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Diane Richardson 

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Discover the Beauty of Southern Alberta Acreages: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover the Beauty of Southern Alberta Acreages: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover the Beauty of Southern Alberta Acreages: A Comprehensive Guide

Hello, I'm Diane Richardson, a dedicated REALTOR® with over 15 years of expertise in the Southern Alberta real estate market. If you're envisioning expansive skies, rolling hills, and the peace of rural living, you've come to the right place. Let's delve into the world of acreage living in Southern Alberta together!

Why Choose Southern Alberta Acreages?

Our region offers a unique combination of natural splendor and rural charm, all while being conveniently close to urban amenities. Here's what makes Southern Alberta acreages stand out:

  • Stunning vistas from the prairies to the Rocky Mountain foothills
  • Ample space for hobby farms, equestrian activities, or simply enjoying open land
  • Abundant wildlife and outdoor recreational activities
  • Strong, welcoming rural communities
  • Proximity to cities such as Calgary and Red Deer

Your Guide to Buying Acreages in Southern Alberta

With my extensive experience in rural properties, I've put together this comprehensive checklist to help you find your ideal acreage:

Acreages Available Near

1. Location Considerations:

  • Distance to urban centers and amenities
  • School districts and healthcare access
  • Surrounding landscape and potential for privacy

Key Factors for Southern Alberta Acreages

Proximity to Urban Centers and Amenities

  • Calgary: Many acreages are within a 30-60 minute drive of Calgary, providing a perfect balance between rural living and city access.
  • Smaller Cities: Proximity to cities like Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, or Red Deer can vary from 15 minutes to over an hour, depending on the location.
  • Local Towns: Most acreages are within 10-30 minutes of smaller towns such as Okotoks, High River, or Strathmore, offering essential services like grocery stores and banks.
  • Shopping and Entertainment: Major shopping centers and entertainment venues are typically within a 30-60 minute drive, depending on the acreage's location.

School Districts and Healthcare Access

  • Schools:
    • Many rural areas are served by school districts providing bus transportation for students.
    • Depending on the location, students might attend schools in nearby towns or cities.
    • Some areas have small, local schools serving rural communities.
  • Healthcare:
    • Major hospitals are usually located in larger urban centers, potentially a 30-60 minute drive away.
    • Many small towns have medical clinics and emergency services.
    • Specialized medical care is often available in cities like Calgary or Lethbridge.

Surrounding Landscape and Potential for Privacy

  • Diverse Landscapes: Southern Alberta offers various landscapes, from rolling prairies to foothills, each providing unique views and privacy options.
  • Natural Barriers: Many acreages feature natural privacy barriers such as trees, hills, or waterways.
  • Property Size: Acreages typically range from 2 to 160 acres or more, with larger properties generally offering more privacy.
  • Neighboring Properties: The distance to neighboring homes can vary greatly, from visible nearby to completely out of sight.
  • Zoning Considerations: Some areas have zoning regulations that maintain lower density, ensuring continued privacy.

Each acreage property is unique, and these factors can vary significantly based on specific locations. As your realtor, I can provide detailed information about schools, healthcare, and privacy considerations for any acreage you're interested in. Don't hesitate to ask for more specific details as you narrow down your search!

2. Property Features:

    • Acreage size and topography
    • Existing structures (home, barns, workshops)
    • Natural features like trees, ponds, or creeks
    • Fencing and access points

Example Property Features: Tranquil Foothills Retreat

Let's explore a sample acreage to give you an idea of what you might find in Southern Alberta:

Acreage Size and Topography

      • 40 acres of diverse landscape
      • Gently rolling hills with a mix of open grassland and wooded areas
      • Elevation change of approximately 100 feet from lowest to highest point
      • South-facing slope providing excellent sun exposure

Existing Structures

      • Main House: 2,500 sq. ft. two-story home with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
      • Barn: 40' x 60' barn with 6 horse stalls, tack room, and hay storage
      • Workshop: 30' x 40' insulated workshop with electricity and concrete floor
      • Guest Cabin: 600 sq. ft. rustic cabin near the creek, perfect for visitors or rental income

