Are you thinking of buying a rural property in Western Australia? There’s a good chance you might be because people find it hard to resist the quality of life in rural Western Australia.
While living in a rural area does have its perks, it’s important to consider a few of the realities of rural life before buying and settling down in the countryside. Rural land buyers should thoroughly assess whether the land is suitable for their intended use before buying it. We’ve compiled a handy buying checklist to help you with that.
Check utility access
You need to keep in mind that rural areas may not have easy access to the utilities that are typically associated with city living. So be sure to check the availability and cost of power, water, waste disposal, internet and phone services. For instance, if you want to establish a new farm, the reliability and quality of these services may influence your pace of production.
Important to note! Where is the closest hospital and how long will it take for the emergency services to get to you if you’re experiencing a crisis?
The different types of properties
There are three main categories of local government town planning: general agriculture, rural smallholdings and rural residential. Landholding size is not always a good indicator of its zoning or land use.
Retreat: This is a place of relaxation, a way to escape the city and might even include livestock or a vegetable garden as a hobby. Potential retreat buyers should look for small blocks close to their homes to minimise driving time.
Weekend escape: This is for a buyer seeking a place to ride a motorbike, go fishing or rest at the weekends.
Working farm: Since this is a dual recreational and commercial operation, factors such as good soil fertility, water and access to markets are important, as well as the fact that a manager will need to live on-site to oversee it. A working farm is usually well-established or simple to set up otherwise start-up and production costs can limit cash flow for the first few years.
Hobby farm: This can accommodate a small number of livestock so the homeowner is responsible for looking after them. It’s important to note that the return and cost risks of a hobby farm are not as great compared with a working farm.
Conservation piece of land: There are many risks and costs for landowners whose responsibilities include fire, erosion, weeding and pest control with a conservation block.
Self-sufficient piece of land: This is a more appealing option as usually only a degree of self-sufficiency is sought. The land has to have similar features to a working farm to become truly self-sufficient. In many areas, the climate will impose limitations on what can be produced or grown on-site.
Investment land: These can be any of the types listed above so they all carry their own returns, costs, risks and responsibilities.
Examine environmental factors
A potential environmental concern for you is the presence of endangered species. This might impact you because when areas are designated for endangered species, it limits you.
For instance, clearing brush or adding buildings might not be possible and you won’t be able to fully enjoy your property. On the other hand, previous landowners might have contaminated the environment, perhaps even unintentionally. Residues could have been left behind by animals and plant products (think plant diseases and pests).
It’s also possible that the government plans to build developments in surrounding areas. Ensure you know what these are, when they're planned and if they will affect your enjoyment of the property. Local councils should draft regional plans to guide future development, so this information should be available to you.
Avoid drama, seek a professional
Unless you know the rural market like the back of your hand, you should invest in the services of a professional boutique agency that knows the local market. An agency will be familiar with the market and the history of properties in the area. The agent will thoroughly understand the nuances of rural lending and structure loan programmes specifically for rural property owners.
If you’re ready to leave the city behind, contact Sara Muir Real Estate. Let us help you find the perfect rural property that fits your needs.