Buying your home for living in the country is a big decision. Learn about wish lists, finding listings, inspecting property and the advantages of alternative construction methods. These advance steps will help you choose the best country home for yourself and your family. Get ready, get set, go country!
Make a Wish List
Making a wish list will help you identify most likely prospects among listings of country homes. After the usual bed and bath count, think about what living in the country means to you. Here are a few key items to consider:
- · Wood burning fireplaces can be lifesavers during winter power outages.
- · Existing water wells can save you money on a rural utility bill.
- · Attached, fully enclosed garages can protect vehicles from hail and limbs.
- · Trees break up strong winds, provide respite from summer heat, can become firewood, create privacy, prevent erosion and attract a variety of birdlife.
- · Water features should match your lifestyle: pond, lake or river? All are great for fishing, swimming, watching wildlife and entertaining. Boaters will want larger bodies of water on their property or nearby. Small children also need to be taken into account.
- · Outbuildings can come in very handy for storage, extra parking, guest quarters, animal housing and indoor activities. Picture them as party rooms, art studios and home offices.
Searching the web for country homes can be daunting. If you just want a small house or trailer in a rural area, search for “country homes,” “country trailers” and “mini farms.” If wide open spaces are more your style, use search terms like “farms,” “ranches,” “acreage” and “rural property.” Want a property with a pedigree? Check out historical homes, farms and ranches. To save money upfront, look into bank, USDA and auction foreclosures.
Country life requires attention to detail and planning ahead. Check for water and rodent damage around pipes, baseboards and throughout all laminate and wooden built-ins, especially kitchen cabinets. Make sure structures are elevated above the floodplain. See if fences need repairs. Find out the current water well’s depth and when it was drilled. If accessing the property requires crossing a bridge or driving up a hill, ask about secondary access in the event of floods, ice or washouts.
Alternative Construction Methods
If you want to build a new home or open the field of existing country homes in another direction, consider alternative construction methods. Yurts are economical, quick, easy and spacious. They usually consist of canvas and insulation applied to an accordion frame, which sits on a wooden base. Earthships take a little more effort, but are almost completely self-sustaining and use raw recycled materials. They’re made of rammed earth and used tires, bottles and cans, as well as incorporating living plants. Made of blown concrete inside a custom designed skin and reinforced with rebar, Monolithic Domes are nearly indestructible. In addition to surviving tornadoes and hurricanes completely intact, they are also valued for their fire safety features and temperature efficiency. Search these techniques on the web to explore their dynamic possibilities.
Country homes require a slightly different set of house hunting techniques. Your wish list, pared listings, thorough property inspection and consideration of alternative construction methods will make this job easier and more successful. As a result, you will get the most out of your country home for years to come. See the related articles in this series, Living in the Country: Tools, Equipment and Supplies and Living in the Country: 5 Lifestyle Changes.