In Part 1 of What to Look for in Land for Homesteading and Farming I talked about a lot of this necessary to look for including land features, surveys, and potential resources of the property. In this post I wanted to address some of the more building related items that you need to be mindful of when looking at the land. Be aware of as many of these items as possible to avoid any potential pitfalls you may run into later!
If you plan on doing any type of farm activities you will want to be able to build certain types of buildings. Having a good flat site for building on is ideal but not necessarily something that should be a deal breaker. Look for land that has a few locations for building the structures you need. Start with locating a good home site that has the features you desire in your home whether that be a good view, lots of sun, a place in the trees, a house on the hill, or whatever your priorities are. Then depending on what your other needs are for the land you may want a flat location for greenhouses (that’s my kind of thing!), a barn location near water sources, or a secondary building like a garage or workshop somewhere close to the house.
I recommend that you make a list of your needs and keep that with you on every property you visit. Then you check off which properties match those needs so you can find the best possible location to start your farm.
Does the Property Perk?
It is highly unlikely that you will find acreage for farming where there is access to a sewer line so you will need some kind of septic system installed. Hopefully the property already has been perked by the owner before listing but if it hasn’t your offer needs to be contingent upon that process being completed for the desired number of bedrooms. A perk test measures how fast the land will absorb water and will eventually absorb water from your septic tank. I recommend seeking at least a 3 bedroom perk site and ideally a 4 bedroom site.
Along with the perk site you will need soils areas. Those areas will be unusable for building on so keep that space in mind as you venture forward. Too much rock on a site can impede both the perk test and the soils area.
Do you Have a Builder?
If you don’t give us a call for some recommendations but if you do have a builder ask them to stop by and evaluate the site with you. They may have some insights on what would make the property a challenge to build on or if it is a great piece of land.
Local Building Regulations
You should check with the local building and zoning office and see what their requirements are for building. Depending on where you intend to build it may be an easy process or it could be extremely difficult to obtain permits. Talk to local neighbors, builders, or those who have built recently to find out what they have experienced.
Well Water or City Water?
If you are too far out you may have to go with drilling a well and hooking up the home on well water. That costs some money to dig and there is no guarantee that you will find water where you want it to be. Attaching to city water will generally require a tap fee based on the size of line you need to hook up. Call the local water department to find out what this entails but typically you will meet with the engineers and plan out the location for the tap and discuss your individual needs.
Internet service gets better every year and is easier to attain in more rural locations than ever but there are still lots of areas underserved. If you need internet to run your business or work from home definitely investigate what services are available in your area. If no service is available you can always opt for a hotspot type system or satellite internet but these services are generally more expensive, not as reliable (as a lined connection), and may have limits on data use.
This list is by no means all inclusive but is a good starting point to help you find your ideal farming spot. Write down everything you can think of that is important to you before you begin your search and take great notes as well as pictures of each location and how you would use it.
Exploring Land and Farms is one of my favorite areas of real estate. If you are looking for property to establish a mini-farm, hobby farm, or even a full time farm lets meet and talk about how I can help you accomplish your dream!
Dave Townsend, Realtor® (DaveTownsend@KW.com 931-674-1727)