Buying a house in the country
The Office for National Statistics has carried out research this summer which shows 35% of people are considering moving home this year following the Covid-19 pandemic and home search websites such as Rightmove have also reported an increase in the number of people searching for homes in the countryside.
What do you need to know if you are thinking of buying a home in the country?
Countryside living may not be for everyone and some people might choose to dip a toe into the rural property market by renting or buying a holiday home for weekend visits.
But whether it is going to be your forever home, rural properties, especially older country homes, often have charm and character but they can be quirky in many other ways. Choosing a good conveyancing solicitor who understands the local property market is therefore advisable.
There are many advantages to living in the countryside but your rural life might be dictated by how easy it is and how long it takes to commute to London or other major cities, so doing your homework will make a big difference. With many parts of Kent well served by high speed train services to and from London, there is a whole county to discover, from seaside towns to country villages.
If you are buying a property which is Listed it is important to also understand the responsibilities and costs that come with buying and owning a listed property, how this may impact on your future plans for the property and also whether any building work has been carried out to the property without listed buildings consent.
Most roads are maintained by the Local authority but often in rural locations properties may be accessed by unadopted roads (ie maintained by those who use them) or have a right of access to and from the property over another person’s land or a shared driveway. It is important to understand if these rights are specifically documented in the property deeds and pass to the new owner and if they cover vehicle and or pedestrian access.
Many older rural properties have a septic tank instead of a connection to the mains sewer and they may be shared by more than one property. Septic tanks need to be registered with the Environment Agency and need to meet certain standards. They can also be expensive to replace to upgrade them to the current standards, so pay close attention to this area.
Conservation area, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a National Park?
Where you property is located can also restrict the plans you may have to change or extend it, so it is important to have a good understanding the restrictions living in a certain area may have. You could also check on the Local Authority website to review the planning history of the property to see if anyone has tried and failed to extend or modify a property and the reasons given for that.
Public rights of way
Find out if there are any public rights of way across your land, how frequently they are used and also if they are in the correct place. Different rights of way allow use by different groups of people. There are an estimated 29 million who enjoy walking regularly in the UK Countryside and having a steady stream of people walking through your own garden could spoil your enjoyment of your property.
Noise and smells
The countryside is a working landscape and it isn’t always the peaceful rural idyll that people dream of. Many farms have diversified into new areas of business so you could find you have a summer glamping site pop up next door, festivals and weddings being held in old farm buildings and the noise and light from machinery and equipment associated with modern farming operations. Not to mention crowing cockerels, barking dogs and ringing church bells. Asking questions about neighbouring properties and visiting as much as you can at different times can give you a good insight into what to expect.
Our team is here to help you to buy your home or a holiday home. For advice on buying a property in the country, contact us today.
Alan Williams is a Partner at Gullands Solicitors email@example.com