Exploring the Pros and Cons of Buying Acreages in Foothills County
If you've been considering purchasing an acreage property, Foothills County in Alberta offers a wealth of opportunities. With its stunning landscapes, vast open spaces, and serene rural lifestyle, Foothills County is an appealing choice for those seeking a break from city living. However, like any real estate investment, it's essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. In this blog, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of buying acreages in Foothills County, empowering you to make an informed choice that aligns with your lifestyle and goals.
Pros of Buying Acreages in Foothills County:
- Tranquil Rural Lifestyle:
One of the primary draws of buying acreages in Foothills County is the opportunity to embrace a tranquil rural lifestyle. Away from the noise and congestion of urban areas, you can enjoy peace, privacy, and a closer connection to nature. The expansive landscapes, breathtaking views, and serene surroundings provide a retreat-like atmosphere that promotes relaxation and well-being.
- Space and Freedom:
Acreage properties in Foothills County offer ample space and freedom for homeowners. With larger plots of land, you have the flexibility to design and customize your dream home, create stunning gardens, or even keep livestock. The freedom to live on your terms and tailor your property to your specific needs and interests is a significant advantage for those seeking a more self-sufficient and independent lifestyle.
- Recreational Opportunities:
Living in Foothills County provides abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation. With vast open spaces, you can explore hiking and biking trails, go horseback riding, or engage in activities like fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing. The proximity to nature allows you to immerse yourself in a variety of recreational pursuits, fostering a healthy and active lifestyle.
Hiking and Biking Trails:
Foothills County boasts an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, allowing outdoor enthusiasts to explore the region's diverse terrain. From leisurely walks along picturesque paths to challenging hikes that take you to breathtaking viewpoints, there are trails suitable for all skill levels. Popular trails include the Elbow Valley Trail, Fullerton Loop, and Powderface Creek Trail, each offering unique experiences and the chance to discover the area's natural wonders.
Fishing and Fly-Fishing:
Foothills County is a paradise for anglers, with its numerous lakes, rivers, and streams teeming with various fish species. Whether you prefer casting a line in the pristine mountain streams or fishing from a tranquil lakeshore, you'll find ample opportunities to pursue your passion. The region is known for its excellent trout fishing, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout. Local favorites for fishing include the Elbow River, Sheep River, and Chain Lakes.
With its diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, Foothills County provides exceptional opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of majestic elk, deer, moose, black bears, cougars, and an array of bird species. The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area and Kananaskis Country are popular spots for observing wildlife in their natural habitats.
Camping and RVing:
For those seeking an immersive outdoor experience, Foothills County offers numerous campsites and RV parks. Spend a night under a star-studded sky, surrounded by nature's tranquility. The region provides a range of camping options, from rustic backcountry camping to fully equipped campgrounds with amenities such as fire pits, picnic areas, and washrooms. Popular camping destinations include Little Elbow Campground, Gooseberry Campground, and Mesa Butte Campground.
Foothills County's vast open spaces and scenic trails make it an ideal destination for horseback riding enthusiasts. Saddle up and explore the countryside, traversing rolling hills, meandering rivers, and lush meadows. Several equestrian-friendly trails, such as the Sandy McNabb Loop and Millarville Race Track Loop, offer unforgettable riding experiences amidst breathtaking vistas.
Golf enthusiasts will find a variety of well-manicured golf courses in Foothills County. Tee off amidst stunning backdrops and enjoy a round of golf in the region's serene and picturesque settings. Some notable golf courses in the area include the Turner Valley Golf Club, Sirocco Golf Club, and River's Edge Golf Club.
In the winter months, Foothills County transforms into a winter wonderland, offering opportunities for activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. The region's snowy landscapes provide a peaceful and serene backdrop for outdoor winter adventures.
- Potential Investment Value:
Investing in acreages in Foothills County can offer long-term investment potential. As the region continues to grow, demand for rural properties is increasing. If you choose to sell your acreage in the future, there is a possibility for appreciation in value, especially if the area experiences further development or increased demand for rural living. Foothills County Regional Monthly Stats (pdf)
Proximity to Calgary:
Foothills County is located in close proximity to Calgary, one of Canada's major economic hubs. This proximity provides residents with access to a wide range of employment opportunities, amenities, services, and entertainment options. The county's location makes it an attractive option for those seeking a rural lifestyle while still being within commuting distance to the city.
As a general estimate, here are approximate drive times from various areas within Foothills County to downtown Calgary:
- From Okotoks (located in the northern part of Foothills County): The drive time from Okotoks to downtown Calgary is typically around 30 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on traffic and the specific location within Okotoks.
- From High River (located in the central part of Foothills County): The drive time from High River to downtown Calgary is usually around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic and the specific location within High River.
- From Black Diamond and Turner Valley (located in the southern part of Foothills County): The drive time from Black Diamond or Turner Valley to downtown Calgary is typically around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic and the specific location within these towns.
Potential for Development:
Foothills County is experiencing growth and development, with opportunities for new infrastructure, commercial projects, and residential developments. As the area evolves, there may be opportunities for investors to take advantage of new ventures and developments, potentially leading to property value appreciation. Development information Foothills County
Foothills County has a strong agricultural presence, with fertile land suitable for farming and agricultural activities. This can be an attractive aspect for investors interested in agricultural ventures, such as crop cultivation, livestock farming, or vineyards. Agricultural properties with the potential for income generation can offer long-term investment value.
