March 16, 2023
Here is what you should know when purchasing property outside of city limits.
Septic and well
A major aspect of owning property in rural areas is that you are not part of the City services. This includes sewage and water. You will either have your own independent septic and well system or you will share these with surrounding properties. Mobile home parks outside of the City often have co-operative water and sewage systems. You do not have to maintain them, however, you will need to pay a fee to the park owner for maintenance and repairs. If you are not a part of a co-operative system, you will be in charge of the upkeep of your septic tank and well. It’s a good idea to have your septic tank pumped at least every five years. For water quality, testing for bacteria should be done once a year and a more thorough test (which tests for heavy metals, chloride, pH levels, and more) every three to five years.
What kind of information should I request when I am interested in a property that has a septic and well system?
How deep the well is
If the current owners have had any issues with the well running dry
How many GPM the well pumps
The most recent water records
Where the well is located on the property
Where the septic field is located
When the last time the septic tank was pumped
Any records the current owners may have of septic and well repairs and/or installations
What is the monthly cost if the well and/or septic are shared
There are three common zoning types that you may encounter when browsing for property in rural areas. These include rural residential, rural mixed use, and agricultural land reserve (ALR). There are certain uses and guidelines with every type of zoning so be sure to ask your REALTOR® if you are unsure. Keep an eye out for my future blog post dedicated to information on agricultural land reserves.
Charges on title
Whether it is property within the City limits or in the rural areas, always ask about charges on title. Certain charges may restrict or limit what you can do with or on your land. For example, a covenant may obligate you to not subdivide the land. Along with covenants, easements and right of ways may also be found on title. If you are unsure about the specifics or the nature of a charge, it’s always a good idea to ask your lawyer.
If there is a stream, pond, lake, river, creek, ditch, wetland, or brook located on a property, it may be affected by the Riparian Areas Protection Act. This could have a significant effect on the value and potential use or development of the property because of building/development setbacks and other requirements protecting riparian areas. Riparian areas are not usually mentioned on the title so it’s always a good idea to ask your REALTOR® to see if a property is affected by this.
Overall, buying property outside of City limits is usually less restrictive and you have more freedom to do what you would like with your land. Plus, there are many more options for large acreage properties compared to City lots. With any area, whether in town or on the outskirts, always be cautious of potential limitations. If you have any more questions about buying rural property, feel free to post it in the comments or send me a private message.