Is owning a farm for you?
Buying a farm in South Africa requires immense research, especially if you are a first time owner. You will also need to consider what type of a farm or smallholding you are willing to commit to. For instance, purchasing high-potential agricultural land is not only a costly affair, but it also requires owners to have great knowledge of the market and farming methods.
Small holdings are relatively purchased for a sense of lifestyle and owners often keep horses or cattle on a small scale for enjoyment purposes. Farms, on the other hand, are purchased more for commercial activity. Some of the hotspots for farming include Pretoria East, smallholdings near the main metro areas, as well as the closeness to a place of work.
Each potential buyer has their own unique reasons to leave urban life for the farm life. "Some of the exciting reasons to live on a farm include the open country lifestyle and independence. In some cases, self-sustainability and going off the grid with solar power, own water, security, homegrown produce, along with bringing up children away from the bad city influence are driving factors which encourage people to become farm owners," says Joop Coetzee, Principal at RealNet Agri & Lifestyle Estates.
He further highlights a few of the main concerns a buyer needs to look out for when interested in purchasing a farm or smallholding. "Potential buyers should consider the location of the property, access to tar roads, nearby amenities like distance to markets, availability and quality of sufficient water, along with the overall security and safety of the area."
According to Coetzee, potential buyers are mostly interested in broiler farming. Broilers are young chickens generally under 8-weeks old that weighs about 1.4kg. They have tender meat with soft, smooth-textured skin and flexible breastbone cartilage. As a result of chicken being a high-in-demand food, broiler farming can be lucrative. Other popular farming practices include crop irrigation and large-scale livestock farming.
Buyers are least interested in properties that are located close to informal settlements and have high-power electricity lines over the vicinity of the property. The lack of sufficient water, long-distance to amenities as well as bad conditions of dirt roads further have a negative impact on a buyer's decision.
With safety being a major concern to farm owners, Coetzee advises on the common steps they need to take in order to protect themselves and their farms: "Aside from joining the farm watch - GPF forum, owners need to secure their properties with electric fences, an alarm system and security lighting. Having dogs on the property can also be used as a safety measure. Most importantly DO NOT KEEP CASH on the property."
Taking recent trends into account, Coetzee identifies farm property sales as being on the decline as a result of political instability and negative social media content spreading fear in the country. He does, however, attribute large commercial farms as still being in high-demand.
Having large pieces of unused land can further be used to generate an income. Many owners are turning unused farm lands into weekly farmers markets where fresh produce can be sold to the public. Entertainment and family gaming activities such as paintball are also great ways for owners to make use of their land.
RealNet Agri and Lifestyle Estates specialises in small holdings, farms, game farms and more. To secure one of our hotspots contact our farm specialist team at RealNet Agri and Lifestyle Estates now.