Are you dreaming of greener pastures and wide-open spaces? After spending so much time at home, many people are re-evaluating how they want to live. A short commute and nearby amenities were once at the top of most new home checklists. But now a surprising amount of people are ready to abandon their urban dwellings in search of the perfect country house, for more space and fewer crowds.
But getting away from it all can also come with some unforeseen downsides. Everything from heat to water to internet can work differently in rural areas. And if you’re not careful, you could end up with problems you weren’t aware of. Here are five things you need to know before buying a home in the country.
Consider the Commute
If you’re working from home right now, a longer commute may not seem like a big deal. But what happens when you return to the office? Be sure to consider how far you’re willing to drive every day. An hour commute means you’ll be spending at least two hours in the car every workday, and that can really add up.
You should also be aware that very few rural locations have public transit. Which means you’ll have to rely on your car to get in and out of the city. Gas consumption and wear and tear on your vehicle will increase, and you may even need to purchase another car. Don’t forget to factor these extra expenses into your budget.
There Probably Isn’t A Sewer System
Most country homes rely on a well and septic system for their water supply. If the water system is not up to par, it can pose serious health risks to both your family and the environment. And if your well or septic system fails, it can be very costly to replace. Before placing an offer on a house in the country, you should always have both a well and water test and a septic inspection done.
Heat Sources May Vary
In many rural areas, natural gas is not available, and homes are commonly heated with electric or propane furnaces. But in some older homes, you may also encounter oil heat. Oil is considered an unhealthy heat source that can be very harmful to the environment. It can also pose problems when it comes to insuring the property. Always verify the heat source and be prepared to have oil systems converted to an alternate heating method.
Fireplaces and wood stoves are also common supplementary heat sources in country homes. While there is nothing cozier than curling up by a crackling fire, there can also be risks involved. When purchasing a house in the country with a wood stove or fireplace, your insurance will likely require a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) test. The WETT inspection will verify if the fireplace or stove meets the required building codes and is safe to use.
Availability of Utilities & Services
If you live in the city, then you’re probably used to having a variety of service providers and contractors in the area. You can price shop for things like cable and internet and choose the supplier that best suits your needs.
In the country, however, you very often only have one choice for service providers and will have to accept whatever services and prices they offer. And some extremely remote areas may not be able to get services like high-speed internet at all. So be sure to do your research. If you are planning to work from home, reliable internet is a must.
You Depend on Natural Elements
When you live in a rural area, you’re often at the mercy of nature. If the power goes out, it can take much longer to have it restored to remote locations. And this could impact your water supply since the water pump requires electricity. Likewise, after a heavy snowfall, there can be long delays in clearing country roads. As a result, you could be unable to leave your home for a day or two. And, for homes near water, you also have to prepare for possible flooding at certain times of the year.
If you’re a city dweller who’s ready to forego the concrete surroundings for greener pastures, there’s a lot to consider. To ensure you get the best advice, look for a realtor who knows country homes. They can help guide you through the process and ensure you’re getting a house in the country that you’ll love for years to come.