Within the golden horseshoe, we have thousands of beautiful homes on acres of protected land just 10-20 minutes from our major cities. But, there are pitfalls to look out for when buying rural properties, that you don’t have to worry about with urban properties.
Below are the 7 major things we look for when buying a rural property.
Did you know there are historic farm houses that back onto the Bruce Trail at the top of the escarpment in Grimsby? just 5 minutes from DT Grismby, and 20 minutes from DT Burlington. Lowville, at Britannia Rd and Guelph line, also has beautiful estates only minutes from major roads and shopping.
1. Check with the municipality for all the zoning and permits of neighboring properties. You don’t want to purchase a beautiful home and find out that the neighboring property is becoming a gravel quarry. It’s also good to see who owns the land next to you, and behind you, because what might be forest now could become a new neighbor.
Up in Caldon and in Burlington, there are sections of land where the owners have mining rights. These are potential future quarries, and if a quarry opens up near your home your water can be tainted, and your property value will also be negatively affected.
2. Familiarize yourself with the type of operation that neighboring farms use. Some greenhouses use bright neon LEDs at night to facilitate plant growth. However, those neon lights cast bright auras into the sky on cloudy nights. Cool, if you’re into artificial northern lights.
3. Acknowledge that you’re probably buying in the green belt. Any renovation, addition, or rebuild has to be reviewed by the conservation authority. The bonus to living in the greenbelt, is that you receive CLTIPS (Conservation Land Tax Incentives) for any land you leave in its natural state. Read more about it here. You will also never have a condo building or stack of townhomes as a neighbor.
4. You should check with the conservation authority, the heritage authority, and the municipality before assuming you can renovate, rebuilt, build, or even install a wider driveway. You need approval before you can even build a pond.
5. Review the flood planes very well. With many rural properties, there are no municipal storm and sewage drains, so in heavy rain there is flooding. This is why you will usually see historic houses being built at the top of a hill in these neighborhoods. There are other reasons for them being built on the hill, like assisting cooling the home during summer.
6. Have the water and septic systems inspected and tested. With water, you need to test the flow rate (water pressure), and the potability of the water. The septic system needs a qualified inspector to ensure it’s large enough for the size of your home, and that it’s not at the end of its life. Once you own the home, budget to test the water once a year and pump the septic tank once a year; it’s a couple hundred dollars. Much cheaper than the cost of municipal water and sewers.
7. Quickly, learn about heating, cooling, electricity, high-speed internet, septic tanks, wells and generators. While many country homes have natural gas, running water and sewage, not all do. Some are heated with propane, which is kept in a tank on site. Some are heated with a modern geothermal system (our favorite), but you need to be aware that in a power failure, your geothermal system will go down and you need a generator to keep it running. Without a generator, you will also loose water if you your home is on well water. High-speed internet and 4g or LTE cell reception is the final consideration if you plan on working from home, or streaming movies from Netflix.