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How to Buy & Invest in Land & Property in Idaho


Photograph of a lake in Idaho with mountains and pine trees in the background

Investing in land and property in Idaho offers a wealth of opportunities for both novice and experienced investors. From its booming real estate market to the diverse geographical landscapes, Idaho presents a variety of investment options including residential, commercial, agricultural, and recreational properties. This resource aims to provide valuable tips and insights to guide you through the process of buying and investing in different types of land and property in Idaho. Whether you're looking to purchase your first home, expand your property portfolio, or explore agricultural ventures, our comprehensive guide will help you make informed decisions and achieve your Idaho investment property goals.


Buying Agricultural Property in Idaho

Idaho's rich and fertile land makes it an ideal location for agricultural investments. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, as of December 2023, Idaho produces more than 185 commodities from over 24,000 farms and ranches. When considering buying agricultural property, there are several key factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, you need to understand the type of soil and its suitability for the crops or livestock you plan to cultivate. Conducting a soil test and consulting with local agricultural experts can provide valuable insights.


Next, water rights are crucial in Idaho, as they dictate your access to irrigation resources. Understanding the legal complexities around water rights and ensuring that the property includes sufficient water access can make or break your agricultural venture. Additionally, consider the proximity to markets and distribution channels, which will affect your ability to transport and sell your products efficiently.


Understanding zoning laws and land use restrictions is another important aspect. These regulations can impact what you can and cannot do with your property, so it's essential to research local ordinances and work with a reputable real estate agent knowledgeable in agricultural properties.


Finally, consider the financial aspects, such as potential tax benefits, government subsidies, and grants available for agricultural development. Working with a financial advisor can help you identify and maximize these opportunities. Taking these factors into account will help you make a well-informed decision when investing in agricultural land in Idaho.



Buying Ranches in Idaho

Investing in ranches in Idaho offers a unique opportunity to capitalize on the state’s extensive open spaces and natural beauty. Ranch properties can serve multiple purposes, including cattle ranching, recreational activities, or as a quiet retreat from urban life. When considering the purchase of a ranch, several factors are pivotal.

First, it is important to assess the size and layout of the land. This will determine the capacity for livestock, the feasibility of building additional structures, or the potential for recreational activities, such as hunting and fishing. Terrain and vegetation are also important considerations, as they will affect grazing potential and the overall usability of the land.


Next, water resources are just as critical for ranches as they are for agricultural properties. Securing water rights and ensuring reliable sources of water, whether through natural streams, ponds, or wells, is essential for sustaining livestock and supporting any agricultural activities on the ranch.


Accessibility and infrastructure should not be overlooked. Good road access, fencing, and existing buildings or facilities can significantly impact the functionality and value of the property. Proximity to local markets, veterinary services, and supply stores will also influence daily operations and logistics.


Understanding local zoning laws and any land use restrictions applicable to ranch properties is another critical step. These regulations will dictate permissible activities on the ranch and any potential for future development or expansion.


Economic considerations such as tax implications, potential revenue from agricultural or recreational activities, and available financing options should also be evaluated. Seeking advice from real estate professionals, financial advisors, and local experts will provide you with the knowledge needed to make an informed investment decision.


There are many reasons to invest in ranches! Prospective ranch owners in Idaho should carefully evaluate these factors to ensure that the purchase aligns with their long-term investment goals. You can explore ranches for sale in Idaho on LandGate’s marketplace for free:



Buying Hunting Property in Idaho

Investing in hunting property in Idaho offers a chance to own land perfect for wildlife enthusiasts and hunters. Idaho's diverse ecosystems, from dense forests to expansive wetlands, create an ideal habitat for a variety of game species, making it a prime hunting location. Hunting opportunities in Idaho range from plentiful upland game to highly coveted big game species, such as moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. When buying hunting land in Idaho, several key considerations ensure a worthwhile investment.


