Pros and Cons of Buying Land in Texas

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Pros and Cons of Buying Land in Texas
By

Bart Waldon

Texas dazzles with its sheer size and diversity. This sweeping landscape encompasses pine forests, prairies, deserts, and a magnificent coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Though thoroughly modern economically, that independent Texas spirit still runs deep. Contemporary swagger blends seamlessly with Mexican, Southern, and Western influences in this cultural cauldron. Whether two-stepping in Luckenbach or marveling at the Houston Space Center, adventure awaits around every corner. And with booming metropolises like Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, you'll find equal parts cosmopolitan energy and down home charm. Indeed, Texas makes a Texas-sized impression.

In the Lone Star State, opportunities abound for land buyers. A flourishing economy and business-friendly policies entice investors, while small town charm and natural beauty call to those seeking space. But navigating the Texas property market brings challenges too. By understanding both the pros and cons, buyers can make informed decisions when purchasing land here. With proper research and eyes wide open, the possibilities are as vast as a West Texas sunset.

The Advantages of Buying Land in Texas

Plentiful Land Availability

Texas spreads out as far as the eye can see, with ample land ready for purchase. As the largest contiguous state, it spans over 268,000 square miles of wide open possibility. You name the property type - small residential plots, sprawling ranch land, undeveloped swaths ripe for investment - and you’ll find it here in Texas. 

With such plentiful availability, the Lone Star State makes property dreams attainable. Whether you seek land for farming, building, or just breathing room, Texas has the perfect parcel awaiting you at the right price. Just gaze out across the sweeping landscape, and you’ll understand why they say the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.

Strong Economic Growth

The Texas economy fires on all cylinders thanks to robust job growth and folks flocking here from all over. Major urban hotspots like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston outpace the rest of the nation with their economic engines revved up full throttle. This success draws even more businesses and residents to the Lone Star State, kicking real estate demand into overdrive. For investors, rapid expansion across Texas drives excellent potential returns in flourishing areas. The future looks bright as the statewide economy shifts into an even higher gear.

No State Income Tax

Texas gives your wallet a reason to smile as one of only nine states with no income tax. Here, you get to keep every hard-earned dollar in your pocket since the Lone Star State won't take a cut. Your earnings, investment income, and capital gains go further without that state tax bite. This tax perk makes property ownership especially attractive in Texas. So breathe easy when tax day rolls around, knowing you get to hang on to more of your money in this state.

Lower Property Taxes

While certainly not non-existent, property taxes in Texas won't break the bank compared to most states. Texas comes in at 34th nationwide for rates, making land ownership here more budget-friendly. Property tax burdens could be worse, so Texas manages to keep it relatively light. We'll take what we can get! Sure beats states cranking up those tax rates sky high. All said, Texas property taxes are reasonable enough to not deter folks from planting roots here.

Business-Friendly Environment

Texas rolls out the red carpet for businesses with low taxes and easy regulations. This business-friendly environment fuels job growth as companies flock from less welcoming states. For land investors, the Lone Star State makes it simple to develop properties or launch new ventures. With bureaucratic obstacles largely out of the way, entrepreneurs can hit the ground running. So if you're looking to hang your shingle in a place where it's smooth sailing, Texas keeps the tape untangled. The economic engine purrs here thanks to business-friendly policies that draw folks itching to get their enterprises up and running.

Recreational Opportunities

The Texas landscape beckons adventure far and wide. Pristine hill country, Gulf Coast beaches, you name it - the terrain here is an outdoor enthusiast's playground. Endless opportunities from hiking to fishing to birdwatching await on private lands across Texas. For those inclined toward rural viticulture, the state's flourishing wine region presents plenty of possibilities too. The Lone Star State offers nature's bounty whether you seek forests, rivers, or vineyards on a tranquil piece of land to call your own.

The Potential Drawbacks of Buying Texas Land

Hot Real Estate Market

The thriving Texas economy and growing population have fueled increasing real estate demand. In many areas, the market is competitive with multiple buyers bidding on properties. For buyers, this means having to act quickly on a property you want and likely paying top dollar. However, a hot real estate market can work to the advantage of sellers.

Complex Water Rights

Water access is critical for many land uses but navigating water rights in Texas can be difficult. The state uses a dual system of riparian rights and prior appropriation, and water rights stay with the land. It’s important to research the water rights attached to any land purchase. In drier rural areas, lack of guaranteed water access makes irrigation difficult for farmers and ranchers.

Oil, Gas and Mineral Rights

In Texas, mineral rights often are separate from surface land rights, so you may not obtain rights to any underlying oil, gas or minerals when purchasing land. This could limit what you can do with the property in the future, so reviewing these rights is an important part of any land transaction.

Property Taxes

While Texas has lower property taxes than many states, the actual tax rates vary significantly by county. In some areas, property taxes still represent a sizable expense of owning land. Make sure to understand the property tax rate in the specific area you are considering.

