jo_travels

Where to buy, looking for fertile soil and no restrictions ...

Jo Travels
October 1, 2015

Hello, lovely people! So, I'm looking to relocate somewhere nice where I can soon start a family with my boyfriend. We both work from home (online) so it can be anywhere at all in the U.S. I am looking for a a few acres (2-20 depending on location, we are looking in the price range of 300-450k) in a green place with black fertile top soil, with lush grass naturally growing on it... nothing arid like Nevada, where we live right now hehe. Even most of California seems sort of dry for my taste. South Florida is beautiful but too tropical, I wouldn't be able to plant everything I would like to, certain fruit trees, grape vine... I would love a place with four distinct seasons, but not as cold as e.g. New York - I lived there and the winter is waaay too long. North Carolina seems perfect weather wise, but as I'm looking at the real estate online, it seems there might be a lot of restrictions on what you can do with your own land on a lot of properties... anyway here is what we would love to do with our land, please tell me if any of you can think of a city where this would be possible...

We wrote this for our potential real estate agent, broke it down by level of importance:



Needs:


- No farmland nearby, because of pesticide runoff possibility. I wanna do some personal organic gardening.


- No restrictions. Be allowed to cut down trees and landscape around the house to plant a large fruit tree garden (orchard), grow my own backyard vegetables, have a smaller greenhouse, plant grape vine, have a big flower garden all around the house etc.


Wants:


- Within 45 mins drive of a Whole Foods, as we only eat organic food.

- Allowed to keep some chickens, ducks, goats, bees, & maybe a couple of ponies.

- Building restrictions? I'd like to be able to build shed(s), a guesthouse, maybe even a second house later.


Desires:


- A river running through the property

- Would prefer to be on the grid, not w septic tank.

- Newer construction, 10y or less.

- 5 bedrooms or more, alternatively two houses on the property so our parents can come visit for months at a time.

- May I build a really tall fence, 8ft or taller around part of the property? We really enjoy not having neighbors anywhere nearby, and I love to suntan privately so that would be very nice, but no must.


I think it's not very likely I'll get responses to such a long question, but I really appreciate any advice you might have, maybe you already live in this paradise I'm imagining, or you know some people that are living the dream, or work in real estate and are really knowledgeable... Anyway, Thanks a lot!


...

Comments (59)

  • Iowacommute

    I usually lurk on here but wanted to share what I've learned.

    I am also from the city and have lived on DH's family farm for two years now. Our farm is in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, and to give you an idea of how far we are away from big city stuff we live next to a very strict Amish community.

    DH works from home and has an amazing internet connection. Verizon was by far the fastest connection, but we also pay well for it. We're on a 50G/month now, and it's around $400. He also has five monitors going at a time because he is a programmer and does GIS so lots of data and imaging. So rural does not necessarily mean no internet although I know it is very spotty up here, and we happen to be in a good spot. Just make sure when you find a place to have all of the local internet providers come out and test the connection speeds and give you a price. If Verizon would not have been here we would have had to get a business connection which would have put us well over $1k/month.

    If there is fertile soil then there will be farmland around it. Sure you could probably find a pocket someplace that is not surrounded by farms, but it will be so far out it will not fit any of your other criteria. Our CSR (Corn Suitability Rating) by which counties across the country value tillable soil is 87. That is very high and therefor the county will not let us build on it so that is another thing you will have to ask. We will build a house next year on the farm, and we do not have inspections or building codes we need to follow because the county does not enforce them. However they are very picky about preserving the farmland and natural areas so there are lots of requirements about where we can put the house. I am a big believer building codes are generally there for a reason so we will actually be following er exceeding the national ones. We want a net zero house.

    I had a rant about organic foods, but it just disappeared. Eh. DH also has a degree in agronomy, and yeah what do you think they use on the organic gardens to keep the bugs out? Also the chemicals used now on farms are way better than they used to be. Sure I only spot treat super bad buggy spots as a last resort, but it's in the runoff, the groundwater, acid rain. Okay new rant over.

    If you find a spot you like try to think everything through and then decide what you really need.

    Jo Travels thanked Iowacommute
  • Jo Travels

    Lol. Thanks! And that sounds funny. Super bad buggy spots. Does it help to be on a hill then I wonder... less runoff... $400/month wow, that's pretty pricey. My bf is a game & app developer he does the 3D art and so on .. he's gonna need some pretty decent internet too, yikes. Anyway, best of luck with the new house, sounds like you really know what you're doing! :)

  • Related Discussions

    How could this house look better?

    Q

    Comments (24)
    I would start with landscaping and a paint job for the trim. I would look at trying to match the mortar color for the window trim. A dark cranberry red might look nice for accent color and the cement block foundation.Don't paint the block as that would likely become a maintenance issue long term. For windows, a 3 over 1 might give a nice Craftsman look but I would approach it by finding a window company I liked and then see what they offered. Changing the window configuration in the dormer would help as well...a three window set in the center was quite common. The recommendation for cedar shingles would look great, but I don't know if the budget would stretch that far and whether the local real estate market would support that level of investment.
    ...See More

    advice for starting a new garden bed and improving soil

    Q

    Comments (9)
    Your local nursery should be able to recommend a bagged organic compost, even Home Depot carries a brand of organic compost if there's no other choice. Worm castings are good too. You might want to post your questions on the gardenweb, or read the threads there, there's many gardeners willing to help http://www.gardenweb.com/gardenweb/query/Acidifying-soil
    ...See More

    Floribunda shrub roses look very healthy but just don't flower much

    Q

    Comments (9)
    How old are the floribundas? The continuing drought has made it very difficult for even established plants to thrive. Try watering twice as much as last summer Even every other day instead of twice a week. If necessary due to watering restrictions, you can use a bucket to catch water from the shower when it is warming up.
    ...See More

    Looking for suggestions for reducing square footage

    Q

    Comments (45)
    najeebash, thank you for your post. The file is a pdf and for some reason I can't upload a version that can be enlarged. Someone was kind enough to upload it in a little larger version than what I posted. I appreciate your feedback. I like the idea of the formal area being smaller. It is so hard for us to visualize the space/size of the rooms with just looking at these plans. The architect and builder both think the sizes of the rooms are right on point for our neighborhood, with the exception of the master closet. Both have said that could be smaller and still spacious. My husband and I are completely relying on the expertise of our builder (who is a friend and knows us well) and the architect (who has no connection to our builder but designs a lot of houses in our neighborhood). We don't live in an open floor plan home now, so these rooms are hard for us to visualize. We've gotten the tape measure out and tried to visualize the space, but visualizing is not our gift. We both literally need to be standing in the room with furniture to say, hey, we like this space. Basically we want a house that feels manageable and not overwhelming, yet feel spacious. We completely agree that smaller spaces can feel much bigger if designed well, which is why I wanted opinions here on how to accomplish that goal. I feel like we can accomplish most of our wish list in a smaller footprint if the design is right. Hoping to go to the meeting tomorrow with our architect with new ideas to discuss! Thank you all for posting and offering your opinions and suggestions! They have been so helpful!
    ...See More
  • pamghatten

    Interesting list of requirements. I know NY is on your "do not want" list, but just to let you know how it is to live on a 20 acre farm 30 minutes outside of Buffalo ... there will be a Whole Foods in Buffalo next year, but I can drive down my road to the organic farm on the corner, and there are a couple of others close by. Any land that is close to a Whole Foods, most are in major cities, is going to have been farmed at some point, I think you will find virgin land way out somewhere or it's land that's not worth farming.

    And you will have a septic. Most rural towns are not going to maintain public utilities, water & septic, when homes are acres apart. I have a well & septic and no problems with either.

    Lots of small towns have requirements, because they can then charge for permit fees to enforce those requirements, source of income for the towns. Ours just added a requirement for a permit when you are re-roofing.

    My town has a minimum acreage requirement for new builds, trying to keep the rural nature of the town. And you have to have 10 acres or more for hooved animals, your pony ...

    If you get enough acreage, you won't have to build a really tall fence, just make sure you have an indicator on your driveway that rings a bell when someone drives down your driveway, so you'll know when people are coming.

    Personally, I think you should find a climate/area you like and then start visiting/vacationing at those areas to see if they are really where you want to live. Then research online the towns and their requirements to pinpoint exactly what meets your needs. Good luck.

    Jo Travels thanked pamghatten
  • tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

    I think you need to do a lot of research still to better define those things you want and to understand what is possible. For land, 2-20 acres with water (either free flowing or water rights) could take up a large portion of your budget, especially if it has fertile land. The good news is that soil can be developed. Two books that I can think of off hand that talk about picking a site are The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman and The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier. Both are professionals and while you may not be interested in gardening/growing at their level, there is much to learn from their expertise.

    I can also tell you that you can make a lot of things work in a variety of climates. I live on 5 acres in the mountains of New Mexico. I have a zone 6 climate allowing me to attempt to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, I am within 25 minutes of Albuquerque and 45 minutes of Santa Fe, I do keep chickens and could keep horses if I wished. I could probably get away with more DH finds the noises of goats rather annoying. The problem is, when one is that close to a city, over time, you may find what was once an ideal site has now been built around and what is permitted changes. Also, the areas where there are fewer regulations on what you can do also tend to have more limited services (police, fire, access to medical). If you decide to have children, the amount of time they spend on a bus could also end up being quite significant.

    I also agree if you want privacy, the chances of having a property with no septic is not likely. If you are a city girl, spending some time on other properties to get a feel for what an acre or 5 or 20 feels like is also a good idea. Depending on the land, an 8 foot privacy fence would not be necessary, but if you want an orchard, a 6 foot fence that is electrified will likely be necessary for deer.

    Jo Travels thanked tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM
  • emma1420

    I think a lot of places in the midwest might be a good fit. If you stay within easy driving distance of a significant midwestern city (think Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, St. Louis), then you will have access to things like Whole Foods. Although, as others have noted many places offer organic selections now. I believe the largest distributor of organic foods now is Target (and it's cheaper than Whole Paycheck).

    As others have noted, I think you are going to end up with a septic tank. Most properties in my midwestern neck of the woods, that are rural enough to allow animals and have more lenient policies about cutting down trees, are all rural (and consequently all on a septic tank system). I also think within your price range you may find it very challenging to find a property that is newer. Most rural properties in my area are all older.

    Jo Travels thanked emma1420
  • cpartist

    Have you ever spent any significant amount of time in a rural area away from the city? I'm not talking about a few days but at least a month or more? I ask because while living a rural life sounds romantic, and works for many people, it may or may not work for you in reality. How will you really feel when you're away from people in that your nearest neighbor is a drive away? How will you feel when your internet crawls along at an upload speed of minus 3; that's if you can even get that much speed? My sister moved to a rural area and while she loves it, she can't stand not having a decent internet connection, constantly losing us while talking on her cell phone, etc. If you need to fill a prescription, it normally means a drive of 20 minutes or more as opposed to calling up the local pharmacy and asking your prescription to be delivered.

    Yes rural living is great for many people. But if you've never tried it, I might suggest finding a house in an area of the country you think you might like to live in and renting for a year to make sure your dream doesn't become a nightmare for you. You might find that you like the area of the country but prefer a more urban/suburban area, or you might find you can't stand that area of the country but love being far away from neighbors, etc. But don't lock yourself in if you have no clue.

    Jo Travels thanked cpartist
  • khinmn59

    I think you have a lot of homework to do. Every area of the country has positives and negatives. You need to decide what you can live with and narrow your needs vs wants. Pretty unrealistic at this point! MN has some of the most fertile land in the country, but if you want have easy access to a city, you will pay dearly for that land.

    MN is of course the land of lakes and rivers, but once again you will pay dearly for the privilege of living there! Not to mention the very expensive real estate taxes for owning lakefront or lakeview properties. Again, these parcels are highly regulated as to what you can and cannot do with the property.

    MN is committed to provide reliable internet service to all residents. Some counties are more advanced than others, but it's a work in progress. We purchased some land from my mother and plan to build on my home farm this spring. That county has committed to providing fiberoptic service to every resident who wants it by 2018. Wonderful news as it is currently broadband and I work from home.

