Curtis Seltzer, a rural land investor and the author of "How to Be a Dirt-Smart Buyer of Country Property," says rural buying should start at the ground up, literally, with a focus on dirt. "Most buyers from the city and suburbs, including me, focus first and almost exclusively on the country house, whether existing or planned," writes Seltzer. "This comes at the expense of paying attention to the dirt on which the house stands and which surrounds it. We do this, I think, because all of us have a passing familiarity with houses. So we evaluate country property in terms of what we know rather than what we don't."
Seltzer offers these tips:
- Look first at how the land lays -- its topography. Which direction do its slopes face? How steep are they? If the land is flat, will it drain quickly or hold water because the subsurface contains a lot of clay? The surface vegetation and the feel of the dirt in your hands will give you an initial reading. Topographically interesting land is usually more interesting to spend time on, but it's also more expensive to work with and much harder to work against.
- Second, look at your soils. Different soils have different characteristics and capabilities; those will determine what you can do with your property at a reasonable cost. Your first step in scoping out property is to pick up a copy of the county's soil survey at the local U.S. Department of Agriculture office. County-level aerial maps and soil-survey information are available for some states and counties, and can be found here.
- Third, look at the location of your dirt. Will it be hard to get to in bad weather? Is it subject to flooding, earthquakes, mudslides, windstorms, fires and prevailing weather? If you have shoreline, is the land low (bad) or high (good)? Is the shoreline eroding? Is the land facing in the right compass direction for your plans?
- Finally, look at your dirt in terms of proximity to local goods and bads -- hospital, fire station, public water and sewerage, rescue squad, floodplain, job opportunities and distance from your current residence, post office, bank, supermarket and objectionable facilities -- however you care to define them.
United Country's Duffy says rural destinations in the Mid-Atlantic are drawing rising interest for their temperate climate, mix of mountains and shoreline and reasonable distance to centers such as Washington, D.C. This way, residents may maintain consulting positions and ease into retirement. One microtrend is what he terms the "half-backers," retirees who spent their working years in the Northeast, then retired to Florida, but are now moving halfway back to the Northeast.
Duffy says "small" ranches of a few hundred acres in Texas are popular searches on his firm's website. He also notes increasing migration from California to the "unspoiled" and less-expensive mountain retreats of Colorado, Montana and Idaho.
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The rural town I live in has a population of 953 in an area of 54 square miles. It's getting overrun with flatlanders who moved here to get away from the city but brought their city ways with them. They think my yard is the city park and bring their dogs over to crap on my lawn. I've looked out to see cyclists having their lunch on my picnic table and throwing their trash on my lawn. I caught two of my new "neighbors" picking vegetables from my garden. When I asked what they thought they were doing, they said "well, you have so much, the least you can do is share." Huh?!? I just noticed someone stole all my rhubarb sometime when I was at work. My garden is my food source. People are jerks.
I can't wait to sell my house and move to the country. :)
Well I would not want to be around the large urban centers if we ever had a complete economic collapse. There is a lot to be said for rural living if you can adapt to it. Left the rat race years ago and like the slower pace. Money is not everything, your quality of life can be measured by other things, even though it still takes a middle class income to retire to a more rural setting in the right fashion.
I really lament the breakup of the family farm, now corporate farming is doing to food prices what OPEC did to oil. Thousands of family farms bought up for sub divisions or agribusiness!
Yes. But this is nothing new. The Trib did a story on us African Americans throwing up our hands at the urban situation for the rural life. We relocated from Chicago, IL. to Saint Anne, IL. Could it be any nicer? Work from home office. Bank and pay bills online. Stock up like a righteous prepper and sleep outside with the stars if you want. Ok. Sometimes my neighbor's fence breaks down and about a dozen or so horses invade the back "yard"(5 acres). But we have shooting stars, fire flies, crickets, frogs, blue jays, and all sorts of insects. We lured a cat family to the property to act as natural predators to control the rodents. They do a great job. We are very happy out here. We even have high speed internet. You can burn your garbage and take skeet lessons with your guns too.
This is truly the life.
No people. No people drama.
After being out here in the boonies for some time I can honestly say that it was one of my best decisions.
When civilization collapses you want to be out of the combat zones.
As one that has done this BEWARE you could have a neighbor who raises English Bull Mastiffs and has Many (40) your life could be turned upside down. Contry living has it's draw backs.
Some counties have no rule and don't care to do anything about anything. (You just haven't lived in the county long enough) Taxes are cheap but the people can be (It's my property and I can do anything I want) less than educated . It's not paradise.
people come to the city for jobs and career. people go back to the country because you can 'live well on less money' there.
I've bought and sold rural properties most of my life. I would live there and improve the place, eventually sell it, then, get another. I've bought one too many. I live on 10 acres, have two tractors, implements, tool sheds, etc. I'm 68 years old.- remember that.
The past 7-8 years, I've had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, two heart caths (2 stents last time), and have Leukemia that was a "flare up " from the Lymphoma.
I used to always plant a 5000 sq ft garden and do lots of canning. Now I can't do squat!!
Learn this! You get old, you get crapped out. You don't go off into the sunset on your retirement sail boat. Mr. Macho guy will not exist, in most cases. Get a vehicle that gets good mileage, and is very easy to get in and out of for your endless trips to doctors.
So, here come the pep talks, but your infirmities will stay put. Good Luck.
We live in a fast paced world where everyone is in a hurry, but I question : in a hurry to do what? DIE? We all go the same place (the ground) and I'm looking forward to the slow pace of deep country living. I can go out my back door and get my supper anytime I want, people in the cities can't do that unless they dumpster dive (yuck). People on here have said that residents of rural areas don't like intruders, how would they know? Don't stick your nose into other residents business and worry about your own land and life where you don't have to be dependent on others and their supposed dislike of you, after all thats what country living is about, being on your own away from people who have attitudes in the first place
The quality of life has deteriorated rapidly and I think this is directly related to the loss of small family farms where families were close knit and raised with morals. But I dont want to encourage city slickers to come to the country, stay in the cities, I love the country and it's the life & death of me.
the country is where people can afford to live best. everything's cheaper out in the country. you can stick a single-wide on a 1/2 acre of land, put a skirt and some planters around it to dress it up, and live ok on your social security.
it's not like retired people are fleeing to pastoral greenwich, ct.!
Remember when the poor people lived in the country and the rich people lived in the cities?
It seems to have reversed over time.
Now I can't even afford to take a drive to see the country, much less afford to commute to work from there.
I am like millions of americans who will never be able to afford to retire. I am destined to be just another endentured servant to the corporatist's who have taken control of our government and turned our american dream into a Nazi nightmare.
For most folks, it would be a culture shock of mammoth proportions.
Does anyone remember "Green Acres?"
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