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The Reality Of Buying Rural Property

Dec 3, 2007
If you live in a city or a built-up area, you may dream at night about drastically changing your life by moving to the countryside.

Certainly when you start to think of the hassles of living in the city, it sounds idyllic. No more built-up areas, overcrowding, dangerous commute to work or pollution.

But rural property can have its downsides. It can mean being cut off from friends and family, having to drive absolutely everywhere, and you could find yourself stranded in extreme weather.

So before you rush off to put down a deposit on a rural property or find property to let, here's a rural reality check.

The biggest downside of life in the country is how inconvenient it can be, particularly if you have moved from the city. Many villages have lost their shops over the last few decades, meaning you can't easily pop out for a pint of milk.

Your new village may have buses connecting it to the nearest town, but it's likely to be a trek wherever you go (and certainly nothing like the frequently connected city services you might be used to).

It's difficult to get around in the country without a car. With the price of petrol at current highs, that's a significant extra cost to take into account. Don't forget you may have to drive the kids to school each morning.

And in the middle of January when there's a foot of snow on the ground, you could find that slippery roads are the least of your problems. Try getting up a steep snowy hill without a 4x4!

Next up, the costs of renovating and running a rural property can be considerably more expensive than you might have reckoned for. Older country properties tend to have more expensive problems. Your house might need a complete rewire or a new bathroom and kitchen put in.

As you see on TV property shows, what starts off as a simple job stripping the wallpaper can become a major renovation task when all the plaster comes off with it! And you really have to watch out for nasties like dry rot in older rural property.

If you buy a house with a thatched roof, you will need to put a significant amount of cash away every year. Thatched roofs need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years and can cost several thousand pounds... the kind of money you'd rather save than borrow.

Thatched roofs are also susceptible to decay and decomposition, plus damage from animals and birds.

It could also be that the energy bills in your village home are higher. Some rural property isn't connected to the gas mains, meaning you have to get heating oil shipped in every few months. That's expensive and more hassle than gas being available in a pipe any time you need it.

It also means you need to maintain a heating oil tank. Although they do last for a long time, a leaking tank is both dangerous and expensive. Your tank may need repairing by a professional now and again, and at some point will need to be replaced.

That's the same if your home isn't connected to the sewage system and comes with a septic tank... except potential repair costs are worse, as your tank will be buried underground!

If you've not been put off by all the downsides, then maybe life in a rural property could be for you. There are huge advantages, such as being closer to nature and enjoying a slower paced and quieter life.

It's really more of a lifestyle choice than just about deciding where to live. Maybe those dreams of cakes baking in the Aga while your family plays safely in your huge garden could come true.
About the Author
You can find further details on buying a country property at the Property Today website.
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