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How much acreage?


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#1 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:23 AM

I am driving myself crazy looking for some acreage to buy. DH & I were thinking about buying some in Oregon so we could retire out there but the cost of land sent us into sticker shock. We're now back to looking in NC. I found a location that is close enough so we can "run up there" in case we find something plus with the elevation being 2800-3000 ft the humidity shouldn't be as bad. The problem is, so far I haven't found anything larger than 2.44 acres.

I know I haven't been looking that long and something might come on the market but what is the minimum amount of acreage do you guys think we could get by on? I'm wanting a decent size vegetable garden (I'm sure the size will vary from year to year depending on what we plant), a place to grow fruit trees/shrubs, a yard to play with the dogs, the house of course, and 3-4 Nigerian Dwarf goats and a barn or building of some sort. Maybe it's because because DH & I are wanting 8-10 acres but I can't picture in my mind 2.44 acres working for us. I've been doing my research on ND's. Some people keep their goats on a lot less land but I also read they should be rotated to different pastures to reduce the risk of them picking up parasites. But at the same time, I don't know if 8-10 acres will become available.

I need a reality check. I know I'm feeling impatient and I/we don't want to make an impulse buy, especially since this is going to be our retirement place as well. Any advice you guys have will be appreciated.

Brenda

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#2 NorthfieldNick

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:40 AM

It depends so much on on the climate, quality and type of land, soil... 2.44 acres of good, fertile land in an area with consistent rainfall and warm temps could keep well-managed forage growing year-round. Where I live, we get less rain in the summer than areas considered desert. We get all our rain in the winter. Forage doesn't grow in the summer, so a few acres won't get you very far. OTOH, I have friends with 5 NDs on one acre. They import nearly all their feed. We have about a dozen dairy goats (does, kids, bucks) on 10 ish acres of pasture, and it's barely enough, but we feed as little as possible. 2.44 acres of forest would be heaven for goats, but not good for your garden and orchard.

Also remember to think about wind, water, house sites, drainage... When you find a parcel, see if you can find an aerial photo (google earth,or try the county assessor). Lay a piece of tracing paper over it and sketch out where you think a house, garden, barn, driveway, etc would go. It's usually better to have more space than less... Livestock has a way of increasing...

Good luck! It's a buyer's market, so take your time and find a parcel you're going to love.

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#3 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:11 PM

We typically stock no more than 4 katahdin ewes per acre of pasture (in MD) so that we're not overstock during dry periods.

Another thing to keep in mind is the property tax rates. In MD you'll need 6 acres to get the AG tax rate (5 acres AG and 1 acre residental); you can get the AG tax rate on fewer acres but you need to prove a certain level of income off the land (I don't remember the amount).

Another issue we ran into was getting a loan on a property where the value of the residence was less than 50% of the total property value; this seems to be the cut off for a typical residential mortgage. You're then dealing with "country home loans" or a farm loan (commercial).

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#4 Debbie Meier

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:21 PM

Based on the numbers you are wanting a few acres would be enough for you, but it would also depend on the local zoning laws and restrictions in regard to farm animals and pets. We are on 3.5 acres, it could easily support a dozen sheep/goats with regular pasture rotation, small pastures. Big expense is perimeter fencing and cross fencing. Our house is kinda in the center of the acres, we fence the entire perimeter and have nice little pastures in front of the house and around. Still lots of room for the dogs to romp and the double fence is extra security.
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#5 Debbie Meier

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:26 PM

Part of what makes our 3.5 acres doable is not having neighbors close by, closest if about 3/4 mile away, we are surrounded by corn field. The photo in the signature area was taken out to the north and east of our house in the field after harvest, the field is leased by a big corporation.
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#6 timberviewfarm

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:33 PM

You are going to have to look in the rural area's of the NC mountains to find land that isn't going to give you sticker shock :)

#7 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:11 PM

Ben, you reminded me of something I should have remembered. DH is wanting the land to be partially wooded and the 2.44 acres isn't. It does have a nice mobile home on it and an old homestead home. It's in need of some repairs but I was thinking it would make a great place for canning and freezing without warming up the main home but then again it's taking up space a barn could go.

Mark, thanks for the tax reminder. I called the county to get their tax rates. For AG, we would have to have 20 acres to grow forest to qualify or 10 acres and make $1000/yr or 5 acres to grow ornamentals to qualify. The good news is the regular property tax for the county I'm looking in is .50/$100. I'm going to have to contact the 1st loan company I spoke with to see if they finance land in that particular county. I'm pretty sure they do but I still need to check. If it's land only, we can get a 10 yr loan if we pay 25% down (I think). DH wants a livable home on it so we can get a 30 yr loan and refinance later.

