Author Topic: Rural Land Advice  (Read 6866 times)

SouthernTransplant

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Rural Land Advice
« on: January 08, 2015, 11:40:10 AM »
Hey everyone,

I'm still probably ten years away from this happening, but one idea my wife and I have for our FIRE plans is to buy 5 acres rural property somewhere in Western NC.  Ideally, we would build a small, energy efficient house on the property and keep our current (and by that time mortgage free) house to use as a rental.

I'm currently at the very beginning stages of researching potential locations/plots, but I was wondering if anyone has done something similar and/or could suggest resources that would help a beginner through the process.  I would love to find a book/blog on selecting the land, building a house, potential pitfalls, etc. 

Any advice or suggestions?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 11:45:46 AM »
Old, but used as a textbook in probably the strangest course I took getting my engineering degree: "More Other Homes and Garbage"

Future Lazy

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 12:54:15 PM »
http://www.amazon.com/Building-Green-Complete-Alternative-Cordwood/dp/1579905323

I really enjoyed this Building Green textbook style guide. It features a lot of alternative DIY-type building materials that might not be suitable for a full house, but the first 1/2 of the book goes into great detail about site choice, sunlight exposure, grading and other survey techniques that are very helpful in picking the right place to build. It also talks a lot about passive solar, which can be pretty important.

IMO, it's mostly stuff that can be found free on the internet, but it's really nice to have it clearly defined all in the same book and in the right order.

SouthernTransplant

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2015, 01:14:33 PM »
Quote
I really enjoyed this Building Green textbook style guide.

Looks like that one is available at my library - thanks Kayla!

dantownehall

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2015, 01:26:51 PM »
Wow, this is weird, but you and I have almost exactly the same plans!

I own my house, should be mortgage free in a few years, intend to keep it as a rental, and move to a (somewhat) rural area after FIREing.  And the kicker is that I'm also doing it in Western NC.

I have the very great fortune to already live here (Just south of Asheville, in Arden).

Skyhigh

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2015, 01:35:29 PM »
As a young Alaskan bush pilot I often found myself sitting next to a passenger on their way to a fun fishing or hunting destination. Most of these clients were financially well off so with time to kill I would ask them how they got so wealthy. Most eagerly and generously told me their story. One old guy in particular told me to "avoid the house in the county" he went on to explain that it is a common dream but disastrous to achieving FIRE.

I always remembered his warning however against his advise my wife and I built a house in the country around 10 years ago now. It was the fourth that I had built in my career, but the first with a family. Our dream was that we would raise our family through a self sustaining rural life on a small ranch. I envisioned having my sons helping me with the cows while my wife canned produce from the garden. Ironically the kids hate horses and cows. They like computers and the internet. My wife is way to busy to can anything and I have developed a dislike of our small ranch because it has become more of a work pit for me. I am constantly having to work on fencing, spraying weeds, repairs to the driveway or septic system or well. In the winter we can become snowed in since it is up to me to plow the driveway and all we have is a small tractor. Being out in the elements in the icy wind lost its charm years ago. The internet out there stinks. We are spending perhaps $400/ month more in gas due to the extra 14 miles in round trip between our house and town.  In summary there are a lot of things we don't think about when we live on a city lot that has to be addressed in the country.

At this point I wish we could move back into town.  If I were to do it all over again I would buy or build an apartment complex right in downtown including a residence for my family and build a cabin or something far out in the woods to get our rural fix on the weekends.

mak1277

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2015, 01:55:44 PM »
As a young Alaskan bush pilot I often found myself sitting next to a passenger on their way to a fun fishing or hunting destination. Most of these clients were financially well off so with time to kill I would ask them how they got so wealthy. Most eagerly and generously told me their story. One old guy in particular told me to "avoid the house in the county" he went on to explain that it is a common dream but disastrous to achieving FIRE.

I always remembered his warning however against his advise my wife and I built a house in the country around 10 years ago now. It was the fourth that I had built in my career, but the first with a family. Our dream was that we would raise our family through a self sustaining rural life on a small ranch. I envisioned having my sons helping me with the cows while my wife canned produce from the garden. Ironically the kids hate horses and cows. They like computers and the internet. My wife is way to busy to can anything and I have developed a dislike of our small ranch because it has become more of a work pit for me. I am constantly having to work on fencing, spraying weeds, repairs to the driveway or septic system or well. In the winter we can become snowed in since it is up to me to plow the driveway and all we have is a small tractor. Being out in the elements in the icy wind lost its charm years ago. The internet out there stinks. We are spending perhaps $400/ month more in gas due to the extra 14 miles in round trip between our house and town.  In summary there are a lot of things we don't think about when we live on a city lot that has to be addressed in the country.