    We have a short growing season but we make the most of it! It's perfect for certain fruit crops such as apples, blueberries, pears, even peaches in some places! The U of M has developed many of the most commonly known apple varieties over the years. (Honeycrisp, Zestar, Sweet Tango etc) We are also able to grow most vegetables successfully too. As far as the organic thing...I can go on a rant and say don't waste your money! INDEPENDENT studies have shown that organic foods don't provide much more benefit than traditionally grown produce. Maybe I would spend more for organic strawberries, raspberries etc, but not for something that has a firm peel like melons, bananas etc. No more nutritious and the 'natural' methods used to deter pests can be just as harmful as pesticides used by the average farmer. I won't say anymore on that, people are going to do what they want to do.

    Also, if you're interested in raising animals you'll have to have enough land for the animals to live and also room to take care of their waste. It's a huge responsibility and a lot of work to keep them healthy and thriving. Good luck with your search.

    Jo Travels thanked khinmn59
  • ncrealestateguy

    OP,

    I had no idea this thread would be so negative regarding a completely fine question. I applaude you for deciding to make a big lifestyle change.

    I would not make the criteria of fertile soil too big a deal. Unless the land is a superfund site or extremely rocky, it will support growing fruits and veggies. I am an avid gardener and have grown crops in all types of soil. If the lot is growing trees and grasses, then it will do just fine.

    You do need to narrow down how many acres you need to do what you want to do. You need to do this because you need to see what is feasible given your budget. 2 acres will cost a lot less than 20 acres in the same area.

    Unlike what many here are saying, to get what you want, you do not have to be very far from a large metropolitan area. I mean, drive one hour in any direction from the outside boundary of a city, and you will be in a rural situation. Here in Charlotte, if you drive 30 minutes out, you can find acreage, rivers and streams. Don't let these armchair, internet nay - sayers discourgar you from persuing your dreams. If you put effort into your goals, one can do anything here in America.

    Jo Travels thanked ncrealestateguy
  • nosoccermom

    I wholly recommend "test driving" this idea first before taking the plunge. For instance, there are web sites that look for people to house sit their property and take care of their animals/gardens, etc. in exchange.


    http://www.mindmyhouse.com/sitters/search_assignments

    Like this, 10 months somewhere in Tennessee http://www.mindmyhouse.com/sitters/assignment/5594in

    http://www.housesittersamerica.com/

    And a list of the top-house-sitter-sites

    Jo Travels thanked nosoccermom
  • ncrealestateguy

    What's to test drive... either you are someone who likes living in the country or you don't.

  • Lys

    Regarding organic produce, there are many ways to get what you need. First of all, there are other organic stores in many areas, from the big (Earth Fare, who thinks Whole Foods is not strict enough in their environmental policies), to the small independent stores. There are also Farmer's Markets, and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). Some CSA farms let you work there in exchange for your share of fruits and veggies, so that might be a good way to try organic farming. For non-perishables, there is always online ordering (and even for perishables, says the person who orders feta cheese from Amazon in cool weather).

    I think test driving is a good idea. I once thought I would like more contact with nature, then I realized it's not working for me. If a houseplant gets bugs (ick!), I want to throw it rather than wiping each leaf gently with vinegar (I think) like my mother would. If my tomato plant (in a pot), starts throwing shoots in random directions, I have a hard time trimming them so I can get more tomatoes rather than leaves (I'm interfering with the plant's free will!). I can't stand the smell of 'organic' fertilizers and I would rather get a fingernail pulled than turn compost until it gets "a pleasant loamy smell" as the manuals say. Fighting squirrels and opossums for the right of eating from my own strawberry plants is not my idea of a fun way to spend my afternoons. So now I'm very happy to get my organic fruits and vegetables in a CSA box.

    Jo Travels thanked Lys
  • chisue

    Good to have romantic ideals, but...yeah, you might HATE living in the sticks. (Or the folks living there might hate you.)

    Jo Travels thanked chisue
  • lascatx

    Once again, folks -- crazy post with the same firt/last user name and initials are JT. Anyone else seeing the pattern?

  • nosoccermom

    @ncHuh? Exactly, you like it or you don't. However, OP lives in Las Vegas and is contemplating moving to a rural area but has never lived in one. So, to try it for a while before spending 300-400K on buying property seems a reasonable suggestion.

    @lascatx

    True, but even these threads may contain some useful information for others.

    Jo Travels thanked nosoccermom
  • lazy_gardens

    ncrealestateguy ... If you have NEVER lived in a rural environment, you don't know whether you like it or not.

    I'd hate to spend 300-500K and find out I can't stand the area because ____.

  • lascatx

    nosoccer -- I agree. To a point. Not sure where that point is -- just wanted to point out a possibility of another exercise in futility so that the point might be recognized sooner.

  • nosoccermom

    I'm just so gullible :) But I was excited to find all these web sites that let you housesit. Off to Provence or Tuscany.

  • lascatx

    Now that sounds good to me.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    As has been pointed out, you could probably get most of your desires (although, a creek, not a river!) in small towns within an hour's drive of most large cities in Ohio/Indiana/Illinois. Internet is a concern. I personally would worry more about being located near former industrial/heavy manufacturing/mining sites than about runoff from adjacent farms. That seems to be the source of a lot of water well contamination in my state.

    It is true that, as another poster stated above, organically produced foods are no more nutritious than standard commercial fare. BUT, there is still no answer to the worry that the exposure to pesticides, chemicals, herbicides may be cumulatively harmful. We are already seeing the effect of the long term use of antibiotics in agriculture having resulted in bacterial resistance to many of them. (yes, this is a fact --as far back as 1998 the CDC had traced the emergence of one particularly nasty drug resistant bacterium to the use of antibiotics on fruit crops)

    Jo Travels thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • c t

    I would agree that you ought to test drive living in the 'burbs or the country. I live on a couple acres outside the city, 40 minutes from Whole Paycheck. You WILL have a septic system to maintain (though that involves calling someone to pump it out every couple years) and you will probably need your own well, and need to maintain that, too. Once lots increase in size to a couple acres or more, it isn't cost effective for a municipality to maintain city water lines and sewers.
    I, too, sense something amiss here, since your "needs" include a veggie garden, and in your next post you're willing to ditch it.

    Jo Travels thanked c t
  • Jo Travels

    Raee_gw thanks! Can you think of ways to research whether a property is located near one of the former industrial/heavy manufacturing/mining sites you mentioned? Just ask my realtor? Not sure they would necessarily know or tell me ...

  • Christopher_H

    I have to jump in here and ask what's wrong with a well and septic system? I'm on 32 acres and there's no sewer anywhere near us. Those are only in the subdivisions with tiny one acre lots or in town.

    But if Whole foods is a major criteria then go to their website and list the locations and draw a 30 mile radius around each store. That's where you'll end up if they're that important. That should eliminate 99.9% of the country.

  • Jo Travels

    No, I guess septic is ok... I was renting a vacation home while visiting Oahu HI anwhile back and there was this sewery stench that kept wafting through the house all week, that we couldn't locate... We decided it must be because it's on a septic tank or something, maybe it gets problems more often then regular sewage...? Does it often back up? I dunno, prob not an issue I've never dealt with one before.

    Right now I'm pretty unsure about like, everything I put on that list anyway, we still have 4-5 months to figure out exactly what to look for. It's kind of the point w online research, so we don't show up to the realtor without knowing anything about houses whatsoever. I've always rented apartment condos.

  • lascatx

    While dont't you look for a rental in a rural or semi rural community? It sounds like you have a huge learning curve if you have never lived in a semi rural area and you have never owned a home. Right now, you don't even know what you don't know enough to ask questions, much less assess how you would live with it all. That's an awfully big chunk to bite off and hope you can chew. And a lot of money to sink into something you might hate -- and not be able to unload for a while. And if you don't make a smart purchase, you might be unloading it at a loss.

    And no, septic doesn't mean you will have a stench My dad's office building was on septic and have never had a stink -- in roughly 40 years.

    And I still question whether this is a sincere question.

