Are You Really Prepared to Buy a Farm Property? Ask Yourself These Questions First

Reader Contribution by Manuela And Frank Mueller
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Every property comes with legal challenges.
Photo by Manuela Mueller

Many of us are dreaming of owning our own piece of land, buying our first home, or selling and relocating somewhere else to start over. It’s an exciting experience that is quite a task. When we’re searching, we’re looking for the right location, size and, of course, price. Given all these factors, we can’t seem to grasp our luck when we seem to have found “the one” that checks those boxes.

So, we start making plans in our heads, seeing the big picture, not realizing that there’s a lot more to come, including that we’re going to have to face things realistically and make sure the piece we’re chewing isn’t going to choke us in the end.

Getting the dream home isn’t easy.
Photo by Manuela Mueller

Start with the Right Questions

What do I mean by that? Let me give you a couple of examples from real-life experience where we’ve met people who thought they’d found themselves a nice home, but actually had no experience in building. Wanting to save money, they didn’t get an appraisal. They didn’t even think about asking if the house they were looking at:

  • Is it livable in or does it have to be renovated?
  • Does it meet building codes?
  • Are water, septic, power or off-grid systems intact and working?
  • In case it has to be demolished, can and what can I rebuild there?

Yes, I know, at first glance everybody says, “no, that wouldn’t happen to me! I’d ask all of those questions.” Well, believe me, if you just go off thinking you got this and that what you’re looking at is the deal you’ve been seeking for so long, some thoughts do get pushed to the back of your mind and you just hope things will go well.

Even if you really do have these things covered, what about:

  • Have you considered the annual costs of holding a property (i. e. taxes, mortgages, HOA’s, insurance, road maintenance)? And that these costs will rise considerably if you intend to build?
  • Can you get a mortgage?
  • Can you get a mortgage for an off-grid property? (Yes, banks and insurance companies have a completely different approach when it comes to off-grid!)
  • If you’re from outside the country you want to move to, what rules and regulations apply to you?

Budgeting for Homestead or Farm Land

Does your budget include all of the extra costs that will apply before and on the day of purchase:

  • Deposit
  • Property appraisal (if applicable)
  • The purchase price minus the deposit
  • Legal fees
  • Title Insurance
  • Property Survey (if required)
  • Taxes
  • Property Insurance
  • And there might be more costs involved depending on which country, state or province you buy…so make sure you’re informed about these!

It’s especially the side costs that people usually don’t consider, therefore kill the deal at the last moment and shatter their dreams.

Since the pandemic, there’s also the big issue of building costs that have exploded and shut down many people’s plans of pursuing their dream. So, in case you’re in that situation and still want to go on, make sure you have a plan B, such as maybe building a bit smaller for the moment, switching to other building materials that might be cheaper at the moment, doing some of the work yourself or going with reclaimed materials if possible. It’s definitely more effort you’ll have to put, but if you really want to pull through there are alternatives.

As we’ve been in that position ourselves, we created a 2-hour webinar about how to find the perfect piece of land in Nova Scotia which touches all of those topics and many more.

The result is worth the effort.
Photo by Manuela Mueller

It really doesn’t matter if you’re looking to go into the urban areas, rural, on- or off-grid, you’re alone, or want to do it as a family or community project — take your time, do your homework, be open for changes, be honest to yourself and your situation and prepared for challenges!

It’s never easy to pursue your dream, but it’s worth it and don’t forget:Life’s too short to waste a minute.


Manuela and Frank Muellerlive off the grid in Nova Scotia, where they built their own log home and furniture. Now, they’re ready to teach you in their webinar,Find Your Perfect Piece of Land in Nova Scotia & Live Your Dream. Connect with Manuela and Frank on their website, Restless Roots, and onFacebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Read all of their MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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