Comox Valley rural properties range from plots of land to acreages with Executive country homes built on them. They can be found among the courtenay rural real property listings that are for sale as well as in other rural areas of the Comox Valley. People who are considering the purchase of a rural property will generally have to consider and investigate more factors than someone whose focus is urban properties. While individual needs will vary based on the real estate requirements of each individual, there are some basic considerations that will generally be applicable to most individuals.
One of the most basic issues concerns the availability of water to service the property. Is there a well on the property? If there is, the well record is a good source of information. Is the well shared or is it privately owned? Was a comprehensive water test completed on the well? When was the last water well inspection report? If there is no well, what will it cost to provide water to the property? To find out one may have to consult a water dowser to find water, a driller to drill, and a well pump installer to install. When water is not provided by a well or municipal/regional source, but it is being provided by surface water such as a lake, is there a water license? A competent real estate professional should know what questions should be asked, and where to find the required information.
Another basic issue concerns the availability of a septic system to service the property (assuming that the property is not serviced by a sewer system). For Vancouver Island, the Sewerage System Regulation is currently monitored by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Contemporary septic systems can be one of three different types installed by a Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP). Systems installed before and after May 2005 have different documentation requirements. Knowing what these are is important so that the right questions can be asked about the system that is in place on the property. It is also important to know the costs associated with installing and maintaining a septic system. They will vary according to individual circumstances, but they will include installation costs (applicable if the current system needs to be replaced), inspection costs, cleaning and routine maintenance. A ROWP can be hired to inspect the current system. If a septic system has to be installed or replaced, the cost to do so can be fairly significant.
There are, of course, many other things that may need to be investigated to provide the prospective purchaser with the information that they will need to confidently purchase the Comox Valley property that meets their needs. Failure to fully investigate pertinent details may result in a surprise later by some fact uncovered after the purchase that affects the enjoyment and planned use of the property. Most of us do not like these kinds of surprises so it is better to ask questions before an offer to purchase is made, and especially before it becomes unconditional.
Clearly this short blog cannot address all of the issues that may pertain to Comox Valley rural properties, nor is it my intention to do so in this forum. Competent real estate professionals should be able to help prospective purchasers of rural properties by providing advice on the types of issues that should be investigated, both from the perspective of the purchaser’s real estate needs, and of the property being considered. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as are required to uncover pertinent facts so that future surprises can be minimized. It is better to ask a question before a purchase than to say after a purchase “I should have asked that”.
by Brett Cairns