KEEP AN OPEN MIND DURING PROPERTY HUNT
Q People in the know often mention the need for a checklist while I property hunt for my first smallholding. However, I’m not sure this approach will work for me. What do you think? A Debbie Kingsley says: I think huge life- changing decisions are as much about the heart as the head. If you are clear, say, that you must have goats on your smallholding, it makes complete sense to choose somewhere with land that will favour goats. But, more often than not, aspiring smallholders decide that a place feels right to them, has that ‘I must live here’ factor, and they then develop the holding, acquiring the livestock and planting the fruit and the veg that will thrive there. It is not about being a hopeless romantic with more dreams than sense, though. Rather property hunting is more about finding what makes you happy and then pursuing a pragmatic route to realising your dreams. If you know your must haves, such as not being prepared to live in a caravan for five years while a ruin is made into a home, then it is simple to discard unsuitable properties. But if you want a massive soft fruit garden, a coastal location may not be kind to those plans. However, unless a property has some hugely problematic issue that you feel is just too difficult to overcome, search with an open mind and see what opportunities suggest themselves to you as you embark on what might be the most important hunt of your life.