Rural Real Estate:

Things to consider!

Rural Real Estate properties have some unique things to consider


You most likely have a septic system. Iowa's time of transfer septic system inspection law (SF261) was passed by the Iowa legislature in April of 2008 and took effect July 1, 2009. The new law requires that every home served by a septic system have that septic system inspected prior to the sale. The purpose of the law is to eliminate sub-standard or polluting septic systems. If you have a septic system and it is not creating a public health or environmental hazard you should not have to meet current code. All inspections must be conducted by an inspector that has been certified by the department.

You might own more land and have questions about selling part of your land or changing a boundary line. Polk County Public Works once told me that they talk to me more than any other agent on a regular basis. I wonder if they get sick of me, but I call when a client has questions about what they can do with their land. Often it can be accomplished with a boundary line adjustment, but sometimes they will require a minor or major subdivision plat. I am always available to make some calls for you and help you understand what they say. You are always welcome to call them yourself too (515) 286-3705. We can then put our heads together about selling your land for the most money by dividing it up if possible.

You might have a propane tank full of propane that is personal property. You can and should negotiate on this or at least use it as leverage in the negotiation. The fuel is personal property and can be purchased separately from the transaction or you might be able to sell it back the fuel provider. At the very least when a buyer is offering a lower price we can influence the buyer to take our higher counter offer by reminding them we will “give” them the propane.


You might have granted an easement to a neighbor. Easements can cause issues in a real estate transaction. A buyer might lose interest because they don’t want to have to share the driveway. If you have granted an easement we need to disclose that when you sell and by all means if you are considering granting an easement call me so I can share my experiences.


You might be renting land to a farmer. We have to be aware of the law when farm property exchanges. A farm lease is a binding legal contract whether written or oral. Iowa Code 562.6 generally provides that Iowa leases for a farm tenancy automatically renew for another crop year under the same terms and conditions as the original lease unless either party provides written termination notice on or before September 1st the prior year. This provision, which is unique to Iowa, can surprise a landowner and you might be on the hook for paying for the farmers lost crop.

There are many more things to consider in rural real estate, but these are few common issues. Any time you have a question feel free to call me and we will help you figure it out as best as we can.