1. Land designations/classifications: When it comes to purchasing larger pieces of property there is one word to remember, research, do your research! Working with a knowledgeable real estate broker is imperative because they will guide you through the research process. Additional resources are Pierce County tax assessors & health department websites. These provide you with information on taxes, codes, and regulations concerning a property. Rural properties may have special tax designations, these include farm/agriculture, and designated forest. These are great tax breaks but limit usage on the properties. In many parts of Pierce County you will find wetlands. The county has specific guidelines for wetlands that may limit your usage of the property. You will also find parcels classified as “potential wetlands” which means you will need a wetland study or (wetland delineations study) if you plan on further development.
2. Utilities and Services: Many properties in rural areas will be serviced by on-site septic system and possibly its own well. Pierce County requires all septic systems to be pumped & inspected and deemed to good working order. This report is to be filed with the county prior to closing so the buyer will know they are purchasing a property that has a working system. As far as individual wells are concerned, there’s not a county mandate to have them checked. It is advisable to have the water system checked and a water sample tested to make sure you have adequate service and potable water. Check out the type of utilities that service the property like, TV/cable, phone, & internet. Pull out your cell phone to see if you have service in the home. Lastly when power go out it may take longer to have it reinstated in the rural areas, having a home that is wired for a generator can be a life saver. Especially when it comes to wells, no electricity, no water….
3. Financing: Most types of financing is available on rural properties FHA, VA or Conventional. There’s also rehab loans for properties that need additional work. One bonus to living in the outlining areas is the “0” Down payment program from the USDA because this loan is only available on properties in rural areas. When purchasing manufactured homes they have a few more loan restrictions but most lenders will finance and you can use a FHA, VA or Conventional loan.
4. Properties and Land, know your ABC’s : So once you are ready to search remember your abc’s. A-Acreage. Are you looking for a property with a little elbow room, say an acre? Or is your ideal property sitting on 2, 5, or 10 acres with room for your animals? Maybe you would like total privacy so a heavily wooded lot would be your choice. B-Buildings. There are two basic types of homes, stick built or manufactured homes. If you have a small budget you may want to look into manufactured homes, they can be really nice, and when on acreage they hold their value. Do you need extra outbuilding, garages, shops, or barns? C-Choosing. Keep in mind it can be very difficult to find everything you are looking for in a property. You may find the perfect house but the land needs to be developed or outbuildings built. You may find the property fully developed, completely fenced with the outbuilding you are looking for, but the home is dated or in need of repair. So take a moment and ask yourself would you rather tackle painting, carpet and updating or clearing, fencing, and building! Best of luck on your search and I look forward to seeing you living the rural dream in Pierce County!
Article submitted by: Diane Gilmore of Windermere Professional Partners