Buying Rural Property and Living in a Remote Area

May 25, 2009

So, you think you want to find an idyllic piece of property that is “off the beaten path”? Buying remote recreational property or living in a remote area may sound really nice, but finding rural property that’s away from it all can be difficult.

Here’s an interesting little factoid. According to NewScientist magazine, new maps of the world’s connectedness reveal many areas once thought of as remote and inaccessible are not as far from civilization as you might think. They report that “less than 10% of the world’s land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city (of at least 50,000 people).”


There are some things you should consider before you buy rural property and pack it all in to move to the country. When it comes to day-to-day living, I had no idea the kinds of expenses I would incur when I moved to a rural area. Trash pickup and mail delivery certainly were not an option, nor was a fast internet connection. My wood burning stove was my primary source of heat and that meant a lot of chopping, moving, and stacking of firewood. Don’t forget the other costs of burning wood to heat your house. In fact, Curtis Seltzer has some funny insights as to the real cost of firewood when you’re living on rural property.

If you’re buying vacant land for recreation or conservation purposes, you don’t need to be concerned about anything other than having legal access. This assumes, of course, that your recreational use doesn’t require any infrastructural development such as waste removal or electrical hookup and that your conservation purpose is about “as is” enjoyment. If, on the other hand, you plan to actually live on site and build a house, be prepared for expenses you might not have thought of.

I could go on and on about the cost of road building and maintenance, well drilling, and the extra cost to deliver building materials to a remote location. Marte Cliff covers all of that, and she offers some good advice in The Land Buyer’s Guidebook for things to look for before building a house. There’s also a good video available about conducting your due diligence prior to developing your property:


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