At this point I wish we could move back into town.  If I were to do it all over again I would buy or build an apartment complex right in downtown including a residence for my family and build a cabin or something far out in the woods to get our rural fix on the weekends.

I don't dispute this if you're working towards FIRE, but if I read the OP correctly he was talking about this being post-FIRE.  I'm in the same boat...wanting to move out into the country after I retire so I don't have to see people unless I want to :-)

Gone Fishing

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2015, 02:58:04 PM »
Pros:
I can see the stars at night
I can grow my own food
I can grow my own fuel
I can shoot my guns
Other than gasoline and vehicle expense-cost of living is low.
I like my space- I pretty much have my own little park.
I've learned a ton of useful skills.
My kids get to see what physical labor looks like and know where their food comes from.
The work is physically hard, but I consider it to be my gym membership.
By my math the food and fuel I produce pretty much offsets the extra fuel I use. 

Cons:
Pretty much EVERYTHING is a 10 mile 15 minute drive away but it could be much worse.  Right now I have a long commute to the next town down the road but when I FIRE I wonder how many days in a row I will be happy at home before I just need to go somewhere.   
Other than walking my property (6 acres) you have to get in the car to go for a "walk" or a bike ride as our road is narrow and the traffic is fast and walking in the ditch is not fun.
We lucked out with decent neighbors, but there are plenty of well-to-do folks that buy expensive rural property just to find out the neighbors are alcoholic meth addicts who molest children, beat their wives, burn tires in their yards and dump garbage in the ditch.
Tresspassing can be a difficult issue to correct.
If you are an organic type, you can not control what your neighbor does.
Wells and septics are expensive to install and they break. Be ready.
Running power/internet lines over any distance is expensive.
Maintaining long gravel drives is expensive.

Advice
Look at property in the winter when there are no leaves.  You can see the lay of the land better as well as any garbage piles.
When you design your place, don't corner yourself into tons of maintainance-(mowing, weedeating, spraying, pruning, bushhogging, fence repair, grading) design your place with low maintainance in mind. 
Don't get sucked into the equipment trap-Tractors-Tillers-Plows-4 wheelers-trucks-trailers-woodsplitters etc.  I designed my place around a garden tractor, chainsaw and using the family mini-van and a 4x8 utility trailer- if I can't get it done with that and a pitchfork/shovel/splitting maul, it doesn't need doing.
Look for access to walking/biking trails.
Avoid steep land, it makes everything harder.
Price is directly correlated to access-you will have to decide how far away from town is worth it.  I am 10-15 minutes and wouldn't want to be much further.

I might come up with some more...


 

Skyhigh

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2015, 03:34:33 PM »
As a young Alaskan bush pilot I often found myself sitting next to a passenger on their way to a fun fishing or hunting destination. Most of these clients were financially well off so with time to kill I would ask them how they got so wealthy. Most eagerly and generously told me their story. One old guy in particular told me to "avoid the house in the county" he went on to explain that it is a common dream but disastrous to achieving FIRE.

I always remembered his warning however against his advise my wife and I built a house in the country around 10 years ago now. It was the fourth that I had built in my career, but the first with a family. Our dream was that we would raise our family through a self sustaining rural life on a small ranch. I envisioned having my sons helping me with the cows while my wife canned produce from the garden. Ironically the kids hate horses and cows. They like computers and the internet. My wife is way to busy to can anything and I have developed a dislike of our small ranch because it has become more of a work pit for me. I am constantly having to work on fencing, spraying weeds, repairs to the driveway or septic system or well. In the winter we can become snowed in since it is up to me to plow the driveway and all we have is a small tractor. Being out in the elements in the icy wind lost its charm years ago. The internet out there stinks. We are spending perhaps $400/ month more in gas due to the extra 14 miles in round trip between our house and town.  In summary there are a lot of things we don't think about when we live on a city lot that has to be addressed in the country.

