, vegetation, and type of view.
  3. Well water is pretty readily available from Kingman to the edge of Mohave County further east water gets very dicey and drilling may not be an option.
  4. Much of the Rural Zoning is AR36 (Agricultural/Rural with minimum sized parcels of 36 acres).  Some areas allow properties to be split and some don’
Windmill Ranch3 db49ee 1

Money Matters

Comparing land values takes a lot of knowledge. In Arizona, the distance to town, the size of parcels, the community, the topography, the possibility of water, the type of soil, legal and physical access all add or subtract from land values.

  • Ask your agent for a “comparative market analysis”.  A summary of what has been sold in the multiple listing service over the last period of time, usually 6 months to a year with land sales. That will tell you what the average cost per acre has been and will help you decide what you might want to offer.
  • Banks rarely finance purchases of vacant land. Land financing is different from financing a home.
  • Owner Carry. In our area, owners have been open to carrying the note for their properties. Over the last year, sellers have accepted offers with between 10% & 20% down and have agreed to carry at between 4.5% and 6% interest. All of this is negotiable after the buyer makes an offer.
  • Ask Your Agent.  An experienced land agent will know which owners are willing to let you make monthly payments after a down payment and may know investors in the area who might carry a note for you. Ask your agent if that’s what you want to do.
  1. Land issues in Arizona are complicated, be sure to hire a land specialist to help you with your purchase. There is just too much to know.
  2. Elevation is the key to climate, vegetation, and type of view.
  3. Well water is pretty readily available from Kingman to the edge of Mohave County further east water gets very dicey and drilling may not be an option.
  4. Much of the Rural Zoning is AR36 (Agricultural/Rural with minimum sized parcels of 36 acres).  Some areas allow properties to be split and some don’t.
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