Rural Weekender

We plan to buy a rural property in the country and someti... Sounds like an ideal city/rural lifestyle solution doesn’t it. If that’s your plan, consider these things...
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Rural Weekender

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

I want to buy a weekender rural property. What costs should I keep in mind?

Naturally, there are costs associated with buying that dream weekender, starting with the normal conveyancing, stamp duty and general costs of purchase (building & pest inspections). Don’t forget there’s also…
  • Council rates
  • Water rates, if the property is connected to a town water supply
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Garden and general maintenance
  • Rental management fees (if you intend renting for short holiday stays)
  • Land tax, if the property is not your principal place of residence
  • Capital gains tax
  • Insurance
  •  Weeding and abatement of acreage as part of the Country Fire Authorities across Australia
  • Fence replacement to keep out foxes, kangaroos, wild goats and pigs from your rural property
  • Insecticides and fertilizers for your farm acreage

How do I choose the most appropriate weekender location?

Of course, this is the BIG question. Make a list of what’s important. Ask questions like…
  • What’s important? List the things that inspire, motivate and compel your thinking
  • What you want less of in life i.e. crowds, heat/cold, high prices etc.
  • What you’d do more of when you have more time
  • Where would you feel invigorated? Describe the climate.
  • What’s within your financial reach?
  • What convenience stores and supermarkets are nearby?
  • How far away are neighbours from your rural property?
Once you’ve written your list, research the alternatives that tick most of your boxes. Choosing a local First National rural real estate agent and just ringing for a chat can be the most informative time you’ll spend.

Use our ‘find an office search’ for the nearest rural real estate agent to your area of interest.

Do country weekenders make good investment properties?

Weekenders in the country don’t typically produce yields approaching those of other forms of property investment, even if you do plan to rent them short-term during peak holiday seasons. Most buyers simply hope to enjoy their get-away rural property and make a profit through capital gain when they sell.

If the land value breaks the land tax threshold, costs can really add up, given that your rural property weekender won’t be your principal place of residence.

We plan to buy a rural property in the country and sometimes use it for three-day weekends with the kids. We’ll live in the city the rest of the time. Will it work?

Sounds like an ideal city/rural lifestyle solution doesn’t it. If that’s your plan, consider these things…
  • The weekender you buy should really be under two hours from your home so travel times don’t become a trial for your children and diminish everyone’s enjoyment
  • If you can’t make it to the farm every weekend, due to sporting or other commitments, you’re unlikely to achieve the full value of the rural property that you envisaged
  • Make sure the rural property has the capacity to be short-term rented, without expensive renovations, so if there are periods where it is not convenient to use it, you can immediately generate some income
  • Make sure the rural property has reasonable water storage capacity, if not connected to town water, so you don’t arrive to dry tanks on weekends
  • Consider security carefully. Farm houses that are not regularly occupied are sometimes the target of thieves. A well secured rural property with basic furniture and appliances is the safest way to go

Are there any guidelines for choosing a weekender property?

Naturally, people seek a wide variety of different types of weekender property. Depending on your ultimate goal, consider things like…
  • Size of acreage – farm, horses, agriculture or simple lifestyle pursuits
  • Taxes applicable based on land size – could land tax be applicable?
  • Neighbours – their land use, animals, recreational pursuits etc.
  • Type and size of house – classic homestead or modern home
  • Water availability and quality – bore water is often available but will it be potable?
  • Fences – want livestock or pets? Fencing is costly so bear that in mind. Rabbit proof fences are necessary to protect vegetable patches and young plantings

What makes for a truly successful weekender?

To really enjoy your weekender rural property, it needs to be within convenient striking distance of your regular home. Once a property is over one and a half hours from your residence, the chances of your enjoyment rapidly waning increase. In excess of two and a half hours and the odds really start to stack against you.

Make sure your chosen rural property destination also has at least a General Store because there will be times when you arrive with little planning and if there are no shops, restaurants or other conveniences nearby, your weekender becomes much less workable over the long term.

Make sure the rural property you choose is low maintenance, otherwise you’ll spend your weekends doing nothing other than the normal maintenance work you’d be doing at home – just somewhere else!

Also consider security. An isolated weekender is a target for thieves whereas a home next door to permanent residents is far less likely to be broken into.

I’ve found the perfect weekender property but there’s no broadband Internet. Help!

Don’t despair. Your solution may well be a satellite connection.

Sometimes this can offer far faster download speeds than normal connections but typically depend upon copper lines for outgoing data or ‘uploads’.

Google ‘satellite broadband’ for a list of potential providers in the area and ask them about your chosen location.

I want a solar powered weekender. What do I need to know?

Solar powered homes can be just as normal as any other. Grants are available to help offset the cost of installation but batteries and inverters are where the real costs lie. Obviously, most power consumption tends to be in the evenings, when your system isn’t producing power. This is why a home’s power storage capacity is so important.

Battery technology is rapidly improving but replacement tends to be necessary every 10 years or so. If you want to truly be off the grid, you’ll certainly need a back-up generator. This will support you during bad weather events or when technical issues disrupt your power supply.

Solar technicians are far from plentiful in regional areas and demand for their services is significant. You can therefore find that if your system breaks down, you may be without power for lengthy periods while you wait for parts or a technician.