First, the quality and type of wildlife on the land are crucial. Researching the species in the area and understanding their migratory patterns can help determine the property's hunting potential. Consulting local wildlife experts and reviewing state reports can provide valuable information on game availability and hunting seasons. 


Similarly, the land's topography and natural features are also important to consider. Varied terrain, including hills, valleys, water bodies, and forests, can enhance hunting experiences. Ensuring the land has adequate cover and food sources for game species is essential for maintaining a healthy wildlife population.


Accessibility is another key factor. The property should be easily reachable by road, with internal trails or paths to facilitate movement during hunts. Consider proximity to services such as lodging, food supplies, and hunting gear stores, as these affect the convenience of hunting trips.


Legal considerations like zoning laws, hunting regulations, and land use restrictions must be understood. Confirm the property is zoned for hunting and that you comply with all state and local regulations. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a landowner helps avoid legal issues.


Finally, evaluate the financial aspects of buying hunting property. Consider investment potential, such as leasing the land to other hunters or developing it for eco-tourism. Explore tax benefits or incentives for preserving wildlife habitats. Consulting financial advisors and real estate professionals can provide insights to maximize your investment.



Buying Commercial Property in Idaho

Investing in commercial property in Idaho offers a unique chance to leverage the state's growing economy and business-friendly environment. Idaho’s capital city, Boise, has a record for being one of the top cities for commercial real estate investments. The state has moderately landlord friendly regulations that reflect a positive balance between the interests of landlords and tenants.


First, consider the type of commercial property you’d like to invest in. Location is crucial! The property's proximity to major highways, public transportation, other businesses, and amenities can greatly influence its attractiveness. High traffic areas benefit retail businesses, while quieter, accessible areas suit office spaces.


LandApp provides nationwide amenity and major location highway data to help commercial property investors conduct initial due diligence:


Screenshot of LandGate's amenity data


Second, evaluate the existing infrastructure. Assess the condition of buildings, utilities, and other facilities to understand any maintenance costs. Properties with modern amenities and ample parking are generally more appealing and can command higher rental rates.


Understanding market trends and local economic conditions is also important. Research the area's economic forecasts, growth sectors, and demographic trends to gauge demand for different commercial properties. Engaging with local business associations can provide deeper market insights.


Zoning and permitting are crucial, too. Ensure the property is zoned for commercial use and check any specific permits required. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent and local government offices can clarify these aspects and prevent legal issues.

Financial considerations are key. Analyze the property's potential ROI, including rental income prospects and future value appreciation. Consider financing options, tax implications, and available incentives for commercial development. Consulting financial advisors and commercial real estate professionals can aid in making sound decisions.



Buying Undeveloped Land in Idaho

Investing in undeveloped land in Idaho offers opportunities in agriculture, ranching, and residential or commercial development. However, even though there is great potential for undeveloped land, buying raw land requires different considerations than properties with existing structures.


First, determine what you’d like to do with the undeveloped land and investigate its location. Proximity to utilities, roads, and infrastructure can impact development costs. Also, consider accessibility and proximity to towns, schools, and healthcare facilities if planning residential development.


Second, assess the land's physical characteristics. For example, oil quality, topography, drainage, and water rights are crucial for agriculture. For residential or commercial use, ensure the land is suitable for construction and check for any potential environmental risks, such as contamination risk and the potential for natural disasters. The specific physical characteristics that you investigate depend on your ideal usage for the property.


While examining potential properties, be sure to understand its zoning and permitted uses. Zoning laws dictate what developments are allowed. Rezoning might be possible, but can be lengthy and uncertain. Similarly, investigate any legal restrictions or easements that could impact land use. Easements for utilities or roadways can limit usage.


Lastly, evaluate the financial aspects of purchasing undeveloped land. Analyze appreciation potential and estimate development costs, and consider tax implications and financing options. Consulting with financial advisors and real estate professionals that are familiar with undeveloped land specifically can provide valuable insights.

