One of the best investments is purchasing land. However, where you buy land matters. So, purchasing and owning land in Wyoming, what are the pros and cons?
Owning land is a privilege that many Americans hope to one day earn and pass down to their future generations, however, it is also a lot of responsibility. The land needs to be cared for, often taxes need to be paid on the land, and if you are looking to build structures on the land like a home, barn, garage, or rental cabins, then a whole new series of requirements and costs may come into play.
Taxes and land-use restrictions can be burdensome. However, one of the benefits of owning land in Wyoming is the lack of state taxes and government regulations. One of the main consequences is that Wyoming is a rural state and your land may be far away from basic services like utilities and hospitals.
So yes, you will not be required to pay state income tax and inheritance tax among a number of other taxes, and you may pay much less in property taxes than other places in the country, but the land that you may purchase may be quite rural and be located far distances from hospitals, schools, emergency services, and it may even be quite expensive to have electricity or internet ran to your property.
But, just like with everything in life, there are pros and cons. That is why we are going to dive deep into the different pros and cons of purchasing and owning land in Wyoming. We will also look at some of the best areas to purchase land depending on how you would like to use it. Different areas of Wyoming may be better for different reasons based on the needs of you and your family.
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What are the advantages of owning land in Wyoming?
There are so many benefits to purchasing and owning land in Wyoming, that you can see why so many Americans have fled their urban living situations for a quiet life in the Wyoming countryside. Some of the most beautiful National Parks, mountains, lakes, and rivers in the entire US are located in Wyoming. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then Wyoming may be a place where you would like someday relocate to or retire.
Let us take a look at some of the major benefits of owning land in Wyoming.
Wyoming is a low-tax state
According to a number of sources, Wyoming is one of the least taxed states in the nation. If you live and own land in Wyoming, you are not required to pay state income taxes, real estate tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, estate tax, or excise tax, and you will also pay some of the lowest property taxes in the country. Another important tax consideration to make is that if you are planning on purchasing land in Wyoming to someday retire to, there are no state taxes on out-of-state retirement income that you may be receiving from a pension or other retirement accounts.
Aside from not having an individual income tax or even a corporate income tax, Wyoming has a lower state sales tax at approximately 4.0% as well as a cap on local sales tax that can not exceed 2.0%. The combined state and local sales tax averages around 5.22% throughout the entire state of Wyoming. Basically, if you do not like paying taxes, then you are going to enjoy living in Wyoming immensely.
National parks and outdoor recreation
Some of the most famous national parks in the United States are located in Wyoming. All within a few hours or more of driving you can access national parks as famous as Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Devils Tower, Fossil Butte, and many more state and local parks as well as nature reserves.
When it comes to outdoor recreation, wow, Wyoming is impressive. Aside from the national parks that can provide amazing views, hiking trails, camping opportunities, and wildlife viewing, there are plenty of places for hunting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and both alpine and cross-country skiing in the winter months. There really is what feels like an infinite amount of outdoor opportunities for you and your family
Also, if you are an avid hunter, then being a land owner in the state of Wyoming can bring you some particular advantages that hunters from out of state do not have access to. For example, if you own a plot of land in Wyoming that is 160 acres or greater, you automatically can get two tags per family per year for elk, deer, antelope, and wild turkeys. The only real restriction to this law is that the land that you own has to provide sources of food, water, and shelter for the animals you intend to hunt and that these animals occupy the land in question for a minimum of 200 days in a 12-month period.
If you are a hunter from out of state, if you do not have a friend or family member who has invited you to hunt on their land with their tags, then you may find it extremely difficult and expensive to acquire a tag for any type of hunting in Wyoming.
One last outdoor recreational perk to address is the epic skiing available in Wyoming. People come from all over the world to ski the mountains of Wyoming. Some of the top-rated ski resorts in the world are located in Wyoming including Jackson Hole, Snow King Resort, Grand Targhee, White Pine, Sleeping Giant, and the Hogadon Basin Ski Area. If you live in Wyoming, you can easily access these ski resorts all winter as well as find special rates and discounts that only locals will know about.
Although Wyoming has some incredible landscapes with plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, another important thing to consider is that Wyoming is located near the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, each of which offers its own unique outdoor recreational activities.
What are the disadvantages of owning land in Wyoming?
It is undeniable that there are many advantages of owning land in Wyoming, but what about the disadvantages? What should potential property owners be concerned about, or at the very least, informed about before making a final decision and signing the paperwork?
Here are some of the disadvantages that someone may want to consider before buying and owning land in the state of Wyoming.
Farming can be tough in Wyoming
Yes, Wyoming has vast stretches of open land that some would think would provide excellent farming opportunities, however, that is not the case in most of the state. The fact that Wyoming is generally at a higher elevation, has a short growing season and can have some of the harshest winters in the country, all contribute to large amounts of land that are not ideal for growing traditional crops like corn, wheat, and other fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the higher elevation can be troublesome for particular breeds of cattle and other ranch animals, and therefore if someone was looking to build a ranch in Wyoming, they must make sure they acquire only breeds of animals that can avoid complications from high altitude sickness.
That being said, we are not saying that you cannot farm or ranch in Wyoming, and in fact, many people do, it's just you have to make sure you do your research thoroughly before making any final decisions.
Water rights and appropriation can be complicated
Before purchasing a plot of land, you will need to do research about the land’s water access. Unless you live in the city and have access to a public utility as your water source, you are most likely going to have either well water or surface water access. If you are looking for water for personal use like cooking, cleaning, and showering, then it may not be as complicated, especially if the property has a well. If you are planning on doing any irrigation for farming or ranching, then you for sure will need to know the difference between well water and surface water access.
Essentially, if the property has a well, then you can have access to water all year. You will still want to ask for a report that details how much water the well produces in gallons per minute. If you only have access to surface water, then you could be subject to appropriation laws regulating who and when has access to the surface water from specific rivers and streams. The land with the oldest date of appropriation always gets first access to a stream or river when the surface water becomes available. After that land gets its fill, the next land plot with the next oldest date of appropriation can have access to the surface water. If the plot of land has an appropriation date that is the newest and there is an abnormally dry year, there is a chance that the last plot of land in line will have no access to the surface water that year. This is why it is absolutely essential you are fully aware and educated on water rights in Wyoming before deciding to purchase a particular plot of land.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling