Updated: Nov 18, 2021
If you're selling a ranch, farm, or raw land in Texas, it's very important to have all your ducks in a row and have every data point you can imagine ready to present to a potential buyer. Every data point you have helps a potential buyer get to “yes”. We discuss the whole selling process in the video, but below you can find a exhaustive list of features and data that you would need to gather before getting started:
Acreage. How much land do you believe you are selling? Do you have a survey? If no is survey available, no worries, that can be ordered during the transaction. Having one is valuable however, as surveys can cost a few thousand dollars and can save the buyer $. If no survey is available, check the central appraisal’s website for an idea of acreage. Also, be cognizant of the $/acre you are asking on the assumed acreage. If the survey comes back more or less than advertised, be prepared. A good buyer’s agent will make an offer based on $/acre if there is no survey.
Location: How far is the property located from the nearest town? How far from a major city?
Ecoregion: It’s good to have an overall description for your write-up of your land type and what ecoregion it is characterized by. Knowing the Ecoregion will help define its characteristics, like annual precipitation, topography, soils, types of brush, trees, grass, and wildlife. You can find a general ecoregion map at https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/hunter-education/online-course/wildlife-conservation/texas-ecoregions. For a more thorough and granular look into each ecoregion, you can also visit: http://ecologicalregions.info/htm/pubs/TXeco_Jan08_v8_Cmprsd.pdf
If you need help identifying flora/fauna of the region www.inaturalist.org can help, https://rangeplants.tamu.edu/help-identify-my-plant is a great resource too. To help the property sell, it is good to identify the desirable wildlife and grasses.
Suitability: What is your land primarily used for? What is characteristic of the area? Do most people use the area for hunting? Farming? Ranching? What are the typical rates for hunting/ acre? Or grass leases per acre?
Soils Map: Always a good idea to identify what kind of soil is in your property. The NRCS has great mapping tool you can use. Visit https://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm and Start the WSS to map out your property and its soils.
Topography: How much total elevation change do you have in the area? You can pull up topo maps at https://apps.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ and subtract the lowest point from the highest point to get an overall elevation change for you ranch. Also, you can define boundary maps on https://txmap.nri.tamu.edu/ and generate a report with “land” selected, and the report will tell you elevation change, and even your ecoregion.
Major/Minor Aquifers: is your land located over a major or minor aquifer? You can find more information about Texas Aquifers at https://www-cdn.cctexas.com/sites/default/files/WAT-aquifer-twbd-report.pdf. If it is not, you may can find what resource the wells are pulling from by visiting the same link under "well reports" below.
Groundwater District: Is you land located in a regulated Groundwater Management area? What are its regulations? https://texasgroundwater.org/gma-map/ is a great way to find out. Well Reports: How many wells are on the property? What do they supply? How deep are the wells? What is the yield, gallons per minute? When’s the last time the pumps have been replaced? Most newer wells are now logged with TWDB. This info can be found at: https://www3.twdb.texas.gov/apps/WaterDataInteractive/GroundwaterDataViewer/?map=sdr
Water Features: Do you have any stock ponds on the property? Creeks? Rivers? Natural Springs? Are the creeks seasonal? Find out more about the water in your area using https://txmap.nri.tamu.edu/ and select water to generate water features in the area. Is there “city water” or any “rural water” supplied to your property?
Water rights: Some portions of Texas have had their water rights severed from their surface rights in Texas. Do you own the water rights to your property?
Irrigation: Do you have irrigated fields? If so, how man acres? Will the irrigation equipment convey?
Electricity: Do you have electricity to the property? If not, where’s the closest electric pole, and how much would it cost to bring electricity to your property? Will a buyer have to obtain an easement across a neighboring property to bring electricity to the property?
Gas/ propane: Is propane delivered to the property, or is it gas supplied by lines? Taxes/Ag exemption: How much are annual property taxes? Is there a current ag exemption in place?
Leases: Are there any current grass/grazing leases? Farming leases? Hunting Leases? Gas or oil leases? Water leases? Are they written or verbal agreements? How much income is made from these leases? When do they expire or renew?
Accessibility: Is there paved frontage to your property? Does it have county road frontage? If not, is there a recorded easement to access your property?
Easements: Is there an easement on your property? Maybe an easement so someone else can access their property, or a utility easement, or an oil and gas easement? Is it an oral agreement, or recorded?
Layout: What is the make up of your property? Are there cultivation fields? Canyons? A parcel with brush? How many acres do you have of fields? Is the ranch divided up in non-contiguous parcels? You can measure out a plot of land on Google Earth.
Minerals: How many mineral acres do you believe you own? Have they ever been severed from the land? What percentage of you owned mineral acres will convey with the surface sale? If there is production in the area, it may be worth hiring a landman or oil and gas attorney to find out just how many mineral acres you own.
Wind Rights: With wind turbines becoming a major income source in Texas as of late, it is important to ask if you want to sever the “wind rights” from your property and keep them. Are there large wind turbines in the area? If so, it may be worth reserving them. Will the wind rights convey with the property?
Improvements: What improvements are on the property that will convey? Some are obvious, like a fixed home, but others may be more ambiguous and should be advertised. For example accessories like: deer feeders/blinds, gates and chutes, overhead feeders and gas tanks, implements, portable buildings, irrigation equipment, sump pumps, corrals, troughs, etc. What comes with the sale of the property?
Fixture Leases: Are there fixture leases like solar panels, water softeners, propane tanks, or security systems on the property? Having these agreements will be helpful.
Fences: Are there boundary fences on the property? How new are they, and what condition are they in? Are there cross fences available for ranching? What is the quality of them?
Septic: Is there a septic on the property? Where are the leech lines located? How big is it? And when is the last time it has been pumped?
Restrictions: Are there deed restriction on the property? If so, do you have a copy to give to the buyer to research?
CRP? : Is the property enrolled in a CRP program? If so, when does it expire, and what does it pay? Copies of your agreements can be obtained from you local NRCS office.
Government Programs: Is the property enrolled in any government programs that would be inherited with the sale of the property?
Crops: Is there a crop on the property? Who will have the right to harvest it upon possession?