As part of my Realtor studies I certified in selling Residential, Rural and Commercial Real Estate in Alberta. The RURAL certification offered not only the how-to in purchasing/building a country residential home, but all rural lands uses including agricultural, recreational, development, investments lands, industrial business parks and even airports. Within that course was an extensive unit on farms and ranches, livestock operations and public lands. Even crop production is studied including the details of grain crops, oilseed crops, specialty and forage along with market gardens and berry production. Rounding out the course was a livestock unit encompassing beef and dairy production, hog, horse, other livestock, poultry and egg, offering interesting fun facts like livestock animal units that equate to range and forage evaluations.
Living on the land has many considerations including environmental, wells and water, sewage disposal and access to utilities. Water, climate and soils are studied in detail right down to the provincial zones, the properties of sand, silt and clay, soil ratings and classes, the water act, irrigation and even the hydrological cycle. In Alberta the climate elements are essential factors to consider in rural living including little known heat units, heating degree days, frost free periods, growing seasons and more. Learning the western grid survey system of meridians, ranges, townships, sections, quarter-sections and legal subdivision is only one of the many must knows of representing rural properties. Finally learning how those correction lines that jog around in unexplainable zigs and zags on a country drive actually came to be made it all worthwhile.
Having a rural background was a plus. Back in the day I bought a piece of dirt with a mountain view west of Calgary. I spent a year designing, planning, servicing and contracting an acreage build. I had to learn everything there is to know about servicing the raw land, municipal development permits, zoning and approvals. One of the first realities, for anyone dreaming of a country residential custom build is that banks do not want to mortgage dirt so getting your rural build to lockup and a first funds draw can be both physically and emotionally challenging and financially draining. An experienced realtor, a skilled mortgage broker, along with the right banker is an essential team to any rural development.
The next piece of the puzzle to securing funds is to prove the water and determine the servicing. Learning your way around well construction, bored or drilled, provincial regulations and a lenders’ gallons-per-minute requirement is a must (did you know that a family of four is estimated to use 200 gallons per day). Yield testing for all new wells, quality testing including chemical analysis and bacteriological analysis are routine requirements as are future sampling for lab analysis to interpret potential health risks. Ensuring the sanitary protection of your water alongside your sewage systems is also key. Sewage lagoon placement in your septic field plan is a regulated potential hazard to groundwater quality as is wastewater flows.Utilities and proximity to available services is a huge consideration that only the utility providers can help you plan for given the placement of electricity, gas and telephone to your property line and the costs to run to your pole and then trench into your build.
So much to be considered whether you are starting from raw land or buying an existing rural property. I have spent the past week researching country residential acreage homes and showing to hopeful clients. My background is proving valuable having taken the property shown here, and contracting the post-and-beam built home which I eventually sold after a decade on the land. That experience, along with my real estate rural practices course have given me a great confidence and skill set in working with clients who dream of a country lifestyle. My years serving municipal government as an elected Town Councillor in a rural town involved in municipal bylaws and planning are also proving an asset. If you are one of those people who would love to live out on acreage but don’t know quite where to start I would welcome the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience in finding you that perfect country home.
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