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The Basics of Building on Rural Land

We want to help you understand some basic things before you start building on your rural land.

And as a quick aside --- we are here to help you purchase a new tractor when the time is right.

Let’s get started on our journey.

American Dream

Building a new standard home or farmhouse is a dream for many people. You get to determine the land’s use, customize the house, and design the landscaping.

While all this is a beautiful dream --- it can also turn into a nightmare quickly if you do not know some very basic things.


There are many items to consider before getting started.

You need to consider the access to utilities, water, and land conservation, and zoning issues --- to name a few.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau…

There are roughly 47 million adults (aged 18+) living in rural areas. They are likely to live in single-family homes and reside in their state of birth.

Veterans represent roughly 11% of the adult population that is living in rural areas.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders…

Land prep and land accounts for 25%-30% of the total buy-and-build project costs. Those numbers can quickly go up in rural areas. This is because the costs for labor, shipping, and materials go up.

Check in your area for experienced and reliable construction companies to work with you. They can help you navigate suppliers and subcontractors. This can help you control costs. They can also handle the whole project.

We also recommend working with your state’s rural planning department.


If you plan to build, you need to consider and understand all the applicable aspects of zoning.

Property zoning is typically governed by local ordinances and laws. These divide the land into different areas or “zones” --- including residential and commercial.

All areas have specific uses. Uses are restricted only to the purposes that are allowed in the applicable zone.

Land that is designated as “rural” has restrictions on the number and the size of any buildings. There can also be subsections in rural zones. These include “environmental.” Construction on certain portions of the land might be prohibited. Undisturbed animal habitats must be maintained (such as meadows or existing trees) on the land.

Agricultural --- or what’s called “Ag Zoning” --- refers to the designations made by the local jurisdictions. They are intended to protect farmland and farming activities from incompatible non-farm uses.

Usually designated as “A-1” land or zoning --- the purpose of this zoning is to conserve and protect open land uses. This fosters orderly growth in rural areas, as well as prevent urban agricultural land-use conflicts.

There are other zoning restrictions to watch for including minimums for emergency vehicle access. You also need to consider sewer or septic connections, rainwater runoff control, and municipal water or well water hookups. There are also minimums for the lot size, square footage of houses, as well as restrictions as to how many residences can occupy a lot or a given area.

Water and Land Conservation

Rural land can be very beautiful.

Just keep in mind that there can be many hazards lurking when it comes to development.

This includes things such as:

  • Soil erosion

  • Wildlife protection

  • Pesticides

  • Watersheds

  • Rainfall runoff

Municipal, state and federal regulations can affect the planning of any building. This also includes equine and agricultural facilities.


You must also factor in the cost of utilities.

Many questions need to be answered.

Where is the closest electricity? Are there existing power lines? Do I need underground or overhead lines? If your building is far away from a line, the electricity can be very expensive.

You may also be considering solar. Is installing enough panels in the most efficient area going to be cost-effective?

Water and septic utilities can also be challenging and expensive. These utility restrictions might also impact where you can build your home. You must be sure that there is enough room to install your septic system in a suitable location. Also add in the addition of a well.

You will need a site evaluation. This will help you determine whether you can build a conventional (gravity-fed) septic system or whether you will need an alternative system.

Other utilities must be considered.

Heating a home with electric heat can be costly. Gas could be an option for those with a pipeline close by.

Propane is also a popular heating method. You could install an efficient propane system.

Other utilities you will need to consider are internet, cable, satellite, and telephone service.

You may find it easier to break through all the bureaucratic red tape by hiring an experienced, talented, and reliable construction firm to handle everything for you.

There is much more to learn --- but this was a good start to better understanding the considerations that you will need to make before building on rural land. Hopefully, this brief article has helped you a bit.

If you need any further help or have any questions about rural living, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

If you are looking for old, vintage, classic, or new tractor parts, send us a part request.

Team Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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