Important Considerations When Purchasing Rural Properties

Important Considerations When Purchasing Rural Properties

In recent years, we've seen a significant shift in population trends in British Columbia. More and more people are leaving the hustle and bustle of urban life behind and moving towards the peace and tranquility of rural living. This trend is not a coincidence, but rather a conscious decision made by people tired of the cost of living, sky-high real estate prices, and the diminishing purchasing power of their dollar from high inflation. 

With affordability being on the minds of current homeowners in the lower mainland BC as well as first-time home buyers, many are considering moving to smaller communities where they can get more for their dollar and look to improve their quality of life. They are looking to reduce their monthly overhead costs and, in many cases, reduce the stresses associated with densely populated cities. Rural properties can offer a great opportunity for a slower, less stressful lifestyle at a more affordable price. And since COVID and the transition of more people being able to do their jobs remotely, this is increasingly becoming a possibility for many. Moving from a city and buying a rural property in British Columbia can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it's important to be aware of several factors when making the move.

1. Location: First and foremost, consider the property's location. Yes, choosing a home with a great view or sprawling landscapes might be at the top of your preference list, but you must also think about daily living and accessibility to amenities. How close is the nearest hospital in case you need care, how close are grocery stores and other shopping needs? What about schools for your children? How close is the hardware store?

2. Infrastructure: When moving to a rural area, it's important to consider the infrastructure available. This includes things like access to clean water, power, and internet connection. Are you on well water or community water?  If you’re on well water, is the flow rate sufficient for your family's needs, and what is it like during hot drought times of the summer? If you are working from home, how is the internet connection in the area? It's important to ensure that you have access to everything you need to live comfortably.

3. Property Size and Type: Rural properties can range from small acreages to large ranches. Consider the size of the property you want and what type of property will suit your lifestyle. Do you want to have a small hobby farm or a large ranch to run? Think about the work that goes into maintaining a property of your desired size.

4. Zoning and Regulations: When researching and viewing properties, buyers may have grand plans to have a hobby farm, or they may want to build and live in a trailer while the home is being built. Maybe there are plans to build additional structures for rental or commercial use. If you buy a property without proper research and understanding of local bylaws, zoning, and regulations in advance, you might not be able to utilize the property as you had originally intended. This includes building codes, land-use restrictions, and environmental regulations. Be sure to research and understand the rules and regulations that apply to a property.

5. Wildlife and Environment: Rural properties are often surrounded by natural habitats, which is a significant part of the appeal for many buyers. However, it's important to be aware of things such as Riparian Area Protection Regulation (RAPR) rules if you are living close to water sources like creeks, streams, lakes, ponds, etc.… as it can dictate the building of structures or any amendments to the property and land close to the water sources. Hazardous slopes, contaminated sites, floodplains, radon contamination, and weather extremes are a few other areas of concern to mention. And of course, wildlife. It’s easy to forget when you are in the city but when you are in more rural parts of the province, you must consider the local wildlife like bears, cougars, mountain lions, and other predators especially if you are considering having livestock on your property.

6. Community: Consider the community in which you'll be living. Rural communities are often tight-knit and supportive, but it's important to make sure that you'll be comfortable in the community. Consider factors such as school quality, local events, and traditions, and how easy it is to get involved in the community.

7. Distance to Family and Friends: When you're moving from a city to a more rural location, it's important to consider the distance between you and your friends and family who still live in the city. You should think about how long the drive will take for both you and them to visit. A 4-hour drive can be done in a day, but if the drive is 8 hours or longer, it will require more planning. For some, it may even require a hotel stay, which is an additional cost and inconvenience that should also be considered.

Some buyers may be concerned about being too far from family and friends to visit.  However, another perspective is it’s a different kind of visit.  When you visit those people in the city, it might be for coffee, lunch, or dinner.  When living in a rural community, family and friends often come for a few nights, a weekend, or longer, creating more opportunities for a deeper connection, and making long-lasting memories through greater quality time spent with each other.

8. Garbage and Recycling:  Trash and recycling are often overlooked when buying a rural property. The reality is that a family of 4 creates about 8-10 bags in a week. The location of the local transfer station and where and how you are dealing with your refuse should be considered.

9. Septic or sewage:  If you're planning to live in a rural community, it's important to consider how sewage will be dealt with. Unlike living in a city where you just flush and forget, you need to think about the septic system. Questions to ask include when was the septic last serviced, whether is it large enough for your family's needs, how old is it, and whether are there installation records with the local health authority. You should also be aware that there is septic-specific toilet paper and certain things that can and cannot go down your drains. It's important to understand septic systems before buying a property in a rural location that only has septic as an option if you don't want to deal with the cost and inconvenience of having to replace the system.

10. Hiring Professionals who are experienced with Rural properties:  When purchasing a rural property, hiring a professional is essential. Rural properties often come with unique challenges that require specific knowledge and expertise to navigate. Many Real Estate agents may specialize in urban areas or rural but often not both. Hiring professionals like Holgard Real Estate Group can help you identify potential issues as mentioned above. Holgard Real Estate Group has helped many families sell their lower mainland properties, and purchase in smaller more affordable locations in BC. Investing in a rural property is a significant decision, and hiring the right team to sell your home and purchase can help ensure you make an informed and sound investment that meets your needs and expectations.

In conclusion, there are many things to consider when moving from a city and buying a rural property in British Columbia. It’s important to hire a team like Holgard Real Estate Group who is familiar with transitioning from urban centers to smaller populated communities to give you peace of mind when buying the perfect property to suit your lifestyle.

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