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Buying Rural Land in Texas

Charles E. Gilliland

Publication Year: 2012

Whether the prospective buyer is a farmer or rancher looking to expand operations, a sportsman seeking to preserve habitat for wildlife, or a nature enthusiast trying to conserve native flora and fauna, acquiring rural land can be a rollercoaster of exciting and stressful experiences. In Buying Rural Land in Texas: Taking the Right Risk, Charles E. Gilliland demonstrates that buyers can and should arm themselves with knowledge—of the land-buying process, of the potential problems involved, and of the resources available to them—to ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.

In this practical guide, Gilliland outlines four phases of buying rural land: identifying what you want, in terms of both land and property rights; locating a suitable property; valuing the property; and completing the transaction. He then covers everything the potential landowner should know while progressing through these steps: how to identify and manage risk, plan an “exit strategy,” interpret present and future land prices, find the “perfect spot,” evaluate the property’s physical attributes, gauge economic trends, understand legal rights and limitations, protect natural resources, and, finally, close the deal.

Incorporating real life examples from a career spent in land sales, Gilliland takes readers step-by-step through the process, also providing checklists, maps, professional tips, and information about how to tap additional sources of information and advice. With the knowledge gained from Buying Rural Land in Texas, new landowners will find themselves not at the end of a journey but at the beginning, as they learn to manage their land and to deliver it intact to future generations.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

Many individuals contributed to the content of this book. At the outset Ivan Schmedemann blazed the trail of land market studies in Texas. In addition, a dedicated group of professionals, including James Vine, Ray Utley, Dan Daniels, Larry Kokel, Paul Bierschwale, Keith Barlow, Bill...

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Introduction: Achieving a Vision of Landownership / 1

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pp. 1-4

From farmers expanding their operations to hunters securing habitat for wildlife to environmental enthusiasts restoring native fauna on historic ranches, buyers of Texas rural land set out to transform a vision into a reality. How well the reality achieved on the ground reflects the dream depends on the owner’s ability to guide activities on...

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1 Risks and Rewards of Rural Landownership

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pp. 5-14

Responding to a presumptuous visitor who asked what the King Ranch land was worth, Robert Kleberg emphatically exclaimed, “It’s not worth anything until you do something with it.” That pithy reaction reveals a savvy understanding of land economics, an understanding imbued with astute insights into not only the fundamental...

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2 Seeing the End from the Beginning

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pp. 15-23

Three broad aspects of ownership rest on the validity of the set of assumptions landowners make when they buy land. First, owners normally assume they have maximum control over activities pursued on their acreage. However, that assumption hinges...

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3 Understanding Contemporary and Future Texas Land Prices

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pp. 24-43

Seeing the end from the beginning frequently requires an owner to examine the various scenarios for future land market conditions. Will value growth create potential tax liabilities? Is value growth occurring, and is it accelerating or slowing down?...

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4 Finding That Perfect Spot

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pp. 44-54

Between 1970 and 2000 the timber industry changed considerably. Concentrating on controlling the supply of product, major timber companies had acquired vast tracts in all forested parts of the United States. However, the corporate tax structure and...

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5 Evaluating Physical Attributes

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pp. 55-69

Because location plays a pivotal role in generating enjoyment and profit from land use, available mapping software sites provide valuable insights into access, appearance, improvements, and surface water on candidate properties. Buyers can find various...

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6 Evaluating Economic Influences and Trends

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pp. 70-75

Land value arises from the configuration created by the current social setting and the resource endowments found on the land. Together they form the basis of activity that generates returns to landowners. The array of current land prices reflects a summary of...

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7 Identifying Legal Rights and Limitations

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pp. 76-83

Buyers can realize their land use dreams only if the assumptions they make about the future are reasonably on target. The validity of those assumptions depends critically on the package of rights that transfer with the purchase. At the most elemental...

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8 Water and Oil on the Land

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pp. 84-94

Rights to use and control water can significantly affect property values. To avoid the risk of buying a property with limited water use rights, buyers should take time to become familiar with Texas water laws that apply in their targeted regions. Buyers investigating water rights must understand the terms...

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9 Closing the Deal and Enhancing Returns

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pp. 95-109

Having explored the market and identified a prospective farm or ranch to purchase, the potential buyer must shift from the search mode to securing ownership. Most transactions involve a complement of professionals assisting in the process. The...

10 The New Risks of Ownership

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pp. 110-116

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 117-118


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pp. 119-127

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781603448222
E-ISBN-10: 1603448225
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603447959

Page Count: 144
Illustrations: 11 color photos. 4 maps. 12 figs. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012