Important Issues to research and Investigate before investing in Ranches, Land, Recreational Properties, Legacy Properties and other Unique Properties

Unique properties will have unique issues to address that you want to be knowledgeable about in the decision-making process when purchasing. These issues don’t normally exist with the standard in-city or suburban home purchase so you need a strong realtor with the right background to protect you and your interests.


When looking for that perfect dream property one of the first things to investigate is its location. Before investing in rural property consider things like distance from an International Airport. Or how far are you from medical services? How far is basic shopping? And neighboring property ownership, who are your neighbors? Are there utilities to the property?

These are a few of the basic factors to take into consideration when purchasing unique rural type real estate. Sometimes it is necessary to alter your criteria a little and find a property that is in a good location and meets more of the above criteria rather than gamble on an exceptional piece of property that is so remote it doesn’t conform to these standards or guidelines. You will find you might pay a little more for the property when you initially buy it but when you go to sell it there is a greater likelihood of profiting from this investment.

These are items we at FarWest help research and work with you, the buyers and sellers, whether you are purchasing a property or looking to sell a unique piece of property. We start by identifying your criteria and working from there in finding locations that have the qualities you are looking for and by the same token as a seller we use these same qualities to help sell your one-of-a-kind property.

Water Rights

Nevada’s first water statute was enacted in 1866 and has been amended many times since. The water rights law serves the people of Nevada by managing the state’s valuable water resources in a fair and equitable manner. Nevada water law has the flexibility to accommodate new and growing uses of water in Nevada while protecting those who have used the water in the past.

watercascadeNevada water law is based on two fundamental concepts: prior appropriation and beneficial use. Prior appropriation (also known as “first in time, first in right”) allows for the orderly use of the state’s water resources by granting priority to senior water rights. This concept ensures the senior uses are protected, even as new uses for water are allocated.

The Nevada Division of Water Resources is responsible for administering and enforcing Nevada water law, which includes the adjudication and appropriation of groundwater and surface water in the state. The purpose of the 1903 legislation was to account for all of the existing water use according to priority. The 1903 act was amended in 1905 to set out a method for appropriation of water not already being put to a beneficial use.

It was not until the passage of the Nevada General Water Law Act of 1913 that the Nevada Division of Water Resources was granted jurisdiction over all wells tapping artesian water or water in definable underground aquifers. The 1939 Nevada Underground Water Act granted the Nevada Division of Water Resources total jurisdiction over all groundwater in the state.

The 1913 and 1939 acts have been amended a number of times, and Nevada’s water law is considered one of the most comprehensive water laws in the West. The above-mentioned acts provide that all water within the boundaries of the state, whether above or beneath the surface of the the ground, belongs to the public.

In addition to these items, other criteria within NRS 533.370 deal with impacts within irrigation districts, the good faith intent of the applicant to construct the works of diversion and put the water to beneficial use, and the financial ability and reasonable expectation to construct the works of diversion and put the water to beneficial use.

Once granted, water rights in Nevada have the standing of both real and personal property – meaning they are conveyed as an appurtenance to real property unless they are specifically excluded in the deed of conveyance. When water rights are purchased or sold as personal property or treated as a separate appurtenance in a real-estate transaction, the water rights are conveyed specifically by a deed of conveyance. It is possible to buy or sell water rights and change the water’s point of diversion, manner of use and place of use by filing the appropriate application with the State Engineer.

The State Engineer has the authority to require a hydrological, environmental or any other study necessary prior to final determination of an application (NRS 533.368).

SOURCE:  State of Nevada, Division of Water Resources

Access Issues

Access rights are extremely important when assessing the issues involved with the purchase of any property especially larger parcels. Permanent, legal, transferable access is imperative! Usually the title report will indicate what kind of access you have.

Deeded insurable access is the ideal access. This is access that is specifically described, surveyed, or follows an existing road. I’ve seen access or easements through neighboring properties that have been recorded that are not specifically described or surveyed, not get title insurance. This will prevent a buyer from acquiring property using a conventional, FHA, or VA loan, but won’t necessarily prevent the close of escrow.

You may not have insurable access but you can record an un-described or un-surveyed easement for access that runs with the property similar to a prescriptive access on an existing road especially if it has been recorded previously. Sometimes an access fee is necessary for a permit if dealing with government agencies such as the BLM or Forest Service, the State, etc. These fees need to be transferrable to future owners.

A good informed experienced agent can help you navigate through these issues.


An easement is a non-possessory interest in and right to use the land of another.  Generally, easements are granted for very specific and limited purposes.  Examples of easements include:

  • Utility Easements;
  • Drainage Easements;
  • Right-of-Way Easements;
  • Sidewalk Easements;
  • Beach Access Easements;
  • Solar Easements; and
  • Conservation Easements.

