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Building a Farmette in Southeastern PA?

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  • Building a Farmette in Southeastern PA?

    My husband and I are starting to investigate the possibility of buying raw land in Southeastern, PA to build a house and small barn on. Unfortunately, I don't personally know many people who have built farmettes, especially in Southeastern, PA, so I'm seeking the infinite wisdom of COTH.

    I'm especially interested to know if anyone can recommend a builder or general contractor, especially for the house part of the project as the barn will come in a later phase.

    We have looked at existing farmettes, but there aren't many available and most of the houses (and outbuildings) need major renovation to the point where we think it would make sense financially to start from scratch. Our budget is pretty decent, but I'm still worried it may not be enough.

    I'd like to have 5-10 acres, no more than 3-6 horses on the property. The plan would be to build the house first and fencing, simple barn (could be a shed row) and outdoor ring in later years. I will keep my horse(s) boarded until I put in the horse facilities. If we do go the route of buying land and building, we will probably be living there for a long time, so it would be worth some extra time and money to us if it's possible.

    Thoughts? Advice? Has anyone done this before?

    A blog featuring the musings of a semi-neurotic adult amateur rider on riding, training, showing, life.

  • #2
    I'm in SE PA. I didn't build a farmette from scratch, so I probably won't be a ton of help, but hopefully its a start!!

    If you want pre-built, look at horizon structures. They do shed row barns and modular buildings, looking at prices they seemed reasonable. Morton is another option, but I don't like the metal look at all. Depending on where exactly you want to buy, you may be close to Lancaster. If so, there are many Amish barn builders (although I don't know of any personally).

    I have no clue about houses though.

    Anyway, welcome to SE PA!
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


    • #3
      For tax purposes you want at least 10 acres, and Lancaster County will be less than Chester County.


      • #4
        SE PA is a big place! "Where" you are targeting is going to affect the contractor recommendations. If you were going to be here in central Bucks County, I'd have a great referral for you, but the guy I'd suggest wouldn't be appropriate for down in Chester County or beyond the area of Montgomery County that is adjacent to Bucks County.

        Do note that land is very expensive in this neck of the woods, so you'll need to take that into consideration to balance the budget versus the location you choose to relocate to.


        • #5
          Try Lapp Structures for the barn, they are located in New Holland.
          They built my barn and it is magnificent.



          • #6
            If you go for a contractor - good luck trying to get one to even call you back, let alone come out and give you an estimate! I'm still trying after months of trying ...

            Welcome to SEPA!!
            "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." Rick Warren


            • #7
              Yup land prices will eat a big hole in any budget, and good luck getting a mortgage on raw undeveloped property....also make absolutely certain you understand and your contractor as well the correct current up to date zoning laws for horses..on any property you intend to purchase...fencing, set backs, horse per acre etc....


              • #8
                Probably your cheapest bet is an Amish builder for the barn and fencing. There are tons and ton....

                Stoltzfus has done many barns in that general area...

                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                • #9
                  This is just my thought as I have no experience building a farmette, but I'm just on the outside looking in. Would buying an existing operation, that will need work, be more economical in the long run than starting from scratch and boarding horses at the same time?

                  Building from scratch is always a plus and things can be built your way, but it is quite expensive considering you would (maybe) need a well, septic, electric, phone, etc. Hope my ramblings help some.
                  I LOVE my Chickens!


                  • #10
                    A close friend of mine built a stunning 8-stall barn with a very large tack room and bathroom, good-sized feed room, wash stall, and a hay loft in the Montgomery County area for $70K inclusive. I believe the builders were Amish but I'm not sure. If you want I can get the name for you.
                    ~Living the life I imagined~


                    • Original Poster

                      What About around Landenberg?

                      Thanks to all who responded!

                      To clarify some of the details, I am looking in Chester County, PA, specifically south of Rt 1 in or around Landenberg. We have family in Northern Delaware and also need to commute to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland a couple times a week. That is how we chose that approximate location.

                      I am painfully aware that the area is expensive...ugh. It's $20-30K per acre and more in some cases, but we are willing to pay for the right lot in the right location.

                      I have come to the conclusion that it would not be cheaper to buy an existing property in the long run. The initial cost of an existing property would be less, but most of the farm houses on horse properties in that area are very old and need so much work that it would be more expensive in the long run and even with renovation, we still would not get what we really want. I'd rather pay more up front for a house that doesn't need anything major and then add the horse facilities slowly as we have the resources.

                      Those of you with experience buying raw land (in any area not just PA), how did you do it? Was the land listed in the MLS or was it not on the open market? I would love to hear how you purchased your farms or farm land if it wasn't conventional. What about chatting with surveyors? Anyone done it?

                      There just isn't much good quality inventory on the market here. Either there is something really wrong with the lot and it sits on the market forever or good lots get snapped up immediately. (That last part done in my whiney voice)

                      A blog featuring the musings of a semi-neurotic adult amateur rider on riding, training, showing, life.