So, you want to buy a farm? Great, it’s rather simple. Just log onto the internet, find a mega buck farm and give the seller an abundance of cash. Boom. Farm. Owned.
Ok, well it’s not THAT easy but, it’s really not that hard either. My wife and I purchased our 52 acre “farm” in the spring of 2016. We did this at the ripe ol’ age of 31 and 27. Are we rich? No. Did someone give us money to buy it? No. We simply had a goal and executed a plan. Here are a few tips from an average Joe on how to buy your first property.
Understand your personal finances.
This is the hardest part. Before you can make a huge purchase, you should complete a detailed written budget. Most banks offer online banking and you can export your monthly statement to an excel file. DO THIS!! Look at the previous month and where your money is actually going. Farms are expensive, and most people say they can’t afford one. I disagree. Most people can’t manage their money for the time necessary to save to purchase a farm. My wife and I drastically cut back on buying “stuff”. We have a budget and we follow it. We were drastically leaking money to places like the dollar store (seriously), big name grocery stores, Cabela’s, restaurants, cable, new cell phones every 2 years and the list goes on… just crap that we didn’t need. If owning land is an actual goal, man up and control your finances
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “a goal without a plan is only a dream”. It’s cliché but, very true. Purchasing a farm or land is a process that can take years. You must take a few things into consideration. What you want and what you can afford. Once you come up with a realistic “want”, you can begin to plan on obtaining it.
Raw Land vs Property With a Home
From a financing standpoint, there is a huge difference between these two. Purchasing raw land is far more difficult than purchasing a home on property (if you require bank financing). Raw land will require a larger down payment (20-30%), a shorter loan life and a higher interest rate (most of the time). Purchasing a home on property is much easier. We had the option to purchase our home and 52 acres with only 5% down and a 4% interest rate. This was a conventional loan without PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). I found that working with small local credit unions offered the best financing options (raw land and a home on property).
There were a few hiccups along the way for us. Obtaining a bank appraisal was actually the most difficult part while obtaining our mortgage. The bank will be looking for similar properties nearby to gauge the value of your new home. Typically, this is easy BUT, when you have properties of large acreage…it’s difficult. There really aren’t that many nearby (at least for us). This resulted in many, many delays. Keep this in mind when you’re signing your contact for purchase. Allow some extra time for the bank to appraise your new dream home. We didn’t and almost lost the entire deal.
This is something I would have done differently. Pay off all your consumer debt before you buy your dream home/property. I’m talking about car loans, student loans, credit cards, whatever it is. I realize it could add months or years on to your plan BUT, that time is going to pass anyway, make better use of it. My wife and I would love to purchase additional acreage and we will. We decided to pay off all our consumer debt first. This took 15 months but, we did it. You can too, and again, I would suggest following a budget and cutting out all the crap you don’t need. If you want that farm bad enough, this won’t be too painful.
Well, that about covers it for now. There are many other topics that can be discussed but, I would suggest checking out any podcasts that involve Dan Perez. He’s the guru on hunting land and rather motivational as well! Good luck!!