At this point I wish we could move back into town.  If I were to do it all over again I would buy or build an apartment complex right in downtown including a residence for my family and build a cabin or something far out in the woods to get our rural fix on the weekends.

I don't dispute this if you're working towards FIRE, but if I read the OP correctly he was talking about this being post-FIRE.  I'm in the same boat...wanting to move out into the country after I retire so I don't have to see people unless I want to :-)

I understand the OP's position and interest. There is still a lot to consider if one has not lived the rural life before FIRE or not.

Skyhigh

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2015, 03:37:22 PM »


I often see people fail to take into consideration the kind of land they are actually buying. If all you want is solitude then don't buy irrigated pasture buy scrub land. If your dream is to raise cattle then pay extra for good quality bottom land with irrigation access.

backyardfeast

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2015, 03:42:36 PM »
I fully agree about the romanticization of rural life vs the reality.  Personally, I think the perfect option is the 2-5 acre plot that's within walking or biking distance of a small, reasonably vibrant town, and perhaps 30-45 minutes to a larger centre.  I'm convinced that one of the major factors behind the failure of many back-to-the-land ventures in the 70s was because of the need for a car.  As soon as you're totally car-dependent, you need money to fix it, which meant extra income, etc.

I know the OP will do this once FI, so perhaps that's less of an issue.  But if I were 10 years out, I'd be focusing less on the actual plot of land requirements, and more on scouting out communities that had the services and community values that I was looking for.

You might also want to spend this time looking into permaculture--a way to design and build so that less maintenance is required.  We're thinking seriously about these issues because we may want to go really rural from our current semi-rural location, but we'll be older if/when we do that, and all that maintenance and access to services becomes even more of an issue as we age.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2015, 03:54:10 PM »
I wouldn't get so detailed this far out, BUT if you want the land to be productive, the USDA soil survey map service can be a helpful resource.

I'd spend some time thinking about why you want to be in the country, and do those things right now - somehow. Garden. Ride. Whatever.

Spork

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2015, 05:00:02 PM »
I've done pretty much what you describe.

We actually bought the land quite early (and 2 hours away from where we lived at the time).   

I think we bought the land in 2005.  It had a very small shed on it with essentials: very small "kitchen", shower, toilet, etc.  We used it for weekend excursions for a year or so.   Mid 2006 I quit my job, we sold what wouldn't fit (which was almost everything) and we moved without a job to live in the shed.

I finally built the house in 2011 and we moved in during the first week of 2012.  We designed the house such that we could finish part (downstairs) and do the rest as we go.  It's 2015 and I am **almost** to the point we can call everything but one room upstairs done. 

Our biggest challenge -- to try to generalize:  The process has a "normal".  If you want to do something outside of "normal" ... people are going to be barriers all along the way.  You just want to know this up front.  If you want to build without financing... you have to find the right builder that's going to trust you.  If you want to build half a house... you may have to search for an insurance company that will insure it.  If you buy land with no house (or a house that is worth less than the land).... you may have to search for a bank that will finance it non-traditionally.  If you want to do some of the contracting yourself... you REALLY may have to look to find a builder that will buy into your plan.

And yes: rural probably means more use of a car.  You learn to try to "batch" trips.  But it can be a pain if you are in a project and always seem to be running back to town for one more plumbing fitting.

I'm not exactly what sort of advice you're fishing for... but if you have specific questions, I can try to answer to the best of my ability.

Miss Prim

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2015, 05:53:54 PM »
I like backyardfeast's response.  My husband and I have 4+ acres, but we live 4 miles from our fairly small town and a few more to a larger city with lots of cultural things to do and grocery shopping and mall is only a few miles away. 

We grow a lot of our own food, raise chickens, both laying hens and batches of meat chickens for the freezer.  But, we are in our 60's now and it gets harder to keep up with everything.  We only mow about an acre around the house and let the rest just grow up.  We are zoned agricultural and could have other farm animals, but each addition would take more work and require more fencing. 

We are retiring this year and hope to do a lot of travelling, so the laying hens will have to go.  The meat chickens only take 7-8 weeks, so we could still do them and we will probably not travel during the summer so will continue with the garden.  I will tell you that frankly, some days I would like to chuck it all and move to a condo!  It is a lot of work! 

