October 2nd, 2013 by Jim Claassen
Over the years, many of my clients have realized their dream by moving from the city to the country. There are a number of things to think of if you haven’t purchased a property in the country before. First, it usually takes a lot more patience than finding a house in town. Once in a while we get lucky and find a ranch or ranchette rather quickly but it’s not the norm. When moving to the central coast of California, “micro-climates” can be a huge factor in the area selected. For instance, west and southwest of Paso Robles and the Salinas River there is much more coastal influence than just ten miles to the north around San Miguel or ten miles to the east near Creston. Some folks don’t mind the more arid, warm and dry conditions but if you’re used to the cooler influence that is prevalent in the “Templeton Gap”, then the west side can be an important issue for location.
Along with the freedom and “elbow room” of a place in the country comes the need for a few changes in how one deals with some of the basics that are pretty much taken for granted in the city. I’ll touch on two things to consider that are very important. It’s nice to not have a water bill every month but a domestic well can be expensive too. The most important thing to know is where the underground water is plentiful and good quality and certain areas where there can be problems getting enough water for a residence. County requirements for production are two and one half gallons per minute per residence and a minimum of a 2500 gallon storage tank. This is a condition of the County fire regulations. Typically, when purchasing a home on acres, a four hour pump test is done to determine production and a sample of water is sent to a lab for potability check.
The second issue is the need for a septic system. It’s important to know what soil type is on the property for percolation of the leach field. The buyer usually asks the seller to have the septic tank pumped and inspected and the leach field tested for proper function. If everything checks out good, the Septic company will then certify the system. This is almost always a requirement by the lender if a mortgage is being taken out on the property. It is very important to properly maintain the well, water pumps and the septic system. Then, sit back, relax and enjoy the country!