Like when you make any big investment or purchase, buying a homestead requires the same level of research, planning and organisation. Moreso if you’re moving from one homestead to another, as you will have all sorts of bits and pieces you need to take with you, including animals, machinery and excess materials.
And moving from a suburban property to a rural or country property will no doubt be no different. I always buy the ugliest house on the best street, and it has served me well time and again. I always look for the block with overgrown shrubs, bushy, trees, and maybe even dirt mounds. Because all of that is cosmetic, but often times is enough to put most people off buying. A little bit of hard work to remove and clean it up yourself, or enlisting the services of gardeners, manual labour or earth movers is enough to get a rundown property back into shape, and relatively quickly too.
So I hope you haven’t picked the property with acres of manicured lawns, established stables and irrigation throughout, because you would’ve paid infinitely more than to install or build some of this yourself.
Regardless, lets assume you’ve made the purchasing decision on your property and you’ve now moved in. Slowly, boxes are being unpacked and you’re finding where all the things will go. You’re also doing a bit of a purge, as you realise some of the things that have been in boxes or other storage really haven’t been used, so your pile for donation or rubbish is growing just as much.
And now a few months have passed and you’ve finally settled in. You have a routine, and you start making a plan of things that need to change or improve. Lets look at the top 20 things that you must do on your new homestead within the first year of moving in:
0 – 3 months
- clean up around your house. Remove any weeds, overgrown shrubs or bushes
- Clean downpipes and gutters, washout water tanks.
- Get grease catcher and sewerage tank contents extracted and cleaned out
- replace/refill all gas cannisters (if connected this way)
- check perimeter/house yard fencing, and fix any holes or gaps that need immediate attention
- check all electrical connections, pump pressures and water tank connections
- install gutter guard and water tank hole mesh with filter
- clean first flush system in downpipes from water tank to house
- make sure all electrical connections and wires are connected properly, there is no debris or trees impacting lines and all access to electrical points externally is clear for energy workers if needed.
- Prepare a composting and/or manure are for your livestock and garden
From 3-6 months
- prepare property for weather events. If you have a wet and dry season, and depending on what season it is when you move into your homestead, look at doing any maintenance or cleaning that is needed to accommodate for that season. The 0-3 months dot points should cover this off, especially if you need to prepare for the wet season like we do in South East Queensland.
- If you have a bushy block, start expanding out away from the house area and look at clearing and cleaning here as needed.
- Remove weeds, shrubs and small trees growing very close to bigger trees. Pay particular attention to noxious or poisonous weeds, especially if you’ve got livestock.
- mark and remove dead trees, trees with overhang to powerlines, or those close to the house that may drop leaf litter in the gutters and water tanks
- Plan the following if you choose to have them on your homestead: horse riding arena, round yard, chicken run, ducks/geese, shelter for any other animal such as an alpaca, llama, goats, etc, composting and manure boxes, vegetable garden, orchard, flower garden, lean to or car port for trailers, machinery, car lifting hoists, or extra car storage, hay storage sheds, tack rooms and stables, horse wash bay and cross tie area, cattle/sheep crush and loading area, fire pit and outside kitchen, extra water tanks, pump houses, internal paddocks and fencing, bee keeping space, extra sheds, outside gardening area
- Mulch, burn off and chip any excess or cut down trees and shrubs. Keep them for use in the garden or sell them on somewhere like FB marketplace or leave a sale note up in your town billboard. Alternately, start a stack for firewood you can use yourself or sell.
From 6-12 months
- Depending on where you’ve moved and the time of year, you may have skipped any major weather events and have another few months to go before any serious weather starts rolling in. If this is the case, continue on with any other improvements you need.
- If you’re now hitting a weather system, then start monitoring weather patterns locally, make sure you’re signed up to your local Police, Fire and Ambulance services on social media. Also sign up to your energy provider and any emergency weather warning systems. Our local council has an early warning system and just last year installed live monitoring of flood markers on major roads, so we can quickly log on to council’s website and see which flood markers are rising (we’re right at the end of two rivers that intersect and have decent flow).
- Monitor what happens at your property in different weather. Do you get severe wind, hail, rain, thunder? If so, keep an eye out on what is happening around your house, sheds, and any other out buildings.
- clear out and prepare gardens around the house, such as privacy screen or flower gardens. Make sure you still maintain any garden beds for cosmetic purposes, or if you haven’t already started, look into the best types of plants and shrubs that grow in your area and start planning this. Having an established house garden with flowers and the like will serve you well if you do decide to sell later on and already have done some landscaping work and established gardens.