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dapplefred5

I Just Bought A Farm! Advice?!

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I am very excited! I just bought a 20 ac farm. Not exactly what I was looking for, I.E. I was looking at houses...this place doesn't have a house. But it has a beautiful barn!! horses come first right? LOL. I am planning on putting a small apartment in the barn for starters. The rest will come later with time and $.

So any advice for this clueless 26yr old who has never owned property?! Luckily everything on it right now is brand new and there is horse fence. But I am sure there are many farm owners out there who may have done things differently or if you did something really well do share.

I am planning on planting my orchard this winter and lots of trees. AND a cross country jumping course bit by bit.

:yay:

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Congrats! :yay:

If you are not looking to build a huge house you could look into Panel Concepts cabins, they are pretty cheap and easy to build and are SUPER energy-efficient.

http://www.panelconcepts.com/products-pricing.html

Make sure you understand building codes for your area, and have your water source tested by an actual lab.

I recommend you acquire a small farm or utility tractor with a bucket and 3-point attachment for PTO-driven implements. You will need it WAY more than you ever think you might.

The only other advice I would give you is to TAKE YOUR TIME with permanent projects like orchard planting and house building. Take it from someone who has moved a LOT, it is way better to take your time, get to know your property well and plan carefully rather than make hasty decisions you will have to redo down the line.

And have fun! It has always been my dream to purchase and develop a property exactly to my liking.

And please, please, please post some pics!

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Congratulations

I'll ditto GH's advice, take your time as to how you like to proceed. I agree with finding small tractor, there might be a place you can rent one, that could help you make a better choice if you want to buy in the future. Have no advice on living quarters, only that you check local codes, to see what you can do. I wish you well with this new adventure. Best Wishes. PD

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Congrats on your farm. I also ditto GH's advise, and look forward to pics.

I like to watch a show, on the live well network, called knock it off, that has great ideas, very reasonably priced, for various inside projects, which is pretty much what building an apt inside an existing structure is. Here is the addy http://livewellnetwork.com/111?show=knockitoff&tag=knock-it-off-diy-projects

Another good resource for small area plans is tiny homes https://www.google.com/search?q=tiny+homes&client=firefox-a&hs=bSD&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=widXVPy5G8b-yQT164KQAw&ved=0CCsQsAQ&biw=1152&bih=576 Some of them are incredibly pricey, yet others look as nice, and are very reasonable.

Building material sources : Craigslist, look under multiple headings, and use the search tempest feature too, along with your local habitat for humanity resale store, and others, that the DIY knock it off girls have used. Watch Craigslist for trees, and tractors too. There are two local sources, here, of already potted trees, set out for customers to choose from. One is strictly pines, but the other has a variety. They are not commercial nursery's, but are a good second income for their sellers, and much more reasonable in price. You can pay anything from $1200, for a Ford 8n, upwards to a high of $5000, for late model Farmall, Olivers, or Allis Chamlers tractors with live PTO's. A lot of them come with implements. Misc. farm equipment consignment sales happen spring and fall here. Your local auctioneers should have online info for their upcoming auctions. We have done well at all of these over the years. In Ohio, this is a good place to keep an eye on prices.http://www.yoderandfreyfarm.com/

I will share that we bought our 1600 Oliver there, some time ago, for less than $4000. Still running great, even in last winters awful cold weather.

Don't know what direction, in the barn, your apt will be built in, but if you have a choice, bedrooms facing north, or east, are cooler in the summers heat by bedtime. A two foot outside roof overhang, keeps the sun out of windows in summer, but allows it to come in during the cooler months. It also stops any snow/ice dam buildup, from backing up under roofing materials, and helps prevent water damage to outside walls. You are in Texas, and I don't know how often your cold weather is more than rain, but even just overhanging the outside entrance doorway to the apt would help protect it from the elements.