Natural Features

      • 5-acre mature aspen grove providing privacy and windbreak
      • Year-round creek running through the property for approximately 1/4 mile
      • 1-acre spring-fed pond, ideal for swimming and fishing
      • Natural meadow with native wildflowers, covering about 10 acres
      • Small fruit orchard with apple, plum, and cherry trees

Fencing and Access Points

      • Perimeter fenced with 4-strand barbed wire, suitable for livestock
      • Cross-fencing divides the property into 4 separate pastures
      • Main access via a 1/4-mile private driveway with a security gate
      • Secondary access point on the north side of the property for farm equipment
      • Picturesque wooden bridge over the creek, connecting the main house area to the guest cabin

This example showcases the diverse features you might find on a Southern Alberta acreage. Every property is unique, and as your realtor, I can help you find an acreage that matches your specific needs and dreams. Whether you're looking for more land, different structures, or specific natural features, Southern Alberta has a wide range of options to explore.

3. Infrastructure and Utilities:

    • Water source (well, dugout, municipal)
    • Septic system type and condition
    • Electricity supply and potential for alternative energy
    • Internet and cell phone coverage
    • Heating options (natural gas, propane, geothermal)

Infrastructure and Utilities: Rural Living with Modern Conveniences

Understanding the infrastructure and utilities of an acreage is crucial for comfortable rural living. Here's an overview of what you might find on a well-equipped Southern Alberta acreage:

Water Source

      • Primary Water Supply: 200-foot deep drilled well, yielding 10 gallons per minute
      • Water Quality: Tested annually, meeting all provincial standards for drinking water
      • Backup Water: 1-acre dugout for irrigation and livestock use
      • Water Treatment: Whole-house water softener and UV purification system

Septic System

      • Type: Private septic system with a 1,000-gallon tank and leach field
      • Age: Installed in 2015, with regular maintenance records available
      • Condition: Excellent, last inspected and pumped in 2023
      • Capacity: Designed for a 4-bedroom home

Electricity Supply

      • Grid Connection: Connected to the provincial power grid
      • Service: 200-amp service to the main house
      • Backup Power: 15kW propane-powered standby generator with automatic transfer switch
      • Alternative Energy: South-facing roof suitable for future solar panel installation

Internet and Cell Phone Coverage

      • Internet: High-speed fiber optic internet available, currently 100 Mbps download/20 Mbps upload
      • Cell Coverage: Good coverage from major carriers (Telus, Bell, Rogers)
      • Landline: Traditional copper phone line installed
      • Satellite: Clear line of sight for satellite internet/TV if preferred

Heating Options

      • Primary Heat: High-efficiency propane furnace (95% AFUE rating)
      • Supplementary Heat: Wood-burning fireplace in the living room
      • Workshop Heating: Propane overhead radiant heaters
      • Future Potential: Property suitable for ground-source heat pump installation

This example demonstrates the range of modern utilities and infrastructure you can find on well-developed acreages in Southern Alberta. As your realtor, I can help you understand the specific infrastructure of each property and how it might meet your needs. Whether you're looking for off-grid capabilities, high-speed internet for remote work, or specific heating options, we can find an acreage that suits your lifestyle.

4. Legal and Zoning Considerations:

      • Land use and zoning regulations
      • Property boundaries and potential easements
      • Mineral rights
      • Future development plans in the area
      County Resource Information

County Resource Information

Legal and Zoning Considerations: Understanding Your Acreage Rights

When purchasing an acreage in Southern Alberta, it's crucial to understand the legal and zoning aspects of the property. Here's an overview of key considerations:

Land Use and Zoning Regulations

      • Current Zoning: Agricultural/Residential (AR) District
      • Permitted Uses:
        • Single detached dwelling
        • Agricultural operations
        • Home-based businesses (with restrictions)
        • Secondary suites (subject to approval)
      • Livestock: Allowed up to 3 animal units per acre
      • Building Restrictions:
        • Minimum parcel size: 3 acres
        • Maximum lot coverage: 40%
        • Setbacks: 50 feet from property lines for main buildings

