This article will cover the most vital ten items to question about potential properties. If you are purchasing an existing house check out Top 10 Tips for buying a Country House click here.
1. Road access. You drove up to the property listing. Is the road to access to the property maintained by the buyer, the county, a neighbor? Is it level or steep? Is it narrow or wide? Will this road be dangerous in the winter? Consider the vehicles and the size of any loads you will need to drive down the road to the property and make sure it suits those needs. I caution to not get involved with a property that is difficult to access because it can be a reason many people end up reselling their otherwise good land.
2. Grading. Is this parcel easy to grade to use or build on? Can you afford the grading to level the land for use? Factor this cost up front because it will determine how useful or useless the land really is to you.
3. Zoning. How is this property allowed to be used? The zoning will determine if you can have a business on it, build multiple houses, etc. Buy property that allows you to fulfill your goals for that land.
4. Flood zone. Has this property ever flooded? Where does it flood on the property? Where does the water drain on site? If the natural drain sites are where you want to build you will have to factor in the cost of creating new drain systems.
5. Water source. Is the property on well or city water? Are you allowed to use a well? Are you allowed to collect rainwater?
6. Water features. Is there a creek, pond, river or lake on the property? If so, consider the animals or pests that water attracts. Water features can be useful and beautiful but they can also be snake filled, mosquito infested, and attract large predators as their watering hole.
7. Soil. You can take samples of the soil to the local extension office and get the soil tested to find out the health of it. This is especially important if you plan on sustaining crops or livestock.
8. Cell phone reception & Internet access. How many bars all through and around the property? Do you have a plan to install or pay for the kind of internet you need? Phone or internet may impact your business or your safety.
9. Septic system. Is there already a septic system installed? Where is the drain field on the property? Or where would you be able to put one? This would be an area that you cannot plant or build anything. Or park on. How close to the water well is the drain field? If one already exists, what type of plumbing pipes were used? Ceramic, metal, pvc?
10. Weather and plants. Is there enough sunlight where you will need sunlight? Is there any shade from trees or hills where you will need shade? Are there any trees or useful and beneficial plants already on site? Do you have the mix of the floral and fauna you prefer? Can you afford to remove the ones you do not like or need? How is the health of the trees? Try to recognize any insect or disease issues that may mean a lot of tree removal expense.
Happy homestead shopping! Check back for more helpful tips on country living.