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July 08, 2018
tips for buying a home in a rural area

Like the idea of waking up to roosters crowing while gentle sunlight tickles its way through a bay window in your bedroom? If that idea — and wide open spaces and small town values — appeal to you, consider buying a rural home. We’ve got the guidelines to help you make the right decision.

Mind the location

Many of the rules that come with buying a home in an urban area apply here, too. What sort of amenities are you looking for, and how nearby are they? If you can’t live without something and it’s 60 miles away, that’s definitely something to consider. You also have to factor in the seasonal consequences. Some rural areas get quite a bit of inclement weather, and that can make travel to and fro difficult, especially if you need to clear snow in the winter. Make sure to check in with any potential neighbors and get an idea of the troubles of living in the location before you sign anything.

Utilities, utilities, utilities

Sometimes there are different rules when it comes to utilities in rural areas of the U.S. For example, it’s important to determine if the home has an adequate septic system. Many rural homes have a leach field to collect sewage and water waste, but it’s important to know if that field is the right size, especially if the home’s had an addition. That can be a very expensive bit of renovation.
Power can also be a problem in some rural areas, such as when the grid goes down. Many times rural areas are the last to come back online. Again, do your research.

Rules and ordinances

If you have an image of your own personal homestead complete with farm animals, it’s important to check local regulations. Some areas have restrictions surrounding what you and your neighbors can do with the property, and violating those rules can potentially carry heavy fines or charges.

Question everything

Just like when you’re buying a home in the city, if something seems far too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure to consult a checklist of questions to ask about a potential property. Chat with previous owners or neighbors, too, just to make sure you have a full picture of what’s going on.

Account for the extra costs

This falls under some of the previous guidelines. All the seemingly small additional costs of living out in the country can add up. Make sure you’re taking it all into account. For example, in rural New England, radon can be common in rural areas and you might need to spring for a mitigation system. If you find you need to save a little more, consult our smart saving guide.
Once you’ve gone through all the possible costs and difficulties, you’re ready. Contact your local First Option Mortgage branch in the area where you’re looking, and start your mortgage journey. Let us know any other tips and tricks on Facebook or Twitter, too!

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