If you are looking for land to start your farm, the best method that I would recommend is to drive around various farming communities.
The reason behind this is because, from my experience, most farm owners rarely advertise their farms online. Sometimes, the people in and around the community are the ones that know which farm owner is selling their property, making it very difficult for someone to find that farm if they were purely basing their search online.
Therefore, I advise taking the following approach:
1. Think of an area that you know of or may have been referred to by someone, that is predominately an area where most farms are located.
2. Drive to that area and look around for any “for sale” signs on the farms. The “for sale” signs may be listed by property agents.
FYI – Not all farms are listed on the agents’ websites, and some agents rarely update their websites frequently, hence you may find old listings on the site.
3. Speak to the owner of the farm that has the “for sale” sign, or contact the agent and inform him/her that you are outside the property that is listed for sale. What they will do is organise someone to host you and show you around the property should they (the agent) not be available.
4. When viewing the property, ask questions about the farm, for example: what were they previously farming on the land, how long they’ve been in the area, why they are selling etc. You will gain great insights from that conversation.
5. Should you be satisfied with the farm that you have just viewed, find out what the owner is prepared to sell it for vs the agents’ fees. If you are a good negotiator, you may just save some money by making an offer directly to the farm owner, cutting out the agents fees. People have used this tactic before, however personally, I think it’s unethical because had it not been for the agents’ board listing on the property, you would not have known about the farm being for sale unless your initial contact was with the owner.
6. Sometimes you may just find employees working in the fields, therefore, take advantage of asking them what they know about the area and which farms are listed for sale.
Trust me, the locals in the area know everything.
PS: This is how I found my first farm. The farm manager contacted the owner and she immediately drove from her home to meet with me and a few days later, I signed my new lease.
Also, take note of what the neighbouring farmers are producing on their lands. That should give you an indication of which farming activities is the area synonymous for.
Important final tips:
- Don’t drive alone, it’s better to be with someone (for safety concerns)
- Don’t disregard the property agent, they may be your lead to viewing other farms to compare.
- See if other agents have listed the property, as there may be a price difference which will help you save money.
- If cashflow is a constraint, see if you can rent the farm instead of outright buy (i.e: rent /rent to own)
See a quick video from my YouTube channel here