Top 10: Rural Home Buying Tips

Found that ideal home in the country? We have some great advice to assist you with your purchase.

  1. WELL WATER REVIEW Rural homes are typically serviced by either a drilled or dug/blasted well. A previous well water test may have been completed (well water records are available online at ontario.ca) though, a current test should be completed by a professional prior to purchasing. A Ministry of Health water test is needed to confirm quality (your lender will also want a copy of this report) for drinking water but this test pays no attention to true water quality i.e. salt, sulfer, minerals, etc.).
  2. SEPTIC SYSTEM A septic system captures all outgoing water flow into a septic bed that provides for natural filtration and is common in most rural homes. Septic systems are costly with a new tank running around $5,000 on its own, entire systems can be more than $20,000. A septic system inspection and pump out is key and will indicate whether the system is functioning correctly. It is important to attend the inspection as additional basic testing will be completed, including a flow test to see if the system is draining to the bed properly. Tip here – check wind direction and stand accordingly ;-).
  3. SURROUNDING PROPERTIES There may be an empty field behind your property but depending on what it is zoned for, it could end up being used for crops, cattle or other agricultural use. Understanding your neighbouring properties is important, especially if you don’t want to hear the mooing of cattle from your back porch. We can assist you with this.
  4. ACCESS Depending on the location of your rural property, access to your home may be through a private road versus municipal. This is not uncommon in the case of seasonal or cottage properties. Typically, private roads with have a shared maintenance fee with other owners. Understanding how much the fee is and what it covers is an important factor is purchasing a rural home.
  5. BOUNDARIES Locating your property boundaries on a large rural property is not as easy as within the city limits however, it is important to understand where your lot begins and ends. A land survey is great though not always available. We offer basic lot mapping and recommend scheduling a walk through with the seller to gain a basic understanding of the lot and location of your key services like well and septic system in addition to any underground services like hydro lines.
  6. WELL MAINTENANCE One question that is not commonly asked when purchasing a rural property is the age of the well pump. Understanding what type of well you have and the location of the pump (whether casing access is buried or extended) is important should it ever need to be repaired or replaced. You will save yourself a lot of headache by knowing these details should you find yourself needing maintenance work in the middle of winter.
  7. WELL TREATMENT SYSTEMS Well water is typically hard water so it is not uncommon to see water softeners though other systems may include filtrations systems for minerals to reverse osmosis for salt or UV treatment systems. All of these systems have regular maintenance procedures and you, as your own utility provider, need to understand.
  8. PROPERTY INSPECTION In addition to the well and septic testing, we always recommend having your property inspected by a qualified home inspector and attending the home inspection. Ask questions and get the answers you need.
  9. ZONING CHECK You may have just purchased a property with significant acreage and plan on starting that hobby farm you have always wanted. Does the zoning fit your needs? If your property is part of an estate it is also important to review any community covenants that may apply. Covenants run with the land and can apply to such things as parking of campers in drives to clotheslines.
  10. LOCATION CROSS CHECK Before finalizing your sale, be sure to review details such as school bus routes, road accessibility for all seasons in addition to phone and high speed internet availability. These details may seem minor in the grand scheme of things but once you’re settled in, you’ll be glad you looked into it early.