Prime Edmonton Real Estate - For many it is a lifelong dream to own an acreage in and around the Edmonton area. Having a quiet place to live where nature is around you, there is plenty of room to roam, to have farm animals, or maybe just a little piece of solitude. And with a lot of these new HGTV shows promoting the 'back to nature' concept, such as tiny homes, cabins, and acreage living, it is no wonder that you might be longing for a quiter lifestyle. Coming from a farming family, I can tell you that every time I am out on an acreage, things just feel....better.
Many people believe that a transition from city life to country life is an easy one - but it's not. There are a ton of differences between these two types of home ownership. Some make things easier, some make it more difficult. The key is to have a good idea what to expect when you make the move before you make the move!
Here are 5 of the most common differences between living in town or out on an acreage that acreage buyers fail to take into account:
- You will be spending a lot more time in your vehicle - The natural consequence of being out of the hustle and bustle of the city is that you will have to travel farther for all of life's neccesities - food, gas, schooling, shopping, and everything else. The most common comment I get from acreage sellers is "I know that it would be a bit longer drive, but I didn't think that it would be this long!". Make sure that you look at how much the extra drive times will affect your lifestyle. There is no such thing as a corner convenience store, so you will need to be well prepared with lists so you don't forget anything when in town shopping!
- Your water and sewer systems are very different - in town your water and sewer system is primarily the responsibility of the municipality, and as such, included in your general utility costs and taxes. Your responsibility for water and sewer lies primarily within the home itself in the plumbing systems. On an acreage however, you are responsible for both the acquisition and disposal of water and sewer. Water coming into the house can be in the form of either a well, a cistern, ir a combination of both. If it comes from the well there will also be a transition time of adjusting the 'hard', or heavily mineralized, water into your water softening system and into the home. Sewage in the country can either be in the form of a tank (which is then pumped out via truck when full) or a tank and field system, which pumps the overflow from the tank into a field away from the home underground. The family will learn in a hurry the importance of water in the country!
- The technology is not there - Many acreage buyers are surprised to learn that 1a)neither of the big 2 internet and telecom providers do not have built in infrastructure into acreage areas, and b) that the alternative providers are so spotty with their service. Now as companies expand their capacity and range within their digital networks, this will slowly change. But part of the charm of being in the country probably didn't include having lightening fast wifi, did it?The reality is that if you move to an acreage that you will have a satellite based internet and tv system. Phone service is also spotty on most cellular networks on acreages which can be tough. So you may have too make a sizeable investment in building telecom lines to your property in order to have a reliable connection.
- More space = more work - Having a city lot to landscape and remove snow from is nothing like having 5 or 10 acres of land to cut, landscape and remove snow from. Remember that you are responsible for cleaning the snow on your driveway, so if you have a 100 foot gravel road from the property line to the house it will be a lot of work and or a lot of money to buy the equipment to maintain these areas. And if that gravel roads receives a heavy dose of rain, like we have been receiving this summer, it can be treacherous trying to drive in and out of the of the property. A good guideline is to budget twice the budget and 3 times the time that you would to maintain a city lot when purchasing an acreage, depending on the size of the land.
- Home reno labor costs more - Contractors will charge you more to travel out to your work site every day to work on your project, and material supply companies will do the same. You can expect anywhere between a 20% to 30% premium for renovations as a result should you choose to hire a contractor.
The acreage lifestyle certainly is different than the city lifestyle - and is one that I would love to experience one day. However, it is not for everyone. As long as you become informed as to what the key differences are between acreage living and city living, and are comfortable with it, the lifestyle can't be beat!