What are the benefits of rural living for property buyers? Online estate agents Tepilo explain how sellers can impress with their countryside properties.
If you're selling a home in a rural location, you may have more difficulty getting buyers on board. That's because some different rules apply to rural properties that don't apply to urban ones.
However, Clare Coode of Stacks Property Search has helpfully outlined what rural buyers might be put off by and what they shouldn't be, which will give you more of an idea of how to focus your sales strategy.
Of course, for some people the disadvantages of rural living are actually advantages – the peace and quiet, the fresh country air, the absence of busy roads and transport hubs. And these can all be used to convince buyers that your home is right for them.
Some urban buyers, though, may be left shocked by what they find when looking for their dream rural property. They may be moving to the country to bring up a family, for retirement purposes or simply to escape the hustle and bustle of modern city life, but they will often find that services they considered universal aren't always the case when it comes to rural homes.
Mains utilities, for example, are not always available at rural properties. As Clare Coode explains: “Some properties rely – partially or fully, on non-mains water; 80% of rural properties have no mains sewerage, relying on a septic tank; and while off-grid properties are unusual, the sight of a big old generator in an outbuilding can cause alarm amongst urban buyers.”
She adds, however, that none of these things should cause undue concern. In fact, they can often be seen as a virtue. “Modern septic tanks are incredibly efficient; a generator is a reassuring thing to have; oil fired heating is a little more expensive than gas but otherwise there’s no great difference; and a private water supply – either from a bore hole or a natural spring – is considered a delicious (and free!) alternative to mains water,” Coode explains.
Everyone knows, too, that broadband and mobile signals aren't as strong in rural locations. If you're moving to a rural home for faster broadband speeds and better mobile phone coverage, you're likely to be disappointed. There have been frequent calls for the government to take action – to make sure rural communities are as connected and hooked up as urban ones – but progress is slow. That said, things are a lot better than they used to be.
It is, though, still a significant problem, with some communities unlikely to receive Fibre broadband anytime soon, despite the government's promise to roll out speedy broadband to the whole country, leaving no location or community behind.
Fortunately, broadband speeds and mobile coverage are unlikely to be deal-breakers – most buyers know what a rural property entails and won't have unrealistic demands on these particular features. If, however, your rural home happens to have decent broadband speeds or Wi-Fi connectivity, don't be afraid to point this out to buyers when they come to view your home.
Another possible issue for rural homeowners is deliveries – or, more specifically, deliveries straight to the door, whether it be from a takeaway or a supermarket. One of modern life's luxuries is the ability to have things delivered to your door at the click of a button, often with very quick turnaround speeds. This has become almost the norm. But there are still parts of the country cut off from such convenience, with supermarkets not covering particular rural postcodes and takeaway establishments not delivering so far out.
“There are areas of the country where if you click, they don’t pick!” Coode says. “Different supermarkets have different coverage. And if you’re used to telephoning for sushi, pad thai, chilli squid, or even a Balti or sweet and sour pork, you may be disappointed to find that you have to go and pick it up yourself!”
It's a fairly minor thing, and unlikely to put eager buyers off, but if you live in a rural location where delivery to the door is an issue, it's best to let buyers know about this to give them the full picture.
Taxi services also operate differently in the country – for one, there will be no Uber in rural locations. Sometimes it can be tricky to order a taxi if you live in the middle of nowhere, but nearly all places in the UK will have a few local providers ferrying people to nearby towns, villages and cities and then home again. While the Uber app might be useless, phone numbers for local taxi companies will be highly useful. In many cases, taxis can also be booked online.
“Securing a taxi in the middle of nowhere can be challenging, especially late at night,” Coode says. “Most rural dwellers have a couple of reliable taxi drivers on their contact list that they guard jealously, and book way in advance of a night out.”
So, while there are reasons why people used to urban living might be put off – poorer transport links, slower broadband speeds and a smaller pool of available taxis – none of these things are insurmountable and, in many cases, are being improved dramatically as the years go by. For buyers determined to experience a slice of rural life, poorer mobile coverage and a different mains supply are unlikely to prove off-putting.
Plus, of course, you can point to the many advantages of country living – the tight-knit local community, the better air quality, the chance to get away from it all, the relative peace and quiet and the easy access to some wonderful, beautiful countryside.
Put simply, rural living tends to have more upsides than down. As a seller, it's your job to focus on the positives rather than pointing out the things that might give urban buyers a few doubts.