Real estate tips for those looking for rural or remote properties in the Ottawa area

This article may have you all humming the theme song to the retro sitcom “Green Acres”.

Remember it?:

“Green Acres is the place to be.

Farm livin' is the life for me.

Land spreadin' out so far and wide

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”

Eva Gabor and Eddie Arnold, in a simpler television era, leave the big city behind for the quiet and ‘simplicity’ of rural life.

The pandemic, the longtime sellers’ market, the possibility of telecommuting, and aging Baby Boomers wishing for a downsize and a change to a slower pace, have meant rural real estate sales are as popular as the apple pie at a small town church supper.

“But there's a big difference between staying at the cottage for a week or two versus living there full time, or living in the country versus the city. Here are some things to consider before making this transition,” Taylor Bennett, of Bennett Property Shop Realty shared on CTV’s News at Noon.

Bennett highlights a shift in purchasing trends. Typically “inner Ottawa” sales represent 60 per cent of the market but the outlying areas are definitely experiencing a surge.

“The increased activity isn't overly surprising as many retirees are looking for more tranquil, peaceful, and affordable lifestyles, and cottage purchases were in high demand with more families having to entertain themselves over the past year,” says Bennett.

“In 2020, we saw over 9,800 sales in the rural parts of Ottawa, and we are on pace to break that number by 10 per cent this year.”

Rural Retreat

  • Total Sales since Jan. 2020: 30,399
  • Inner Ottawa Sales: 15,878(52%)
  • Outer Ottawa Sales: 14,521 (48%)

TAYLOR BENNETT WITH THESE TIPS FOR RURAL, OR REMOTE, BUYERS

Seasonal Suitability

“Not all homes are meant for all types of weather. While this is more common for cottages than rural homes, depending on when, how, and where your home was built, it may not have familiar features you come to expect when buying a city property. For instance, many rural properties aren't hooked up to natural gas and may have to rely on hydro or wood-burning stoves/fireplaces for warmth,” Bennett says.

“Some rural homes have little or no insulation, which can come as a rude surprise in the cold months. The difference in lifestyle from summer to winter can be dramatic in rural communities. If you are making the transition from city life to full-time cottage life, make sure not to skip over some of these fundamental features.”

All-Season Access

“When moving out of the city, where almost everything we need is within a 10-20 minute drive or we can get delivery with a few clicks on our computer, it can be easy to forget that access to everyday amenities can be challenging when living in the country,” Bennett explains.

“Snow removal or debris clearing may take longer and could block essential roads or private roads and lanes may not be maintained during unpopular seasons. Some roads that are a breeze in the summer may become treacherous in the winter and an AWD car or special equipment (a plow, snow blower, etc.) may be needed. It’s imperative that not only your property can handle all four seasons, but also your car, equipment, and roads are ready as well.”

Know Your Body (of Water)

“Many people may be surprised to learn that just because your property is waterfront that may not mean you have water access – meaning you may not be able to install a dock or boathouse despite having clear access to the water,” Bennett says.

“Some properties have community beach or water access points, others may be owned by the government with strict regulations. Every lake or river will have a different set of rules on watercraft and water access restrictions. The smaller the body of water, the more limitations (i.e. small lakes may prohibit motorboats, while large bodies of water will allow almost any water activity).

“Another potential water issue is drinkability. Most rural properties get their water from a well or the body of water they front, which is susceptible to contamination. While some cottage dwellers choose to bring water with them for the weekend visit, long-term rural residents typically invest in a water filtration and purification system for convenience.”

Know Your Neighbour

“If you are moving out of the city into the country, be sure to check where the closest hospitals, vets, or other first-aid centers are located. Hopefully, you won't ever have to make an emergency trip to these places, but knowing where to go can be crucial during an emergency,” Bennett explains.

“Many waterfront communities are often quite busy and social during their peak months, but during the off-season, it can be completely different. Not only are there likely to be fewer nearby neighbours to socialize with, or to help out with odd tasks, but new neighbours may stop by instead: deer, bears, cougars, coyotes, raccoons, etc.

“During certain times of the year, different animals are more active. Familiarize yourself with the local fauna and be aware and prepared if you're venturing out on a walk.”