You can do a lot on 5 acres but you want to make sure that it is zoned for what you want to do/raise.

startingsmall

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2015, 06:11:36 PM »
Pros:
I can see the stars at night
I can grow my own food
I can grow my own fuel
I can shoot my guns
Other than gasoline and vehicle expense-cost of living is low.
I like my space- I pretty much have my own little park.
I've learned a ton of useful skills.
My kids get to see what physical labor looks like and know where their food comes from.
The work is physically hard, but I consider it to be my gym membership.
By my math the food and fuel I produce pretty much offsets the extra fuel I use. 

Cons:
Pretty much EVERYTHING is a 10 mile 15 minute drive away but it could be much worse.  Right now I have a long commute to the next town down the road but when I FIRE I wonder how many days in a row I will be happy at home before I just need to go somewhere.   
Other than walking my property (6 acres) you have to get in the car to go for a "walk" or a bike ride as our road is narrow and the traffic is fast and walking in the ditch is not fun.
We lucked out with decent neighbors, but there are plenty of well-to-do folks that buy expensive rural property just to find out the neighbors are alcoholic meth addicts who molest children, beat their wives, burn tires in their yards and dump garbage in the ditch.
Tresspassing can be a difficult issue to correct.
If you are an organic type, you can not control what your neighbor does.
Wells and septics are expensive to install and they break. Be ready.
Running power/internet lines over any distance is expensive.
Maintaining long gravel drives is expensive.

Advice
Look at property in the winter when there are no leaves.  You can see the lay of the land better as well as any garbage piles.
When you design your place, don't corner yourself into tons of maintainance-(mowing, weedeating, spraying, pruning, bushhogging, fence repair, grading) design your place with low maintainance in mind. 
Don't get sucked into the equipment trap-Tractors-Tillers-Plows-4 wheelers-trucks-trailers-woodsplitters etc.  I designed my place around a garden tractor, chainsaw and using the family mini-van and a 4x8 utility trailer- if I can't get it done with that and a pitchfork/shovel/splitting maul, it doesn't need doing.
Look for access to walking/biking trails.
Avoid steep land, it makes everything harder.
Price is directly correlated to access-you will have to decide how far away from town is worth it.  I am 10-15 minutes and wouldn't want to be much further.

I might come up with some more...

YES YES YES.  We're nowhere near FIRE, but live on 5 acres in Western NC.  (We're in the foothills near Hickory, not the mountains.)    We don't have guns, but otherwise all of the Pros list rings true.  Love being able to enjoy the stars at night, love being able to play outside with our toddler without any worries about traffic or other dangers of suburban life, etc.   We don't do much food production yet (just laying hens and a small summer garden) because we both work FT, but it is nice to have that option.

But...
- In order for me to ride my bike safely for any reasonable distance, I have to drive over half an hour to the nearest greenway.  Our road is very quiet, but we're less than one mile from a busy 2-lane highway with no shoulder, no bike lanes, and a 45-mph speed limit (though most folks drive ~60 mph).   
- We bought this house thinking that the isolation would be a good thing... that we'd be less tempted to eat out, go out for coffee, etc etc because everything would be farther away.  Turns out that's not true at all.  In fact, the lack of being able to enjoy a nice walk in the neighborhood (we moved here from an awesome historic downtown area) means that we probably go out even MORE than we used to, because we get cabin fever here.  So we're going out even more than we used to, and every trip out (with the exception of Food Lion, which is the only thing nearby) is at least a 20-30 minute drive each way.
- Our neighbors are also pretty decent, but they all LOVE burning stuff.  Leaves, trash, you name it... even on a really dry day like today, when the news keeps telling people not to burn anything.  The anxiety is probably taking years off my life :)  Also lots of late night gunshots, fireworks near holidays, etc.... which may not be an issue for some people, but is annoying to me.

My husband still loves the land, so I doubt we'll be moving anytime soon.... but I fantasize about moving back to our in-town house all the time, and *I* was the one who was the bigger proponent for country living!!

ETA:  I had a small amount of country-living experience before, as I spent a couple of summers with my college boyfriend's family in the country while I was in college.   Spending summers with someone else doing most of the work and 2.5 years doing it yourself are totally different things :)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 06:13:17 PM by startingsmall »

fiddlefaddle

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2015, 07:00:21 PM »
I have the very great fortune to already live here (Just south of Asheville, in Arden).

