Article Summary: Before buying a farm, there are several important factors you must consider. The most important is evaluating the property's infrastructure, including any equipment, fencing, or outbuildings, to determine if additional time and money will be needed to build these structures. In addition, you should visit the farm multiple times to assess its suitability for your farming purposes, considering factors such as sunlight exposure and potential microclimates. Additionally, consider the farm's proximity to local markets and distribution channels, as a long commute may be inconvenient. Water resources are also crucial, so understanding water rights and availability is essential. And you shouldn't stop there. We recommend you engage a real estate agent specialising in farming and can guide important details, such as water rights and soil types. That way, you'll be equipped to buy the perfect piece of farming land!

Imagine waking up every morning to the sound of birds chirping, the smell of fresh air, and the sight of lush green fields stretching as far as the eye can see. Owning a farm is a dream for many, but before you dive headfirst into this exciting adventure, there are a few crucial factors to consider as you get to know the land you’re about to purchase.

But you also might be an experienced farmer looking to expand your farming business and property portfolio. Either way, you want to ensure you’re best placed to buy the right land for you. It’s always a good idea to follow a process, use a checklist and gather information and expert advice to cover all your bases.

The good news is that we’ve done just that for you!

In this blog post, we will explore the key elements you need to evaluate before buying a farm, ensuring that your landowning and farming dream becomes a reality. And without hidden costs and stress.

1. Check the infrastructure of the land for sale 

Picture this: you've found a beautiful farm listed for sale, and your heart skips a beat as you imagine all the possibilities. But before you get carried away, take a step back and evaluate the property's infrastructure. Are there any existing equipment, fencing, or outbuildings? These factors can significantly impact your budget and timeline. If the farm lacks these essential structures, you'll need to factor in additional time and money to build them. It's crucial to assess whether you have the resources and expertise to handle such projects.

Your checklist:

  • Determine if the farm comes with any equipment, fencing, barns, or outbuildings. 

  • Understand what the purchase includes – this will affect your investment. 

  • Are these assets already present? Note: They add value to the property. 

  • Are these assets unavailable? If you answer “yes”, then be prepared to allocate additional time and money to build them. 

2. Evaluate the site carefully 

Now, let's talk about the importance of visiting the farm multiple times so you can get to know the land. This step is vital to assess its suitability for your farming purposes. Pay attention to factors like sunlight exposure and potential microclimates. Is the farm located in an area that receives adequate sunlight throughout the day? Are there any areas prone to frost or excessive heat? These considerations will help you determine if the farm suits the crops or livestock you plan to raise.

Your checklist:

  • Visit the farm multiple times during escrow to thoroughly evaluate the property and its surroundings. 

  • Consider factors such as:

    • sunlight exposure, 

    • flood zones, and 

    • microclimates in high valleys. 

These aspects are crucial for crop production and setting up your farm in a profitable and efficient manner. 

3. Determine proximity to markets

Another crucial aspect to consider is the farm's proximity to local markets and distribution channels. While the idea of a secluded farm may sound idyllic, a long commute to sell your produce or products can quickly become inconvenient and costly. Look for a farm that offers easy access to nearby markets, ensuring your products efficiently reach customers. This will save you time and money and help you establish a strong customer base. 

Your checklist:

  • Take a drive to determine the farm's proximity to local markets and major distribution channels. Is the distance acceptable?

  • Seek advice from other farmers in the area to gain insights into the location and nearby markets. 

Before finalising the purchase, If the nearest farmers market is located far away, it may be worth reconsidering the property. 

4. Is water plentiful and available?

Water is a vital resource to consider before buying a farm. Familiarise yourself with water rights laws and understand your rights and usage. Read the water certificate, consult with the water master, and determine the history of your water rights. Additionally, survey the area to ensure you can legally irrigate from nearby ponds, creeks, or wells. Test your water source for contaminants and assess if any treatment is necessary. Understanding local water laws is crucial before purchasing a property. 

Your checklist:

  • Thoroughly research the water rights associated with the property. Are there any restrictions or limitations? 

  • Is there a reliable water source on or near the farm?  

Water resources are the lifeblood of any farm, so understanding water rights and availability is essential. These questions will help you avoid any surprises or challenges down the road. Remember, water scarcity can severely impact your farming operations, so it's crucial to understand this aspect clearly.

5. Find a real estate agent experienced in farming

We highly recommend working with a real estate agent who specialises in farming to help with your decision-making. Their expertise and industry knowledge can provide invaluable guidance throughout the buying process. A specialised agent can help you navigate important details such as water rights, soil types, and other farm-specific considerations. They can also connect you with other professionals, such as agronomists or soil experts, who can provide further insights into the land's potential.

Your checklist:

  • Does your real estate agent have expertise in farming? 

  • Are they knowledgeable in water rights and soil types?

  • Are they forthcoming with information on your questions and the history of the property?

Given the complexities of rural real estate, having a thorough and knowledgeable agent by your side is crucial during this significant investment. 

By considering these five factors, you can make a well-informed decision when buying a farm. Remember to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice to ensure a successful and profitable landowning venture.

Buying a farm is exciting, intimidating, and a large expense and everything in between

Buying a farm is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally. You can ensure that your dream farm becomes a reality by considering factors such as infrastructure, suitability, proximity to markets, water resources, and working with a specialised real estate agent. Remember, thorough research and careful evaluation are key to making an informed decision. So, take your time, explore your options, and soon enough, you'll be a landowner living the farm life you've always dreamed of.

And don’t forget to check out our expert farming blog in all aspects of farming business management to assist you in making your journey a success. The team add to it regularly with up-to-the-minute global farming news, pasture management advice, top farming tips and much more!

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on buying a farm. Have you recently purchased a farm? What factors did you consider? Share your stories in the comments below, and let's continue the conversation!

Until we meet again, Happy Farming!

- The Dedicated Team of, 2023-08-29