What to know before buying a farm

For many people, a gorgeous farmhouse in the heart of the countryside is a slice of the American dream. Whether you are looking at a property with one acre or one hundred, a full-on farming operation or simply some rural peace and space, buying a farm is different to many other properties and there are some specific things you should consider, before you pack up and head for the hills.

What are you going to use your farm for?

Not everyone that wants to buy a farm wants to make full use of the land and amenities that may be on offer. One of the most important things that you will need to think about when choosing your farm is what you are planning on doing with it. Are you hoping to make a living off of the land? Are you intending on having livestock? Or are you simply in the market for a beautiful rural farmhouse with plenty of gardening possibilities?

Your reasons for choosing a farmhouse will affect which property and associated land and outbuildings may be right for you.

How remote are you?

For many people, the idea of buying a farm goes hand in hand with rural peace and quiet. However, if you are moving away from an urban or suburban area, you may not be truly prepared for quite how remote your dream farm may actually be.

One of the first thing that buyers new to the country realize is that community services and retail services are more than just a short walk or drive away. In fact, some larger farms are so remote it can entail a 20-minute drive just to stumble across another property!

Think about how important proximity to local services and the community is to you. This will help you narrow down your preferred area for your farm. I

How much space do you want and what amenities do you need?

The purpose of your farm will also help you to determine how much space and what amenities will be required. This is particularly true if you are looking at having livestock, as animals require a specific amount of space. How much? Well, one average you should expect to supply:

• 1 acre per cow

• 0.5 acres per goat

• 1 acre for 20 pigs

• 1.5 acres for one horse, and an additional 1 acre for every additional horse (e.g. 2 horses would need 2.5 acres)

If you are keeping livestock, fresh water is essential. If the farm you are considering purchasing has water, make sure it is potable. A pond is always useful too.

Check out the quality of the soil

If the property that you are looking at doesn’t already have crops and you are considering growing them to live off the land, then checking out the soil quality should be an immediate priority.

Some soils types are better for growing than others, so do your research and ensure that whatever you want to grow has a good chance of thriving in the soil that surrounds your dream farmhouse.

How many of the acres of farmable?

While we are on the subject of soil, it is just as important to check how many acres of land that are being sold with the property are actually farmable.

The realtor may advertise the land with 100 acres, but there may be wooded areas, lakes or valleys that are simply unfarmable. Do your research to make sure that the property has enough farmable acres for what you want to grow.

What outbuildings and fences come with the property?

Almost all farmhouses come with an array of outbuildings such as barns and stables. You should carefully check the condition of these as this will impact on the value of the property, and its practicality. This is especially true if you are looking at housing livestock or storing valuable equipment or vehicles.

Fences are another important consideration. Livestock is also a valuable commodity, so you will want to ensure that they are securely contained. If you are buying a property with extensive acreage, replacing inadequate fencing can be a costly and time-consuming process. However, learning how to fix and install fencing yourself can save you a packet.

Getting away from the fast-paced life of cities and suburban areas is a really appealing prospect for many homebuyers. Buying a farm and living off the land may be your perfect escape, but it is not a decision to be made lightly.

If the right amenities and facilities are in place, setting up your new farm could be much cheaper and simpler than taking on a property that requires heavy investment for it to fulfill its purpose.

You will also need to ensure that your insurance coverage is up to scratch. However, with planning and preparation, you can make the right purchase for your family and start living your dream life in your very own farm.