Property Boundaries and Potential Easements

      • Survey: Recent survey (2022) available, clearly marking all property boundaries
      • Fencing: Perimeter fully fenced, with cost-sharing agreements in place with neighbors
      • Utility Easement: 20-foot wide easement along the east property line for underground power lines
      • Access Easement: Shared driveway agreement with neighboring property for the first 100 meters
      • Water Easement: Small creek crosses property; subject to provincial water regulations

Mineral Rights

      • Status: Mineral rights are not included with the property
      • Ownership: Held by the Crown (typical for most Alberta properties)
      • Leases: No active mineral leases on the property
      • Surface Rights: Protected under the Alberta Surface Rights Act

Future Development Plans in the Area

      • Municipal Development Plan: Property is within an area designated for long-term agricultural use
      • Nearby Developments:
        • Proposed country residential subdivision 2 km to the east (early planning stages)
        • County plans to upgrade the main road 1 km south within the next 5 years
      • Conservation Initiatives: Property eligible for voluntary conservation easement programs
      • Agricultural Preservation: Area is part of a county initiative to preserve prime agricultural land

Understanding these legal and zoning considerations is essential for making an informed decision about your acreage purchase. As your realtor, I can help you navigate these complexities, ensure you have all the necessary information, and connect you with legal professionals for detailed advice when needed. Every property has its unique set of considerations, and I'm here to help you understand how they might impact your plans for rural living.

5. Environmental Factors:

    • Soil quality for gardening or farming
    • Local wildlife patterns
    • Flood plains or other environmental risks

Environmental Factors: Living in Harmony with Nature

Understanding the environmental aspects of your acreage is crucial for both enjoying your property and planning for the future. Here's an overview of key environmental factors to consider:

Soil Quality for Gardening or Farming

      • Soil Type: Primarily black chernozemic soil, known for its fertility
      • Topsoil Depth: Average of 12 inches across the property
      • pH Level: 6.8 to 7.2, ideal for most crops and garden plants
      • Organic Matter: 4-5%, indicating good soil health
      • Drainage: Well-drained, with some areas of moisture retention in lower spots
      • Previous Use: Rotational crops of wheat, canola, and hay in the last decade
      • Soil Test: Recent comprehensive soil test available, showing nutrient levels

Local Wildlife Patterns

      • Common Species:
        • Mammals: Deer, coyotes, rabbits, occasional moose
        • Birds: Canada geese, various duck species, hawks, owls
        • Smaller Wildlife: Gophers, field mice, various songbirds
      • Migration Patterns: Property is on a minor migratory bird route, with increased activity in spring and fall
      • Wildlife Corridors: The wooded area and creek serve as natural wildlife corridors
      • Potential Conflicts: Deer may browse on gardens; coyotes may be a concern for small pets or livestock
      • Conservation Opportunities: Property qualifies for voluntary wildlife habitat enhancement programs

Flood Plains and Other Environmental Risks

      • Flood Risk: Property is not within a designated flood plain
      • Water Table: Seasonal high water table in the lower 5 acres during spring melt
      • Erosion: Minor erosion along the creek bank, stabilization measures in place
      • Fire Risk: Moderate risk during dry summers; fire breaks maintained around structures
      • Wind Exposure: Open areas can experience strong winds; tree belts provide some shelter
      • Environmental Assessments:
        • Phase I Environmental Site Assessment completed in 2020, no significant issues found
        • Radon test performed, levels below Health Canada's guideline
      • Climate Considerations: Property well-suited for climate-resilient agricultural practices

These environmental factors play a significant role in shaping life on your acreage. They influence what you can grow, the wildlife you'll encounter, and how you might need to prepare for natural events. As your realtor, I can help you understand how these factors might align with your goals for the property, whether that's hobby farming, wildlife observation, or simply enjoying a natural setting. Remember, each acreage has its unique environmental profile, and I'm here to help you find the perfect match for your rural living dreams.

6. Community and Lifestyle:

    • Local town amenities and services
    • Community events and organizations
    • Recreational opportunities (hiking, fishing, etc.)

