Buying Rural Properties – Canada

Many people are moving from Toronto and Barrie and are looking for rural properties. Some of these people have been raised in the city and have no country living experience other than TV or visiting a friend’s property.

There are some major differences that separate country living from city life. Winter driving can be more difficult, some areas are not a high priority for snowploughing, and this might affect your early morning drive to work and might even necessitate buying a four wheel drive vehicle. This is assuming that you have suitable equipment to clean your own driveway, which in the country can be quite lengthy.

Power outages are quite common in some areas, and as you venture further a field, usually the more common they are with varying repair times. You might want to check with people in the neighbourhood if this will be a problem or buy a generator.

Septic tanks and wells are another way of life in the country, make sure you have a certified inspector inspect and test both of these systems. Beware of people who assure you that they can inspect these systems but are not licensed or insured. I personally do not inspect septic systems simply because the insurance is as costly as my Errors and Omissions for home inspections and the demand is not great enough to recoup the costs. Don’t pay someone to just look at your systems, hire an expert. Taste the water. Ask who drilled the well, how deep it is, and how old the pump and pressure systems are. Ask to be shown where the septic tank and drain field are,, how large and how old the tank is, and when it was last pumped.

If your property has an oil heating system, check your oil tank. These tanks have to be inspected every year for leaks and damage etc. Every ten years they have to be inspected by TSSA certified technician. Insurance companies tend not to ensure older tanks that are grandfathered prior to ULC certification.

Are there any easements or right of way located on your property Do hydro lines have right of way on your property What may be little lines now could be full sized towers in the future.

Beware of any buried tanks or containers located on property. Look for any suspicious pipes protruding from ground. Ask the seller if they are aware of any buried fuel tanks or containers of any type. Only licensed contractors may remove these tanks and any spill or contamination must be cleaned up according to Ministry of Environment guidelines, and expensive process.

Usually rural dwellers have no high-speed Internet access and cable is just wishful thinking. Satellite is the only viable source of TV or high-speed Internet access. Schools are usually quite a distance away and involve bussing for elementary and high school.

Country living also involves more maintenance around the home, this is the price of owning more property, more work to do.

There are quite a number of good things involved with country living. Here are a couple of things I enjoyed when I lived in the country; privacy, peace and quiet, neighbours tend to be friendly and helpful, no gangs of bored teenagers hanging around, people aren’t as nosy in the country or they are just far enough away not to be, water is not full of chlorine and other chemicals, no utility bills and you always know where your kids are.