Thinking of leaving the bright lights of city life behind and buying yourself an acreage home? Before you trade your business suit and tie for flannel and a pair of R.M Williams, there are a few things to know about buying acreage property. So, let’s take a look at purchasing rural land and some of the ins and outs of acreage living.
What is the process of buying acreage for a new home build?
The process for buying acreage is similar to purchasing any block of land
- Organise your finances: Getting a pre-approval is the first step you need to take care of when buying land. Remember that a pre-approval is not a guarantee but rather an indication of the type of loan and the amount you’ll receive.
- Sign a contract of sale: This is the written agreement that will outline the terms and conditions of the transaction. This will include the price you’re offering and the settlement period. It can either be a conditional offer (there are specific conditions upon which the sale relies) or unconditional (this is when the purchaser has the funds available and can pay immediately).
- Exchange contracts: Once a price and conditions are agreed upon by all parties, contracts are signed.
- Pay a deposit: This will be put into a trust account and the developer can’t access it until settlement is complete.
- Find a settlement agent: You’ll need a settlement agent or solicitor to help with paperwork and ensure everything is above board. Any special terms r conditions will need to be specified and finalised at this point.
- Finalise your loan arrangements: This is when you’ll need to sign any mortgage documents. Your lender or mortgage broker will help you throughout this step.
- Sign transfer of land document: After the initial contract is signed, you need to sign a transfer of land document.
- Register land title: A land title is what makes your ownership official. Once this is sorted, your mortgage begins and the land is yours.
What should you consider before buying acreage?
Before purchasing a block of land, there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration.
Consider your budget
Money is the number one concern and issue most people will have to overcome when building a home. One of the worst things you can do is not prepare your finances before you start a build, as you’ll end up getting bitten. Talk to your financial advisor or lender and get a realistic idea of what you can borrow and your overall financial situation.
Is it a sloping site?
Knowing the slope of your block and the overall terrain of your land is an important factor in determining your house design. Steeper blocks will need to be incorporated into the house design. Either that or land will need to be evacuated.
Not performing a soil test on your block of land is like crossing the street with your eyes closed. Everything might end up fine, but would you really take such a needless risk? Soil tests give an overall idea of the condition of your land and its soil condition.
Unlike building on a city block of land, where connections to facilities will be readily available, on acreage properties, you may have organised electricity, sewerage and water supply. It’s important to check what you’ll need to install as this has to be factored into your budget to avoid a nasty surprise down the track.
Check Local Councils and their regulations
Even if you’re building out in the middle of sticks, you won’t escape council regulations. It’s important to know details such as zoning restrictions and any regulations you need to be compliant with when building. It’s also essential that your builder follows the National Construction Code throughout the project.
Bushfire zones and flood zones.
No matter where you purchase land, you should look into whether the property is in a bushfire or flood zone. Not only is this a potential safety issue, but it could also lead to higher insurance rates for your home.
- What are the zoning regulations?
- What are the deed restrictions?
- Are there any future developments in the area?
- Where are the boundary lines?
- Does the land drain well?
- Is there a safe water supply?
What are the advantages of buying acreage?
Some of the benefits of purchasing an acreage property include:
- Acerage living offers more space and privacy.
- Better quality of air than in the city
- Peace and quiet and less noise from traffic and city life in general
- You’ll be in close proximity to nature and the great outdoors. This includes flora and seeing wild animals you’re less likely to see in the city
- More space for pets and livestock.
- Better value for money. You’ll get more money per dollar than you would in a suburban or city area.
What are the disadvantages of buying acreage?
- The city offers conveniences like entertainment options, shopping and more readily available medical services. Many aspects you may take for granted will be less accessible in the country. Even if you live near a major town, it may still be a bit of a drive to get your groceries.
- Rural areas tend to have worse internet coverage and phone reception. If you work from home or depend on these services, you’ll need to investigate how strong coverage is in the local area you’re buying acreage property.
- Maintenance on a rural block of land can be a lot. This includes mowing and upkeep on structures like fences. Whether you perform these tasks yourself or hire others to do them, acreage blocks come with their fair share of upkeep.
- Wildlife isn’t always keen to make your acquaintance. Snakes and spiders aren’t your only concern, with kangaroos, dingos and many other animals capable of causing harm if they feel threatened. If you give wildlife their space and keep an eye on young children and pets, you should be okay.
- There may not be existing easements, electricity, water supply and other utilities, so you may have to pay extra to install power poles, water tanks and other amenities.
- If you’ve never lived in the country before, it may be a bigger adjustment than you realise.
Is buying acreage a good investment?
All investments come with an element of risk, and there is no such thing as a sure thing. However, acreage property can be a great investment depending on where you purchase. It’s unlikely to have the same growth as inner-city blocks, as land closer to major cities tends to have higher resale value. There’s also not as much demand for rural homes as in the suburbs.
How many properties can you build on acreage?
You may be able to subdivide your property depending on what you’re proposing and your local council regulations. Subdivision is quite an extensive topic that deserves its own article. Luckily, we’ve already written one so why not give it a read if you are interested in a subdivision?