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Top Tips to Buy a Farmhouse

Top Tips to Buy a Farmhouse


Sun porch with hammock and blanket, with tips to buy a farmhouse

Are you ready to embrace the charm and tranquility of farmhouse living? If so, then congratulations! You’re about to embark on the exciting journey buy a farmhouse. But before purchasing, you must arm yourself with the necessary knowledge and tips to make this dream a reality. This article will help guide you through buying a farmhouse, complete with top tips and expert advice.

Purchasing a farmhouse—whether on a working farm for starting a hobby farm or a large piece of land to use as a rustic retreat—can be the best decision you make. You can engineer a fluid transition into the farmhouse lifestyle with the right preparation. 

The home's white exterior and pops of cedar wood accents prepare guests for the white and black farmhouse colors within.
Bright white farmhouse; photography by 1593 Studio.

The Popularity of Farmhouses

The surge in popularity of farmhouses has been driven by a longing for simpler times and a desire to reconnect with nature. In a fast-paced world filled with technology and urban living, many people seek the idyllic refuge of old farmhouses. These rustic homes hold an undeniable allure for homebuyers: there are many advantages to buying new construction homes, but the sense of history and character that some farmhouses exude can’t be replicated. The sturdy architecture, exposed beams and hardwood floors evoke images of days gone by, creating a nostalgic ambiance.

Moreover, farmhouses allow you to live closer to nature. With sprawling fields and open spaces, these homes offer an escape from the concrete jungles of cities.

fireplace and white modern chairs in Scandinavian inspired home
Scandinavian-inspired farmhouse; photograph by Mike Chajecki

Farmhouses provide the perfect opportunity for those who dream of having their own little piece of land or growing their own food. In addition to these factors, the rising interest in sustainable living has also contributed to people wanting to buy a farmhouse. Many buyers are drawn to the idea of self-sufficiency and reducing their carbon footprint. Farmhouses can accommodate gardens for growing produce or even space for raising livestock.

These timeless homes have captured the hearts of homebuyers looking for a slice of rural paradise amidst an increasingly hectic world.

Afro-Cuban print pillows sit on a gray window nook with farmhouse style black window frames.
Globally-influenced farmhouse; photograph by Laura Metzler Photography.

Try Renting a Farmhouse or Working on a Farm Before Buying

Consider renting a farmhouse or working on a farm before you make your decision to buy a farmhouse. Renting a farmhouse or working on a farm allows you to experience the lifestyle and determine its fit for you. Renting a farmhouse allows you to immerse yourself in the rural lifestyle without the long-term commitment of buying. By renting, you can also test out different locations and types of farms to find your ideal match.

Glam party barn with white exterior and green shrubs
A party barn and home; photograph courtesy of Zillow.

Working on a farm furthers the experience by allowing you to participate in daily farm activities before you buy a farmhouse. You can learn about crop cultivation, animal care, and other essential tasks involved in running a farm. This hands-on approach will give you valuable insights into the challenges and rewards of farm life.

Renting or working on a farm will help you understand if you enjoy the physical demands, maintenance responsibilities, and isolation that often come with owning a farmhouse. It will also allow you to connect with local farmers and learn from their experiences.

A pine dresser with carved accents was retrofitted into a vanity for the powder room for this farmhouse refresh
A Victorian restored farmhouse; photography by Sinead Hastings.

Learn From the Experts

Before you take the plunge, learn from experienced farmers who can provide invaluable insights into the world of farming and help you make informed decisions. Connecting with farmers with years of experience can be highly beneficial when preparing to buy a farmhouse. By nurturing relationships with and finding ways to help experienced farmers, they will likely be more than happy to share their knowledge and guide you through the process.

Additionally, attending farming conferences or workshops is another great way to learn from experts in the field. These events often feature experienced farmers as speakers who are eager to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have.

Consider joining local farming organizations or associations. These groups often provide resources and networking opportunities that can connect you with seasoned farmers who are willing to offer advice and support. By learning from these experts, you’ll gain practical knowledge about running a farm successfully.

vintage home dining room with chandelier
A vintage treasure-trove home; photograph via Coco Features

Start Small

When starting in farming, it’s wise to begin with a smaller piece of land and a farmhouse to minimize risk and allow for gradual adjustment to the agricultural lifestyle. Buy a farmhouse on a smaller plot of land to get numerous benefits and enable your long-term success. First, starting small reduces your financial risk. Investing in a large working farm can be expensive and overwhelming. Starting small allows you to test the waters, learn from mistakes, and adjust as needed.

