The thought of living on a big property with your own private wilderness may seem ideal in many ways — there’s plenty of land for kids and pets to play on, and house prices keep dropping the farther you get from a city. But if you’re thinking of buying a home in a rural area, there are all sorts of scenarios to consider that urban dwellers may not be familiar with. Here are ten questions to ask before you buy that big block of land out in the country.
1: Commission a land survey to verify property size and contents.
With cities becoming increasingly overcrowded, a land survey isn’t often on the menu. But when you get into buying 2, 3 or 10 acre lots, you want to be sure the acreage you are paying for is the acreage you are getting! Along with this confirmation, a land survey can tell you a lot about other potential perks or pitfalls of the property in question. Water sources, utility lines, metes and bounds (boundary lines) and other features will all be detailed in the survey.
2: Meet your neighbors and learn from them about local life.
After living in the city, you know how easy it can be to live right next door to someone and not see them for months (or ever). But in the country, that neighbor living 2 acres over on the next lot may become your lifeline in an emergency.
In addition, with a smaller community and fewer local resources, living out in the country can feel like living in a small, spread out town. And in small towns, there are few if any secrets. So just be sure you meet your near neighbors before you buy to see if you find them welcoming and hospitable. You will be glad you did!
3: Work with a buyer’s agent.
When buying a piece of land in the country you will benefit from the assistance of a buyer’s agent experienced with land purchases. Your agent will educate you on the questions you don’t know to ask, get expert advice about whether the land is fairly priced, learn the ins and outs of country complexities such as easements and water rights, and have an advocate on your side should negotiations become complicated.
4: Get an insurance estimate in advance.
Just as you never want to put yourself in the situation of purchasing more car than you can afford to insure, you also want to be sure your new land comes with manageable insurance costs. Title insurance is definitely something to consider, especially in case you find that toxic or hazardous waste has previously been stored or dumped on the property. You also need to consider how the features of properties you are considering will affect your rates or even our ability to get insurance.
A fireplace or wood stove may increase your rate.
The farther you are from town/water/fire hydrant access, the higher your rate.
The age of your house may increase your rate.
Are there old buildings? Is there a barn or a silo? Even if not in use, it could increase your rate.
Will there be livestock? Farming? Cow’s hurt people. Cow’s may cost more money…
There might even be different tiers of insurance available depending on what your property contains and the land zoning classifications. In many areas there are three tiers: regular home, rural estate, and farm. Rural estate insurance is less expense than farm insurance coverage.
Again do not buy a property that you can’t afford to insure.
5: Be sure you can get the services you need.
Imagine living out in the country on your new land, and you go to pull up the internet and….nothing. You don’t want to find out too late that your area doesn’t get service. Be sure to look into your options for internet, cable television, etc., before you buy the land.
6: Is the water safe to drink? Rural properties often draw their water from private wells, which may be contaminated with minerals, radon or even dangerous chemicals like arsenic. Insist on a water test before making an offer on the house. If you discover problems, factor the cost of a water treatment plan into your offer.
7: Unknowns? Are there any features of the house that you aren’t familiar with? When a house is constructed in a rural area, a leach field is built to collect sewage and water waste, with its size dependent on the size of the house. If an owner builds an extension, he must also extend the leach field to make sure the septic system can handle the number of people living there — so if you’re interested in a house that’s had an addition built on, make sure the leach field is the proper size to avoid costly construction bills in the future.
What type of heating system does the home have, gas, propane, electric, oil? What are the costs?
Is there a reverse osmosis system? In-floor heating? Solar panels? Mound septic system?
If there is something you don’t have experience with, you’d better start researching! Do the research on these systems, invest the time and learn what you need to in order to make a smart financial decision.
8: Is the house on a private road? If so, you could be facing thousands of dollars in extra expenses each year, as you’ll be forced to split the bill with your fellow residents for plowing, maintenance and paving.
9: What’s the longest the power’s ever gone out? Rural areas are often among the last to be served if a power line goes down. In some cases, you may be forced to go days, or even weeks, without power. If you decide to move into an area where that’s a possibility, a back-up power generator is a must. Even then, if you have an electric pump for your well, you won’t be able to use tap water, so make sure you’ve got plenty of water and other essentials stored in case of an emergency.
10: Calculate the total cost of moving your life into a rural situation.
This calculation should include any extra equipment, services, vehicles and other items required to manage and maintain your country property. It should also consider less tangible costs such as travel for medical services, airport transportation and work.
By carefully considering the total impact of making a big change from city to country living, you can be sure now is the right time to make the move and feel confident you have the resources to make it a success.
If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please contact The Opland Group. We offer professional real estate advice and look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals!
The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley 43209 Columbus 43201 43206 43214 43215 Delaware 43015 Dublin 43016 43017 Gahanna 43219 43230 Grandview Heights 43212 Hilliard 43026 Lewis Center 43035 New Albany 43054 Pickerington Powell 43065 Upper Arlington 43220 43221 Westerville 43081 43082 Worthington 43235