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What You Need to Know About Moving to a Rural Area

Posted by premierottawa on March 8, 2024

Whether it’s the desire for a bigger yard, fewer crowds, or a slower lifestyle, there are many reasons to consider moving to a rural area. But getting away from it all does have some disadvantages you might not be aware of. If you’re ready to abandon the city in favour of greener pastures and wide-open spaces, here’s what you need to know before buying a home in a rural area.


Commuting to Ottawa

How do you feel about spending time in the car? Be sure to consider how far you’re willing to drive every day. A 40-minute commute can easily become an hour (or longer) drive at rush hour. Which means you could be spending as much as two hours a day in the car.


You should also be aware that very few rural locations have public transit. You’ll likely have to rely on your car to get everywhere.  Gas consumption and wear and tear on your vehicle will increase. Or you may even need to purchase a second vehicle if you and a partner are both commuting. Don’t forget to factor these extra expenses into your budget.


Well Water vs City Water

In Ottawa, water is supplied via city-owned pipes and exits your home through a sewer system. In return you pay a monthly water bill for the water your household consumes. In rural areas, most homes rely on a well and water pump for their water supply. As a result, your water is dependent on electricity. But you don’t pay a water bill when you’re on a well, which can provide significant savings.


In the city, water is tested and treated before it is sent to consumers. When you have a well, you are responsible for the quality of your water. You will have to have your water tested regularly to verify it is safe to drink. And if the water pump fails or the well runs dry, you could be left with some very costly repairs. Before placing an offer on a rural home, always have both a water test and a septic inspection done.


Heating Your Home in a Rural Area

Natural gas is not available in many rural areas. Instead, most homes will have propane or electric heat. But you may also encounter oil heat in some older homes. Always verify the heat source and ensure the heating system is up to code before buying a home in a rural area.


Fireplaces and wood stoves are common supplementary heat sources in country homes. While there is nothing cozier than curling up by the fire, there can also be risks involved. Your insurance will likely require a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) test to ensure the fireplace and chimney are safe and functioning properly.


Availability of Utilities in Rural Areas

If you live in the city, you’re probably used to having a variety of service providers and contractors available. You can price shop for things like cable and internet and choose the supplier and package that best suits your needs.


In the country you often only have one option for service providers and will have to accept whatever services and prices they offer. In extremely rural areas, you may not be able to get services like high-speed internet at all. Be sure to do your research, especially if you work from home and reliable internet is a must.


Reduced Services in the Country

Depending on the size of the community you move to, there may not be the same services available that you are accustomed to in the city. How far is the nearest hospital? What are the hours and services available? Does your neighbourhood have garbage pickup, or will you have to take your own garbage to the dump? And many stores and restaurants close early in rural areas making it difficult to run errands after work.


You May Be at the Mercy of the Elements

Living in a rural area often leaves you at the mercy of the weather. Because the power lines run through the woods, the power goes out more frequently in rural areas. And it can take much longer to have it restored to remote locations. Likewise, there can be long delays in clearing country roads after a heavy snowfall. And for homes near the water, you also have to be prepared for possible flooding in the spring. To prepare for these weather-related setbacks you will likely need a generator, snowblower, chainsaw, and extra gas cans and extension cords.


If you’re planning on moving to a rural area, there’s a lot of changes to consider. To ensure you get the best advice, work with a realtor who has experience buying and selling rural homes. Our team can help guide you through the process and ensure you’re getting a good home that meets your needs.

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