IS RURAL LIVING WORTH IT?
Many clients that consider rural living ask us if they’re worth it. Rural homes are more affordable but they come with some unexpected long term costs that need to be taken into serious consideration.
Imagining yourself living on a rural property can seem ideal—there’s tons of fresh air, sprawling land for the family to enjoy, and quiet summer nights on the porch listening to crickets. While that may seem like a paradise, there are some things you should consider before buying a rural home.
Check my list of considerations you should take seriously, before you put in that offer on a rural property:
- Make Sure You’ll Get Enough Clean Water
- Check the Septic System’s Capacity
- You May Need an Electricity Generator
- Accessibility During the Winter
- Trash and Recycling
- Maintenance Requirements
- Get a Copy of the Land Survey
- Study the Zoning Restrictions
Read below for an explanation of the points listed above.
MAKE SURE YOU’LL GET ENOUGH CLEAN WATER
Unlike houses in urban areas, rural properties don’t get their water from municipal lines. Chances are your rural home will be drawing water from a well and/or a cistern.
Private wells can contain high levels of minerals and even contaminants like radon or arsenic. It’s imperative you get your water tested for these potential problems and consider a water treatment plan.
You will want an inspector to make sure the well provides enough water for the household and has good pressure.
You’ll also need to find out of the home needs to be supplemented by a cistern. A cistern is an on-site tank of reserve water that’s usually trucked in or refilled by rainwater.
Every rural home is different and water supply can even vary between next door neighbours in the country.
CHECK THE SEPTIC SYSTEM’S CAPACITY
Houses on rural properties generally aren’t tied into municipal sewer systems. Instead, they rely on septic system that’s on the property. Septic tanks are buried underground near the home to collect sewage and wastewater.
The size of your septic tank is also important too. The tank’s size is dependent on the size of the home, the number of bathrooms you have, and how much volume of water it can hold.
To do: If the house has undergone renovations to add bathrooms, or to add living space for more people, double-check the septic tank’s capacity has been increased as well.
DID YOU KNOW?
- You will require a septic company to come and pump out the tank every few years.
- The entire septic system will need to be replaced about every 20 to 30 years.
DETERMINE THE AGE AND SIZE OF YOUR TANK
To do: Find out the age and size of the tank before you buy the home and find out when it was last pumped. A professional septic inspector can be hired to look at everything and ensure the tank is in good working order.
YOU MAY NEED AN ELECTRICITY GENERATOR
Every neighbourhood has occasional power outages. Unfortunately, rural properties are usually the last to have power restored after a severe-weather storm.
If your water pump runs on electricity, you may not even be able to get water if the power goes off. That would also apply to any electric heating or lighting you’ll need to be comfortable too.
To do: If you decide to go rural, consider installing a backup power generator that’s relative to the size and needs of your home. There are many different sizes and options to choose from.
Of course, be sure to have a stockpile of bottled water and supplies in case the power goes off for a long time.
ACCESSIBILITY DURING THE WINTER
In Canada, we do get some heavy snowfall from time to time. If your rural home is on a private road you need to make arrangements with the parties responsible for plowing snow and ensuring access.
To do: You will have to find out if the city still maintains the road, what the costs will be, or whether will you have to split the road maintenance bill with your neighbours.
TRASH AND RECYCLING
Generally, rural homeowners can’t simply leave their trash and recycling at the curb and expect they’ll be picked up by the city.
It’s highly likely that you’ll have to make a trip to the local dump to dispose of your waste on a regular basis.
To do: You can consider composting any organic materials you need to dispose of. Composting is a great way to create rich soil for your country property and it will reduce the amount of trash you’re lugging to the dump each week.
While the idea of having many acres to spread out and enjoy may seem incredible, it can be a lot of work.
You’ll be responsible for cutting all the grass, plowing the driveway, maintaining fences, making repairs and much more.
To do: Not sure you’re up for that much work? Perhaps you can budget for the cost of hiring someone to do the work for you. There are many landscape companies that are available to do this kind of work if you need any help.
GET A COPY OF THE LAND SURVEY
If your rural home sits on several acres of property, it may be hard to tell where the lot lines are.
To do: Ask the sellers if they have an accurate survey they can give you.
You could also hire a company to survey the property and create a land survey for you. A good survey is important to have on hand to avoid any possible land disputes.
STUDY THE ZONING RESTRICTIONS
Owning a lot of property means you may be tempted to start a hobby farm or home business of some kind.
Before venturing forth, find out what the zoning restrictions are from the city. They’ll be able to tell you what you can and can’t do on the land.
Whether it’s hunting, raising livestock or any other activities, knowing your zoning will let you figure out what you can do on your property, and you’ll also know what your neighbours are able to do on theirs.
Owning a rural home can be romantic and fun, and a great family experience. Getting away from the city is relaxing too but make sure you understand everything involved before you jump into this unique kind of home ownership.
With a little hard work, your rural home can be as incredible as you imagine it will be!
If you’re interested in rural living and you live in Brantford, you can get started searching for rural homes for sale on our property search page.