I recently sold a home on a beautifully treed ravine lot. In the distance you could hear the water from the creek flowing, rustling leaves, birds singing and you realize that there are only a handful of properties that are graced with these attributes. My buyer fell in love with the property and neighbourhood, and had to have it. The ravine lot was a generous 60’x 375’ with most of the depth being on Conservation Authority Land. For good reason, there are many restrictions on what you are able to do and how much you are able to build on Conservation Land. For example, even if you own the land, you need to get permission to build anything larger than a 10’x 10’ structure.This particular home was built in the 1950’s and was loaded with charm. The brick exterior was stunning and the landscaping made it feel like something out of a fairy tale. Sadly, the picture doesn’t do it enough justice. The norm for this neighbourhood is to purchase these older homes for their lot value then build a “monster home”. I highly doubt that my client is going to do the same. They loved the house with all its charm (and even more because it was on a ravine with no chance of neighbours!) and will likely do an extensive renovation and addition, thus keeping most of the façade.
Every municipality has their own set of by-laws which determines what is allowed, and being on Conservation Land adds another layer to the rules. While this home was nearly 400 feet deep, only a fraction of that was able to be utilized for building and/or renovation. Careful…. It is not sufficient to assume that because the neighbours were allowed to tear down and build that the same rules will automatically apply to your home . What we learned is that as the creek bends closer or farther from the structure, so too does the distance allowed from the creek. After visits to both the city and the Conservation Authority, and a site visit by a representative from the Conservation Authority, we got all the information we needed in order to move forward with confidence to buy this fabulous home on this very unique piece of land.There is definitely a premium to be paid to purchase a home on a ravine. Whether it's right for you or not really depends on your circumstances. If you're a cash buyer, or are only financing a minimal amount, then paying a premum may be worth it for you. If however, you're heavily financing it, you may want to think twice. Those who own a home on a ravine will tell you that it's worth the premium you pay to have no neighbours, and for the peace and serenity that comes with it. How do you put a price tag on that??