# How much would property tax be on average for an acre of land in the United States?

Asked by Afos22 (3975) August 28th, 2012

Let’s say I wanted to buy an acre of land somewhere in the USA. I then build a small house. I put solar panels on the roof to sustain my energy needs, collected rain and dug a well to sustain my water needs, and planted a large garden and fruit bearing trees and bushes to sustain my food needs. I would just live off of the land.
I believe that my only expense would then be property tax. Or am I mistaken? If this is my only expense, what would be the average property tax that I would have to pay for just one acre? Yes, I know that it is different by state, but I’m just looking for an average or a ballpark because I have no idea what it would be. If this wouldn’t be my only expense, what am I missing? And what would that cost?

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HIGHLY variable. By that, I mean, “You have no fucking idea how variable!” variable.

You may think it only varies bit, but tax rates varies by about a factor of 10 (0.18% to 1.8% of the property value) for just the state tax, plus whatever county and local taxes may or may not apply.

And that doesn’t even get into the variability of the cost of an acre of land, which may vary by even larger percentages.

So, take values between \$500 and \$500,000 then take 0.18 to 2.5% of that, and you have a ballpark.

Now, if we knew approximately where you were thinking of settling, we might be able to actually give you a better guess.

jerv (31027)

I agree with Jerv. Maybe localize the question to a certain town, in a certain state that you have in mind.

_Whitetigress (4362)

As @jerv mentions, it is variabel by state because each state’s tax structure is so different. On the east coast (NJ, NY, CONN, MASS), expect to pay a lot. And remember some states have no income tax just property tax.

You also seem to forget that you may have a sewage tax, and a fire tax, both of which may be outside of your property tax.

Nice idea if you can live off the grid completely.

zenvelo (30403)

Alright lets see, whatever the median state tax rate is. That state. I know it’s a difficult question. The average property tax rate in the United States is 1.38%, the same as South Carolina. So, maybe I could buy that acre in South Carolina. <—these rates are from 2007.

Afos22 (3975)

Going to answer quick as battery on laptop is running low. Something you seemed to have missed is if you develop it with a house you will be taxed on the improvements as well. Will come back to this question and give more of a answer later.

choreplay (6290)

Some states have no property tax, but usually make it up for it in sales tax or income tax.
Other states have low income tax but higher property and sales. .

Undeveloped, wooded land in the Southern Tier of NY is relatively cheap – as are the taxes. Steuben county. If it is for recreation you might pay only \$20 per acre, per year. The price goes up if you build on it, however.

What are you missing? Unless you spend a lot on the home and insulation, the heating costs in this area will be high. You can augment your heat with a heat with a wood stove. but that is a lot of work.
Tennessee, NC traditionally have the best weather combination for heating and cooling needs. Look up the heating degree days and cooling degree days for the area of interest. That will tell you how much effort you need to put into heating and cooling. It varies a lot by location.

This is a noble goal but be sure to have a back up plan. It takes years for fruit trees to bear fruit. One season of too dry or wet weather and your garden is damaged. In good years insects and deer will try to get the goods before you.

LuckyGuy (34244)

You’re also going to need some sort of sewage disposal system, and how would you take care of garbage removal?

laurenkem (3398)

@laurenkem When my sister and BIL bought an old house like this, they built an outhouse, as there was no bathroom inside. For trash, they composted, and took the rest out to a recycling center or dump on their way to work each week.

@Afos22 Another state tax that may need to be considered is property tax on vehicles. Some states have one; some don’t.

Pied_Pfeffer (25510)

Unless you are paying cash you will have a mortgage which will require that you have home owner’s insurance.

bkcunningham (18424)

Here property tax is based on the assessment of the domicile; there is also a fixed rate for the one acre of land that hold the buildings.

I have a high rate based on recent sales on my road, the square footage of my house, and the value of the acre it sits on. The other 19 acres are wooded and unlikely to ever be built on, unless someone erected bridges over streams and gullies.

If legal, you will need to sink a well and install a septic system (they have to be emptied every few years, depending on usage.)

One of my neighbors has a double-wide sitting on a slab with an added pitched roof and some landscaping. His taxes are about 1/10 mine.

My daughter, in Prov. pays taxes for city water and sewage.

PIck a spot. Drive around; talk to owners hanging out on their lawns, check out big, small, ranch, McMansions, trailer parks, tents, yurts and geodesic domes.

gailcalled (54405)

If you want to live totally off your land, you will need more than an acre just about anywhere you build. How much you will need will depend on where you are. If you cut your own wood, you will have to have enough land to replenish your forests as you cut them down. It takes about 30–50 years to grow a tree big enough to be worth cutting down.

Our 10 acre garden was not big enough to grow all of the produce we consumed when I was growing up. We had a surplus of what grew well in certain years and not a lot of what didn’t produce well.

WestRiverrat (19905)

You are mistaken. Government will demand to come inside your house as part of a “regular inspection program” and when you don’t let them in they will be able to get a warrant on this grounds. They may also condemn your house and tear it down because it doesn’t have a two car garage and therefore it is blighted. Perhaps they will also charge you a water bill even if you aren’t connected to city water. Also when something on your property gets old and needs replacing they will tell you that you cannot rebuild it because of new codes. They will say your setup isn’t approved for all sorts of reasons and so on and so forth. For instance did you pay someone licensed by the city to do all the work? Some cities don’t get this crazy but others do!

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