Me, too! We must be neighbors, dantownehall!

I'm a native of WNC and have lived in several parts of the mountains here. You have some good advice already. I think a lot of people retire to the country in WNC and then regret that they built too far from town/cultural activities/good healthcare/etc. There are some very remote spots - be sure you're happy with your location because driving an hour every time you want to go to town may get really old.

Winter is a good time to look at land because everything is going to look gorgeous in the summer. Be careful about neighbors. The climate can vary quite a lot from one mountain to another. I grew up on a ridge very aptly called Windy Ridge. It could be freezing and windy there and perfectly nice a little lower in the valley. 

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about specific areas of WNC.

Mr. Green

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2015, 07:16:34 PM »
www.permies.com is a forum devoted to people who are interested in "permaculture," which could otherwise be defined as simple, "alternative" living. Some off grid stuff, some unconventional but interesting building, farming, homesteading ideas, etc.

senecando

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2015, 09:24:15 PM »
Hey everyone,

I'm still probably ten years away from this happening, but one idea my wife and I have for our FIRE plans is to buy 5 acres rural property somewhere in Western NC.  Ideally, we would build a small, energy efficient house on the property and keep our current (and by that time mortgage free) house to use as a rental.

I'm currently at the very beginning stages of researching potential locations/plots, but I was wondering if anyone has done something similar and/or could suggest resources that would help a beginner through the process.  I would love to find a book/blog on selecting the land, building a house, potential pitfalls, etc. 

Any advice or suggestions?

Rob Roy has a book called "Mortgage Free" about buying a rural piece of land and building a house on it. He has others about building different styles of house. He is, first and foremost, a house-builder.

I'm not worried about mortgages with current rates, but I've liked his books a lot. He talks about lot selection, building, designing.

(I haven't listened to this, but I assume it's good: http://radicalpersonalfinance.com/how-to-live-without-a-mortgage-interview-with-rob-roy-author-of-mortgage-free-innovative-strategies-for-debt-free-home-ownership-rpf0081/ )

Rural

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2015, 12:35:24 AM »
Many of the very real neighbor problems listed above can be mitigated by buying more land than the five acres you mention. We live on 25 acres a little over an hour and a half from any "real"  city. We do, or did, have the alcoholic methhead neighbors, though if there was any molesting going on, I was blissfully unaware. They all seem to be in prison now, which is happy-making. While they we the, we only saw are heard them if we drove out, and then only if we went in their direction, and they were "next door." I did have to fend off what I believe to be one of their customers one morning shortly before they disappeared, so it can happen, but that was once in five years, trespassing at great personal effort (it's a hell of a hike up here).


Trespassing and burning are harder to mitigate, though at distance the burning is only an issue if they let it get out of hand. We had one memorable case of this - we got some unplanned bulldozer tracks on our property and they got a big bill they surely didn't pay from the forestry service.


Best advice? Take your time. Start reading books. If Rob Roy wrote it, it's good. If Rodale published it, it's almost certainly good. Check out the Mother Earth News website - some of the older articles are better than recent ones (which are good), and the website goes back to at least the 70s.


Take time with the land, too. You don't have to get excited about any particular parcel for sale, not with your timeline. So don't; just start evaluating whether parcels fit your needs. Even if you're not ready to buy yet, start following the listings (or, better, look around for "for sale" signs, too, if you know the area you want - rural land is often sold without a listing).


Find out what the health departments where you want to buy require for a septic system (perk test is the old version, soil map is more likely). It'll bother you to do it, but pay for that to be done before you buy, especially if you only buy five or so acres. If you have to start over because a place won't take a septic system, you'll lose a few hundred dollars. If you buy a place and then find you can't build, you lose your housing fund.


My husband and I started our search with a list of things our property had to have, things that would be nice to have, and things that were deal-breakers. Then we made it into an Excel workbook and started rating each property we looked at on its own sheet. Both the exercise of making the lists, the side-by-side comparison, and frankly, the sheer number of tabs to show us there were always more properties out there, all were very helpful.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2015, 07:38:14 AM »
We were on a similar journey a few years ago when we bought our farm and land.  We seriously considered building a house like you describe, but decided not to.  Financially, it was better for us to buy an existing farm with all of the necessary outbuildings.  If we had just build a house we wouldn't have our chicken coop, Morton building, garden sheds and other random but useful small old buildings.  We bought a very old farmhouse that was fixed up, but we are working on making it more energy efficient.  The best part is our 30 acres and 5 acre pond/lake.  What do you plan on raising on the land?

