If you’re one of those special few who have set their sights on purchasing a rural property (a house in the country, a larger farm, or something else outside of town) it’s best to understand the unique opportunities and challenges that accompany these properties – including access to utilities, types of water sources, and allowable agricultural uses. It’s also essential that you understand potential costs and responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining rural properties, such as septic systems and wells. As someone who was raised on a one-hundred acre horse farm and now specializes in buying and selling rural properties, I take pleasure in guiding my clients through the process of purchasing in the country. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

Buried oil tanks: If you’re interested in purchasing a farm (or former farm), it’s best to check to ensure there aren’t any abandoned buried oil tanks on the property. They cost a bundle to remove, and risk seeping into the property’s water source if left in the ground. 

Septic systems: Most rural properties use septic tanks. Before putting an offer on your dream home in the country, it’s important that you check the location – and size – of the septic tank to ensure that it’s in an ideal spot and can handle future demands. It’s also a good idea to have the tank pumped and inspected to avoid any future surprises. 

Wells: When looking at a rural property, it’s important to understand its water source. If there’s a well, you should note the location and potability as well as the presence of any filters or improvements (such as UV lights or RO systems). 

Zoning & land use regulations: Before purchasing a rural property, it’s important to familiarize yourself with local zoning and land use regulations. Specifically, you should check to see if any of the property has forest management credits or classified wetlands controlled by the local conservation authority. These could limit building outbuildings or additions to existing buildings. 

Workable land: If you’ve fallen in love with a rural property that includes workable land, before purchase it’s best to note who’s been working the land and how this working relationship might transition with new ownership of the property. 

The house: While this is true of all properties (both urban and rural), it’s still worth mentioning: it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the residence on any property that interests you – including roof condition, electrical updates, etc. And be sure to find out if there are any heritage designations or if the property has historical significance. 

Finding that perfect rural property is not a straightforward journey, and definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s important that if you’re interested in purchasing something in the country, you work with a realtor who understands the intricacies of purchasing rural properties.