Leaving City Life Behind
The recent emphasis on social distancing, remote interactions and getting outdoors has led more homeowners than usual to consider the appeal of less densely populated areas. Often, they provide an opportunity to make your budget go farther, and, in some cases, there may be specific loan programs adding to the incentives.
However, before you decide to take advantage of the freedom of working remotely and trade the urban grind for more wide-open spaces, be sure you know what it will mean for your routine and your budget.
A USDA Loan backed by the federal government can add to the attractiveness of relocating to the country. One of the few options that can eliminate the down payment requirement, these loans are available in specially designated areas, including some towns and cities, and have income eligibility that varies by county. If you’re considering a move, ask your lender how this option compares to other loan programs.
Regardless of the financing, your budget can often buy you more square-footage in many rural areas than a big-city counterpart. But, there are other expenses to consider. Any reduction in the price-per-square-foot of a home could be offset if you opt to purchase substantial acreage. In addition to the cost of the property, higher taxes and maintenance requirements can add up quickly. Investigate those items carefully, including any relevant property tax exemptions, such as for livestock or other agriculture efforts.
A respite from the trademark traffic and noise of city living is nice, but remember that you’ll likely be sacrificing some of the conveniences. Access to essential items such as groceries and health care may require more of a time commitment. And while many jobs and schools rely on technology more lately, in-person interactions are not likely to end entirely. Be prepared for a longer commute occasionally, and weigh whether the future challenges will be worth the transition.
Your access to utility services may also present a significant change from the comforts of city infrastructure. On-site well water and a septic system for sewer services could be required for rural property. Take care to have a professional evaluate their current condition If they are already in place, or discuss with your builder the process of adding them if you’re starting from scratch. Also, services like broadband internet and garbage pickup can be easily overlooked and may not be available in some areas.
Like most home searches, relocating to the country should include a willingness to compromise. The options for sale may be more limited than you would find in larger cities and are likely to feature mostly older homes. Leaving room in your budget for repairs and renovations is always a smart strategy.
And while social distance may be one of the reasons for your interest in making a change, it can get lonely if your neighbors are not within sight. Still, try to introduce yourself to surrounding property owners and develop some nearby connections to count on when the unexpected happens.
If country life still seems like the right fit for your family, start your search by partnering with the experts at Open Mortgage. Visit OpenMortgage.com for more information about finding the best loan program for your needs.