I think it is great that you are doing so much research.  I think the biggest mistake people can make is jumping into rural life without a good plan.  I see a lot of (pardon the potential insult) "city" people buying small homesteads and getting in way over their heads (especially financially). 

I don't have any book suggestions, but here were some of the things we considered when purchasing our farm.
-access to our own water.  Our house came with a well and was also equipped with a rainwater collection cistern.  This makes watering animals, trees and gardens much easier.  We also wanted a pond that held water even in drought years.
-near a small town.  We are biking/walking distance from a great small town with a school, library, bank, restaurant, pool and a few other amenities. 
-Privacy, but accessible neighbors. We have two neighbors that we could walk to and we actually like one of them.
-Land that had a few trees, not too many rocks and not too hilly.  We wanted to put up greenhouses and gardens so this was very important.

SouthernTransplant

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2015, 08:55:36 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the fantastic advice!  This is a lot to chew on, and exactly what I was looking for.  Luckily, there is plenty of time on my side for me to start researching.

fiddlefaddle and dantownehall, I also live just south of Asheville and work in Arden.  Glad to hear there are more of us in the area!

Nate R

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2015, 11:41:16 AM »
My dream is to buy 40 acres of wooded land w/ water on it, build a small cabin on it, and keep it SIMPLE. Wood heat/hot water, likely no indoor toilet, etc. Might grow some food of my own, hunt some, maybe raise a couple animals.
 
I'd live there 1/3 to 3/4 of the time, and have rentals in the city that would be ~2 hours or less away.

Live in the city now, have a duplex we live in one unit of. Thinking that if I can stay here it may help my little dream work out. Lower tenant would pay for the house's entire expense if/when the house was paid off. Would like to then have other rentals to supplement my stash. I enjoy being in the city at times, and thus wouldn't mind staying here some of the year, or 1 week a month, or something like that.

So good to see a bit of discussion on something similar!

mbl

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2015, 02:15:35 PM »
We built our one and only home in the country 25 years ago.  (Finished paying the 15 year mortgage years ago)
Simple 3 bd, 1 bath ranch with open floor plan.
1200 sq ft on 5 acres with half a dozen house on the road and surrounded by farmland and woods.
We finished the basement and added a bathroom downstairs about 14 years ago.
We heat with wood that DH and DS cut from the surrounding woods.

We loved it then and still do today.
Our kids had lots of space to play, ride, dig, ice skate on, and do whatever they wanted and clean air :)
Schools were good and safe.

DH is very handy.   You need to be reasonably self sufficient and a good problem solver.
Well pumps break,  septic needs cleaning,  long driveways need clearing,  land needs grading,  wood needs cutting,  some of the grass needs to be kept tame, fruit trees need pruning, etc.



startingsmall

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2015, 04:58:53 AM »
Many of the very real neighbor problems listed above can be mitigated by buying more land than the five acres you mention.

True.  My in-laws live on 15 acres surrounded by woods and you can't see any other homes from their property.  Their only real problem is that my mother-in-law (who loves to walk for exercise) can't really take advantage of the nearby neighborhood for walking because neighbor dogs come after her when she tries to walk up her driveway.   She has taken to carrying pepper spray and that helps, but every now and then she'll still get a scare and therefore goes through phases where she just walks her pasture fenceline while she works up the nerve to tackle the driveway again.  And the meth lab busts, but that's an inevitable part of rural living. 

Dawn

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Re: Rural Land Advice
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2015, 06:24:52 AM »
I inherited my mom's home when she passed - in WNC. I wouldn't trade it for the world! Yes, we have to drive about 15 miles into town and I have one neighbor who is too close.....but when I get home on Friday, I don't want to leave! When people visit, they love it!
"They aren't making anymore land." And prices are going up because everyone wants to live in Blowing Rock and they are moving down the mountain. Two gated communities went in......
I would make sure you have water on your land. Visit people who live in the country - learn first hand from them. You can contact me directly if you want.
Sounds like we aren't far from each other.
Good luck in your research!