Looking for a place in the country? You wouldn’t be the first to trade in hectic big city life for an idyllic life of peace and quiet in the country. But when it comes to swapping a penthouse flat or a townhouse for your dream home in the countryside, working out what you want and what to look for can be quite the task.
Purchasing a rural property or country home is joining a very lucrative market, and so to future-proof your investment, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before parting with any cash. Whist sprawling gardens, a home gymnasium and a hot tub might all seem like great elements that will add value as well as adding to your enjoyment of your new home, there are some more basic points you’ll want to be able to check off – so don’t get swept up in the glamorous added bonuses until you’ve got all of those boxes ticked.
If you’re not sure where to get started, then we’ve covered off some of the first things you should be looking for when choosing your dream home in the country.
It doesn’t matter how luxurious your lifestyle – wherever you live, you’ll want to be within at least a few hours of a major city – not just for shopping and work opportunities, but so that you have easy access to the nearest hospital, and – for the jetsetters amongst us – a decent airport offering plenty of regular international flights.
If you’re browsing property options online, it can help to contact an estate agent to get an idea of where each home is located in terms of the available amenities. Usually, prime real estate in a rural setting is never too far from big city lights, but nevertheless, you’ll need an easy route to get there, so pay attention to the types of roads you’ll have to take and any issues with traffic.
Choose your style
Country homes come in various different styles – from English country cottages to farmhouses and modern manor houses. To choose the right type of property for your needs, consider how you’ll want to use it – do you want to host regular guests, raise livestock or have your own swimming pool? Then bear this in mind when deciding whether you have enough rooms, land or outdoor space.
See the potential
The UK is probably the only nation in Europe that still refers to the size of house by the number of bedrooms it has -everywhere else, it is expressed in square metres. That’s how we ought to be thinking, too – so envisage the potential of a property, regardless of its walls. If the current layout isn’t quite right, can you imagine renovating it to create your dream space? If you’re not afraid of having a little work done, then the possibilities are endless.
Equally, don’t immediately dismiss a striking interior. A feature wall or garish colour scheme can soon be changed, so don’t write any property off for cosmetic reasons alone, If the house has already been well designed, buying it off the peg can save you from an expensive, disruptive renovation project later.
Consider the finer details
Don’t just take a cursory glance around a home when viewing it – take the chance to gather information that might help you to make a decision. Are there any damp patches or peeling wallpaper? Ask to see the damp-course guarantee, if there is one.
Look for signs of why the vendors are moving – are they upsizing, downsizing or moving abroad? Do they dislike the area? The small details might give you some indication as to how long the place has been on the market, and what price the agents actually think the place will get.
Check out the hot-water system. If the property has more than one bathroom, it should have a better system than a combination boiler. Turn the shower on and check the pressure – it’s small details like this that will tell you exactly what you’re going to get.
Ensure your privacy
Whilst the majority of country homes are not in complete public view, it’s important to ask yourself how much privacy you require. If you’re moving you to a rural area to get away from it all, then a secluded spot may be just the job, and privacy can often add value to a home – but there is a fine line between having your own space and being in the middle of nowhere, with nothing and nobody around for miles.
If you want complete privacy, you will have to go further out. Accessibility to amenities is crucial, but you’ve got to decide on the right balance. It is easy enough to order shopping online and have it delivered direct to the property even if you don’t live anywhere near any shops, but if the home is that far away from everything then you must give consideration to the impracticalities that come with it and work out whether it’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make.
Residing in the countryside is the very pinnacle of luxury, but choosing the right country home needs to suit your lifestyle as well as your desires. Take your time, consider your needs, get some professional advice – and choose somewhere that truly knocks you off your feet. Purchasing your dream home should be exactly that, so whatever you do, be sure to enjoy the whole process from start to finish.