If you have decided to escape the hustle and bustle of municipal living to enjoy rural life, you may already have a settlement area in mind. If you have a trusted real estate broker, they can help guide you to the best property available. If you’re lucky, they can even help you to negotiate the price, so you buy at the best possible cost. This article will help you compile a checklist of things you should probably check before signing that contract.
1. How’s the water?
If you are going to live in a rural area, you should know that you probably cannot depend on tapped water as you do in a city. Is your property close to a water source? Some people depend on wells, while others depend on streams or rivers to get water. If you are going to use a well or dig one, you should determine the static water level so you know what type of pump you may need. If you are going to source water from streams, consider the slope of your land to know if you will need to pump/carry water from the stream or if you can get it directly from the stream.
Another thing to consider is the quality of water. In most cases, you will have hard water, but is it water you can drink? What minerals and chemicals are present in the water, and are they safe? Finally, be sure to ask about water rights. Some areas have riparian rights, while others have prior appropriation water rights. Be sure to check your water and mineral rights before sealing the deal.
2. Are there any zoning ordinances and/or deed restrictions?
Zoning ordinances are rules that specify how land in certain geographical locations can be used. Some zoning ordinances include limits on the height of buildings, density, and placement.
Deed restrictions are rules written on a property’s title deed that specify what can be done with that land. Some deed restrictions can be set by the homeowner’s association, prior neighbors, or even historic regulations. Some examples of deed restrictions include restrictions on the number of bedrooms, pet restrictions, and even rules against obstructing a view.
Before coming up with any grand plans on what you will do with your property, be sure that there are no rules or restrictions that could prevent you from carrying out your plans.
3. How convenient is it to get to your property during winter?
There are two main things to consider when asking yourself about the navigability of the area during winter. First, how much snow on average falls in that area, and for how many days. If you’re moving to Iowa, you can find that information on the Current Results website.
Secondly, if your home is located next to a private road, it may not be plowed after it snows. If that is the case, be sure that the road is safe to drive. Additionally, you may need to budget for an SUV or truck to navigate the roads during snowdrifts or buy snow tires.
4. Can you add alternative energy sources?
If you would like to go off-grid but still have energy needs, you should consider adding alternative energy sources. These energy sources can serve several purposes, including pumping water and lighting your home. For example, you might want to add solar panels to your home. If this is something you are considering, find out if the area gets enough sunlight to sustain your energy requirements.
Even if you are not going off-grid, rural areas can sometimes face power outages for longer periods than urban areas, as it may take some time before electrical faults are fixed. Find out the longest time there has been a power outage in the area for reference. You can invest in a generator just in case. In this case, also remember to have stored water as your generator may not be sufficient to pump water.
5. How are the neighbors?
Unless you intend to live very far away from other people, there are chances you may have a few neighbors. You can pop in to visit one or two or find out about the residents of the area in a local store. For example, you can find out if there are families with young kids if you have kids to have company. This factor may not be useful if you are an introvert and prefer to stay away from people most of the time, but it will be particularly useful for extroverts.
6. Does the land have the potential for your future plans?
What do you plan to do on the land after you have built your home? Is it possible to make those plans a reality in the future? For example, if you intend to grow a particular type of crop in the future, is it possible to do that with the type of soil there? If you want to keep livestock like cows and goats, does the soil have the nutrients to grow healthy feed for your animals?
Another thing to consider in this case is if you will have the room to make these projects a reality in the future. For example, if you plan to grow a vineyard, can you purchase enough land for it now, or will you have to acquire your neighbors’ lands in the future progressively?
7. Are there potential hazards you should be aware of?
Maybe you are planning to keep some chicken but have you considered that there might be neighborhood dogs that could feast on them? If you live close to a forest, have you considered getting unexpected visits from hogs, bears, snakes, or mountain lions? Be sure to ask about any of these things before signing that contract.
Ask Advantage Realty and Land Management to help you find a property
If you are thinking of relocating to rural Iowa, Advantage Realty and Land Management will be your best bet. You can take advantage of our extensive list of contacts to find the best house for you. Contact us today to start the search for your next home.