20 Steps The following information is offered to you free of charge, no strings attached. Our mission is to help as many as possible find a better life by living where there is less crime, less tension but more community, more life. Most people move to the wrong rural place, compromise their desires or pay too much. If you cannot afford the book, please read the following. Chris and I wish you and yours a happy country life.

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    Twenty Essential Steps To Buying Rural Property Right

    By Gene GeRue, author, How To Find Your Ideal Country Home: A Comprehensive Guide

      1. Know yourself. Moving to the country is an opportunity to make lifestyle and employment improvements. Consider which activities you wish to continue and new ones you wish to experience. Consider all factors that contribute to your perception of high quality life.

      2. Copy mine or make a criteria list that includes your preferred activities, climate, topography, soil, trees and other vegetation, employment, water source, health factors and services, community, demographics (density, political, ethnic, social, economic conditions), taxes, services, public transportation, utilities, improved or unimproved land, acreage, maximum price and desired financing.

      3. Identify all of the states that meet your criteria regarding climate, topography, vegetation.

      4. Obtain free research materials from federal and state agencies, including climate maps, demographic materials and employment information.

      5. Narrow your list to two or three states.

      6. Continue research, covering all of the other items on your criteria list.

      7. Choose the state that best fits your needs and desires.

      8. Study that entire state or a preferred region within. Narrow your search to a specific smaller area, a county or a few counties with similar characteristics.

      9. Decide if you will live in a small town, on the outskirts, or in real country, on acreage or perhaps on an old abandoned farm.

      10. Write to chambers of commerce, subscribe to local newspapers, talk to bankers, write to real estate agents. Place a personal ad in the newspaper seeking local correspondents. Tell them all that you are considering moving to their area. Ask for their help in obtaining information about local conditions regarding employment, community, crime, services, taxes, types of real estate available and the range of prices.

      11. Use federal and state agencies and local contacts to determine if there are any conditions that are strongly negative: upwind or upriver Superfund sites, nuclear or coal power plants, chemical factories, paper mills, meat factories (intensive chicken, hog, or cattle operations), agribusiness operations (nearly all use excessive chemicals, which pollute air, water and soil), flight paths, planned prisons or large industrial, commercial, or residential developments.

      12. Set a date to spend at least a week visiting your chosen area.
      Note: It is often best to rent or caretake in your chosen area for one year before buying property.

      13. Make appointments with real estate agents in each town. Tell them when you will arrive and exactly what you wish to look at. Copy mine or design a property score sheet and make copies so you can fill one out for each property viewed; this is the best way to remember facts and features of a large number of properties.

      14. Visit the area and keep the appointments. Look at everything available that meets your criteria. Take pictures of your favorites so you can review them later.

      15. Select the property that best fits your wants and needs. Ask the agent to make another appointment so you can look at it again. Make your second inspection at a different time of day and time of week; if you first looked at the property on a weekday morning, look the second time on a weekend afternoon. This way you will observe different sun and traffic conditions.

      16. Make a careful inspection. Do not be rushed during your property inspection. Check roads, rights of way, utility easements, house, outbuildings, fences, garden soil, fields. Walk enough of the property to determine if there are any negative conditions and if the timber has been cut recently. Look at the water system. Ask the seller to run an outside water faucet full force during the inspection, to make sure the well has adequate flow; it should be running just as strongly an hour later. While that faucet is running, turn on another faucet in the bathroom, flush the toilet, and note what happens to the pressure. Taste the water. Ask who drilled the well, how deep it is, and how old the pump and pressure system are. Ask to be shown where the septic tank and drain field are,, how large and how old the tank is, and when it was last pumped. Write all this down.

      17. During your inspection, write down any deficiencies that you feel should be corrected: a questionable roof, an ancient heating system, an access road that needs grading and surfacing.

      18. Have your agent write a purchase contract offering the seller a lower price and asking for the conditions and financing that you want. Offer less favorable terms for interest, payments, and loan term than you would be willing to make. Do not tell your agent that you will come up on price or terms. Stipulate that the seller shall pay for a survey by a state licensed surveyor. List all inspections that you want performed by others, i.e., water, termite, structural, soil, energy, etc. Reserve the right to cancel if an inspection or survey reveals a condition you cannot live with.

      19. The seller can accept, convey a counter-offer, or simply refuse your offer. If acceptance, you are on your way to owning your country home. If a counter-offer, you can accept or make a counter-offer back to the seller. If a refusal, ask the agent to urge the seller to make a counter-offer. In the worst-case scenario, if the seller refuses to counter, you can re-offer at full price.

      20. Once you have a contract, open escrow, order a preliminary title report, the inspections and survey. Study the prelim for mineral rights, easements, adjoining property problems, zoning conditions, building requirements. Obtain financing, local banks are best. After the survey is completed, walk the property lines. Be sure to buy title insurance. Close escrow. Congratulations--and happy country living!


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1997-2008 Gene GeRue
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