Tips on buying an acreage | Living the Country Life

Tips on buying an acreage

Finding the right acreage for you will provide years of enjoyment. Make sure that pretty piece of land will support your vision.
Vicki Olson is a real estate broker in Des Moines, Iowa.

More and more people are leaving the suburbs to live a country life, but buying an acreage is a little different than buying a house in the burbs. Buyers should investigate a number of things on the property, assuring them that the land they purchase is going to support the lifestyle they have envisioned.

Consider the services

"If you are buying an acreage with the intent of building a home, you will first need to consider services, including garbage collection, Internet connectivity, snow removal, and road maintenance, as well as access to your property," says Vicki Olson, a real estate agent in Iowa. "If you get a good buy on the land, you may end up paying more to run electricity, water, and other services to your home. You may be charged by the foot by the utility company to bring services from the nearest lines, which in some cases can be miles away."

"It is important to assess the depth of existing wells, the quality of their water, and their condition," says Olson. Septic systems being installed in bare ground will need to undergo a percolation test to determine the absorption rate of the soil for a drain field or leach field. Existing septic systems should be checked by local health agencies.

Maintenance and insurance

The cost of an acreage doesn't end with the purchase. It is important that a buyer plan for expenses on maintenance and improvements, as well as insurance. Fire protection, for example, is an important issue. Insurance rates could be affected depending on the abilities of the fire department that has jurisdiction in your area. Be sure to understand which insurers offer rural property insurance covering the house, outbuildings, ponds, and other features of the property.

Covenants and ordinances

Be aware of the possibility of a protective covenant that governs the use of the land. Under this agreement it is decided what types of animals and structures are permissible and where they can be located, as well as who maintains the common areas, such as the shared driveways and fences.

Zoning ordinances may also determine the use of the land. In most cases, a pond can't be created by simply damming up a creek. Similar to the protective covenant, there may be some mandate as to what types of animals you can have on the land and the location of your driveway. To fully understand the ordinances in your area, first contact your local zoning commission, then the Department of Natural Resources.

Discovering that perfect expanse will provide years of enjoyment for you and your family. Take the time to know that the acreage will support your vision.

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