Urban Sprawl

The rapid growth of Texas metro areas leads to urban sprawl, as suburbs expand into previously undeveloped land. For properties near cities, rural character can change quickly as suburbs encroach. Loss of open space and increased traffic are downsides of Texas’ population boom.

Vulnerability to Drought

Large swathes of Texas are vulnerable to drought, reducing groundwater supply and damaging agriculture. Droughts, like the historic multi-year dry spell from 2010-2015, can impact land prices and uses. However, Texans are accustomed to drought cycles and most land rebounds after rains return.

Hurricane Risk in Coastal Areas

Texas has hundreds of miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico, but that makes coastal areas susceptible to hurricane damage. Hurricanes and tropical storms regularly hit the Texas coast, bringing high winds, storm surge and flooding. Land along the coast comes with greater risk of storm impacts. Inland areas are less exposed to hurricane impacts.

Key Factors to Research Before Buying Texas Land

Purchasing land in Texas is nuanced, so conduct thorough research before buying:

Water rights - Ensure you understand water rights for irrigation, livestock, etc. Surface and groundwater access is crucial.

Mineral rights – Don’t assume mineral rights are included; review ownership carefully.

Easements and right-of-ways – Check for utility, roadway or other easements that may limit use.

Permitting - Research regulations on land development and construction.

Terrain - Consider topography, vegetation, susceptibility to erosion and drainage.

Soil quality - Assess soil productivity for farming and drainage capacity.

Natural hazards - Check susceptibility to flooding, wildfire, drought and other risks.

Thorough due diligence allows you to buy smarter. Consulting with local real estate professionals and attorneys can provide useful perspective on these factors.

Is Buying Land in Texas Right for You?

The large size and dynamic economy of Texas provide appealing opportunities for land buyers. However, downsides like hot real estate markets and complex water rights also exist. Before purchasing land in Texas, carefully consider:

  • Your intended use – What do you want to do with the land?
  • Budget – What can you afford in the current market?
  • Location – Research areas matching your goals; visit top choices in person.
  • Market conditions – Is the local real estate market favorable for buyers or sellers?
  • Tax implications – Understand property taxes and estate taxes if passing land to heirs.
  • Timeframe – Are you looking for a short-term or long-term land investment?

With proper planning and research, buying land in many parts of Texas can be a smart investment. But approach any major purchase carefully. Seek expert input to make the most informed decision possible. With its dynamic economy and abundance of wide open spaces, Texas offers motivated land buyers many exciting possibilities if you enter the market prepared.

How a Land Company Can Assist Purchasing Texas Property

Partnering with an experienced land company simplifies buying rural land in Texas. Land companies provide valuable expertise and convenience:

  • Market Knowledge - Established land professionals understand local property values, demand drivers, and current listings for sale. They track suitable parcels and can advise if a property is priced appropriately.
  • Handling Negotiations - Land agents act as an intermediary to negotiate offers and counteroffers. They work to represent your interests and get the best price.
  • Navigating Legal Matters - Companies handle paperwork like title searches and deed transfers required in real estate deals. Their familiarity with regulations aids the closing process.
  • Access to Financing - Some land companies offer in-house financing or relationships with lenders that facilitate land acquisition.
  • Ongoing Property Management - Land professionals can oversee leasing agreements, maintenance, taxes and more for a hands-off landownership experience.

With deep knowledge of the local land market, land companies simplify the search and transaction process for buyers. Their expertise and services are valuable in negotiating Texas' complex property landscape.

Final Words

Buying vacant land in Texas has many potential rewards, but also risks to weigh. While plentiful land availability, economic strength and low taxes make Texas enticing, challenges like water rights, mineral rights and natural disasters exist. Doing thorough research enables buyers to maximize opportunities while mitigating limitations. Partnering with experienced land professionals streamlines the search and buying process. For buyers willing to learn the landscape, both literally and figuratively, owning a piece of Texas can be a worthwhile endeavor with proper planning and guidance. With its dynamic mix of natural beauty and economic promise, the Lone Star State will continue attracting investors to its bountiful land.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are average land prices per acre in Texas?

Land prices vary dramatically based on location, terrain, existing infrastructure and other factors. As a baseline, average prices per acre range from around $2,000 - $3,000 in rural areas to $10,000+ for land near major cities.

How much are property taxes on land in Texas?

Property tax rates differ by county, but are generally 1-2% of assessed value. Overall, Texas has lower property taxes than many states. Expect to pay a few hundred to a few thousand in annual taxes per acre.

What types of land are best for development and building?

Relatively flat, cleared land with access to utilities and transportation is best for construction. Soil quality and drainage capacity also affect buildability. Research zoning and permitting requirements too.

Can I finance a land purchase in Texas?

Yes, financing is available, typically with a 20-50% down payment. Land loans have higher interest rates and shorter terms than home loans. Many land companies offer owner financing.

How long does it take to sell land in Texas?

In hot markets, desirable parcels may sell in weeks. But in rural areas and for marginal land, it typically takes 6 months to 2 years to sell. Partnering with a land company speeds the sales process.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.

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