We bullt a ranch. Our attached garage is on the north west corner of our house. There is a mud/laundry room, that serves as our airlock entrance, into the main house, from that garage. Our front door opens to a deck that goes all the way along the east side of the garage, and is shaded after noon. It is protected from the west winds, but not the north ones. Our galley kitchen is in between the utility room, and our great room. Two six foot doorwalls face south in the great room. Passive solar heat is gained by the sun shining through them, which is very enjoyable in winter months. Two by six stud walls will make your apt much more comfortable, and cheaper on utilities. We cool our house with one window air conditioner. You said small apt, so probably under 1500 sq ft. Tonight it is in the twenties, and I am using one infrared heater in our large 15 &1/2 by 28 great room, that the galley kitchen opens onto from both sides, and also the front door foyer, bedrooms hallway, and main bath, are part of. It is situated up against one end of the 28 ft, and the temp is a cozy 68 degrees. As cold as it was last winter, we also ran one in our bedroom, which is two bathrooms, and two hallways away from the greatroom. One infrared heater is a life smart brand, and the other is dura flame. They were not expensive. Under $120. My point is you should not have to go to the expense of a typical furnace system to heat your apt. All infrared heaters are not the same though. Typical of any product, be careful which one you choose.

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Wow thanks for all the great tips. No, probably not a house for a few more years. The apt will probably be around 600sq ft i am meeting with the builder soon to discuss options. Love overhangs and porches.

I am trying to do some myself to save $,but also i think i would really enjoy stuff myself,like deck, floring etc, im fairly handy! I know there will be some 'mistakes' but im along for the ride.

My mom suggested that heat thats under the floor. Most heat in tx is electric, aka expensive, so making everything super insulated. I grew up in a 1700s farm house, uhg don't want any part of that lol. Drafty!

My pop has an 1949 8n, he might give it to me now that he recently upgraded ;)

I have too much land for my horses. At some point i would like to hay it, but for now im going to have to get someone to do it for me. Its lovely Bermuda grass. I will post pics :)

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Nice! That is about the size of our place. Where in Dallas are you? I'm a bit North... Bonham.

Ditto to the advice above. Take your time and don't rush on permanent stuff. Form a plan. DIY is good. You will probably need to invest in some equipment (depending on what you have on the property). Things like a chainsaw can come in mighty handy at times.

:)

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As far as living space, I would look into getting a bigger camper or LQ trailer. Then you can get moved onto the property right away and have a place to stay while you are settling on how you want to build. I would love an apartment in the barn, but you need to think about resale value. EVEN if you don't ever plan on selling. It's just like breeding horses. If you breed planning on keeping the horse forever. You need to still teach it manners and to be a good citizen on the off chance you have to sell. IDK about where you are, but up here, barns with apartments in them do NOT have good resale value. I would talk to a local relator and see what they have to say about what you are thinking for resale value.

Good luck!!!!

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Hi and congrats. We have friends that in their early 20's bought property. They built the barn and added living quarters . They did the majority of the work with the help of friends themselves. This was very workable as they were apprentice trainers at the time and did not have a need for a lot of living space as they were on the road hauling for shows. They built their home the same way themselves over the next few years. It took them a few years but they had a mortgage free home in their early 30's. The small apartment is used now as a barter for rent for barn help or even as a rental. They still haul all over the country so this small apartment as lots of options for it's usage. I know this apartment has paid for it's self many times over and has been an asset to the property. Just food for thought.

Edited by Floridacracker

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Visit your local Agricultural Extension office to meet them and get every pamphlet, booklet or flier that they have.

Wait an entire year before you put in permanent landscaping that includes fruit trees, perennial plants, bushes, walkways and patios.

During those four seasons, your going to find areas that flood/have poor drainage, have a high water table/seasonal springs. Soils that have too much clay (swell in winter & crack in summer) or drain too fast (sandy soils), too many rocks or erode too fast. Places that freeze more than others (cold sinks), others that get too hot and dry.

Your also going to find out how much water is in your well during each season. So that you can plan how many trees or plants your well will support year around. If you put in an orchard this winter and find out in the summer & fall that you don't have enough water or the soil is wrong or that nice little glen has hard freezes in the winter and spring. Your going to have no fruit or dead trees and money wasted.

