Buying or selling property of any kind comes with a long list of considerations and requires extensive planning. In addition, the rural property presents significant differences from residential property, from their use cases to legal nuances.
So, if you’re considering entering Ohio’s rural property market as a buyer or seller, there are some essential factors to consider to achieve the most fruitful outcome.
The most important real estate rule is often the most overlooked. The location of your rural property can make or break its overall potential, depending on your long-term goals. Is being near a major city like Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati an important factor? Are you planning on cultivating land in an up-and-coming region of Ohio? Are there nearby amenities and public transportation?
Spend time researching prospective locations. Consider your goals for the property and list location-based factors that directly correlate with them. Don’t rush this step, as it’s the most pivotal.
Ohio zoning laws are lax if you plan to utilize your rural land for agriculture or a “farm market.” Generally speaking, agricultural activities are largely exempt from county and township zoning laws and authorities. In fact, in nearly all cases, land use that falls under the “agriculture” or “farm market” definitions is exempt from zoning implications.
There are only two cases in which agricultural activities fall under the authority of local zoning. The first case is if the lot is less than five acres in a subdivision with more than 15 lots. The second case comes into play if your parcel is less than an acre.
Tillable soil is every rural property’s prized possession. When scoping out potential rural properties, determining the soil quality should be one of your first steps. You can either request a recent soil test or have it retested. The best-case scenario is that a large percentage of the property is rich in nutrients with limited sand and clay, though a clay-loam soil type is considered ideal.
Two other important environmental factors are water availability and potential pollution risks.
Be on the lookout for conservation easements when evaluating rural Ohio properties. A conversation easement is an agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency to prevent land development. Instead, properties with easements are often permanently bound to conservation purposes, regardless of the intentions of future property owners. While arguably good for the environment by maintaining undisturbed land, conservation easements can drastically decrease the value and sales potential of the land.
It’s important to be aware of deed restrictions as well. Deed restrictions are limitations on how property owners can use their property. Often implemented and enforced by homeowners associations, deed restrictions can hamper a property’s future potential.
While difficult to predict perfectly, the market conditions seem fertile for buying and selling rural land in Ohio. The demand for rural land steadily grows as the average price received per acre across Ohio peaked in 2022. In fact, the cost per acre rose around 15% between 2020 and 2022, from $7,100 to $9,800, respectively.
Land sales across all categories are on the rise throughout Ohio. Many see the volatility in the stock market and rising land costs as a sign to invest in rural property assets. Rural land in Ohio is ideal for holding, leasing, parsing, developing, and flipping as demand ratchets higher.
The beauty of undeveloped rural land is that it’s often up to the vision and imagination of the property owner to unlock its full potential. There is a multitude of land use possibilities for rural properties, including:
Residential and commercial land is often used to develop homes, multifamily units, retail space, and office buildings. At the same time, plentiful agricultural land and timberland in Ohio are the slowest-growing land sectors.
The primary thing to remember is that available land is limited and getting bought up quickly. So, sellers can demand good prices while buyers make prudent investments, regardless of development plans.
Ohio also has fantastic farming potential, with nearly 45% of state lands categorized as premium farmland. On top of the agricultural opportunities, land-use and zoning laws are flexible and relaxed, providing land owners immense optionality.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ohio is centrally located to major cities in neighboring states and ranks toward the top of the list for affordable living and business.
Do you need legal help regarding land in Ohio? Give our team a call! 419.662.3100