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40 Acres and A Van: 3 Simple Tips For Buying Remote Land Out West

June 19, 2016

You’ve all seen them: large plots of land that seem too cheap and too good to be true. I’ve just purchased my second one, this time in Nevada. Its 45 acres in the middle of nowhere, but perfect for several projects I have in mind. A small cabin came on the property, and I’ve installed 500 watts of solar, along with satellite for internet and drilled a well. This will potentially turn into a spot where a “Vanpolooza” can be held, but really its just a great off-grid place for an escape from Phoenix weather and cities in general.

When buying these western lands, always do the following beforehand and during the buying process.

Range Land Disclosures

Nevada requires the seller of land that is adjacent to cattle ranches to disclose this fact. The document looks something like this. You’ll have to build a fence if you want to keep cattle off your land. The one I recently purchased just happen to be far enough away from ranches so the disclosure was not required. But always ask before buying.

Land Access

Many of these properties are so cheap because they’re surrounded by other properties not owned by the seller. Any land you buy must have legal access to and from the plot without trespassing onto other lands. That’s why its best to buy something with a road already built or something near a highway. Either way, do not buy without seeing the land first and making certain you can get to it with breaking the law.

Checkerboarding

A good majority of Nevada land, along with smaller parts of Oregon, California and Arizona are public lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Further, over the last 300 or so years, land grabs out west mean some plots may have multiple owners. This is called “checkerboarding.” Make certain the deed is free and clear. I’ve heard horror stories from other RV and vandwellers looking for summer properties who ended up losing their investments because their new land was partly owned by a tribal nation and was partly under BLM jurisdiction.

There’s no such thing as asking too many question or of asking dumb questions when making these types of land purchases. Keep that in mind. Happy dwelling.

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