Renting Before Buying Property Can Save Money – Here’s How

rent before buying property

When moving to a new part of the country you can actually save money by renting before buying property!

This is contrary to what most people think however there are good reasons to rent before buying when moving to a new part of the country.

Why is renting before buying country property important?

It avoids problems when moving to a new part of the Country.

These problems include: Paying too much for land; Discovering you bought the wrong property; Learning you do not like that area; It can even save money in the long run.

As with any major decision in life, moving to a new part of the Country should not be done as a spur of the moment decision.

Take the time to analyze the reasons for moving and plan to make the move successful by following a plan designed to succeed.

What Part Of The Country Do You Want To Move To

Is there a part of the Country you have visited that appeals to you?

Do you want to be in the mountains, by the seashore, or in a lake front cottage?

Start by deciding the area or areas of the Country you think you would like to live in.

This decision making process may involve a web search to learn more about these areas.

The web search should include queries about the climate, natural features and recreational activities.

It should also include availability of health care, schools if you have school aged children and how far one must go for shopping.

I have vacationed in places that I thought would be great places to live.

Only to discover that jobs in the off season were rare.

Or the weather was not to my liking when tourist season was over.

A web search from the comfort of your home is an inexpensive way to learn more about areas of the Country you might want to live in.

Exactly Where Is It You Want To Live In That Part Of The Country

What is meant here is different than in the section above.

If you want to live in the country just what does the word “country” mean to you?

I asked this question once and one of the answers was “anywhere it takes more than 90 minutes to mow a lawn with a walk behind lawn mower!”

  • Does Country mean you live where you can’t see your nearest neighbor?
  • Does Country mean you live on a gravel road?
  • Does Country mean you live 30 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour or more from a shopping mall?

These questions help you decide exactly where it is you would like to live.

What Do You Plan To Do When You Move To The Country

Do you want a garden, berry bushes, an orchard or maybe a greenhouse?

Do you want some animals such as chickens, maybe a cow for milk or horses to ride?

Do you want a wood lot where you can cut down trees for fire wood?

What you dream of doing in the country will determine how much land you need.

For example

You would need two acres of pasture land for one horse and at least one acre for each additional horse.

For one milk cow who is grass fed except for during the winter when she’d be fed hay, you’d need five acres for grazing her.

These figures were taken after looking at several agricultural websites.

A square acre is a piece of land that is 208.33 feet on each side.

You need at least one acre of land to have a house, a well and a septic system that is placed far enough from the well to prevent water contamination by sewage.

In the article I wrote titled, “Homestead One Acre – (Can It Be Done) – An In-Depth Guide” I show how it’s possible to homestead on one acre.

If you want truly free range chickens that are only fed supplemental grain during the winter you will need at least 125 square feet of free range space per chicken.

More than this amount of free range space is even better.

So if you have 12 chickens that are to be free range chickens you will need at least 1500 square feet of free range space.

How much garden space do you want?

Carefully planned and worked a 50′ X 50′ garden will supply a lot of food for a small family.

However, if you want to raise corn for the family you would need an additional area where you can plant corn at least 4 rows wide that are 20′ or more long.

A well cultivated row of berry bushes such as raspberries or blackberries that is 50′ long will give berries for a small family of 3 or 4.

If you’d like an orchard a decision needs to be made as to what size of trees you would want; dwarf, semi-dwarf or regular size trees.

Each type of fruit tree can require different distances apart.

We’ll look at Apple Trees as an example.

Dwarf Apple Trees should be spaced 10′ apart.

Semi-Dwarf Apple Trees should be spaced 15′ apart.

Full size or Standard Apple Trees should be placed 30-35′ apart.

Do you plan to heat with a wood stove?

If so you will need a 5 acre wood lot to heat a 1500 square foot house without running out of wood for heat.

Once it has been decided what part of the Country, where in that part of the country and what you plan on doing when you move there, it is time to look at renting before buying.

Problems That Can Arise If Buying Before Renting

What is the number one problem when people move to a different part of the country and buy before knowing the area?

They over pay for the property they purchase!