By researching these factors, you can determine if investing in undeveloped land in Idaho aligns with your long-term goals, ensuring a beneficial investment.



Buying Mining Property in Idaho

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Idaho leads the country in production of pumice/ pumice. The state is also a major producer of garnet, feldspar, lead, perlite, phosphate, silver, and copper. If you're interested in purchasing mining property in Idaho, there are a few important things to consider.


Research the types of minerals and resources that are present in the area where you're looking to purchase mining property. You can conduct a thorough geological survey to help with this, although a formal survey would require a capital investment. However, this process is helpful in determining if the property is a viable mining investment opportunity. Check out LandApp to find and evaluate specific mining locations in Idaho & the specific minerals produced at each location.


Second, evaluate the property's accessibility and infrastructure. Efficient transportation routes for machinery and extracted minerals are essential. Ensure the land has adequate roads or developable paths to facilitate the movement of heavy equipment. Proximity to utilities, such as water and electricity, can significantly impact operational costs.



Buying Renewable Project Properties in Idaho

Idaho's push towards renewable energy and sustainability opens up significant opportunities for property owners interested in leasing their land for renewable energy. In fact, Idaho is one of the top states for renewable energy production, with 68% of Idaho’s in-state electricity being produced from renewable resources.


Investing in Properties Suitable for Solar Farm Development

Solar leasing involves renting out land for solar energy production, a venture that not only supports environmental initiatives but can also provide a steady income stream for landowners. Several factors influence the viability and profitability of solar leasing in Idaho:


  • Idaho does not have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires a specific amount of electricity to be generated from renewable sources of energy by a certain date. However, the state offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and tax deductions for small-scale renewable energy-fueled devices used for residential heating or electricity generation.

  • Look for properties with adequate acreage, access to plentiful sunlight (solar irradiance), and close proximity to utilities and electrical infrastructure.

  • Take into account any potential obstacles or hazards, such as zoning restrictions or environmental considerations. For example, conservation properties cannot be used for the installation of solar panels.


Investing in a property suitable for solar energy production in Idaho can provide both financial and environmental benefits. Carefully consider all factors and consider working with a real estate professional that is familiar with renewable energy to ensure a successful purchase that attracts solar developers.


Investing in Properties Suitable for Wind Farm Development

Idaho has vast wind energy resources throughout the state, so wind turbines can be seen in various locations. Idaho’s most promising wind resources are located in and around the Snake River Plain. Investing in properties in Idaho suitable for wind farms presents property owners with the opportunity to earn long-term, consistent income from the property in the form of wind lease payments.


Investing in Properties Suitable for Carbon Credits

Another emerging trend in property investment is purchasing land to generate carbon credits. Here are some things to consider when purchasing land for carbon credits in Idaho:


  • Prospective property owners in Idaho interested in carbon credits can consider various carbon credit opportunities, including reforestation and afforestation. 

  • Ranches and farms in Idaho can also qualify for carbon credits through regenerative agriculture and similar practices that improve the soil health on the property.

  • Larger properties with hundreds of acres tend to be the most suitable for carbon credits.


How to Buy Land in Idaho & Land for Sale in Idaho

Whether you're looking for a hunting property, rural property, undeveloped land, timberland, or properties suitable for renewable energy in Idaho, there are plenty of property investment opportunities available. With proper research and guidance, investing in property in Idaho can be a valuable and rewarding venture.


Interested in buying land or property in Idaho? LandGate’s marketplace contains thousands of listings for properties available for sale in Idaho. Accessing listings on LandGate’s marketplace is completely free.



To perform due diligence on property in Idaho that you are interested in buying, consider checking out LandApp! LandApp provides sale & lease (solar, wind, carbon, land) estimates for every property in Idaho along with ownership information, environmental risk indexes, value and risk indexes, historical sales data, and more to help you ensure that you’re getting the best deal:



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