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Buying a game farm

Among the most popular agricultural investments, game farms offer good returns, says a top broker.

Marcel Deacon is has been a broker since finishing school. He now sells properties on the Western Cape. We spoke to him about why buyers prefer existing farms, raising finance and his advice to buyers.

Why do buyers prefer existing farms with credible track records?

We've got so many laws that most people who want to get into farming buy an existing farm that's been generating income for the last few years. What you don't do is buy a piece of land and start your own thing off - not advisable.

Most people go for something that's pretty settled, ideally in operation for at least five years, with good income generating possibilities, and which has been growing and developing every year.

Why is it so hard to set up from scratch?

The land isn't a problem; there's a lot of land available to buy. But now you have to get labour, the labour has to be trained…

Why are game farms so attractive to buyers?

There's a lot of money to be made in agriculture but you must get the right investment. A big thing people are looking at now is game farms because they're tourist orientated and it's not very labour intensive.

Another thing that's popular is buying a game farm and then selling off pockets of the farm to holiday-makers, who then pay you monthly to look after the portion they've bought

Do you have any tips for game farm buyers?

If you're thinking about buying one, run it like a tourist resort. People want to go there, stop on a private estate with their own cottage, then tomorrow they can go for a hunt.

Another thing that's popular is buying a game farm and then selling off pockets of the farm to holiday-makers, who then pay you monthly to look after the portion they've bought.

Talk us through raising finance to buy a farm...

If you're from outside South Africa they will give you 50%, so you need 50% deposit. It depends on your existing portfolio.

It's difficult to get 100% finance even for South Africans, and you definitely can't for just land.

But if you buy a game farm which is an income generating business then they will look at different options for financing the place for you.

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