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What you need to think about when buying a rural property


As you awaken, the warmth of the sun kisses your cheek, even before you open your eyes you can hear the lonely call of the Loon and chirping of the Red-winged Blackbird.  Your eyes open the summer sunlight floods the bedroom. Quickly dressing in your favourite yoga clothes, you follow the winding path to the water side gazebo. Sooo many choices, do you do some yoga, do you meditate, do you just sit and listen to the song birds….

Ahhhhh, sounds beautiful doesn’t it!  I am calmer already.  Are looking for a mountain retreat or a lake side retreat. Are you looking to escape or to live full time ? Whatever you decide there are a few important factors you must think about.

Here is a general list that would apply to any location:

  • Location: Does this location meet your specific needs and desires? mountain top or lake side?
  • Water: yep, drinking water.  Just because you are right on a lake, river or creek, it does not mean that you will have good quality water.  Think about it this way, if you were stranded there, how long could you survive? without water not long at all. If the water is not a high quality, you may opt to bring water with you, but you need to be prepared.
  • Septic System: what goes in must come out… again you have many options from a outhouse to full under ground septic system. What are your preferences? and these could be different if this is a weekend getaway versus a planned retirement home.
  • Medical Facilities: Let’s face it, we are human and we often do very silly things.  Maybe you are just hiking and fall or maybe you have a chronic illness.  You need to know your options and be prepared.
  • Environmental Hazards:  What was there before?  mountain retreats are less likely to have these concerns, but if you are looking at an old farm or raw land, you should definitely look into the properties past.  Your best bet here… the neighbours 🙂  they will have all the gossip on what was there 10-20- 30 years ago.
  • Climate: You need to understand and be prepared for the climate for the location you select. Do your research, talk to the neighbours and make sure to do a reality check to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
  • Community:  I have already mentioned the neighbours a couple of times, but it is really important to know just what kind of people they are.   The old farmer down the road that would give you the shirt of his back but the tourist from the city that comes up twice a year might not even notice a problem.

There are a lot more details that you really need to learn about and many of those details depend on your long term goals for your property. On our little adventure we have been planning and envisioning the property for many years.

Our goal includes several different aspects:

  • peace and quiet
  • water – lake, river, creek, pond
  • gardens and animals
  • sustainability and permaculture

So as we walk through the journey of finding the perfect piece of property to build our vision, we will focus on these specific areas. We set the bar pretty high and there are a few criteria that must be included.

  • Lake or river frontage on the property
  • Good Drinking water – a must have and will be included as a condition of any offer
  • Fishing, hunting and wild life in the area – so fairly remote
  • 50% Flat ground with some trees
  • Zoned appropriately or opportunity to re-zone – must be able to operate a small business
  • Year round Road access – we will be living there full time
  • Crown land nearby for Hiking, ATV’ing and Sledding and many other outdoor activities

And within our price range 🙂 tall order I might add, even up here in central BC where everywhere you look you can see trees and lakes!

So tell us, what would be your MUST have criteria?  would you have a get-away or a full time rural home?   Love to hear your thoughts and see if we missed anything important.






15 thoughts on “What you need to think about when buying a rural property

  1. I’m not an expert on this either – but I know a lot of people who are. One thing I know about the water is that you are looking for a good year-round spring. Even if the drinking water setup is not in place – someone with the expertise can set it up, as long as you have access to that year-round water source. Gravity fed too I think. You can also collect extra rainwater in cisterns to water your garden, etc. There’s lots of eco-friendly ways to generate more water.

    What an exciting adventure you are embarking on! Good luck in locating that perfect piece that can serve as your home and business headquarters!

    1. We were just making that list tonight, definitely rain water collection and re-using grey water for any trees and gardens. So many interesting eco-green friendly ideas, I can’t wait to start experimenting.

  2. Hey Lori, you’re pretty intrepid! If I were to have a rural habitat, it would definitely be a get-away and not a full-time residence. I would love for it to be on water, preferably a bay or ocean or inlet. And it must have amenities. Not just the basic stuff, but internet access, etc.

    Can you tell I’m not much of a nature girl?


    1. 🙂 Definitely need internet access! I am learning to live with slower access though, before I moved here, I had the fastest internet you can get (I lived with a computer geek). Now I am on rural wireless, much better than old school dail-up, but not the same is being in town. There are limited options and I will definitely be researching it.

  3. Lori,

    Interesting post. Though just reading it gives me the shivers!! If I were to have a rural residence, like Bobbie, it would be part time. Not only that, but it would have to be one of those expensive ones that comes with all the facilities 🙂 And ideally staff.

    A total city girl at heart here. I like the beauty of natural places, but I don’t like the dirt or the inconveniences. So maybe a super swanky retreat on water sounds good.

  4. Hey Lori Lynn!

    Being myself in the process of looking for a new home and location, your current list is already quite an enriching exercise for me! Here are some things I would also add:

    – Lots of windows so the sun can brighten my house… and my life!
    – Quiet street; I currently live on a more or less busy street, so quietness has now become a MUST for me.
    – High speed Internet connection.

    My warmest wishes for the extraordinary success of your project!


    1. oh yes, windows is a huge thing! And since I am building the cabin we live in it will be super high on the list.

      And peace and quiet is one of the main reasons to move to the country 🙂

      Great success on your adventure as well!

  5. Very interesting article. I dream, but can’t make up my mind. I’d love to live rural and be totally self sufficient without depriving myself of all the good stuff. But I also dream of living on an island, near or on the water. And then I think of how great it would be to live smack dab in the middle of a city and walk everywhere I need to go. Is there one place that meets all of this criteria?

  6. I am waaaay far away from buying ANY property, but what you’re describing sounds pretty awesome! I’ve always wanted to live in a rural setting – lots of nature, peace and quiet. Mmm, perfection… I can’t think of anything I’d add. Good luck to you guys in finding the perfect property!! Keep us updated. 🙂

  7. I grew up in a rural area. The only thing that seemed to be missing for me on this list was services–how far are the closest grocery stores and gas stations, or any other needed services.

    1. hhmmm yes. Everyone has a different idea of how far is too far, but that is definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration. We are already starting to do our grocery shopping differently. More bulk and more lists.

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