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Buying a rural weekender


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#1 j-gray

Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:11 PM

Hi, would love to hear anyone's experiences with owning a rural weekender. We are looking at 100+ acre blocks, so not tiny. DH wants cattle but I don't think that we've got capacity to manage that with our existing commitments.

Does anybody own a rural property ? how often do you visit ? Any unforseen things you have come across ?

#2 eigne

Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:21 PM

Not me but my parents. It is A LOT of work. There is always something that needs to be done so you never get to just relax when you’re up there. If you bring friends with you to stay, then you fall further behind. You spend your whole weekend packing, cleaning and unpacking (eg Friday night pack and leave, Saturday race doing chores and maintenance at the rural property, Sunday clean the property and pack, drive home, unpack, squeeze in getting ready for the week ahead). If you have cattle I’d get steer aged 9+ months though depending on the quality of the grass you may need to be up there every fortnight to feed them. The more time you spend up there the less time you have to do chores and maintenance and errands and socialising at home.

In short - I wouldn’t. It ends up eating into what little spare time you have. And it’s a money pit.

#3 seayork2002

Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:28 PM

But dad owned some years ago, gave it up when him and his partner relisted they spend all weekend mowing the lawns and maintaining it rather than enjoying it

If you are prepared for the practicalities they are wonderful and great idea

#4 Sugarplum Poobah

Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:42 PM

We bought a weekender which we now live on...

My observations in no particular order are:

1. Think about how far you are willing to drive both in terms of time and distance. What can seem doable for the odd weekend can become an overwhelming drive if it's every week/fortnight.

2. If you're looking at larger acreage then think about finding someone to adjist stock on it for now. This way the grass is kept down, the fences are maintained (by someone else generally!) and there's some income coming in.

3. Forget packing and unpacking per se. Make sure the place is liveable without having to cart stuff backwards and forwards. A small bag of essentials each should be adequate. You need to have clothes that stay at the farm. Definitely have a washing machine at the weekender -- things like sheets and towels can be washed on a Sunday afternoon and left on a drying rack inside ready to put in the bathroom when you're back next. Do not make unnecessary work for yourself.

#5 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:43 PM

We live on 5 acres. So not huge. The work that that takes is not small. There is constant maintenance. I spend probably an hour ever single day checking things like reticulation (we don't have automated reticulation, god I wish). We have to check for termites on a regular basis. Any trees affected need to be monitored. Fences need to be maintained. We have a year inspection regarding fire breaks. For us that means a 5m perimeter from the fence line need to be cleared of trees and undergrowth. We also can't have anything considered "fuel" like leaf litter, fallen palm fronds, etc within a 20m radius of the house.

DH spends on average 8 hours a month mowing. And then their is the maintenance of the ride on mower.

Roos like to damage fences. That needs to be fixed.


It probably depends on the type or property and how much you can automate etc. But cattle, no I wouldn't.

If you want a weekender then I think you will need someone to do things like regular gardening or similar.

#6 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:59 PM

My parents have 100 acres and lease it to the neighbour to run stock on.
Somethings also to consider.
Fencing and cattle race- if people are having to transport cattle you need a loading race plus head clamp to be able to tend to the cattle. Also dad finds although the leasee will repair a damaged fence, you do need to maintain it, especially if it's an electric fence, replacing outriggers, replacing posts etc.
Water-  parents farm pumps off a lake. You need to make sure your water supply is constant and being monitored as cattle will drink dry a trough in a day or two. Dad has had to replace and repair the pump twice in the last 2 years.
Mowing grass around the house and keeping a driveway clear. You don't want cattle immediately around the house, they love rubbing things to scratch and will damage a house. Mum and dad have to mow the lawns every 4-6 weeks otherwise it becomes too difficult.  They also spray the gravel drive 2 x a year because otherwise the grass overgrows it even with cattle.
My parents drive 2.5 hours to get to the property and visit every 4 to 6 weeks and they are retired! We holidayed on the property over summer and sometimes in the winter as kids, but mum didn't work, so dad would go home for a week to work and leave us up there for 3 to 4 weeks in summer. However once we started university and go part time jobs, it pretty much dropped off to being a week or so.

#7 Snorkmaiden

Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:10 PM

We have one, it's about 3 hours north of Sydney. I love it and we're up there every weekend.

We have around 80 acres, half is cleared, the rest is bush. We're agisting which helps keep the paddock cleared and currently have 13 cows and 11 calves belonging to our neighbours. So we get to enjoy having them, without any of the responsibility (such as dosing)

We're lucky in that my partner can leave work early on a Friday afternoon (round 3pm) so we can avoid some of the freeway traffic. He can work from home on Mondays so we head back to Sydney late Monday afternoon.

There are always projects on the go, but we're handy and like stuff like that. I'm always checking fences, especially after a lot of wind. We also have wild dogs, so I'm worrying about the calves a lot.

I've had to get used to the wildlife - snakes, pythons, ticks and monitor lizards hang around the house especially now it's getting warmer. The wallabies and kangaroos visit early morning or late afternoon.

