What To Know When Buying A Rural Home
One of the major decisions that home buyers need to make before starting the process of buying a home is relating to the type of property they’d like to purchase. There are several types of properties that a buyer can choose to purchase such as a multi family home, suburban property, a foreclosure, an estate sale, or rural home.
One of the most unique things about the Greater Rochester NY area is the variety of property types you’ll find in the area. A short 20 minute drive from the heart of downtown Rochester will put you in a rural area.
Buying a rural home is NOT for everyone, period. If you’re considering the purchase of a rural home, it’s vital that you consider some very important factors and learn about the tips for doing so. Buyers who purchase a rural home without considering some important factors often regret their decision since living in the country truly isn’t for everyone.
Below you’ll learn 5 tips for buying a rural home. If you’ve decided that a country home is the right fit for you, making sure you fully understand the following tips will greatly improve the chances that you’re experience is pleasurable and a success.
1.) Hire A Realtor® Who Has Experience Selling Rural Homes
Whether a home buyer decides to purchase a rural home or a suburban home, having an experienced buyers agent when buying a home is extremely important. There are many reasons to hire a buyers agent to buy a home.
If you’ve decided to purchase a rural home, hiring an agent who has experience selling rural homes becomes paramount. The primary reason why hiring an agent who has experience selling rural homes is so important is because there are some different rules and regulations that apply when buying a rural home.
What do we mean by different rules and regulations when buying a rural home?
One of the neighboring counties to Monroe County, which is where Rochester NY is located, is Wayne County. The majority of Wayne County is considered rural and buying a home in Wayne County requires buyers to sign an additional document acknowledging that they understand they’re purchasing a home in an agricultural area.
The disclosure basically states that the buyer understands that there’s the possibility of farming activity in the area. It states that the these farming activities may result in noise, dust, odors, insects, smoke, and a handful of other things.
If an agent doesn’t have experience in selling rural homes, it’s very possible they won’t know what additional documents are required as part of the purchase and sale contract. This example is only one of the many that can apply when buying a country home.
Selling rural homes is not the same as selling a suburban home, so hiring a buyers agent who has experience selling rural homes is critical! To improve the chances that you hire a buyers agent who has experience selling rural homes, understanding how to interview Realtors when buying a home is recommended. Buyers who ask the proper questions and follow the correct steps of interviewing agents are glad because they’re likely to hire a top agent.
2.) Discuss Financing Option With A Local Mortgage Lender
When buying any type of home, understanding what type of mortgage is best for you is vital! One of the big perks to buying a rural home is the additional financing options that exist.
If you’re buying a home in a rural area, an organization you’ve likely heard of is the USDA. The USDA, which is short for United States Department of Agriculture, is an organization that provides financing for buyers looking in rural areas.
The USDA has some fantastic financing options for buyers and it’s critical that before you begin shopping for homes you discuss all of the financing options with a local lender.
There are some eligibility guidelines for USDA loans that need to be met, which a local lender can help a buyer work through and ensure they’re actually eligible for this type of loan. While USDA mortgages are usually the most popular among rural home buyers, there are other options that need to be explored.
Bottom line, when buying a rural home, you need to discuss all financing options with a local lender. Discussing financing options with a local lender not only ensures you’re getting the best mortgage product but a lender can also provide some excellent tips for saving for a down payment on a home and also educate you on the things to expect throughout the mortgage process.
3.) Decide On Location
Many people believe that a rural home is one located in the middle of no where surrounded by farm land. This is not always the case and there are rural homes located in areas where you won’t find farm land for miles.
One of the most popular sayings in real estate is “location, location, location.” It’s important that when buying a rural home you decide on the ideal location of your home.
Do you want to buy a rural home located near farm land? Do you want to buy a rural home located in a wooded area? Do you want to buy a rural home located in a prairie?
These are just a few examples of the different settings that a rural home can have. Before starting the process of buying a rural home, it’s critical you’ve determined which setting is best.
4.) Determine How Much Property
One common home buying misconception when it relates to rural properties is that there must be a ton of land with the property. The reality is that there are rural homes located on small parcels of land, average parcels of land, and huge parcels of land.
Before shopping for rural homes, you need to determine how much property you desire. There are some rural home buyers that want several acres of land and others who don’t but desire privacy from others.
When considering the amount of desired land it’s important to keep in mind the amount of “usable land.” It’s not uncommon that a rural home has several acres of land but much of it is undeveloped and would take a significant amount of work to turn it into “usable.”
