What to Know Before Buying a Home on Acreage - Twin Cities NW Metro Life

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What to Know Before Buying a Home on Acreage

Is your dream home on a large lot with privacy and great views? The dream is attainable, especially in the Twin Cities NW Metro, at most price points, but buying a home on acreage involves a few more steps to protect your interests than buying a home on a typical city lot.

Here are a few things to know before buying a home on acreage:

Get a copy of the survey or plat map.

The seller or their agent should be able to provide a survey or plat of the property, so that you are clear where the lot lines are. If it’s not clear, you might ask the seller to have the corners marked.  This is especially important if the home is not in a newer neighborhood, because often times in the past multiple parcels were owned by the same person, and they may have built an outbuilding or driveway overlapping two separate parcels. This can become a problem in the future if there is not some type of agreement between property owners.  If the seller cannot provide a survey, you might want to order one as a contingency before moving ahead with the purchase.

Research any Easements or Variances

Be aware of any easements or variances on the property. A utility easement is normal for most properties, however on larger parcels there are other types of easements. For example, if there is a shared driveway or shared access to the property, there will typically be a legal agreement directing who is responsible for repairs, snow removal and any other common issues. These should be recorded with the county and will show up in the title work.

On larger parcels, you may want to check with the city to see if there are additional building entitlements on the property in case you wish to split up the parcel in the future. You can also check with the local government to see if you are able to have horses and other livestock at the property. While the city of Minneapolis allows homeowners to raise chickens, you might be surprised to know how many rural suburbs do not allow it!

Have the seller provide a Certificate of Compliance for the Septic System

Many homes on acreage are not connected to a sewer system, so they have a septic system for waste removal. These systems can fail, so you want to be aware of the condition of the system before you buy. A “certificate of compliance” is provided by a licensed septic inspector and the compliance is good for 2-3 years depending on the County. If the home does not have a current certificate, we recommend your offer have a contingency that requires that the seller provide the certificate of compliance. If the system is non-compliant, the seller will likely need to repair or replace the system. Some small acreage developments have a common system that is maintained by an association. This may still require certification. Once you own the property, you will need to have the system pumped as directed by the city, county or township, but you typically will not need to re certify the system until you are ready to sell.

Have the seller provide a Well Water Test

Most lenders will require that the well water be tested before they will approve the loan. This is another contingency in the purchase agreement that you can ask the seller to take care of.

Find out what Utilities are available at the Property

A rural property may not have access to natural gas lines, and may have a propane tank for propane fuel instead. If you work from home, high speed internet may be very important to you, so make sure it is available at the property. All of this research can be done before writing an offer or during the inspection period.

NW Metro Homes for Sale with Acreage:

Contact your NW Metro expert Myra Jensen at BRIX Real Estate for help finding and purchasing a NW Metro Home with Acreage or email me at [email protected] if you would like to receive daily listing updates.

Myra Jensen

Myra Jensen

I'm Myra Jensen, lifestyle blogger and Realtor at BRIX Real Estate. I live and work in the Twin Cities NW Metro and love everything this beautiful area has to offer. If you live in the NW Metro or are thinking about moving here, you have come to the right place! Stay up to date with NW Metro, Events, Restaurants, Outdoors, Real Estate and more!


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