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Buying rural property: A home and a business venture?

Published May 29, 2020 – 4 mins read

If the idea of moving out of the city, starting a new business and having a different pace of life appeals to you, then property search agents can help you in finding and buying a rural property.

There are lots of farms, stables and smallholdings that you can buy and run as an ongoing concern – as well as lots of opportunities to buy a rural property and set up your own business.

Here we share some rural business ideas to whet your appetite. 

Staying agricultural

If you ask them to do so, it’s almost certain that your property search agents will be able to find an existing agricultural business for purchase as an ongoing concern.

The obvious example that springs to mind is that of the farm be it a more substantial business or a smallholding.  There will almost certainly be options available in areas such as animal husbandry and crop production.  Many farms will also have an immediately habitable property associated with them.

In fact, agricultural opportunities are far more diverse than the traditional farm.  The countryside is alive with agriculture-related businesses including things such as:

  • blacksmithing;
  • road transport services between farms;
  • plant support businesses – in this case, the plant referred to are things such as baling machines, forklift truck rental or the provision of services using related equipment to farms when they need them.

All of these are close-to-the-land options and may exist either as going concerns or ideas for your own start-up enterprise in agriculture.

The options you favour may depend upon your overall lifestyle inclinations and financial position. 

For example, if you have your own farm, then the idea of getting up at 4 am to tend to animals on a beautiful summer’s day might be attractive.  It might though be a far less appealing prospect at 4 am in January, when it is dark, icy cold, and a gale is blowing.

In terms of income, if you are relatively financially independent, then your selection may be based primarily or even exclusively upon your interests.  However, if you need to generate living income from your investment, you will need to do extensive research in advance.  It can be challenging to generate an income sufficient to support a comfortable lifestyle from things such as a smallholding or farming industry related to new business start-ups.  A local agricultural business may have things such as supplier relationship networks that have existed for many years, and it can be difficult to break into that circle.

If you’re purchasing a business which is up and running, be sure to examine the books closely and ask for further advice and guidance from your property finder and other relevant professionals.

Of course, many businesses located in the countryside are not directly linked to agriculture.  There are many other available opportunities that are worth thinking about if you are looking for countryside properties from which to run a business.

Holiday lets

One very obvious proposition is to purchase and live in your property, while sub-letting parts of it for holidays or other recreational uses.

Many holidaymakers love to get away from it all type breaks in the countryside, and the staycation is now clearly an ongoing significant factor in the holiday marketplace.

There are large numbers of related opportunities where you might be able to start a business based around your property and any land that might be attached to it.  Just a sample includes:

  • developing outbuildings into something such as a conference, training or yoga centre;
  • setting up an equestrian centre;
  • country pursuit clubs specialising in things such as hiking, rural crafts or fishing;
  • a local business excellence centre, providing rentable office space and e-commerce facilities for small local businesses who cannot afford or choose not to have their own business premises;
  • a bed and breakfast or more exclusive hotel based around the more prestigious parts of your property.

There is an almost endless list of opportunities here to own a rural enterprise without necessarily needing to engage in the often demanding reality of an agricultural business.

Craft industries

If the idea of rural production appeals to you but not to the extent of running your own farm, you could consider setting up some form of craft industry on your land or based in your property.

This area is almost as broad as you choose to make it and just a few initial ideas cover things such as:

  • growing, processing and selling natural products (e.g. herbal preparations);
  • bees and honey;
  • free-range chickens and eggs;
  • natural perfume production and cosmetics;
  • running a restaurant or café based on local biological produce from your own land and surrounding farms.

Today’s consumer is increasingly demanding natural and sustainable products and those which they can trace the source of.  This is a growing market and one you might be able to productively engage in.

Qualifications

Please note that some of the above business ideas will require you, as the business owner, to hold specific certifications and qualifications before you will be able to do things such as sell your produce.

In particular, anything to do with food production and farming is now tightly regulated, and you will need to ensure not only that you understand those regulations but also that you comply with them.  This may require you attending certain educational courses or buying in such expertise in the form of qualified personnel.

Summary

Finally, please note that any change of use of land or buildings will typically need permission.

There will also be the need to consider other legal requirements such as planning permission should you decide to run holiday lets. In that particular case, you’ll need as well to make sure you comply with your responsibilities as a landlord.

There will inevitably be tax implications to consider, as is the case with any income generation and, depending on the business, agricultural law.

Other considerations may include business, machinery and employers’ liability insurance.

We can help you find the perfect property for your escape to the country, providing advice and guidance on buying a rural property. Why not get in touch today to see how we can help?