Buying a farm in Montgomery County, Maryland comes with a number of advantages. There are plenty of veterinary and farrier services available to you and commuters can be close to D.C., bus routes, trains, and multiple airports. While Montgomery County can be quite expensive, it isn’t impossible to find a farm for under a million dollars. Here is what you need to know about buying a farm in Montgomery County, Maryland.
TDRs. In Montgomery County, we have something called TDRs—Transfer to Development Rights. Elsewhere, your ability to subdivide land may come down to zoning alone, but in Montgomery County landowners often have TDRs on a property. TDRs are limited, allowing landowners to subdivide without completely wiping out the county’s farmland. When you are buying a farm in Montgomery County Maryland, you should keep an eye out for properties with remaining TDRs.
Investment Value. As you might imagine, TDRs effect investment value, but don’t be discouraged if a property can’t be developed. Montgomery County is the most populous county in Maryland with over a million residents. Residents also have the 12th highest median income in the country. Given that the county is being built up every day, there is investment value in owning land, especially in areas where you might not be able to buy land in 10 years’ time. After all, there is a market comprised of individuals who work in the city, but would like to own land to keep horses or a homestead and are willing to pay top dollar to make that happen.
Agricultural Reserve. In upper Montgomery County, you will find the Ag Reserve. These properties have limited TDRs and owners have the option of either using the TDRs or taking a substantial property tax credit. In most cases, this will already have been decided as a previous owner’s decision conveys with the property. The tax credit applies to owners using the land for an agricultural purpose, but what if you aren’t a farmer? Don’t worry! Many property owners allow farmers to come in and cultivate the land for them.
Agricultural Use Assessment. In 1960, Maryland implemented the Agricultural Use Assessment, which has helped to preserve the state’s farmland. This assessment provides farm owners with substantial savings on their taxes. Agricultural activity is defined in COMAR Title 18, but some of the approved activities include raising poultry, raising livestock, growing crops, horse boarding, horse training, and horse breeding. Read more about the Agricultural Use Assessment here.
Climate. Maryland enjoys a relatively mild winter with temperatures averaging in the 40s for only three months of the year, but large snowstorms do hit the region every so often and the summers can be brutal. It is important to keep climate in mind when making the decision to purchase a farm to keep livestock or grow crops. Montgomery County sees about 41 inches of rainfall per year, which means that certain crops might not do well here. If you keep horses, expect to see hoof abscesses in the fall.
Agricultural Initiatives. Montgomery County offers a number of agricultural initiatives. These initiatives include marketing assistance, a new farmers program, emergency assistance, energy tax relief, and much more. Find more information on the Montgomery County Office Of Agriculture Services website.
Sarah is a Realtor specializing in residential and equestrian properties.