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Several things can go wrong when you’re an absentee landowner. You can be subject to unapproved activities that you did not authorize, or the local agent hired by your company may have been negligent in their duties as well.

For instance, overgrazing is a prevalent problem on large ranches. You may think that the grass will grow back in a week or two but not if you have dozens of animals roaming around your property all day long; you could be staring at severe soil erosion.

Another problem absentee landowners encounter is illegal dumping and littering by people who visit your land, perhaps for recreation purposes. Without anyone to clean up after, your land may become an eyesore.

Lastly, if you have mature trees on your land, they could be at risk of being cut down by vandals or accidental harvesting by logging companies working on adjacent land parcels.

This is why it’s crucial for absentee owners and their agents to create a working strategy to make sure the property remains presentable and safe from illegal activity.

If you’re an absentee landowner, here are some tips for managing your property through distance and avoid unnecessary headaches:

Create a Rapport with Neighboring Farms

One of the easiest ways to ensure you have an eye on your land is to form a rapport with neighboring farms and ranches. Even if you don’t see each other often, just knowing that someone else has an interest in the well-being of your property can make all the difference and help prevent any misfortunes from occurring on it.

If possible, meet up once per quarter or find out from your neighbors what they do to keep their land safe. If you cannot develop a rapport with neighboring farms, consider hiring someone who lives close by and is willing to visit the property regularly. Remember to vet whoever you hire to avoid problems down the road.

Leverage Technology for Better Management

Thanks to technology, it’s now much easier to monitor your land from a distance. For instance, you can remotely access and watch the property for any changes or hazards that may need prompt action with video surveillance.

Geo-fencing can ensure that your animals stay within a particular location to prevent them from wandering onto roads or being chased away by predators. Better still, if you don’t have animals, you will get notifications every time an intruder is detected.

Keep Good Records of All Projects

It’s important to keep track of everything from equipment maintenance costs all the way down to daily labor expenses. This information should be readily available at your fingertips with simple data analysis software so you can see where you’re headed.

Having accurate records can help you when it comes to capital gains tax. Remember that any improvement on your property, such as fencing, boreholes, or irrigation equipment, are considered capital additions. If you sell your land in the future, it’s important to consult a tax advisor to help you avoid paying high taxes.

Provide Written Agreements for Any Activities

If you intend to lease your land for activities like farming, fishing, camping, or hunting, it’s crucial to write down the agreements in a legal contract. This document should include the duration of time, how much rent is owed, and who’s responsible for any damages that may incur.

Having a legally binding contract will protect you as the absentee landowner in case something goes wrong. For instance, if your tenant grows marijuana on your land without your knowledge, you’ll have a document that proves you do not own the crop if authorities show up.

Have Insurance Coverage for Your Land and Its Activities

To protect your land from damage or theft, make sure to find a vacant land insurer who can provide proper coverage for what may happen on your vacant property. For example, if a fire guts down your trees or a landslide destroys your land, you’ll want to be protected.

Having insurance will also ensure that anyone working on the farm, whether your tenant or someone else, will be protected in case of injury. If you have leased your land to a tenant, make sure they have a cover to protect them and their workers in case of any accidents that may happen on your land.

Visit Your Land

The most important way to keep a constant eye on your land is by visiting it. When you make a physical visit to your land, you will take stock of what is going on at your property. You’ll see first-hand if there are any leaks, fallen trees, and other issues that require immediate attention.

Don’t assume that your tenant knows what they are doing, even if you give them tips and advice over the phone or in emails. The best way to make sure everything is done right is by being on the ground yourself. You can also take this opportunity to train your tenants on how to care of your property.

Hire a Reputable Land Management Firm

Landowners should make sure that they have the appropriate people in charge of their land during their absence, and these individuals must be aware of all terms set by the lease agreement or deed restrictions. They must have your best interest at heart and know that they must abide by your guidelines.

Managing your land when you’re not around can be a daunting task. All the same, it is your duty to ensure the best care for your land by finding a reputable firm that is up to the task. You don’t want to risk letting getting in trouble with the law, but what if there was someone who could do all the hard work for you?

Advanced Realty & Land Management is here to help property owners like yourself take care of their lands while they are absent. We have years of experience assisting landowners to find solutions that protect them from legal liability without spending time or money on managing their properties themselves. Let us know how we can help by contacting our team today.

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