Have you ever thought about moving to the country? Here are five things to think about before buying a house with land and making the jump to rural life.
Living in the country is GREAT. Seriously. It’s my favorite thing ever. But of course, it’s not for everyone.
- Move to the country for the right reasons.
- Make sure you can afford it.
- Consider the lifestyle change.
- Evaluate how much work the property needs.
- Plan for the future.
Is moving to the country a good idea?
Everyone who moves to the country does so for their own reasons. Whether you want to homestead, are looking for privacy, or just like views, there are a million things to love about moving the country.
BUT. Country life is not city life with more space. Let me repeat. Country life is NOT city life with more space. I have lived in dorms, apartments, suburbs, and on land. Life is not necessarily slower out here, but it is different.
So what do I mean when I say you should move to the country for the right reasons? The country is a lot of work (we’ll get to that in a minute). It’s farther away from stores and restaurants. There are fewer tradespeople and services to help you out. Usually everything falls on you and/or your family. (For those of us who are self-sufficient to a fault, this is music to our ears.)
If you find a snake on your front porch? I mean you can call animal control, but they may laugh at you. (Lovingly of course. Because country folk are usually pretty kind.) If you’re snowed in? Grab the shovel. If you lose power? Don’t open the fridge and fire up the grill.
The trade off, however, is that rural living is almost guaranteed peace and solitude. The country is a wonderful place and a great way to live. Just make sure it’s compatible with your personality before making the leap.
Tip: Spend some time thinking about why you want to move to the country. Do you just want more space? Would you miss out on social activities? Write all these down and take a few weeks to really think it over.
How to afford moving to the country.
How much you spend on a rural property is going to vary largely by the location. Houses usually aren’t cheap, and land usually isn’t cheap. When you put those two things together, you get something that…usually isn’t cheap.
The biggest thing to remember is patience. It takes a lot of time, a lot of searching, and a bit of money to get a rural property, but it’s totally doable with some planning. So what do you do when you find that perfect property?
Financing Moving to the Country
One important part to remember when looking for financing is that many traditional loans don’t match up well with rural properties. In our case, we found most mortgages required the house to be worth at least 80% of the value of the property. That’s a little difficult with 50+ acres!
Instead we went to Rural First who specializes in rural and farm loans. Generally the required appraisal amounts are lower. They were great for our loan!
If you’re not sure where to start for financing, you may be able to ask some of the neighbors around the area you’re looking for to see who they’re lending with.
Tip: Research some lending options in your area and get an idea of what their mortgage interest rates are. You can use a mortgage calculator like this one to see what your payments would be and how much you can afford.
Figure out the Maintenance Costs
How much do you spend on maintaining the outside of your house? What about your yard? Your garage?
The actual maintenance tasks don’t necessarily change when moving to the country. There are just more of them.
If you have four outbuildings? Guess what – that is four sets of gutters, roofing, foundation, and siding that you are now in charge of.
Tip: If you’re looking at a property with a bunch of outbuildings, do your best to estimate how much each property will require each year in maintenance.
Lifestyle inflation in a nutshell happens when you have more money, so you spend more money (I’m not a money person. Read this instead.)When you live farther away from places to spend your money, you naturally spend less money right?
Well…no. Every rural property is different, but there are likely a few pieces of equipment you will need to buy to accommodate moving to the country.
Tool like chainsaws and riding mowers, 4WD vehicles, and heavier duty yard equipment are all helpful when you’re out here on your own.
These aren’t costs that will pop up right away. But it’s always better to plan for them so they don’t surprise you.
Tip: Make a list of equipment you might think you need before moving to the country along with the prices of each piece.
Simple country lifestyle.
HOW CLOSE IS YOUR GROCERY STORE??? This was by far the MOST asked question I got about moving to the country. And this is a totally valid concern. We all need to eat!
I have to point out first that there are many different levels of “moving to the country.” I grew up with access to 200 acres. But by the time I was in high school, we had a large, well stocked grocery store 10 minutes away. We had high speed internet and a firehouse across the street.
My husband by comparison, grew up WAY out there. He didn’t have internet until he was a senior in high school. There is still no cell service. And the closest grocery store is 45 minutes away if you’re bookin’ it.
AND? There are people who live even more remotely than he did.
The point of this is that it is completely possible to move to a rural place and still have reasonable access to grocery stores and emergency services.
Here was are 25 minutes from a large grocery store (10 from a small one). My husband commutes 35 minutes to work. We have a hospital 15 minutes away. For the peace and beauty we see here on the DAILY, that is 100% worth the drive.
Tip: Make a list of the places and shops you frequent, along with any social activities you enjoy. Use a map software to get rough travel times between the property you’re considering and those destinations. Bonus: calculate how much added gas you’ll be using.
Evaluate how much work the property needs.
How much work is it to maintain?
Are you ready for the big secret? It’s a good one. Maintaining a rural property takes as MUCH or as LITTLE time as you want it to.
I’m serious. If you want the picture-perfect magazine-ready wedding venue kind of rural property, you can 100% have that. If you want to only maintain 0.3 of your acres and let the rest grow up? You can do that too! It’s entirely up to you as to how much work you want to do.
For us, our goal is to get the property to a state where we can keep it looking nice with as little effort as possible – mainly just a riding mower.
So we’ve taken out fencing, landscaping, bushes, and shrubs to cut down on required weed eating. Our neighbors hay our fields for us once a year which keeps them looking relatively nice and trimmed.
This way we can do the work upfront to get things looking nice, and then maintain the look with only a few hours a week in the mowing season.
How do you not get overwhelmed with all the work?
Moving to the country means preparing for a life where the work is never done. And it LITERALLY is never done. At any given moment there are minimum of 15 things to be doing that would improve the place.
But you’re only human. You can’t do all of them at once, and you’ll burn yourself out if you try. The trick is to be patient with yourself. You will get to everything at some point. Just take your time and give yourself some grace while you’re getting there.
Tip: Thoroughly examine the property you are interested in. If you can physically walk it, that’s best, otherwise look at pictures. Make a list of all the tasks you want to do so you know ahead of time.
Plan for the future.
Because moving to the country naturally involves more day to day work, you want to consider your future in that place. Are you living here for 15 years and then moving somewhere more accommodating? Is this your forever home?
While you can absolutely age in a rural setting, you may need to get creative with how you can glide into old age. Some of the considerations we are looking at are heating source (no wood burning furnace), accessibility (our road is county plowed), and first floor living.
Does this sound totally morbid? Yeah. But I also don’t ever want to leave this place. So we’re doing everything we can no to make sure our 85 year old selves can live here happily and safely.
Tip: Get in touch with an aging professional and ask what adjustments can be made to keep you happy at home.
Get ready for fun.
If you decide that moving to the country is right for you, jump in with both feet. Life is never boring. Nature will continue to astound you. And you’ll learn so much along the way.
So what do you think? Is country life right for you?