Here in NC, hobby farms are a perennial favorite among buyers. According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, any tract of land used for agricultural purposes that produces $1,000 or more of product is actually considered a farm.
To put this into perspective, just about any home with a few acres of land could easily produce enough garden veggies, fruit, eggs, meat animals, or other farm products to be an official farm, whether the products produced are for personal consumption or for sale. The main reason this type of farming continues to be called hobby farming is that most of those who reside on these smaller farms do so as a part-time, hobby, or sideline venture, with the main household income continuing to be earned from a more traditional, off-the-farm, type of employment.
Why are prospective real estate buyers considering hobby farms over homes in more populated areas?
In our area of NC, hobby farms can offer families, couples, and individuals opportunities that would be difficult to find in urban or suburban areas. For example, having a few acres of pasture can make keeping a horse or two for riding much more affordable than having to pay boarding fees or rent a pasture. In addition, hobby farms offer ways to explore hobbies and pursuits that can eventually lead to a full- or part-time income stream. Some choose hobby farms in an attempt to help their families eat a more healthy, locally produced diet or to ensure a level of sustainability. Other benefits for choosing a hobby farm over an urban home include potentially lower crime rates, better air quality, less crowded school systems, and lower tax rates.
What type of property works best for the beginning hobby farmer?
When searching for NC hobby farms for sale, the soil type and quality, as well as available water sources, and the actual location of the land should always be top priority. In addition, hobby farms that already have existing improvements can greatly reduce the amount of time – and money – required to begin producing animals or crops. Prospective buyers who want to begin their hobby farm as economically as possible will want to find one that offers some or all of the following features:
- a good mix of open and wooded land to ensure plentiful agricultural spaces and managed woodlands for hunting and conservation purposes
- year-round water availability, including drilled wells, live springs, creeks, rivers, ponds, or lakes
- barns and outbuildings, such as livestock shelters, produce processing or storage spaces, and storage for hay, feed, and equipment
- perimeter fencing sufficient to keep livestock safely confined and away from traffic
- a home that is either in move-in condition or able to be easily renovated
While it is entirely possible to create a working hobby farm from the ground up, buyers who purchase one with at least some of the improvements listed above will be able to save a significant amount of money on their start-up costs, even though their initial purchase price will be higher than it would be if buying vacant land.
Can living on a hobby farm be a positive financial move overall?
At first glance, it can appear that living on a hobby farm might be more expensive, especially when the cost for crops, livestock, and maintenance is considered. But it is important to look at the entire picture before answering this question. For instance, hobby farmers may be able to significantly reduce the amount they spend on groceries, enjoy lower real estate taxes due to land use tax breaks, and see income possibilities from produce, livestock, the lease of hunting rights, periodic timber harvesting and more.
If you are considering becoming a NC hobby farmer, Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina may already have the perfect property listing for you. Take a peek at our current NC hobby farms listings here and then call Gardner at (919) 749-3177 or Frank (919) 696-4249 for more information and a private viewing appointment. And remember, new listings are coming in each week, so we are confident we can help you explore and satisfy your NC hobby farm dreams.
With a busy summer once again in progress, Gardner, Frank, and the entire staff would like to take a moment to remind everyone to drive safely as you get out and about to enjoy our beautiful Central North Carolina area.