Tourism and Recreation Demand:
Foothills County attracts tourists and visitors seeking outdoor recreational activities, scenic drives, and exploring the region's natural beauty. This demand for tourism and recreational experiences can positively impact the local economy and potentially benefit investors in the hospitality, accommodation, and tourism-related sectors
Cons of Buying Acreages in Foothills County:
- Distance from Urban Amenities:
One of the main challenges of living in Foothills County acreages is the distance from urban amenities. While the countryside offers peace and tranquility, it may require a longer commute to access essential services like shopping centers, schools, healthcare facilities, and entertainment options. It's important to consider the trade-off between rural serenity and the convenience of nearby amenities.
Shopping and Retail:
Foothills County has limited options for shopping and retail compared to larger urban centers. The county does have some local stores, farmers' markets, and smaller shopping centers that cater to basic needs. However, for a wider variety of shopping options, including major retail chains, department stores, and specialized boutiques, residents often need to travel to nearby cities such as Calgary or Okotoks, which can range from 30 minutes to an hour's drive depending on the location within the county.
Foothills County has limited healthcare facilities within its boundaries. While there may be local clinics, pharmacies, and some medical services available, accessing specialized medical care or hospitals typically requires traveling to nearby cities. Calgary, for example, offers a range of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, specialist clinics, and medical centers.
Foothills County has some local schools, including elementary and high schools, providing education for the community. However, for higher education institutions such as colleges and universities, residents often need to commute to larger urban centers like Calgary or Okotoks.
Entertainment and Cultural Activities:
Foothills County offers a more rural and nature-focused lifestyle, so access to certain entertainment and cultural activities may be limited. While the county has its local community events, recreational facilities, and small-town attractions, residents may need to travel to nearby cities for a wider range of entertainment options, including theaters, museums, art galleries, concert venues, and larger recreational facilities.
Dining and Restaurants:
Foothills County has some local dining options, including restaurants, cafes, and pubs. However, for a greater variety of cuisines, fine dining experiences, and a vibrant food scene, residents may need to travel to nearby cities.
- Maintenance and Infrastructure:
Acreage properties typically require more maintenance and upkeep compared to urban homes. The larger land area may necessitate additional expenses for landscaping, snow removal, and utility infrastructure. It's crucial to factor in the time, effort, and financial commitment required to maintain an acreage property, including the upkeep of septic systems, wells, and private roads if applicable.
- Limited Resale Market:
The resale market for acreage properties in Foothills County can be more limited compared to urban areas. The pool of potential buyers may be smaller, which can impact the time it takes to sell an acreage property. It's important to consider the potential challenges and make sure you have a realistic understanding of the market dynamics in the area.
- Zoning and Development Restrictions :
Foothills County has specific zoning and development restrictions in place to protect the rural character of the area. These regulations may limit certain activities or impose restrictions on property improvements or expansions. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with the zoning bylaws and development permits to ensure your plans align with the county's regulations.
Foothills County has zoning bylaws that designate different land use categories, such as residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial. These bylaws specify the permitted uses, setbacks, building heights, lot sizes, and other regulations for each category. It is important to review the specific zoning regulations for the area of interest to ensure compliance with intended land use.
Most development projects in Foothills County require development permits. These permits are issued by the county and ensure that proposed developments meet the requirements outlined in the zoning bylaws. Development permits may be required for various activities, including constructing new buildings, renovations, subdivisions, changes in land use, signage, and some home-based businesses.
Foothills County places a strong emphasis on environmental conservation and protection. Development regulations may include provisions to safeguard environmentally sensitive areas, wetlands, water bodies, wildlife habitats, and natural landscapes. It is important to be aware of any restrictions or guidelines related to environmental conservation when considering development projects.
Setbacks and Building Standards:
Setbacks determine the distance between buildings or structures and property boundaries, roads, water bodies, or other features. Foothills County has specific setback requirements that must be adhered to when planning new constructions or renovations. Building standards, including guidelines for building materials, design, and safety, are also regulated to ensure compliance with applicable codes and standards.
Agricultural Land Use:
Foothills County has a significant agricultural presence, and regulations are in place to protect agricultural land and support farming activities. Some areas may have specific regulations governing agricultural practices, including restrictions on non-agricultural development or subdivision of agricultural land.
If you are considering subdividing land in Foothills County, there are regulations governing this process. Subdivision applications need to comply with specific requirements, including lot size, road access, environmental assessments, and infrastructure considerations.
It is crucial to consult with the Foothills County Planning and Development Department or seek professional advice to ensure a clear understanding of the specific zoning and development restrictions that apply to your property or intended development.
Purchasing an acreage in Foothills County offers numerous advantages, including a tranquil rural lifestyle, space and freedom, abundant recreational opportunities, and potential investment value. However, it's important to consider the cons, such as the distance from urban amenities, increased maintenance responsibilities, potential limitations in the resale market, and zoning and development restrictions. Careful consideration and thorough research are essential to make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle, preferences, and long-term goals.
Consulting with Diane Richardson Foothills County real estate professional who specializes in acreage properties can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the buying process. With the right approach, buying an acreage in Foothills County can be a rewarding and fulfilling investment in your lifestyle and future.
With more than a decade and a half of experience in the real estate industry, Diane Richardson is a seasoned professional known for her in-depth knowledge and exceptional skills. Her extensive background includes successful transactions in residential real estate, making her a trusted advisor for both buyers and sellers.
Diane's commitment to providing top-notch service, her keen eye for market trends, and her dedication to client satisfaction have earned her a reputation as a trusted expert in the field. Whether you're looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, Diane Richardson is the go-to professional to guide you through the process and help you achieve your real estate goals.
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