Thanks for joining me on part two of Beginners Checklist for Hobby Ranchers and Farmers. We’re going to discuss septic systems, utilities, insurance and outbuildings – fun and important topics! I encourage you to take a few minutes and read the points below, I promise you’ll learn a thing or two!
1. Septic Systems
I hear some of you moaning. I did the same. A few years ago I decided to attend an all day class on septic systems. I remember thinking to myself, “oh boy, this class is gonna be a real stinker!” Well, was I so wrong. I was fascinated and amazed on how simple, efficient and practical they are. The class blew me away and I walked out a convert and believer and I thought, “heck, everyone should have a septic system!”
So here it goes. An onsite tank, usually 750 to 1500 gallons, receives the waste water and solids. The effluent is treated naturally by bacterial and other microorganism action in the tank. The effluent discharge then moves to a drain field where it is absorbed. The entire process is natural, organic and safe.
If you plan on buying a property with a septic system, most counties along the Front Range require that the seller provide a “septic use permit” or an “acceptance document for waste system transfer.” This permit provided by the seller in essence gives the buyer notice that the system has been cleaned, inspected and necessary repairs made to ensure a fully functioning system.
Now this is a boring subject! Boring but necessary! Insuring a property on acreage can be a bit more challenging and expensive. One of the greater concerns is the risk of fire. Things to consider are trees “lollopped” (meaning branches trimmed up to 10 foot minimum), is there defensible space around the home (usually a minimum of 30 ft), distance to fire department, and density of the trees. Insurance companies use a rating system to access fire risk and then price the premium accordingly.
Construction materials used in the home, age of the home, unique or extraordinary aspects of the home, outbuildings, and proximity to a creek or other water source are all additional criteria used to establish an annual premium. In some instances, extended coverage may be appropriate.
If you are purchasing raw land, and utilities are not in place, read on. All others, skip to the next point.
Power is often taken for granted. When buying raw land, you have a number of options. You may consider solar, natural gas, propane, and even geothermal can meet some of your homes power needs. If you plan to use commercial power, then it’s important to understand the costs associated with bringing power from the edge of the property to the building site. Naturally, the greater the distance, the greater the cost. Be sure to build in enough time during the due diligence period to get an estimate from the local power company.
You may also want to consider back up power with a whole house generator that can be initiated, should you lose power to the home.
4. Barns and Outbuildings
Barns and outbuildings come in all sizes, shapes and condition. When inspecting, look for the following:
• Damages caused by kicking from horses or other livestock
• Excessive manure
• Excessive dust (originating from hay)
• Exposed nails, sharp edges
• Poor electrical condition (sub-panels, outlets, exposed wiring and extension cords)
• Is there sufficient ventilation?
• Is there enough room for the type of livestock you plan on raising?
• How about shade?
• Are there any possible fire hazards?
• How is the lighting?
• Are the roof, siding and doors in good working order?
So much more can be said about barns and outbuildings. I suggest you consider hiring a contractor, farmer/rancher or home inspector to help in evaluating the existing buildings on your property.
As a local Realtor selling and buying equine and acreage properties, feel free to contact me anytime! It’s my job…but what I love to do!