    Jo Travels thanked lascatx
  • new-beginning

    I live in Texas, in zone 8 (you might want to Google Waller County, TX). We live on five acres, we have septic (it doesn't smell), we have a well (almost 300 ft deep) and we have absolutely no restrictions on what is allowed on our property (except for the type septic system to install). I am retired and I dislike having to drive 12 miles to go to the grocery store, library, feed store, restaurants, doctor, dentist. The nearest hospital is 20 miles away. I do have reasonably fast internet access for $50 per month. Cable is not available. Fire fighting is via the local "volunteer' fire fighters. The nearest Whole Foods is a 30 min. drive away.

    Our property had originally been part of a larger tract of land where cows grazed. I doubt it was ever fertilized even, much less ever had Roundup applied. The nearest river is two miles to the West, we do not have a creek.

    We have dogs, cats, goats, sheep, chickens, a turkey, (not all of them are still alive). It would not be a problem to have a cow, llama, emu, horse (previous owners had horses), mule, donkey, pig, rabbits.

    We have a fair amount of wildlife here also as we have quite a bit of brush/cedar trees/yaupon vegetation. Armadillo, coyote, bobcat (one time), fox, rabbits, skunks, snakes, opossum, field mice/rats, no deer because we don't have oak trees.

    We have a large 'hoop house', about 20 ft x 40 ft. The previous owners had put in a huge number of blackberry beds with drip irrigation (which we removed due to poor planning/crappy plants. My husband grew up in the country in a ranching family, I am/was a city girl; our grandson lives on the property with his family also.

    Like the others, I really advise you to try country living by renting somewhere before purchasing. Small plots of raw land in our county probably are selling for around $10K per acres. Septic and well most likely would be between $25K and $40K. Then you need some sort of home, driveway, fence, barn, tractor, power pole with meter($2K).

    Fell free to ask if you have any questions. CMM

    Jo Travels thanked new-beginning
  • ncrealestateguy

    How do you have a Realtor if you have the foggiest idea on where you are moving to?

  • Jo Travels

    I don't have a realtor who I know I'm gonna go with yet. So far only had a Vegas realtor show me properties here and then decided Vegas is no fun - long term.

  • ncrealestateguy

    New Beginnings...

    Those estimates for a well and sewer seem too high. I built a home and the sewer cost less than $4000 for a 4 bedroom home. My well is 300 feet deep and was about $3500.

  • Christopher_H

    When we built, the well and septic cost about $3500 for both. But many states are revising the soil requirements for in ground systems and I spoke with the excavator who did the septic (small town, we're all friends) and he told me a septic system runs about 10K today.

    My sister in law lives in rural northwest NJ and had to replace the leach field because she didn't know how to maintain it, and it cost them over 25K.

    A properly maintained system will last literally the life of the owner.

  • new-beginning

    our county only allows aerobic systems, no 'field' systems any longer. So, one not only has holding tanks, but piping with sprayers and a pump. In our case, there are three homes on the property, for a total of 10 bedrooms, which is how the size of the system is determined. My oldest daughter just purchased nine acres the next county over, I will ask her if she has gotten quotes for well and septic. CMM

  • zippity1

    those well and septic figures sound good and maybe even slightly less expensive than ours were a year ago (plus a few weeks maybe) we are roughly 80 miles or so south east of new-beginning closer to the coast and we were required to do an aerobic system also (odd because nw ar doesn't even allow those systems -at least they didn't 3 years ago) our well is close to 400 ft and requires a special softner/filter system that cost almost as much as the well and possibly more ......because of the petroleum smell and feel ....we had to add reverse osmosis to make it drinkable but it's great now...

    Jo Travels you might want to check an air pollution map because pollution travels with the prevailing winds and many places you think have no problems really are worse than an area 5 miles from a polluter....

    Jo Travels thanked zippity1
  • lazy_gardens

    One situation you can look for is an "orphan farm house" where most of the acreage has been sold or merged with someone else's land, leaving the farmhouse behind with a small amount of land.

    If you want goats and ponies, you need the higher end, because 2 acres gets used up fast in pastures.

  • new-beginning

    picture of just some of the berry beds we ripped out


  • Brandy Davis

    You might look at Arkansas. I know Fayetteville has a growing organic community. You might have a better chance at cheaper land in that portion of the state as well. Restrictions vary, but with 15 or more acres you have many less restrictions. We live in Little Rock and are looking for something similar (not so much the organic farming/having a whole foods nearby - but the land and ability to have a farm) and prices are higher here than the rest of the state. I spotted a pretty place in Arkadelphia not that long ago that was in the $115 range and was several acres. Good luck!

    Jo Travels thanked Brandy Davis
  • angelazuill

    We live about 30 miles south of Nashville, TN and have most of the criteria you listed, but being in the country on acreage we do have septic. We lived in a planned community prior to moving out here and while we love being in the country and having a few acres it is definitely a LOT of work. Middle Tennessee is a beautiful place to live!

    Jo Travels thanked angelazuill
  • zippity1

    i think northeastern alabama/southeastern tennessee is one of the most beautiful and comfortable climatewise places i've ever been 4 seasons, rolling hills and mountains

    Jo Travels thanked zippity1
  • tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

    I am not sure if the OP is still reading, but in case this comes up for others with a similar question, one very important thing to have on your list is roads. In my semi-rural area, many roads are dirt and it is very important to know who is responsible for maintaining them. If a government body maintains them (county or city), I would contact them to see how often it is done.

    If the roads are private, that is another issue. I have heard that many lenders will not loan without a road maintenance agreement, which is good, but an agreement being in place is only a start. The question comes down to the ability of those bound by the agreement to participate. A couple of bad winters or exceptionally rainy monsoons have left many private roads impassable. Even ones that you can technically get your car down are not a pleasant drive. On my mother's road, there is a large portion of culvert exposed and it continues to erode around it. In my community, most contribute to the road maintenance but there are always a few who cannot or will not. Our options are to either place a lien on their property or everyone else pony up more money. Also, if there is snow, who will remove it? In my subdivision, there are a few people with tractors who go out and do it, so we are lucky, but there is no guarantee on it. The road is private so the county/city would never make it down here.

    Jo Travels thanked tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM
  • Jo Travels

    Still reading, thank you tishtoshnm that's good advice to keep in mind.

  • c t

    I have friends living in a neighborhood where the road maintenance is the responsibility of one of the neighbors. It is a loop of dirt road that runs by all the houses.

    I think he is paid to do this by the other in the community. It's inconsistent at best.

  • Christopher_H

    Here in Vermont there are more unpaved roads than paved ones, and the towns maintain them.

    Here's a little incident that happened at Town Meeting last year. The road dept was asking for $20K to repave a half mile road that had been done 10 years earlier. One resident stood up and mentioned that this particular road was costing us $2,000 a year, not including pot hole repair and frost heave repairs. "That's nuts" he said. "Take it back to what it was!" The Road Foreman said it would cost the same $20K to do that. "Yeah, but we're saving $2,000 a year after that."

    We voted to tear up the pavement.

  • DLM2000-GW

    We moved from suburban Chicago where all roads are maintained and plowed by one gov't entity or another and never knew it could be anything else - till we moved to small town western NC. Big wake up call. We ended up finding the property of our dreams on a gravel road, something we said we would never accept until then. But it's a state maintained road and it's been graded/filled at least 3 times since last April when we first saw the property so it's not always a bad thing if the road isn't paved. Some of the high end subdivisions around here have HUGE fees because they know in time the will have HUGE road costs.

    BTW - back to your original wish list..... you said that NC was appealing but you were concerned about restrictions. We felt the same way but found that land in the county but not within city limits had minimal restrictions. We bought raw land and other than set back requirements for what we build (which are very reasonable) there are no restrictions. Of course the same privilege applies to our neighbors.

    We spent 3 years doing trips to find a house or land but it wasn't until we decided to take the leap and move here (renting) that we zeroed in on where we wanted to be and found our land. You sound young - life is short and if you have a dream, I'd say leap. That's what I'm telling my sons now which is not what I used to say - but 'If only' is no way to live.

    Jo Travels thanked DLM2000-GW
  • cpartist

    DLM, I agree with you that "If only" is no way to live. It's why my daughter is in LA waiting tables, um, I mean acting. LOL.

    But seriously, you even mentioned that you first rented in the area before buying and I really think they should rent first. My sister, btw, is also in western NC near the SC border and she loves it there. Dirt road and all. It wouldn't be for me, but I'll sure enjoy visiting her this coming spring.

  • DLM2000-GW

    cpartist your sister must be in our vicinity - we're 15 miles or so from the SC line. Spring in WNC is glorious. As long as our kids are happy, right? it's a different world for them.

  • Jo Travels

    I just went to visit Asheville NC for a week. It's incredible. We stayed at an organic farm among others, located right on a larger creek... it was so romantic and beautiful... Might end up around there, maybe Leicester, Marshall or Candler. Might even go as far from the city as Burnsville. We were only there like 8 days so don't know if any of the areas have downsides, like right next to a source of pollution for example. Was looking at www.npr.org/news/graphics/2011/10/toxic-air but not sure what those dots are exactly or of the map is perfectly reliable. Septic tank for sure hehe

  • cpartist

    DLM2000 I was talked out of becoming a fine artist by my father who insisted I'd starve. LOL. He realized I could still make a living in art so didn't talk me out of doing art. I went into textile wand wallpaper design.

    However I was not about to tell my daughter not to try something she loved. Thankfully, now I am doing what I love too, so all is good.

    You and my sister are probably close by.

  • DLM2000-GW

    Jo Travels - I am not familiar with Burnsville and have only passing familiarity with Marshall. We looked at several places in Leicester but ultimately it was not for us. Candler seems to be a love it or hate it place. I know people who have lived there and moved but I'm not comfortable publicly sharing the reason since it may offend someone who loves it there - pm me if you're interested. Candler is, however, closer to Canton and when the wind is right, which it is frequently, you can smell the paper mill. That was a deal breaker for me - I hadn't smelled it on our first visit to that area but did the next time. Depends on the day, the wind, the specific property location (mountains can sometimes shield the smell), and your tolerance for the smell - not everyone is put off by it.

    Jo Travels thanked DLM2000-GW
  • dekeoboe

    You were in a very pretty part of the state. You might also want to check out Hendersonville.

    Jo Travels thanked dekeoboe
  • Lys

    Jo, how good are you at essay writing? Here is a chance to get a 42 acre farm through an essay writing contest: http://www.tennesseefarmessay.com/home.html Wonder why they are doing things this way? It has good internet connection too :)

    Jo Travels thanked Lys
  • live_wire_oak

    That farm is in the middle of no where. They are being VERY optimistic in their "estimates" to get to a city. Not to mention any city with a Whole Foods is hours away. I wouldn't bet on the reliability or speed of rural satellite internet. There is pretty good cost premium over urban Internet. Satellite has a whole host of issues that fiber optic systems won't.

    You might want to read a bit about Pulaski and the Klan rallies there to know what the country around it would be like. The closed offedness, suspiciousness, and prejudice against outsiders is a very real consideration to most rural living. As is the very real prejudice that is still alive and waves the flag.

    This goes for most rural Southern living. Not just TN. You need to read the local level commentary about Ole Miss University voting to not fly the MS state flag on campus because it contains a mini Confederate flag on it.

    You have no idea about the vitriol displayed against "outsiders" "interfering" with the way things have always been. You can move to a rural community and live there 40 years and still be "the Yankee". Urban communities with more mobility, cultural exposure, and education, are more likely to be accepting of immigrants attempting to become a part of the community.

    Jo Travels thanked live_wire_oak
  • angelazuill

    ha- I used to have a friend who actually lived on the road where that essay contest prize farm is located! It's a beautiful rural area, but the closest shopping (probably 15 minutes away in Lawrenceburg) is going to be Kroger or Super-Walmart. Also, I grew up in Pulaski, and while is does have a lot of unfortunate klan history, I don't find that the current population there is reflective of that at all, and in my experience growing up there, were all appalled by it. I remember when I was a kid, back when the klan did rally there once a year. The town turned into a ghost town. People just stayed home or went out of town for the day to demonstrate their disgust at it. As far as I know, no rallies occur there now. But it is still a small town and there is some small town mentality that goes along with that sometimes. But a lovely town nonetheless. While I did chose to move away from Pulaski many years ago, we do still live in Tennessee (closer to Nashville now) and it truly is a beautiful and friendly state.

    Jo Travels thanked angelazuill

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268