Second, starting small enables you to adapt at your own pace. Farming is about much more than growing crops and raising animals. Starting with a smaller farm allows you to gradually learn the ropes and get comfortable with the demands of rural living. It will enable you to develop essential skills, such as managing livestock or maintaining crops, without being overwhelmed by their scale.

Rustic farmhouse kitchen to buy a farmhouse in Pennsylvania
A rustic farmhouse in Pennsylvania; photograph courtesy of Zillow.

Furthermore, beginning with a smaller farm helps you understand what works best for you. It allows you to experiment with different farming techniques and find your niche. You can try various crops or livestock breeds without spending too much time or resources. 

Last, starting small allows for easier maintenance and management of your property. A smaller plot of land requires less effort and resources than larger farms. This means that when you are still learning how everything works, it will be more manageable for you both physically and financially during these early stages. 

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Know the Potential Renovations Before You Buy a Farmhouse

The home's front door is painted black to offset the shiplap style trim on either side of the door
A modern farmhouse style; photograph by Ashley Laaker.

When planning to buy a farmhouse, it’s crucial to be aware of the renovations you’ll have to make to the property. This is true for any home purchase, but with farmhouses—especially those on larger working farms—the potential cost for renovations can be enormous. Will you be able to restore your historic home without gutting it? Are the potential renovations small- or large-scale? By paying special attention to certain areas, you can get a good sense of the money you’ll have to put into the farmhouse after purchase.

Water Source & Safety

Pearl Street Urban Farmhouse porch
A restored farmhouse in Washington; photograph by Steven Campbell.

Ensuring a safe and reliable water source is crucial; many farmhouses draw their water from wells, and digging a new well can be an astronomical expense depending on the water table depth. To avoid this expense, it is vital to thoroughly assess the water source and its safety. Test for potential contaminants such as animal waste and farming pesticides that could pose serious health risks. While testing can be costly, it pales in comparison to the price of drilling a new well. Additionally, consider the proximity of the water source to your farmhouse and whether it provides sufficient quantity. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision about the viability of a potential farmhouse purchase.

Exterior of music barn home in Tennessee
A music barn home in Tennessee; photograph by Andi Whiskey.

Electric & HVAC

To keep your farmhouse comfortable and cozy, ensure the electric wiring is up to date and the HVAC system is in good working condition. Issues with wiring in the house, power source, and HVAC system are common. 

When inspecting a farmhouse, check for any outdated or faulty wiring that may pose safety hazards or result in electrical problems down the line. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as frayed wires or outdated fuse boxes. Additionally, ensure that the HVAC system is functioning properly to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the house. Check for any leaks or strange noises coming from the system, as these can indicate potential issues.

Issues With the Foundation

Front door on porch with plants on either side
A farmhouse restoration in progress; photograph by Lauren Servati.

If you’re considering buying an old farmhouse, it’s important to be aware of potential foundation issues that can be costly to repair. Foundation issues are common in old farmhouses due to factors like soil movement, water damage, or inadequate construction techniques used at the time it was built. 

Signs of foundation problems include cracks in walls or ceilings, uneven floors, or doors and windows that don’t close properly. These issues not only affect the structural integrity of the farmhouse but also create safety hazards and make renovations more challenging. Before purchasing an old farmhouse, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the foundation and consult with experts who can assess any potential repair costs involved.

Boy Scout theme, complete with vintage books, canteens, uniforms, binoculars and pennants.
A vintage boys’ room; photograph by Dave Bryce.

Prepare Properly for To Buy a Farmhouse

So, are you ready to buy a farmhouse? Remember, doing research and taking practical steps before taking the plunge is important. Renting or working on a farm beforehand can give you valuable insight into the lifestyle and responsibilities of owning a farmhouse. Learning from experts in the field will also help you make informed decisions. And don’t forget to start small and consider potential renovations. Purchasing a farmhouse can improve your quality of life and overhaul your lifestyle, so don’t hesitate to begin your pre-purchase preparations! 


Want more real estate tips? Check out tips for selling your farmhouse, and don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration! 

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