Published : 9 March 2016
If you've always dreamed of owning a home on a few acres, growing some veggies and enjoying fresh eggs from your own chooks, there has never been a better time. Not only did the Reserve Bank of Australia agree to keep interest rates on hold at its recent meeting, but there's also a chance they could further cut the rate in the near future.
And that's an attractive proposition if you're keen to borrow that little bit extra needed to buy an acreage property.
But did you know that, subject to planning legislation, of course, there are many ways to turn your acreage into a nice little earner?
Making it pay
From selling a few veggies at the garden gate, to offering eco cabins and weekend getaways, acreage properties in Australia are starting to earn their keep.
The first thing to do is assess your acreage. How big is it? What type of land is it - cleared, treed, hilly, flat?
Is there already the infrastructure in place to create a profitable enterprise? For example, many acreage properties currently on the market with Coast to Coast Media include large sheds, irrigation licences, approved amenities blocks, even cabins.
Perhaps the property you are considering already has a small nursery business in place, that could be expanded.
B&B a nice little earner
Or perhaps it used to be a B&B business, and that could be re-registered.
Depending on the size of the acreage - and local planning laws - building a couple of self-contained holiday cabins is a great idea. They can be located far enough away from your home so as not to interfere with your peace and privacy, and it's a relatively easy business to run, that can generate a good income.
Before considering any of these ideas, it's very important to consider the legal and financial implications. For example, any business that brings members of the public onto your land, be it holiday accommodation or venue hire for weddings, needs the right insurance in place.
If somebody injures themselves on your property, you will be liable, so do consult a registered insurer at the first opportunity.
Equally, any business involving the preparation and selling of food is subject to very strict health legislation. That ranges from the use of a commercial kitchen to serve meals, or even just afternoon teas, to the sale of prepared products.
The latter refers not to selling fruit and veg at the gate, but to selling things like jams and pickles.
Take professional advice
Clearly, if you are buying acreage that already supports a business, the vendors will be able to tell you more, and your solicitor will know which licences can be transferred and so on.
If you are starting from scratch, your first step is to talk to your solicitor and your financial advisor.
Your solicitor will be able to explain the different laws - including by-laws - and point you in the right direction to obtain licenses and permissions.
Your financial advisor can help you prepare a business plan, and advise how a business might affect your tax et cetera.
But don't let that put you off! It sounds serious but thousands of people do it every day. It's a great way of affording the property you've always wanted, and generating some income.