Want to live on your rural property?


Water, power, sewer, zoning & more.  Here are some tips.

Charlie Chernak
Bear Island Land Co. | Ely, MN

Much of the Potlatch property we sell in our area of Minnesota tends to be used only for hunting. But on occasion we have buyers who are looking for property where they can eventually build a home. While the construction costs are much less than they were during the housing boom, we always advise clients to know about everything that goes into building on rural property.

For example, if a buyer purchases a 40-acre site, they have to build a driveway, which may cost up to $15 per foot.  Proximity to electricity or instead, solar, off-grid options, are another consideration.

A licensed septic installer must be retained to determine if a property has adequate space for a well and septic system. As an example, our county requires two septic tanks per parcel; I tell buyers to allocate about $20,000-$25,000 for a well and septic system.

But utilities aside, one of the first things that should be addressed is legal access. A good agent will be able to inform a buyer if they are in an area where they need to get answers about easements, zoning or utilities. As a licensed surveyor, I always advise clients to connect with county planning and zoning officials before they even begin to shop for land.

All this being said, many outdoor enthusiasts would agree that any hassle involved in building a rural home is outweighed by the enjoyment of playing – and living – right on your recreational property.

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