What You’ll Want to Look At When Buying a Farm For Sale
by Kent Braaten
on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 at 11:44am.
If you’re talking about farmland in Canada, Saskatchewan is without a doubt one of the first places that comes to mind. With vast prairies spanning hundreds of thousands of acres, it’s the perfect province to find a farm for sale and start your agricultural journey. No matter if you’re hoping to farm crops or cattle, in north or south Saskatchewan, you can find a plot of agricultural land right here to get you going! When searching for the perfect farm, though, you’ll want to keep the following in mind to ensure you get the right fit for you:
Can You Afford to Buy a Farm?
Buying a farm may seem as simple as buying any other real estate, but unlike buying a home, it’s not as simple as paying the down payment, securing the mortgage, and setting off on your new adventure! While you can purchase a home with only 5% down to secure an insured mortgage, lenders may ask those buying farmland for more up front—sometimes even as much as 25%!
Where homes are simple dwellings, farms, much like commercial properties, are usually purchased with the intent to generate revenue. It’s not as simple as buying a cow and milking the money, though. Farms require an extensive amount of time and money to get started, and even more to maintain over time. And mortgage lenders are no strangers to this. That’s why, in order to protect their investment and ensure they will generate a return, they will ask for a more generous down payment.
Before you start your farm search, I suggest meeting with a lender who specialized in agricultural mortgages. They will be able to assess your financial health and affordability for purchasing farmland to give you more realistic expectations before you start looking outside what your wallet allows!
Types of Farms For Sale
Not every plot of land is created equal, and depending on the type of farm you plan to run, you’ll need to find a lot that suits your agricultural needs. For example, if you plan to run a cattle farm, you will want to narrow your search down to pasture land. This land has been farmed for grazing livestock and will give your cows what they need to grow big and strong. If you’re hoping to farm crops, on the other hand, you’ll want to look for land that has either been cultivated successfully or has good soil to start cultivating moving forward.
Speaking of good soil, it’s one of the most important factors to consider when looking at farms for sale—especially if you have plans for growing crops! Healthy soil is crucial in producing viable crops, but not necessarily as important if you are only looking to raise livestock.
To get an accurate depiction of the soil conditions on a potential farm, I always recommend looking at a land assessment performed by the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA). They provide a report that will be able to tell you either the expected or proven production value of the land. They will take into consideration all the different health indicators for soil, including climate, texture, salinity, organic matter content, drainage, and so much more!
Previous Land Treatment
Just as a medical history is vital in getting a proper diagnosis, knowing the land’s treatment history is vital to maintaining and cultivating it for years to come. If there are existing crops, what has their rotation schedule been like, if any? Has the previous farmer used pesticides or herbicides to keep a clean crop? As regular maintenance tasks that will need to be followed up on, you’ll need to keep these in mind to understand how to keep the land the way it is or what you may need to do to improve it moving forward.
Get a REALTOR® Who Specializes in Farm
While we may typically associate REALTORS® with buying and selling homes, they can also be valuable resources in farm real estate, as well—especially when buying, when their services will be absolutely free to you! But not all real estate agents will be able to help you with buying or selling farmland. That’s why it’s very important to find a Saskatchewan real estate agent who specializes in farmland to better guide you through the process with experience and knowledge in that space.
If you’ve found yourself ogling at farms for sale, don’t let your inexperience keep you from moving forward toward your dream of owning agricultural land. With a little bit of research and a whole lot of help from an experienced farm REALTOR®, you can feel confident in purchasing farmland to turn your dreams into a reality!