A Home In The Hinterland: How To Choose The Right Converted Rural Property For You

Vast tracts of Australian land, particularly within it's inland areas, are given over to farms, mills, parish churches and other rural buildings, and with the housing demands of the Australian populace growing every year, it's no surprise that many of these sturdy buildings are converted to be used as homes.

Choosing a converted residential property can be a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of urban living and can grant you some stellar views of Australia's unique landscape. However, purchasing the right rural home for your needs is a little more complicated than purchasing a more generic suburban home, and you should ask yourself the following questions before investing in any converted rural property:

Does the property have good transport links?

If you are purchasing a rural home to live in but still intend to commute to more built-up areas for work, decent transport links to and from your new home are vital. Since public transport services are generally very thin in these areas, this generally means choosing a property reasonably close to a decent road system.

This doesn't mean you have to pick a property next to a three-lane motorway, but you should at least ensure that the roads leading to and from your property are decently paved—dirt and cobblestone tracks can become impassably muddy during rainy months and can kick up large amounts of choking dust in summer.

Since personal transportation is so vital to effectively using many rural properties, you should also try and ensure your property has a sheltered area for safely storing your vehicle(s). A dedicated garage is ideal, but disused barns and rural outbuildings can be easily re-purposed for vehicle storage.

How reliable are the property's water and utility providers?

If you decide to go deeper into the wilderness to find your peace, finding properties with reliable links to central water and energy supplies can be challenging. Ideally, your new property should at least have decent supplies of water and electricity—residential gas pipelines tend to be thin in rural areas, so you will probably have to rely on electricity for your cooking and heating needs.

If you find a property you love that suffers from intermittent water and/or power outages, however, that doesn't necessarily mean you should instantly abandon it. Be sure to discuss the possibility of installing supplemental supplies of water and energy with your real estate agent—rural planning permission laws tend to be a little laxer than those in urban areas, and you may well be able to install solar panels, water bores and other environmentally friendly ways to supplement your utility supplies.

Does the property provide a habitat for invasive wildlife?

Australia's problems with invasive species and noxious weeds are well documented, but the legal requirements placed upon many rural landowners to remove these unwanted flora and fauna are less well known. If you intend to purchase a rural property with extensive landholdings, this may well apply to you.

As such, it's important to consult with local environmental authorities about any common plant and animal pests in the area before purchasing any rural property. You may be legally mandated to eradicate any invasive species that try to live on your property—this can be an arduous endeavour if you are required to keep your land free of noxious weeds, but it can also be a fairly lucrative (and tasty) one if your new area happens to be infested with edible wild boar.