Whether it’s a rural area or a secluded spot in town, buying a home with acreage is many people’s dream – a special place with plenty of room to call home. Especially after having experienced a pandemic, many buyers are seeking wider pastures and more expansive living spaces, both inside and out.
Whether you’re looking for the convenience of city living but want to escape occasionally or you’re looking to get back to nature, buying a home with acreage is a great option. But the very things that make it so attractive often brings special problems, not least of which is the bigger price tag and budgeting for upkeep. So you need to make sure you do the requisite research and look at all sides.
So what should you know when shopping for a home with a huge plot of land? Here are 5 things you should know about buying homes with acreage.
1. Zoning and Ordinances Matter
Many people who buy homes with acreage do so with the intention of making improvements right away. They might, for example, plan to add on to the house, put up an outbuilding, or build a big shop.
If you’re among them, you need to make sure the zoning and associated ordinances will allow it before you make the purchase.
In other words, you can’t just build that fancy repurposed container office or she-shed in the back yard without appropriate permitting.
Zoning and ordinances dictate what you can and can’t do with the property, even such things that you would expect would be your right as a property owner, such as adding an accessory dwelling or installing solar panels. Some structures in some areas are simply not allowed, and sometimes there will be square-footage requirements and setback limits.
These rules can be very different in different states, counties, and municipalities, so be sure to check before making an offer. Your local agent can also be a great asset here. Our broker Rory Gill is a licensed Real Estate Attorney and has encountered numerous land use issues over the years. To find out more about how we can assist you in finding out about zoning and ordinances, just call us at (617) 657-9811.
2. Maintenance and Upkeep Will Multiply
Owning even a small home on a postage-stamp lot smack in the middle of town, usually means you’ll have plenty of maintenance and repair chores to keep up with. But when it comes to owning homes with acreage, the maintenance and upkeep only increase.
It may seem idyllic to own a property with many acres of land, but the reality can be tough work., something those Instagram photos don’t tell you.
You’ll be responsible for mowing the lawn, clearing debris, and plowing snow in the winter, among other strenuous tasks. You don’t realize how heavy dirt and rocks are until…. you find new projects that involve moving dirt and rocks. (But, a side benefit could involve solid, honest outdoor physical labor which beats any gym workout every day of the week!)
Coming home to the wild outdoors after a hectic day of work is a dream many people associate with owning property with acreage. Living in such a place, though, will require work. Now this doesn’t mean that owning land — whether it’s one acre or several — is some kind of punishment, like a rural version of house arrest. And a little sweat equity can go a long way toward making your property more usable and enjoyable.
What has to be done isn’t necessarily unpleasant. Just make sure that you’re up to the challenge, or that you’re able to afford help with more difficult jobs. Don’t be afraid to hire out jobs far too strenuous or time-consuming.
3. The Septic System Must Be Adequate
Although not always the case, homes with acreage very often have septic systems. And that septic system needs to be properly functioning and able to meet the needs of the number of users – if, that is, you don’t want hefty expenses later on. This is a particular concern if you intend to build onto the house.
When a house is constructed in a rural area, a leach field is built to collect sewage and water waste, with its size depends on the size of the house. The leach field is basically a perforated pipe that is used to discharge liquid waste from your home. Your home or business would have septic tank that collects waste and use a pipe called leach field that will line up the ground and take wastes into the soil. If an owner builds an extension, he must also extend the leach field to make sure the septic system can handle the number of people living there.
4. You Need to Look at the Details
Another important thing to know is that the contract details matter immensely. So you should make sure to include in the sales contract a detailed list of everything that goes with the home and the property. Whatever can be moved and isn’t contractually listed as part of the sale the seller will likely take with her – such things as fencing, outbuildings, pens, ornamental structures, and so on. Be sure to include the details on who will be paying for any structures or items that are built on the property.
And make sure to consult a lawyer/title company before signing to get things in writing and not overlooked. It’s always a good idea to have your attorney involved when it comes to important details. An experienced real estate attorney will check for things like easements and encumbrances for such things as power lines and roads. Again, we can provide some valuable assistance here.
5. The Right Agent is a Must
With respect to buying homes with acreage, you should also know that having the right real estate agent is paramount. Ideally, your agent will be one who specializes in such properties, has plenty of experience in this area, and has a demonstrated track record.
Here are just some of the valuable services such an agent can provide:
- Access the multiple-listing service in your area to give you the widest possible choice of properties with acerage.
- Share expertise regarding valuations and locations, schools, amenities and other important background information.
- Share experience of other deals, and help you make the right moves in negotiations.
- Negotiate directly with other real estate agents, who probably have a lot more experience than you do.
In short, you need an agent who understands and can help you navigate the complexities of buying a home with acreage. So if you’re among those looking to buy homes with acreage, don’t take a chance: contact us today at (617) 657-9811 to find the right agent.
Boston and Beyond – Just Hit the Market!
The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.