I grew up on a ranch in the Kootneys and have been living on acreage in the Fraser Valley for a number of years. Like many Fraser Valley residents, I love the idea of owning acreage in the country. Fresh air, peace and quiet, lots of room to spread out, no close neighbors. But before you make your way to your heavenly Shangri-La, there are some things about living on acreage that you may want to be aware of.
Those of us who live in urban areas, take our abundance of fresh running water for granted. Water is the single most significant concern when you live in the country.Basically, there are two water delivery systems: wells and cisterns. You can have a drilled well or a bored well. Contingent upon the amount of water they can provide and rate of restoration, they can be used alone or combined with a cistern. Wells and cisterns use pumps and pressure tanks and rely on electricity.
Pay special attention to the capacity of the cistern when you purchase one. Careful judgment is necessary in dealing with water levels. Watering gardens during hot summer months will greatly deplete your supply.
It is recommended that acreage owners treat their wells annually. The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the spread of antibiotic resistance genes are a major public health concern worldwide. Research suggests that well water not only fosters the transmission of potential pathogenic bacteria, but also represents an important reservoir for the proliferation of antibiotic resistant bacteria. https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/behindthebench/antibiotics-in-our-water-supply-are-we-polluting-the-element-of-life/
It is necessary to test your well water for bacteria and drinking safety. Water testing kits are available to purchase, but I recommend using a professional company that can perform the service for you.
The septic system used is an issue that acreage owners have to find out. There are several different types of treatment systems available. Proper maintenance can extend its usefulness.
The Government of British Columbia provides Onsite Sewage System Management. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/waste-management/sewage/onsite-sewage-systems. The most efficient and reasonably priced wastewater treatment system is of great importance to guarantee the best performance and protection of the environment.
When you are building new, soil testing and other conditions; such as proximity to creeks and bodies of water, will dictate which system is most suitable for your land.
Things to keep in mind with these systems: Chlorine bleach is used for killing bacteria in well water. But it also kills bacteria in septic systems. In septic systems, bacteria is a “good thing.” It breaks down solids. Use cleaners that are septic tank-friendly. Be sure to add bacteria to the system regularly to help prolong the life of your system.
LAWS AND RESTRICTIONS
One of many reasons people want to live on acreage is to be able to own animals of all kinds.
There are zoning regulations and ordinances concerning the number, type and size of animals per acre permitted in B.C. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/building-or-renovating/zoning. Doing your due diligence to find out the laws pertaining to your home will help prevent disappointment later on.
There are tax considerations that come with the buying and selling of land. Canada Revenue Agency will consider the home and surrounding hectare to be GST exempt; however, your property may have GST due upon purchase or sale, depending on the size and use of the land. Having a judgment in writing from the seller will ensure you are not hit with a tax bill after the fact. Sellers or their agents can get a judgment in advance of selling from CRA. This will ensure that they don’t have an unexpected tax bill.
Research is extremely important when making any large purchase. Buying an acreage offers more challenges that an average home or property buy. Go into it with your eyes open and an agent with a solid reputation and expertise in farmland and acreage.
While it all seems complicated, country living is extremely rewarding, and has all the beautiful attributes you are looking for.
“The fresh and crisp air of the country reminds us that our blood surges from and is of the natural world and how tied we are to the sprung rhythms of earth and sky, weather and season.”
― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls
Contact Joan Hansen, with HomeLife Benchmark Langley, for a knowledgeable, award winning agent with 37 years of extensive experience in buying and selling acreage. Phone Joan 604-220-7653