Buying a small property

Page last updated: Wednesday, 16 September 2020 - 2:19pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.


As in urban areas, some activities will need to be approved by the appropriate authority.

Before you purchase a property, check with the local shire and relevant government agencies to ensure your proposed plans meet their requirements. Some activities that need approval include:

  • clearing land
  • controlling declared plants or animals
  • running and moving stock
  • establishing horticultural enterprises
  • building or altering a house or shed
  • starting a business
  • building a dam
  • licensing a bore or drawing water from a stream
  • any activity that may cause on or offsite pollution
  • whether your proposed activity is compatible with the zoning of land.

It is your responsibility to find out what approvals are required. If these approvals are not gained before you commence an activity, penalties may apply.

Drawing up a property plan

Once you have purchased a property, developing a property plan that details the property's characteristics and your intentions will be invaluable.

Start with a laminated, A3 size aerial photo of your property and monitor and record its strengths and weaknesses over the year.

This will help you to see what types of pastures and weeds are on the property, which areas dry out first, which areas get too wet and where the water flows.

With the use of some clear plastic overlay sheets, start to plan what improvements you want to make to the property.

On one sheet draw in the different soil types and on another, mark in where the best sites for improvements and planned activities are, considering soils, water, aspect and so on.

Try to fence areas of similar land capability together as this will make management easier.

It is much better to plan these improvements on a sheet of plastic and rub them out if you change your mind, than put them on the ground and later have to physically remove them.

Every improvement should be planned and carefully considered and where necessary, advice should be sought before actually putting it in place.

This can save time and money and you’ll get it right the first time. If you intend to develop a semi-commercial enterprise, a property plan will be invaluable in drawing up a business plan.

Help is out there

If you find that while searching for your little patch of rural paradise you require more information visit our Useful contacts for small landholders page or see our list of factsheets for more specific information.

Our seasonal activity list will also help guide you onupcoming tasks for each season.

Information can also be gathered from the local community, landcare groups, industry and grower associations, consultants and local and state government agencies.

Owning your own piece of the picturesque rural landscape can be very rewarding, but you need to be aware of your legal obligations and responsibilities and manage your property in a way that protects the environment, takes care of the health and welfare of your animals and lets you live your dream!