Things to think about:
Dams, water tanks for the house (how many, how large?)
Fencing - Condition? Age?
House contents - Can you buy a property with contents? Which is much easier than having to fit it out yourself
Machinery - Tractors, quad bikes, mowers etc.
Weather - How dry is it? How much rain does it get? Is the weather localised? (We can miss rain which falls 10kms down the road)
Buildings - Sheds, how many, how large?
Location - how far are you prepared to travel each visit? Will family/friends want to visit? How far to town, hospital etc.

#8 AllyK81

Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:35 PM

 Nasty Poobah, on 15 October 2019 - 01:42 PM, said:

We bought a weekender which we now live on...

My observations in no particular order are:

1. Think about how far you are willing to drive both in terms of time and distance. What can seem doable for the odd weekend can become an overwhelming drive if it's every week/fortnight.

2. If you're looking at larger acreage then think about finding someone to adjist stock on it for now. This way the grass is kept down, the fences are maintained (by someone else generally!) and there's some income coming in.

3. Forget packing and unpacking per se. Make sure the place is liveable without having to cart stuff backwards and forwards. A small bag of essentials each should be adequate. You need to have clothes that stay at the farm. Definitely have a washing machine at the weekender -- things like sheets and towels can be washed on a Sunday afternoon and left on a drying rack inside ready to put in the bathroom when you're back next. Do not make unnecessary work for yourself.

Agree with all of this. We have a beach house 1.5 hours from home. It is the perfect distance if we even need to pop down for 1 night. We have 1000m2 and the maintenance on that and the house is reasonable. I cannot imagine doing it on a larger property! Our block is predominantly bush and we spent much of the September school holidays pruning for bushfire season. We actually enjoy working in the garden but a larger piece of land would be a LOT of work.

#9 Mands09

Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:51 PM

We have 25 acres an hour away from home. It’s a lot of work. Keeping firebreaks clear (as per pp we need 5 metres all the way around the boundary clear as well as cleared around the property), check fencing hasn’t been damaged, cleaning up litter and fallen over trees near the house. We are still working our way through one tree that fell over in a storm a few months ago, 2m diameter trunk, it’s massive. If you are looking for something to go away to once a month to relax at then this is not what you want.

#10 Mands09

Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:53 PM

Oh also we have no rubbish collection, no mail delivery out there, no electricity grid or sewerage. We also have things like once a year checks for noxious weeds that if any are present that’s a whole lot of work. But my husband likes building things and bring out in nature so it’s stress relief for him.

#11 melbun

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:07 PM

We have a 100+ acre property in a wine region less than 2 hours from Melbourne.

We've owned the property for 3.5 years, built a house that was finished a year ago.

We spend most weekends there, unless we have a reason to be in Melbourne.

We don't have any stock, and don't plan to.  It's about 70 acres open pasture and the rest bush.  Due to the low rainfall in recent years we haven't had any issues controlling grass growth.  

The fences were all quite new so haven't required any maintenance.  We keep down some weeds and undesirable plants which is some work.  We're still removing a lot of old rusty internal paddock fencing.   It's basically as much or as little work as we want to do, aside from things like cutting firewood.  

We intend to retire there in about 10 years or less.

We don't do a lot of packing and unpacking, apart from groceries and specific clothes etc.  The house is very well stocked and I have duplicates of all my toiletries so don't have to pack those things every week.  Our local supermarket is pretty good so between that and the weekend farmers market we like to do as much shopping as possible there.

We sold our house in Melbourne last year and moved to an inner suburban apartment which means we don't spend our time in Melbourne cleaning and maintaining a big house, which has made a lot of difference.

We used to spend all weekend in Melbourne mowing lawns and maintaining gardens, as well as caring for an older weatherboard home, now we don't do that.  The country place is actually less work.

Often on a Friday night we'll have dinner in Melbourne, then head off around 6.30-7, we miss the worst of the traffic and still get there early enough to have a glass of wine and relax.

I love it, it's my happy place.  I think of it as home now, the apartment in Melbourne is just somewhere we live during the week.

#12 Karlee99

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:10 PM

Our primary home is on 10 acres but we also have a weekender (nearly 800 acres) about an hour away. At the moment we have no stock, but will in the future when we get the property in the shape we want. There is a bit of work involved in both places, but it's mindless types of work so we find it relaxing and its great for the kids

#13 Jersey Caramel

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:11 PM

If you just want somewhere to relax every month or so,  find a nice cottage on a rural property that someone runs as an airbnb and make a standing booking for the first weekend of the month (or whatever suits). This way you get the feel of having "your" weekender (the familiarity, the joy of watching it change through the seasons,  getting to know the neighbors etc) but without the hassle. Even if it is $500+ per night,  it will still be far cheaper than owning and maintaining a property.

Edited by Jersey Caramel, 15 October 2019 - 03:11 PM.


#14 melbun

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:13 PM

One thing to look out for - finance.

Most banks won't give you a home loan on a 100+ acre property.

#15 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:32 PM

money pit. And I wouldn't be getting livestock unless you can put the time, effort and money into keeping them properly. Cattle look great from a verandah, but they do involve commitment.