I have seen this repeated over and over by those moving from the city to the country.

They take a two week trip to their chosen part of the country.

Then go looking at property with a Real Estate Agent.

And feel they have to purchase a property before returning home.

This results in several problems.

Since they do not know the value of land they end up paying more than the land is worth.

They risk discovering that they do not like the area during the winter.

The growing season turns out to be too short.

What was thought to be ‘”in the country” ends up being just a half-way house!

In other words, this is a house that ends up being half way between where you were living in the city.

And where you really wanted to be in the country.

When you over pay for property that is not what you really wanted, you have only two choices.

You can sell at a loss and move or you can stay on the property until it’s value appreciates enough that you don’t lose money when selling.

If the area has too harsh a winter there is the problem of selling before next winter and moving elsewhere.

If the growing season turns out to be too short, it could be difficult to sell the property to a knowledgeable Buyer.

Those who end up in a half-way house are usually those who did not take the time to understand what country really meant to them.

Advantages of Renting First Before Buying When Moving to A New Part Of The Country

  • You can live in that new part of the country for an entire year and have a much better idea of whether or not you like living there all year round.
  • You will be a much better judge of the value of property in the area. This has the potential of saving you a lot more than the cost of renting before you buy.
  • You will not be rushed to buy and you will be a “local” who can find property from sources other than a Real Estate Agent.
  • You will know the area and be a better judge of the best places in the area to live.
  • You will experience features of the rental house that will make you a better judge of the properties you look at before purchasing.
  • If the rental house turns out to be a half-way house you can move without having to sell it first.

Two of the biggest problems in moving to a new part of the country are overpaying for land.

And discovering that you do not like that part of the country all year round.

What can seem like a paradise in spring, summer or fall can turn out to be an unbearable spot in winter.

Discovering that you overpaid for the land does not help you in adjusting to the area.

Being a local who is not rushed to buy property allows you the luxury of looking at your leisure.

You become familiar with the area before buying.

This also gives the opportunity to locate property that is a private sale.

Renting there opens up more possibilities for property and can save you a lot of money at purchase time.

Many times a rental house will be a rental house because there are features that make it difficult to sell.

We experienced this first hand when we rented after moving some 2,500 miles across country.

The house could have been built or extensively remolded by someone not familiar with the area, who made mistakes in the construction.

A mistake such as improper placement of a wood stove for heat leaving a portion of the house cold in winter.

Experience that in snow country and you will immediately notice an improperly placed wood stove in any house you look at.

Another mistake is not having enough insulation in the attic.

This was a problem in a house we rented.

Live in that situation for a winter and you will always check the attic insulation before considering making an offer on a house in snow country!

If the rental house turns out to be a half-way house you have the opportunity of benefiting from that experience.

You will also be able to look for a real country home without waiting to sell the half-way house first.

I do not know anyone who has regretted renting for a year or more before purchasing property in a new part of the Country.

I know several who, in retrospect, wished they had rented for at least a year before purchasing a home in a new area of the Country.

You owe it to yourself to at least know what it is you want to do on your Country Property and to consider renting before buying.

Making the wrong decision on purchasing Country Property because you were not familiar with that area of the Country will cost a lot more than a year or two’s rent while learning about the area you have moved too!

Related Questions

Is renting better than buying?

Renting can be better than buying when first moving to a new part of the country.

This gives you a change to see if you really like the area and you become familiar with land prices and the best areas to live in.

Won’t I lose the money spent on renting?

Say it costs you $1,000.00/month to rent for one year.

If you discover you like the area and now, as a local you are more familiar with the land prices in the area you could easily save $25,000.00 or more on purchasing property.

In my book that is a savings.

Should I buy in a rural area?

Yes, if you want to develop a homestead with cows, goats, chickens and maybe a few horses.

It would be pretty much impossible to develop that kind of a homestead in a city or suburb.

John Brownlee

John is a retired Lawyer, Health Care Provider and has a certificate in Pest Management Technology. He teaches people how to locate, evaluate, and purchase Country and Homestead Property. He and his wife, Linda, share their knowledge of homesteading skills and safe pest management.

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