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Buying Rural/Remote/Recreational Properties in BC

What are rural/remote/recreational properties?
What makes them different, both from conventional properties and from each other?

At the BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team, we have years of experience specializing in these types of properties, and while there is overlap between the categories, there are certain things that set each apart.

Rural Property

Rural Properties in BC

• These are often road accessible, but outside of urban or municipal boundaries.
• They most likely have septic systems in place instead of sewer and may have well water or water collection (cistern, storage tanks, spring water) instead of a municipal water source.
• The property might be in the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR).
• Zoning varies greatly depending on the regional district the property is in.
• There is generally electrical service in the area if not already on the property.

Remote Property

Remote Properties in BC

• These are generally not road accessible or have only limited road access (gravel forest service roads that may not always be passable, or may only be used after barging a vehicle by water to the area).
• The properties are often accessed by water, even if they are not waterfront properties.
• They rarely have any services, generally being completely off-grid.
• Any buildings on site may be serviced by generator/solar/propane, and rarely have a traditional septic system.
• Some may have a well or a license for spring water or stream water, but often there is no identified domestic water source other than rain collection.
• These properties are usually a fair travel distance from any service centre.
• They often have very basic zoning if any and rarely require inspections during development.

Recreational Property

Recreational Properties in BC

• These properties may be road accessible.
• They may be in small communities or gatherings of properties which have shared roads or trails.
• The properties are generally off-grid, although some communities may have access to the provincial power grid and/or a local water system (e.g. Quatsino has BC Hydro service, Haggards Cove has a community water system).
• Developed recreational properties generally have off-grid services; anything from an array of solar panels with full wiring in the residence and fully permitted services such as a septic field, to rudimentary services such as a small gas generator and an outhouse.
• These properties are generally used for recreation, although some could be year-round residences. Because of this these properties tend to be closer travel time to a service centre community.
• There may be zoning specific to a property’s small region or community. There are not usually inspections required.

Some BC Housing and Building Rules Do Apply

It should be noted that all properties in BC installing septic systems are expected to get those systems permitted by their local health authority, and all residential buildings in BC are expected to meet BC Building Codes and BC Housing building rules.

Remote/Recreational/Rural Property Challenges

Except for some rural properties, these types of properties rarely have municipal services such as water, garbage pickup, sewer, etc. There may be access issues, with shared docks or roads. Each property is different in what it offers, and more research is involved in investigating a property to learn its particular attributes.

It is important to think about travel time, how you want to use a property, what services you want and how much work a property of this nature may be as you start looking for your dream property.

The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team Is Here to Help!

The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team has been working with these types of properties for over 25 years, with a depth of knowledge and understanding that cannot be replicated. We are here to help, so put our experience to work for you!

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Reference Information

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The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team
Shelley McKay Personal Real Estate Corporation
Ed Handja Personal Real Estate Corporation
Royal LePage Advance Realty
[email protected]
office: 250-286-3293
cell: 250-201-2226

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