Fresh air..

Close to nature..

All of these things come to mind when one thinks of rural living, and at least one of them is a main reason for people that choose to own rural property and/or land. If you're thinking of owning your own piece of land, here are some tips to guide you in the right direction:

an aerial photo of rural land, lots and properties. 

1) Avoid Unsuitable Land By Choosing A Realtor

An image of a business person holding soil.

Some Realtors only specialize in residential properties, others are strictly commercial. If you find a Realtor who dedicates their time to selling a majority of rural properties and land, you'll want this Realtor with you for the whole process! Not only do they probably possess years of experience, but they also keep their finger on the pulse of the land - so to speak. This means they know which types of soil are better suited to certain kinds of crops, which grasses and plants attract certain wildlife to the area, nearby water sources and how utilities can be brought in to the property, just to name a few things. This will prove to be invaluable when evaluating land lots suited to your requirements. 

2) Financing Is A Bit Different

A photos of coins spilling out of a mason jar.

Take into consideration your available cash, as well as your chances of getting a loan. Mortgages for existing homes are different from property financing or build loans. Some banks may even only approve you for 40% of the final cost, unlike a home mortgage where you can get 80% or more covered. You may also have to pay cash for the property, followed by a construction loan for any structure. Just as you talked to the bank before house hunting, talk to the bank before you go out and fall in love with a piece of land. 


3) Check Up On Property Regulations

An image of grassland that fades into blueprints.

Before you make an offer on any piece of land, investigate whether there are restrictions tied to that property from the developer, or within the municipality. Some restrictions from the developer could cover home size, outbuilding limits, and building materials requirements. Check with the municipality to investigate the zoning guidelines, especially if you're hoping to use your property as farmland. They'll be able to tell you whether you can have livestock, and if there is a limit to the number of animals based on the acreage. It’s also a good idea to check for flood histories on the land.


4) Get An Inspection Done For Environmental Considerations

A photo of contaminated groundwater.

Have your land inspected by a professional! Depending on how you want to utilize the land, they will keep a special eye out for key features. In an approved development, the developer most likely went through environmental testing as part of the subdivision and platting process. If the testing hasn’t been done prior, like in the case where an existing structure needs to be demolished or the land has been abandoned for a number of years, you'll want to have it checked for soil contamination, soil quality, or potentially polluted groundwater.


5) Visit The Property Repeatedly

An image of two rural properties, with trees separating the lots. One property is farmland, the other is an acreage.

Satellite technology has made virtually viewing properties an easy experience. However, there are some things that online tools just can't replace. We're talking about details like property access, property topography, neighbouring properties and their use, commuting distance, invasive plant species, possible trespassers and/or places where you might want to install a fence. Ask your Realtor to take you out at different times during the day, too. This way you'll be able to listen for noises at peak commuting times, certain wildlife movements, and for nearby railroad crossings. You'll also be able to notice if people frequent the area for dumping or other nefarious purposes before buying.


6) Hire A Surveyor

An image of land surveyors carrying out their job.

Don't rely on old maps. Any inaccuracies could eventually cost you a fair amount of money, and that's just not a risk you should take. A surveyor will be able to show you exactly where property lines are, so you can confidently move forward with any building or fencing without the worry of encroaching on neighbouring land.

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