Choosing the Best Rural Location for You
Getting away from the hustle, bustle and overcrowded cities can be great for your wallet and, in some cases, your mental health. According to a study by the University of British Columbia and McGill University, people who live in rural areas are much happier1 than those living in cities. Making the switch can be daunting, but it can also be one of the best decisions you make in your life.
Rural life is the simple life for many. Chances are, you're not a die-hard city dweller and you're sick of the high cost of living in metro areas. You also probably dream of wide open space and no noisy neighbors to keep you up at night. And one of the best parts? You can kiss homeowners’ associations goodbye.
However, as you begin your search for your new country home, there are some things you’ll want to consider, especially when it comes to the land your property resides on.
[Related: Moving to the Country with Kids? What to Expect]
What to consider before buying
Here’s what you need to think about before signing the dotted line:
Know what’s included in the purchase price
Whether you're looking to buy a farm or a small cottage, you likely have a good idea of what you want out of your property. Because of this, you must take a good look at what is included in the buying price. For instance, if you're looking to do livestock farming2, ensure that the feeders, troughs, racks and watering systems are all included in the offer. You don't want any surprise expenses after you've signed the mortgage.
Understand your utility access
One challenge some find living in the country is where and how they get their basic utilities. Some rural dwellers are lucky enough to get public utilities. Others may have to rely on an easement3 from a nearby neighbor. Depending on what you're comfortable with, you should understand your options regarding utility access before you commit.
Know how much land you get
Many people move to the country simply because they want more land. It's essential to know how many acres you get and if that land's geographic landscape fits your desired lifestyle. For instance, if you're looking for a rural property to hunt and fish, you'll want to make sure your property encompasses a forest or includes access to a lake or river.
Ensure you have the proper licenses and permit
Speaking of hunting and fishing, if you plan to do so on your property, you should make sure you have the right licenses or permits4 for doing so. Even if the previous owner claims they have them, it never hurts to double-check. Same goes for raising produce or livestock.
Know what the zoning rules are
Zoning is something relatively new5 for rural landowners to consider. However, it's crucial to understand before making a final purchase. To find out more about zoning in the county the property resides in, you can contact the local county's zoning office. They can tell you what the zoning requirements are.
It can be a lot to take in
There’s a lot to think about when buying rural land. But while everything can seem very overwhelming at first, the reward is almost always worth it.
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- University of British Columbia: https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w24592/w24592.pdf
- Farmtek: https://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/cat;11051;;ft_livestock_equipment_store.html
- HobbyFarms.com: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/understand-a-propertys-easements-before-you-buy/
- Minnesota DNR: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/commercial/index.html
- Land.com: https://www.land.com/buying/10-things-to-know-when-buying-rural-property/