Monday, March 16, 2015

Are You Meant for the Country?

I talk to so many urban dwellers who dream of owning a country property, but I'm learning that most have no idea where to start.  I think the very first question you have to ask yourself is, "Am I meant for the country?"  You may be thinking, "Of course! Why else would I want a getaway?"

It's not that simple, y'all. Let's consider a few things. My goal is to leave you confused. Unsure of your desire to own a little piece of rural heaven.

Let's get started!

You say "yellow" I say "yeller"

This is more of a statement than a point of consideration:  You CANNOT go to the country and act like a city dweller. You must learn to blend in. Ask yourself this very important question - Do you know how to shape your cowboy hat?

Right way to shape a hat

Bet you don't.
Better learn. It will give you away, no matter how many times you say "yeller."

Wrong way to shape a hat

Do you own Old Gringo boots rather than Justin or Tony Lama?
Don't wear those things to Walmart. Yes. I said Walmart. There is no Target, Central Market, Whole Foods, or Lowe's in the country. You make due with the cheap stuff.  Can you manage going into evil Walmart? Not one of your neighbors will have a single problem with it. In fact, it's possible one of them works there.

Do you hold the door open for people?
You don't belong in the country if you don't. You will never be respected.

Have you ever mowed your own lawn?
If not, do not pass "go," do not sign that contract.
Your mower will be a tractor. You may have to use a chainsaw. Your hands will get beaten all to hell. You'll get  a tick in your armpit. And your neighbor will laugh at you when you back your trailer into a ditch. 

Are you humble and respectful of others?  Do you say "yes, ma'am?"
Ok. This is the heart of the matter. You are a gracious guest, and that's all you'll ever be. Country folks tend to be a little closed and suspicious. They like to gossip and may see a half empty glass where you're concerned. Be prepared to take it. If you think you can bring your refined ways to the country, you may be very unhappy. Some rural settings are tolerant of city ways. Others are not. 

So, there are some cultural considerations.  Let's move on to a few practicalities.

Twenty percent down

Buying your first acreage is not like buying your first house.  Land is always a conventional loan. No question, you will put down 20%. If you have the cash to buy outright, then awesome, but I suspect most of my readers will finance. Get that money put aside before you start looking.

How often are you planning to visit this country paradise?  If it's more than 4 times a year, don't look further than 90 miles away. You are dead on Friday. You're only good for about an hour and half of driving.

How hard are you willing to work on Saturday? And how early are you willing to get up to do it?
I ask those questions together because you will work very hard. And it will get very hot very soon, so you'll get up like a farmer. If you like to laze around on the weekends, you can stop reading now. 

If you are wealthy, and you can buy a turnkey property with a house, manicured ponds, perfect pastures and woodlands, then you don't need my advice. If you're like me, you're buying a raw piece of land.

What do you mean by "raw," Christy?

No electricity on the property.
No running water on the property.
No driveway or road.
No toilets.
No house.
No nothing.

Do you have a plan and/or the resources to turn "no" into "yes?"

I could go on and on, but this would be a novel; not a super long blog post. Keep following my posts, and I'll drill down into the "how to" of purchasing land. Today, I just want you to think about who you are, how you'll adapt to rural culture, and whether you have what it takes to work like a pioneer.

Stay tuned... or start looking for a timeshare.

1 comment:

  1. I am right there with you. Well, OK, used to be. Now adoring waiting and witnessing from a distance !!! ~~Go forth and CREATE !! ~~