Developing a property plan for small landholdings

Page last updated: Wednesday, 17 November 2021 - 9:07am

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Do you want your small property to be a profit-making rural business or provide a dream lifestyle?

You may wonder ‘how many animals can I have’ or ‘where’s the best place for an orchard?’

Property planning helps you identify opportunities and challenges associated with your small property and to plan actions that will make the most of all features.

Developing a ‘property plan’ helps you with the decisions you need to make to create the property that you want.

A property plan is a tool to graphically describe the main features of your property utilising an aerial photograph and overlays of individual features. It is also a document to record what activities you are going to carry out and where you will do them.

Using smart planning principles, you can maximise the positive features of your property, fix any problems and develop a staged plan to make it all happen.

Beginning the plan

The first step is often the hardest, but it is amazing how clearly the rest of the plan falls into place once this initial step is made.

Develop a vision for your property to help you clarify what you are going to achieve over time. Think about why you wanted to buy the property and what you want to do with it?

Undertake an initial stocktake of yourself and your property. Identify the good, the bad and the ugly and how to get the best out of your property. Identify what types of activities need to be done around your property, what skills do you have or like to have in order to do these things, what is the state of any equipment and property infrastructure?

You can use a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to guide you through the process. Don’t forget to include for example, your ‘bad back’ as one of the potential problems. 

Think of your property in terms of its major components - the natural resources and infrastructure, finances and stock management.

Set some key goals for the management of your property, make sure they are SMART goals:

  • specific - outlined clearly
  • measurable - the success must be able to be measured
  • achievable - the goals are realistic
  • relevant - the goals are relevant to your situation
  • timeframe - the goals have a specific start and end point.