Community and Lifestyle: Rural Living with a Vibrant Community Spirit

Living on an acreage doesn't mean you're isolated. Southern Alberta offers a rich tapestry of community life and recreational opportunities. Here's a glimpse into what you can expect:

Local Town Amenities and Services

      • Nearest Town: Pinewood (population 5,000), 15 minutes drive
      • Healthcare:
        • Pinewood Community Health Centre (24/7 emergency services)
        • Family medical clinic with 5 doctors
        • Dental and physiotherapy services available
      • Education:
        • Pinewood Elementary School (K-6)
        • Pinewood High School (7-12)
        • Adult learning center offering continuing education courses
      • Shopping:
        • Local grocery store, pharmacy, and hardware store
        • Farmers' market every Saturday (May-October)
        • Boutique shops featuring local artisans
      • Dining: Several family-owned restaurants, cafes, and a popular local brewery
      • Services: Bank, post office, library, and community center

Community Events and Organizations

      • Annual Events:
        • Pinewood Stampede (July) - rodeo, parade, and fair
        • Harvest Festival (September) - celebrating local agriculture
        • Winter Wonderland (December) - holiday lights and activities
      • Community Organizations:
        • Pinewood Agricultural Society
        • 4-H Club with various project groups
        • Volunteer Fire Department
        • Pinewood Arts Council
      • Sports Leagues: Hockey, curling, soccer, and softball leagues for all ages
      • Interest Groups: Book clubs, quilting circle, photography club, and more

Recreational Opportunities

      • Outdoor Activities:
        • Hiking: Over 50 km of trails in the nearby Pinewood Provincial Park
        • Fishing: Excellent spots on the Pinewood River, known for its trout
        • Camping: Several campgrounds within a 30-minute drive
        • Horseback Riding: Equestrian trails and local riding club
      • Winter Sports:
        • Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails
        • Ice fishing on nearby lakes
        • Snowmobiling trails (when conditions permit)
      • Golf: 18-hole Pinewood Golf & Country Club, open to the public
      • Water Activities: Canoeing and kayaking on Pinewood Lake (10 minutes drive)
      • Cultural Venues:
        • Pinewood Community Theatre - local productions and touring shows
        • Pinewood Museum - showcasing local history and agriculture

Living on an acreage in this area offers the perfect blend of rural tranquility and community engagement. You'll have space to breathe and room to roam, while still being part of a warm, welcoming community. Whether you're looking to participate in local events, join community organizations, or simply enjoy the great outdoors, this area has something for everyone. As your realtor, I can help you explore how this rich community life aligns with your vision of rural living.

Tips for a Successful Acreage Purchase

  1. Define Your Vision: Whether it's a hobby farm, an equestrian property, or a serene retreat, knowing your goals will guide your search.
  2. Budget Realistically: Factor in potential additional costs like well maintenance, longer commutes, or specialized equipment for property upkeep.
  3. Consider All Seasons: That picturesque property might look different in winter. Think about road access and maintenance year-round.
  4. Investigate Thoroughly: Don't shy away from asking questions about the property's history, water quality, or potential future developments nearby.
  5. Think Long-Term: Consider how the property might serve your needs in 5, 10, or 20 years.

Financing Your Rural Dream

Financing an acreage can differ from a standard home purchase. As your realtor, I can connect you with lenders experienced in rural properties. Be prepared for:

  • Potentially larger down payments
  • Different insurance requirements
  • Budget considerations for property maintenance and improvements

Acreages for Sale Near

Your Acreage Journey Starts Here

Purchasing an acreage is more than a real estate transaction – it's embracing a lifestyle. From stargazing on clear nights to the freedom of space for your hobbies and dreams, acreage living offers a unique and rewarding experience.

With 15 years of experience in Southern Alberta real estate, I'm here to guide you through every step of finding and purchasing your perfect acreage. My deep understanding of rural properties, local regulations, and the nuances of country living ensures you'll have an expert by your side.

Ready to start your acreage adventure? Let's connect and turn your rural dreams into reality!

Diane Richardson, REALTOR®
Phone: 403.397.3706
Email: diane@mypadcalgary.com

Remember, each acreage has its own character and considerations. I'm here to help you navigate the details and find the property that truly feels like home. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions – your piece of Southern Alberta paradise is waiting to be discovered!


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