Copy an aerial map of your land twelve times (1 for each month) and write notes on each one that shows exactly where there are problems/concerns, wet or dry soils, freeze or heat zones, great areas for planting.

We planted 50 fruit trees, ten berry bushes, asparagus & artichoke beds on our fifteen acres. The fruit trees were in before we started building the house. We planted apricot, almond, fig and citrus trees in a lovely bowl shaped area that was visible from the house. Every spring that area freezes deeper than any other spot and the high water table keeps the roots wet. None of the original trees survived in this area. A pond surrounded with plants & trees that love wet roots and the soft loamy soil thrive there. The berry bushes that survived rocky, dry soil with full sun, have been transplanted there too.

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Dondie is spot on, and reminded me of something to mention:your local soil and water conservation office should be able to provide copies of the county soil surveys, either in book or digital form. Learning how to read these and identify the soils on your site can be extremely helpful in determining or planning for sites for those major installations.

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Congratulations on your farm!! :-)

Great advice already been given - advice i wish i had when i bought my place! Land management takes time....and it's worth waiting and observing throughout the seasons which areas are prone to flooding etc....soil testing is a foundational element to continue getting good pasture/hay croppings.

The only advice i would add, especially if you don't have tonnes of money to throw around - is do ONE job at a time. On a farm all jobs really are big jobs - when doing them yourself.

It's very easy and tempting to start off many projects at once, and providing they're small projects it's possible to finish them all before the stress of so many projects not being completed 'kicks in'!. But bigger projects like building a place to live in, fencing many acres, planting orchards, putting in drainage, water piping of many acres - they are all big jobs and i've learnt it's easier to do one at a time....to prevent the situation of so many jobs needing to be completed hanging on your shoulders - coupled with the daily chores us horsey people have to do anyway.

Good luck with your project - it sounds like a fabulous location - want to trade with soggy europe? lol!

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Congratulations on your purchase. One of the first things I would advise is to check in with your insurance carrier and local building code inspector. I imagine the underwriters have an estimate of increased premium if the premises are occupied by humans. Building codes often require a second emergency exit and fire coodes for human occupancy are stricter than farm buildings as well. You are going to invest a significant amount of time and money in this project so you want to plan to do everything right from the start , or you wind up with all kinds of delays redoing things.

One of the things I personally would like in a barn apartment design would be to have it situated directly across from a large foaling/illness monitoring stall with a large visual access area & maybe even a small interior deck&attached stairwell so you can just run down for night checks. The last place I lived in the northern cold, I replaced traditional sliding patio style glass doors with Pella Doors with fabric shades between multiple layers of glass. They kept the house so much warmer. The shades stay clean& you can raise&close them for privacy with a little lever. That particular door style comes with a rolling retractable screen which gives you more options for summer airflow. I'm not sure if you have much rain where you are, but I found of all the Windows I replaced the awning style produced greatest air flow&cross breeze and I didn't need to close them when it was raining.

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We have friends that built a barn with an attached indoor arena, and with the living quarters over the barn. Very convenient, esp when the mares are foaling, but there is a downside, far as flies and barn smell seeps through at times.

What my son did, when he and his better half bought land, was to build the garage first, using a sunshine door, plus solar panels, and built living quarters \in what will at some time be just a garage

Even living in Alberta, the solar panels generated enough power, that was stored in large batteries for days that were cloudy, and still had left over energy to sell back tot he grid

I am lucky that hubby is a contractor, thus we built our own house. There are many ways to save money, building a house.. For instance, we bought all the windows from several show homes (deal was we had to take all of them ), designed our house around the ones we needed, and sold the rest..

What I really insisted on, having lived in a few other houses that that suited for country living, was a downstairs walk out, with large mud room and a shower right off of that mud room

I agree in taking your time, and plan out everything. Look at a few set ups to give you an idea.

I second buying an older mobile home for now, then taking your time and building what you want would leave the barn a barn, with a tackroom, where you can always put a couch and a space heater, if you really want to sleep in the barn for some reason

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