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Blog Articles

7 Feb

Is a lifestyle property right for you?


As the summer holidays draw to an end, and with them a return to the daily grind, you might find yourself dreaming of a different lifestyle... one beyond the confines of suburbia.

All that beach bathing, lakeside lounging and riverside relaxing is bound to fill your head with notions of freedom and wide open spaces.

But you're not ready to go off-grid, nor are you wanting to go Red Band boots 'n' all rural. Could a 'lifestyle property' be the answer?

Is a lifestyle property right for you?

There is a saying when it comes to the proverbial '10 acre block', which goes something like this: Lifestyle or life sentence?

Living 'the good life' can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be a lot of hard work. Besides which, there are a few traps for young players.

My advice would be to always do your homework and then when you find a property that ticks all the boxes, you can start living the dream, with realistic expectations.

Location

How will the location accommodate your current schedule and commitments? The beauty of lifestyle blocks is their accessibility to city life. When you live a 20-minute drive out of town you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Except when you hit peak-hour traffic.

If you have a commute to work, you will need to factor in how long it's going to take you to get there and back - and whether you are willing to lose that time out of your day.

And, if you have school-aged children, how will they get to and from school? Is there a school bus? How will you get them to their after-school activities?

Services

When purchasing a rural property it's important to consider services and their maintenance. In some cases, if you have an issue with water or sewage, it's unlikely the local council will be able to help.

Rural properties generally have their own septic tanks, while the water supply is likely to come from a bore or a well. Check that both are permitted and consented, and what is required for their ongoing maintenance.

There may also be easements in place that relate to access, water and power for neighbouring properties.

Land use

So, you want some land to play with, but what will you do with it? Do you want to keep a few chickens and pigs, or are you going to embark on a horticultural venture?

Check whether there are any covenants on the property that might restrict what you can and can't do with the land.

And bear in mind that if the property is currently being used as a tax-registered business, then the seller will more than likely add GST to the price.

If you are going down the Doctor Dolittle route, like the owners of this property at 92 Te Puna Quarry Road, think about what they will need - troughs, secure fencing, shelter, pest and disease control... and who will tend to their needs when you go away on holiday?

If horticulture is more your thing, think about irrigation - do you have an adequate water supply? If you are on council reticulation, then you will need to find out about restrictions and costs.

Number of dwellings

Often extended families pool resources to invest in a lifestyle block. It can be a great solution for accommodating an elderly parent, young family or growing teenagers, while each maintaining independence and privacy.

Like this Whakamarama property at 146 Munro Road which has a three-bedroom home and secondary two-bedroom dwelling.

But if you're thinking of adding another home, be it a 2-bedroom unit or a one-roomed sleepout, check whether the land is subdividable and/or what consents are needed to put your plans into action.

Phone and internet coverage

Internet and mobile phone coverage can be patchy and/or expensive when you live rurally. If you are planning on setting up a business or working from home, this will be a key consideration.

Upkeep

The ride-on mower is perhaps the most iconic lifestyler 'accessory' - and with reason. Those wide open spaces aren't going to look after themselves. Popping on a pair of bluetooth earmuffs and running up and down the lawn to your favourite tunes can be very relaxing, not to mention satisfying. Just make sure you factor in the time it will take.

For some, going rural is all about privacy. You might want a lifestyle block simply to put some distance between yourself and your neighbours. If you have land, but don't want to farm it yourself, you can always lease it out to someone else to graze. Land left unattended will quickly become overgrown and unmanageable.

Country life

Be realistic with your expectations. If you are looking for peace and tranquility 24-7, you won't necessarily get it! Country life comes with its own soundtrack.

Chainsaws, dirt bikes, sheep dogs barking... it's worth doing a little bit of digging to see what the neighbours' hobbies and habits are before making a final decision on a property.

But, in the grand scheme of things, these are only minor annoyances. And the one thing you can't beat about going rural is a starry night undiluted by the street lights of suburbia.

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