How to answer the call of the country

Stressed urbanites are increasingly succumbing to the allure of a country lifestyle, but it’s not so easy to find the right country property.

Of course not everyone is lucky enough to escape to the country permanently for the simple reason that their jobs keep them city-bound. Still, there are always weekends and holidays - and a simple country retreat may sound like a sanity saver, especially if you own it and don’t have to depend on its availability.

On top of this, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, it may be a shrewd financial investment. Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he offers a few tips to get you started when you decide the time is right to buy a country property:

* Decide what type of country scene appeals to you – mountains, beaches, riverside, farmland, bush or forest – and pinpoint some feasible areas that you can comfortably reach for a short breakaway. The closer to your permanent residence, the better the chances that you will be able to escape more often;

* Take time off to go and scout a few areas. Drive around to get a feel for each one and to make sure reality fits your dreams;

* Once you’ve decided on an area, subscribe to the local newspaper to gauge property prices and to get a feel for local issues and community values;

* Approach a reputable local estate agent to help you narrow down your search. A local agent’s help can be invaluable since they are on the spot and can alert you when suitable property comes on to the market. Be prepared to make time to go and promptly view property recommended by your agent;

* Be patient and take your time. By their very nature, country properties may come to market at longer intervals than city property. But that does not mean you should not enjoy the search!

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