5.) Review Available Utilities
One of biggest differences between purchasing a home in a suburban area and a home in a rural area is the type of available utilities. Living in a suburban area typically means having commercial sewers, commercial water, and a connection to natural gas.
When living in a rural area, there are many different types of utilities that can exist. For example, many rural homes aren’t hooked up to commercial sewers but instead utilize a septic system.
Below are a some of the most common utilities that you’ll find in rural homes.
Developed neighborhoods traditionally are hooked up to commercial sewer systems where the waste from a home is carried through sewer lines to a treatment facility. Many rural homes however are not hooked up to commercial sewer systems, instead they’re hooked up to a septic system.
Septic systems are designed to take waste from a home and transfer it into a holding tank. A septic system is designed to breakdown solid waste and any remaining liquid is released into a drain field, which is often referred to as a “leach field.”
One of the biggest benefits of buying a home with a septic system is the property taxes are likely to be lower than a comparable home that’s connected to commercial sewers. The reason the taxes are likely lower is because municipalities charge homeowners for being connected to a public sewer system, whereas, homes on septic systems aren’t subject to this charge.
One of the drawbacks of buying a home with a septic system is the potential for having to replace the system. Replacing a septic system can be fairly expensive depending on many factors including the type of septic system.
If you’re considering the purchase of a home that’s equipped with a septic system, it’s recommended the contract is contingent on a septic pump and inspection. In fact, septic inspections are one of the most common real estate contingencies and many lenders will not approve funding until they’ve reviewed a report of the septic inspection.
Well Water Systems
Most homes that are in developed areas are equipped with a connection to public water. Many rural homes however don’t have the capability to hook into a public water source and are equipped with well water systems.
A well water system is designed to obtain ground water to use within a home. The “well” is a hole in the ground and the depth of the well can very depending on a few different factors such as the depth to ground water and ground water quality. If you’re looking to buy a rural home, you need to be familiar with well water systems. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) is an excellent resource to familiarize yourself with.
One of the benefits of a well water system is that water is free, with the exception of any electric used to run the system. This is an obvious advantage to homes equipped with well water systems as the homeowner is not subject to an expensive water bill.
Well water systems do require additional maintenance, which can be a negative for some homeowners. Since a homes water is being supplied from ground water, it’s extremely important that routine maintenance and tests are completed to ensure the water in a home is safe for use.
Oil Heating Systems
When buying a rural home, it’s possible you may encounter homes that are heated by oil. Homes that are in developed areas are often heated by natural gas.
One of the benefits of oil heating systems is the cost of a furnace fueled by oil is typically less than a gas fired furnace. In addition to the lower cost of an oil fired furnace is the number of BTUs is higher with oil when comparing to gas.
Owning a home with an oil heating system comes with a few drawbacks as well however. First and foremost, the cost of oil is higher than the cost of natural gas. Oil heating systems also require more routine maintenance and cleaning than a gas fired furnace, which is another negative to them.
For example, one of the most common spring home maintenance tips is to have a gas furnace serviced at least every other year, whereas an oil furnace should be serviced each year. While the additional service doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s additional time, effort, and money to be spent.
Propane Heating Systems
Another common heating source for rural homes is propane. Propane is a cleaner alternative to oil fuel and is becoming more and more popular in new construction where natural gas is not available.
One of the benefits of having a propane fueled furnace is the average life expectancy is traditionally longer on a propane fueled furnace when comparing to a gas fired furnace.
One of the drawbacks of propane heated rural homes, especially older homes, is the eyesore that a propane tank can create. There are certainly many propane heated homes that have buried tanks, however, it’s more common to see homes that do not.
Again, buying a rural home is NOT for everyone. It’s extremely important that buyers who’re considering the purchase of a home in a rural area understands what’s involved. The above 5 tips for buying a rural home can help bring some clarity and make the process much easier.
Other Home Buying Resources
- How To Purchase Rural Property via Anita Clark
- How To Choose The Right Neighborhood
- 5 Expert Tips For First Time Home Buyers via Bill Gassett
- Should I Hire A Part Time Real Estate Agent?
Are you thinking about shopping for rural homes in the Rochester NY area or surrounding counties? The above 5 tips for buying a rural home are very important to be aware of. If you haven’t hired a Rochester NY area Realtor®, contact me and I’d be happy to assist with the purchase of your rural property. I’ve worked with dozens of rural home buyers and would love to help you too!
About the authors: The above article “5 Tips For Buying A Rural Home | How To Buy A Country House” was written by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group. With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.
We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.
© 2017, Kyle Hiscock. All rights reserved.