Easements in Nevada

ruralroadEasements are either appurtenant or in gross.  An easement appurtenant benefits adjoining property and runs with the land.  This means that the easement continues to exist regardless of who owns the land which benefits from the easement.

An easement in gross typically benefits a specific person and terminates upon that person’s death.  Easements in gross cannot be sold, assigned or inherited unless specifically set forth in the easement agreement.

How Easements Are Established in Nevada
Easements are either express or implied.  An express easement is created by deed, contract, or other written instrument which specifies the location and dimensions of the easement as well as the permitted use or uses of the easement and who may use it.

Easements may also be implied from the actions of the parties and the circumstances surrounding the transaction.  There are several kinds of implied easements:

Easements By Implication – Under Nevada law, an implied easement, also known as an easement by implication, will be found if two elements are proven:

  1. Extreme necessity for the easement; and
  2. An intention on the part of the parties, based on the circumstances surrounding the transaction, to create an easement.

Easements By Necessity – An easement by necessity will be found to exist if there was common ownership between the dominant estate (the land that benefits from the easement) and the servient estate (the land that is burdened by the easement) and the necessity for the easement existed at the time of severance of the common ownership.

Easements By Prescription – An easement by prescription may be proven by showing five years of continuing, adverse, open, and peaceable use of the land over which the easement is claimed.

Easement Issues and Disputes
Easement issues frequently arise because of poorly drafted easement agreements.  If an easement agreement is vague, ambiguous, or unclear, the parties often find themselves at odds over their rights and obligations.  Such disputes typically involve allegations of misuse or interference.

Other easement disputes may involve:

  • Abandonment;
  • Trespass;
  • Encroachments; and
  • Termination.



Zoning laws in real estate refer to the regulations set to demonstrate how a property will be used. These ordinances are related to both the inside and outside structure of buildings, houses, or similar structures. Standards are set so that development by that town, city, municipality, county, or state can be monitored. Even a small change made to an existing property must be determined to coincide with zoning laws to make sure it meets all codes and guidelines.

Agricultural Zoning
horsepastureAgricultural zoning is generally used by communities that are concerned about maintaining the economic viability of their agricultural industry. Agricultural zoning typically limits the density of development and restricts non-farm uses of the land.

In many agricultural zoning ordinances, the density is controlled by setting a large minimum lot size for a residential structure. Densities may vary depending upon the type of agricultural operation. Agricultural zoning can protect farming communities from becoming fragmented by residential development. In many states, agricultural zoning is necessary for federal voluntary incentive programs, subsidy programs, and programs that provide for additional tax abatements.

Rural Zoning
The “rural” zoning designation is often used for farms or ranches. In certain parts of the country, this designation will include residences zoned to allow horses or cattle.


sierranvMost of Nevada is physiographically tied to the Great Basin, a plateau of isolated mountain ranges separated by arid basins. These ranges generally flow north to south; height is generally short, up to 75 miles long and 15 miles wide; and rising from 7,000 – 10,000 ft. The major ranges include the Schell Creek, Ruby, Toiyabe, and Carson (located in the Sierra Nevada). Boundary Peak at 13,140 ft in the southwest is Nevada’s highest point.

Nevada’s largest lake is Pyramid Lake with an area of 188 sq mi in the west. Nevada shares Lake Tahoe with California and Lake Mead, which was created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, with Arizona. Streams in the Great Basin often disappear during Nevada’s dry spells and many flow into local lakes or sinks without ever reaching the ocean. The Humboldt River flows 290 mi through the northern half of the state into the Humboldt Sink. The Walker, Truckee, and Carson rivers flow through the western part of Nevada. Nevada’s lowest elevation of 479 ft is formed by the canyon carved by the mighty Colorado River that forms the southeastern boundary of the state.

On/Off Grid Power

gridOff-grid: means you are on your own: there is no connection to the power company. The only way to accomplish this in a setting where you want electricity even when the sun is not shining, is to incorporate batteries into your system. Thus off-grid homes have no power poles running to them, and draw the power they need from deep cycle battery banks.

Grid· Tied: the Alternative “Grid-tied,” by contrast, means that your house is connected to the grid, and you are still set up to buy your power from the power company when you need it But, when your solar array is producing power, you can either sell that power straight to the grid with the goal of financially offsetting the cost of the power you have purchased, or you use that power yourself first, and sell any extra to the grid. You may not be using the actual electrons you have produced yourself, but you are still contributing green power to everyone’s benefit.