· The COVID-19 pandemic has convinced many people that they don’t want to continue living in urban areas with high population densities.
· Millennials were already starting to move away from cities, but the pandemic has piqued their interest and encouraged many to consider buying their first rural home.
· If you plan to be buying your first rural home soon, you will need to do some research to make the process easier.
· In many cases, buying a rural home, especially if it sits on a few acres of land, is different than buying a home in a city or suburb.
We have some recommendations that should help you learn more about your options and choose a country home you’ll love.
1. Know How You Can Use the Land Once You Own It
Typically, rural land has fewer restrictions than urban and suburban properties. Don’t assume that you can do anything you want after buying your first rural home, though. Even if local laws let you set up a residential hobby farm, they may prevent you from owning certain animals or using specific farming practices.
1. Is the Land Under Any Conservation Easements? Conservation easements prevent land owners from planting, clearing, or hunting on certain areas of land to protect the natural resources.
2. What Will the Taxes on This Property Look Like? If the property is already in land-use before you buy it, your property could qualify for serious tax breaks.
3. What the Rights and Titles Included with This Property? Rights are the benefits you get from a property as its owner (road access rights, mineral rights, development rights, etc.). A title is a bundle of rights in a piece of property, such as exclusive possession and access easement. You may want to consider hiring a land use attorney.
4. Do I Have Access to Electricity/Wi-Fi on the Property? Just because the property has powerlines close by does not mean you can use them.
5. Are There Any Environmental Hazards I Should Be Aware Of? You might think that you would be able to spot any deadly environmental hazards just by walking around a property. However, many environmental hazards can’t be seen by the naked eye. They can range from toxic runoff in the water, leaking underground pipes contaminating the soil, and improperly stored chemicals from previous owners.
6. How Is the Property Reached? If the property accessed by a deeded access? If so you need to find out what the agreement is and if necessary, sit down with the neighbor to see if anything about the deeded access has changed.
8. Are the Boundaries of the Property Clearly Marked? Ask if a survey of the land has been done recently. A recent survey will be able to show you up to date boundaries on your property.
9. What’s Going on With the Other Properties Near by? It’s a good idea to be in the know of what’s happening on the land near you and getting to know your neighbors.
2. Determine How Much Effort You Are Willing To Put Into the Home
Maintaining a rural home, and the land it is on, can take a lot of time and effort. Suddenly, you have much more to do than mow a small backyard and plant a few flowers. In addition to the usual maintenance that comes with owning a home, proper maintenance for your rural home could include:
· Clearing acres of growth around your house or mowing a sizable lawn.
· Establishing a fence line that helps you and neighbors avoid conflicts.
· Repairing damage to barns, sheds, fences, and other structures on the property.
· Tending to the plants and animals on your hobby farm daily, if you have one.
· Managing common pests living on the surrounding land.
· Clearing large driveways of snow.
You might also need to think about ways to keep predators away from your house, especially if you have children or small animals. A herding dog could help, but that means adding a furry member to your family, which comes with its own effort and expense.
3. Think About How Long You Plan to Keep the House and Land
Is this a property that you want to live on for a few years or several decades? The answer matters quite a bit. If you only want to live there for a few years, you probably don’t need to develop the property much. Instead, you could turn a profit from selling the raw land.
If you plan to spend many years in the home, you need to think more carefully about your wants and needs. Adding gardens, cottages, and other features could increase your enjoyment significantly. You could even set aside a section of the property for paying guests.
As more people think about buying rural homes, prices will likely increase. If you think you want to make the move, start exploring your options.