Many buyers consider a country residential property as their “Oasis” to get away from the density, traffic and hustle and bustle of our urban and suburban neighbourhoods. Fortunately, we have many excellent “country suburbs” or sub-rural residential areas within an easy commute of our city.
We opted for this lifestyle ourselves many years ago, before entering organized real estate and now feel we have many, many “lessons learned” to share with buyers considering a move to the solitude of the country.
There is no arguing the appeal of the larger lots, wide open spaces, greenery, fresh air and relative tranquility that one finds in very close proximity to the city. We enjoyed our 9 year stay in Greely immensely and would recommend this lifestyle for those willing to accept that there are many differences from living in an urban or suburban home. In no particular order, here are some of the things that country buyers should consider:
Commuting time, costs and remoteness:
Most country buyers will consider the additional costs of commuting in time, car depreciation and operating costs but some don’t realize the degree of remoteness and how that may affect their lifestyle. In families where one parent travels extensively for work, this can be a problem as the “at home” spouse or parent can feel alone and remote.
Safety factors are also to be considered, for remote properties or when one spouse travels extensively.
Proximity to services:
How close and convenient is shopping, recreation, schools and other services that the couple or family will need? What about children’s sports and other activities?
Future Career or family plans:
Many a couple has purchased a country property only to find that career plans or family changes have really complicated the choice of location and within a short time are looking at a costly move “back to town”.
Maintenance time and cost:
A larger lot property comes with a host of incremental maintenance issues from as simple as lawn maintenance and snow removal to more complicated issues such as wells, sump pumps, septic tanks, generators, well and water systems, snow removal, tree maintenance and more. We have seen many a buyer who has trouble keeping their small suburban yard’s grass cut yet is reaching out to embrace the extra time required to maintain a large lot property.
Living on well and septic is different:
Property taxes are quite a bit cheaper for a country residential property but there are many good reasons for it. Not the least of which are the various potential issues with living on a private well and septic system. No room to go in to detail here but suffice it to say the last quotes we saw for a new septic system were between $25,000 and $35,000 and well and water system equipment in a home can easily run $7,500- $10,000 or more.
Consumers serviced by Hydro One (as opposed to Ottawa Hydro) pay higher rates. Natural gas may not be available, so heating choices may include costlier propane, oil or high maintenance wood heating.
High speed internet is available in most places but may include a requirement for an antenna or may be problematic for business owners with an established Rogers or Bell business email address.
There is a definite allure to being closer to nature in a country property and many look forward to feeding the birds, enjoying the chipmunks or deer etc. but there are also many other factors and how the presence and type of wildlife may affect a family and their pets, gardens and trees or shrubs.
Lots of people move to the country for different reasons. Some may choose to hike, bird watch, cross country ski or snowshoe while others may choose the snowmobile, ATV, dirt bike etc.
Necessity and cost of home inspections:
Our last couple of country home purchasers found it necessary to invest up to $2,000 for up to 5 separate inspections to ensure the functioning level of various household systems. This is necessary, as there is very little regulation for private wells and septic systems post installation with operation and maintenance left up to the homeowner. It can also be a “caveat emptor”(let the buyer beware) situation, so a buyer should be represented by a knowledgeable REALTOR® with appropriate/referenceable inspection experts available.
If you are shopping for a country property and want a qualified brokerage to help you make your best buying decision, please give us a call if you are not already working with another REALTOR® via a Buyer Representation Agreement.
* not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage