plan to move to the country part IIgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Thank you for your responses to my first question. My next one is how would some of you go about researching some of the areas that you may have come upon as a desirable place to live. For example, I would like to get to know what is a fair price on some acreage, without getting pressured by a realtor, and gather past info on sales of similar parcels of property. What about the taxes in the area, the crime rate (and I know that crime is in the rual areas too) The political climate, zoning laws, demogrphics...ect. IN A FRIENDLY BUT DESCRETE MANNER. I want to avoid as much as possible not getting jerked around by the local VIP'S and gather accurate information. Thanks for your responses.
-- george smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 2000
great ? George i'm waiting to see the response on this one to welcome to the group Shaun
-- shaun cornish (email@example.com), May 03, 2000.
George, first start narrowing it down, if you flat out don't want to deal with snow, or alligators, or whatever, eliminate those areas from consideration. Think about areas you've lived in, know people who are/have been living there, even areas you've seen on TV. If you can, visit those areas. You can find a book in the referance section of your library, that will give you the names and addresses of newspapers and magazines published in the areas you're interested in. Subscribe to some of them.
Visiting the areas will give you a chance to meet local people, read the for sale ads on bulletin boards, check out what sort of businesses still survive in the area, and just generally get a superficial feel for the area. Stop in at the court house, feed store, cafe, and other businesses and ask what land is going for, zoning laws, etc. Not all relators are bloodsuckers, pop in and ask to see their current and recent listings (around here those frequently have the sale price).
If there is even a police department, go in and talk to them and ask what goes on around there. They probably don't want to paint their hometown as a crime-ridden cesspool, but don't be confrontational, just be honest about what you're worried about and what you want to know (same is true for anyone you speak with).
Don't completely discount state and local tourism departments, local chamber of commerce offices and other like sources. They have a lot of information, albiet all positive, that can help you decide about an area.
Just be friendly and honest with people, some will be overly optimistic, some with be gloomily pessimistic, others will be in between. Weigh all the answers and make your own decision. Gerbil
-- Gerbil (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 2000.
I've been doing some websearches and finding lots of stuff. There's an organization of counties with lots of links at http://www.naco.org/
Search on "government" and start narrowing it down. You can find lots of stats on demographics and so forth. For actual past info on sales - that's generally public info but not you might not find it online. In all the areas I've ever lived it gets published monthly in a local newspaper.
Also sites like UnitedCountry have many real estate listings and you can get a pretty good feel for land prices there, although some areas seem to be less "internet-friendly" than others. A subscription to a local paper once you've started narrowing the search is an excellent idea. And your local library might be able to help you - they're research experts.
-- Deborah (IL) (ActuaryMom@hotmail.com), May 03, 2000.
George: You can also check out the classified in lots of newspapers across the country on the internet, faster than waiting for a subscription, and cheaper. Then, when you narrow it down to a couple areas, you could subscribe. Where are some of the places you have been stationed while in the service? Any you particularly liked or disliked? Most smaller towns are great, it takes a while to fit in, but in general folks are friendly and helpful, if you don't come in and start telling them how they have been doing everything wrong, etc. Usually a small cafe is a good place to go sit and have a cup of coffee and pie, talk to the waitress or others in there, and you will learn a lot. Same for the gas station, etc. Folks just love to talk about their town, but sometimes are suspicious, so you have to let them know how beautiful it is, and that you were wondering if there were any places for sale, and what land generally goes for, etc. Good luck, and let us know how the search goes! Jan
-- Jan B (Janice12@aol.com), May 03, 2000.
If you belong to any service organization, church, professional association, etc., see if there is a group or branch in areas that you are thinking of. We did that with our church. My husband met the pastor of the congregation in the area we were "shopping", and since he had been there only a few years, had some good pros and cons. Lions, Rotary, etc., all have branches in small communities and would probably be glad to share info with you.
If you have some areas narrowed down, all you have to do is ask on this forum and you will get lots of information here! People live all over the place...see the thread about "Where do you live?" and you will see!!
-- sheepish (email@example.com), May 03, 2000.
My husband and I figured out the weather we wanted, and the lowest taxes we could find and went from there..We then looked at our interests and talked about what we HAD to have access to, i.e. flea markets, antique shops within an hours drive..we narrowed it down to Alabama and Arkansas rather quickly..In doing web searches and talking to folks on this website, there seems to be more people moving to Arkansas, so we turned to Alabama.It also helped that one of our sons lives there !!!! Regardless of what our son said,we made several calls to the area.The first one was to the county sherrif.We asked him if there were any sections of the county to avoid."None"...We then called five realtors to ask where new subdivisions were planned, and where the commuter highways were.We called the local zoning people and asked where there were no zoning laws in the county.Now we know that we are buying a place in an area very undesirable for commuters, subdivisions,zoning, and little crime, with dirt cheap taxes, etc.Since we plan to leave this house feet-first, we don't care about resale value either.Before we signed the papers, we also checked out who owned the adjacent property, how long, and their ages (all public record, sorry Joel)..gave us a good idea that it was not some poor old widow who needed quick cash..actually it is a lucrative horse farm...so...my advice? Check out all of the facts that are important to you now and will be important to you 30 years from now.Some things will change, but the majority of good points will probably still be there for you.
-- Lesley Chasko (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 2000.
You might be able to get some good info at the local county court house. The one in our county is pretty small and fairly friendly. Stop in at the tax office or land title office and ask. Also agree about getting subscription to local paper. Ours only comes out twice a week, but they print everything! You'll get a pretty good idea of what goes on.
-- Mona (email@example.com), May 03, 2000.
Being a minister, our family has had to make decisions about where we thought the Lord was leading us. One consideration was the town where we would be living. We would visit, scope out what the town has to offer (services,business or if they were in a nearby town), we always buy a local paper. In really small towns or counties they print EVERYTHING
-- Vaughn (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 2000.
Darn! there go my slippery fingers again!
Our paper still has a column devoted to who had visitors this week and who traveled to family, etc. Look at the real estate ads and call some realators and ask about the prices of the land. It was an excellent idea about contacting a local church of your brotherhood. Ask your minister if he has a Directory of the Ministry. It should list all churches in the USA from your particular brotherhood. The local minister in the area may be able to tell you if the community is friendly to minorities, which I'm sure would be important to you. Good luck!
-- Vaughn (email@example.com), May 03, 2000.
My basic way of researching was that I travelled all over this country for a few years in my younger days. The place that felt right to me was Virginia. I need mountains and greenery more than anything else. I lived in California for nine years, but couldn't stand the long months of gloomy weather and brown wherever I looked, although I really liked the lively people out there.
When I came to Virginia, I found the people much more stodgy but it's so beautiful here that at times I found I've stopped breathing with delight and admiration.
I am big on research. One way to get an idea of land values is to get the tax map (public record information) and pick out places that interest you. You can get the tax assessment on the parcels you are interested in. The tax assessment is not the same as fair market value but you can find out what the base relationship is.
When you find parcels you are interested in you can go look up the deeds in the courthouse. Lots of times the lawyers do not put the actual selling price down, but you can calculate it from the tax paid at the time of transfer. A court clerk will tell you how. These figures are not always accurate because not everybody is honest but they'll give you some ball park figures.
You might consider taking a course in real estate or even working as a real estate agent. You seem like a friendly, caring person. Not only might you help some other folks find what they want and help yourself make some money, but also, but seeing lots of properties and all the information as it comes in, you would be in the cat bird seat for finding what you want!
-- Elizabeth Petofi (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 08, 2000.
George-- I found my piece of land driving around and driving around. i was fortunate to find a realtor who was a professional and who looked out for my interests and pulled all the specs about the surrounding neighborhood (how big each property was, how much it last sold for, what amenities like water, power, buildings,they had, assessed value, etc) so that we could come up with a fair offer, which was $20,000 less than the owners were asking. And then with all of that information, he put together a comparison report for the owners, so that they could see that they were asking too much, given the market, and that mine was a reasonable offer. (Their counteroffer was nominally higher than my offer, and I accepted it, so they could have a little honour in the bargaining.) So there are good agents out there -- they have to be pros, not half-trained parttimers hoping to make a quick killing. But I found the actual property. One thing I highly recommend you do before you get to the bargaining stage is camp on the land for a night or two. See how it feels. See how the noise level is. Traffic. Listen to the neighbors, if you can hear them. I went through the whole negotiation thing for a different piece of land, signed, and then during the contingency period, I camped out for a weekend on the property. Found the neighbor's kids play basketball 6 hours a day, with full complement of death metal and raucous comments. (Hey, it's their home, they can do that -- but did I want to make the move to the country and take on a mortgage for the privilege of listening to it?) Found that it was under a small aircraft flight path -- the drone from one would just about tail off when the next one would buzz in. And there was more traffic on the road than I had realized, though I had visited the place many times. So I backed out of the deal. The next time, I camped out before the dealing began -- before I even knew if they wold come down to a reasonable price. And I love my chunk of forest: quiet & green. Good luck to you!
-- snoozy (email@example.com), May 15, 2000.