“Urban buyers, looking for a rural property, are often horrified to discover that services they thought were universal are sometimes unavailable at their new dream home,” says Clare Coode of Stacks Property Search.
“Mains gas is frequently unavailable at rural properties; some properties rely – partially or fully, on non-mains water; 80% of rural properties have no mains sewerage, relying on a septic tank; and while off-grid properties are unusual, the sight of a big old generator in an outbuilding can cause alarm amongst urban buyers.
“But these most high profile horrors really shouldn’t cause too much concern. Modern septic tanks are incredibly efficient; a generator is a reassuring thing to have; oil fired heating is a little more expensive than gas but otherwise there’s no great difference; and a private water supply – either from a bore hole or a natural spring – is considered a delicious (and free!) alternative to mains water.
“The usual advice applies – make sure your surveyor checks all the services, bringing in specialists when and if required.
“There are however other less obvious issues that affect rural living that those used to an urban life should turn their attention to.
Broadband and mobile signal:
“Broadband speeds aren’t quite the bogey they used to be, but they’re still a real rural problem, and there are some rural areas that are unlikely to get Fibre any time soon. While you should certainly ask both vendor and agent appropriate questions about available Broadband widths and service, and mobile coverage, the answers should provide you with a starting point, not a definitive answer. Use the multitude of online resources for checking broadband upload / download speeds. But back up your research by asking the vendor if you can sign into their Wifi to check speeds. Set yourself up with a nice fat file to send yourself and see how long it takes to upload and download. And make a point of checking coverage on your phone in all corners of the house and grounds while you’re looking around.
“Bad Broadband and phone signal issues are surmountable so should rarely be deal breakers, but it’s best if they don’t come as an unpleasant surprise.”
Delivered to your door ……or not!
“It may seem implausible, but there are areas of the country where if you click, they don’t pick! Different supermarkets have different coverage. Rural dwellers are known to wait patiently and in great anticipation for their favourite supplier to add their postcode to their delivery schedule. And if you’re used to telephoning for sushi, pad thai, chilli squid, or even a Balti or sweet and sour pork, you may be disappointed to find that you have to go and pick it up yourself!”
“Even if you have no Broadband, no grocery deliveries, and have to drive ten miles to pick up a curry, you and your family will of course be breathing pure, unadulterated, fresh air – won’t you? Well, maybe not. Some towns and cities now have the cleanest air in the country, suffering less days a year of severe pollution than parts of the countryside.
“While pollution becomes trapped between buildings in towns and cities, it also builds up in low lying areas such as in valleys and between hills in the countryside. And while the pollutants that form ozone tend to be generated in towns, they can be carried long distances, and levels are often higher in the countryside.
“The amount of NO2 and particulates can vary significantly in a rural village, depending on traffic stopping, waiting, or having to haul itself up steep hills. If air quality is an important aspect of your move to the country, ask your surveyor to get his air quality meter out.
“If you’re an Uber-fan, you might as well delete your app when you move to the countryside, the screen will be blank. Securing a taxi in the middle of nowhere can be challenging, especially late at night. Most rural dwellers have a couple of reliable taxi drivers on their contact list that they guard jealously, and book way in advance of a night out.”
Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, 01594 842880 / www.stacks.co.uk
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