 Mands09, on 15 October 2019 - 02:51 PM, said:

If you are looking for something to go away to once a month to relax at then this is not what you want.
agree with this. I have seen a few people come undone by their acreage-rural weekender, particularly when they have a freestanding house in a city (that also requires regular maintenance). It seems to work best for people who live in apartments/units in the city and have little/no regular weekend commitments in the city (ie. kids don't do weekend sport or anything like that).

#16 Demera

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:44 PM

I live rural and I would advise against leaving livestock unsupervised. If they get out and get on the road, and someone gets killed or injured, it's your responsibility, even if it was something you couldn't avoid like a tree falling on the fence.  Far better to offer agistment to a neighbour as suggested above.

You might be better growing some sort of crop like hay where you can get contractors to do the work for you. But that depends entirely on suitability.

Very good point above re Finance.  We found it hard to get finance for our small home block because most banks wanted to call it rural, and they bent the rules a bit to allow us to get it under a home loan. A rural loan is a much bigger deposit and a different interest rate.

Edited by Demera, 15 October 2019 - 03:51 PM.


#17 Blossom11

Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:57 PM

At the moment with the drought, we are struggling to keep our cattle alive and we will be selling up as they are costing us more than what we can possibly get for them.

#18 boatiebabe

Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:08 PM

I have a small property about 2.5 hours away from where I live.

I was talked into it by my sister to create a family getaway.

Don't do it! So much work, I can never truly relax there.

I already have so much to do at home. When I go there there's just another list of jobs. If I could get out of my situation easily I would!

#19 j-gray

Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:18 PM

Thank you all for your input ! It's been so helpful. I share many of the concerns you've mentioned. Definitely need to spend some more time thinking.

#20 Mose

Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:19 PM

 Jersey Caramel, on 15 October 2019 - 03:11 PM, said:

If you just want somewhere to relax every month or so,  find a nice cottage on a rural property that someone runs as an airbnb and make a standing booking for the first weekend of the month (or whatever suits). This way you get the feel of having "your" weekender (the familiarity, the joy of watching it change through the seasons,  getting to know the neighbors etc) but without the hassle. Even if it is $500+ per night,  it will still be far cheaper than owning and maintaining a property.

This.  By the time you have paid rates, insurance, maintenance, and utilities for the year, you will come close to spending the same as a weekend a month at a place that is someone else's problem to maintain, clean etc.

If you really want to raise cattle, I suppose that's different, but hard to do effectively from a distance without strong local support (i.e. if you have farmed a property for years, neighbours will help out in times of crisis - less likely when you are first settling in), and it will be hard to build the sense of community with a weekender.

#21 rainycat

Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:32 PM

We have 5 acres up near Mt Hotham so about 6 hrs drive from us. We spend most holidays and all of term 3 up there so use it a lot.
It’s not a lot of land but upkeep is an ongoing thing, you have to keep weeds in check, mow and burn off regularly to keep it fire safe. Saying that we were wiped out in the 2003 bushfires, repairing fences, removing a fire damaged house and shed took forever to get back to its original state. We have so many animals regularly, wallaby’s, kangaroos, wombats, emus, deer, lots of snakes and spiders. So it is a tad different from living in the city. We love it but it’s loads of work!

#22 Christmas tree

Posted 15 October 2019 - 05:08 PM

Lots of great advice here. But the biggest one that I want to repeat/stress is not leaving animals unsupervised for so long. Animals require a lot of work. Depending on your area you may need to feed out more than once a week. It means injured animals will lie there for a week. It really isn’t going to make for a good/relaxing weekend.

However there are lots of options. Agisiting or leasing paddocks around a property may be a good interim solution until you can/want to commit to being there full time.


#23 laridae

Posted 15 October 2019 - 05:18 PM

We have a shack. A small house on a small parcel of land about 2 hours drive away. Near a lake.
That's bad enough.... but it was a family property so we kinda had no choice.
don't forget, it's an extra lot of rates, insurance, land tax, mortgage (if you need one). It's another property that needs maintenance, lawn mowing, gardening, cleaning.
i absolutely would not keep livestock at a weekender. Not without an employee full time to look after them. All to easy for them to bust through a fence, or get caught in a fence! You would also need to be there in the birthing season pretty much full time in case something goes wrong.

#24 Romeo Void

Posted 15 October 2019 - 05:33 PM

I agree with the PP, find a spot you love and make a regular booking.  So when the gloss wears off and you feel like a change of holiday destination, you're not stuck with *having* to go check on the stock/house/dam etc.  My sister and her husband had a holiday house by the beach.  Idyllic...but what it meant in reality was they *never* holidayed anywhere else. Because they had to mow the lawn and check the letter box they had to go every week.  My sister would pack her laundry, kids, cat, dogs in the car and trudge them the 1 1.5 hours to the coast, do laundry, mowing, maintenance all weekend..then trudge back to their weekday house where the lawn, maintenance etc for that house awaited them.  Oh, plus the fact they weren't there to put the bins out meant she had to collect all their rubbish and trudge it back to Brisbane with them each weekend. Add up the  rates, electricity bills etc, repair costs and it was more burden than pleasure for the grown ups.




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