Debbie, 3.5 acres sound a lot better than 2.44! And you're right about the fencing. I'm hoping the place will already have a mobile home set on it so we can drive up there every once in a while to work on getting it fenced in. I would like the the MH to set towards the back of the property if possible. That way, when we sale this house, we can start building our retirement home on the front end of the property and still have a place to live while it's being built. Once it's completed, we could sale the MH and build the barn in it's place. That way the lights and water will already be there. :) I am curious about you living close to a big corp. Do they burn their fields or use Roundup? That's one of DH's big no-no's. He refuses to live near a big corp.

Kelly, that's exactly where we are looking. ;)

Brenda

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#8 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:19 PM

It depends so much on on the climate, quality and type of land, soil... 2.44 acres of good, fertile land in an area with consistent rainfall and warm temps could keep well-managed forage growing year-round.

I forgot to mention, I just started but I'm going to weatherdotcom once a week to print off the weather in that area. I don't know how accurate it will be but it'll give me some sort of idea. I like the Google Earth idea. I'll try that if I can't get any info from the county's GIS.

Brenda

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#9 rufftie

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:24 PM

have you considered west virginia? (hold the jokes for a minute!) land is still relatively inexpensive and taxes are pretty low. my mother still cries when i tell her what i pay on 8 acres compared to her 1/3 acre in the philly area. you do take the risk of the "S" word in the winter though. and yes, all the west virginia jokes.

#10 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:36 PM

Hmmm, WV. No, we haven't thought about that. I'll have to check into it. And we aren't scared of the "S" word. I've never had a white Christmas. (Last year was the closest I've ever been. It started snowing late Christmas day night. Before midnight, the deck was covered.) I've told DH a number of times, I want a white Christmas before I die. (Yes, I have a Bucket List. :lol: )

Brenda

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#11 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 02:23 PM

Personally I would aim for 5 acres as a minimum. That's about what's open here, and I think you could have room for your crops as well as your goats. Do you check the farms/land for sale in the Ag Review? Search NC Ag Review and then click on their classifieds and look under "farms for sale." There are some very expensive properties listed, but there are usually also some very reasonably priced properties as well.

J.

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#12 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 03:25 PM

Rufftie, DH called me on his lunch hour. He's not sure about moving to WV but I'm still going to keep it on my radar.

Julie, when I wasn't finding 8-10 acres I lowered my sights to 4-5 until I couldn't even find that much. I think you're right. I should stick with a 5 acre minimum. Thanks for the AG review tip. You're right about most of the land being expensive and there isn't an ad for the county I'm looking in (Yancey) but I'll keep checking it.

I also sent an email to a realtor up there (Yancey Co). Maybe she can help too.

Brenda

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#13 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:33 PM

Brenda,
I've found that the best way to find a place (to buy or rent) is to know someone who knows someone. A realtor might be the ticket, especially if it's someone who is very familiar with the area and the people--someone from that area or with ties to it. Most people I know who have found decent deals on land have done so not through property that's officially listed, but rather through stuff like Person A knows Person B, whose old aunt died last year and her family may be willing to sell the aunt's place. Does that make sense? It's really about having contacts in an area that can point you toward properties that might not be publicly available but could be available if you know who to ask. So try to make sure that your Realtor knows the area and the people well for the best chance of finding your dream place.

J.

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Julie Poudrier
New Kent, VA
Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis and mule sheep



Visit me on Facebook at Poudrier and Crowder, Set Out Specialists (P&C, SOS)


#14 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:58 PM

That makes perfect sense, Julie. You also gave me the little nudge I needed to contact one of our volunteers who lives in Yancey Co. Maybe she knows someone who knows someone. If not, maybe she'll remember us if she happens to overhear someone talking.

Brenda

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JJ (RIP 10/8/2014), Jake, Josie
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#15 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 07:12 PM

Ok, I'm getting excited again. I haven't heard back from the realtor yet but our volunteer said not only would she keep her eyes and ears open for us while she's in town (she travels for a living), she's also going to send me some locals property ads!

Brenda

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#16 Debbie Meier

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 07:40 PM

I don't know how popular Land Contract Sales are in your area, but may be a great way to secure a property without going with bank financing.
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#17 gcv-border

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:23 PM

How exciting to be looking for a place 'in the country'. Good Luck!

I see a lot of good advice so far. I had a thought about your plan to build a place on the property while living in a pre-existing home (maybe a MH). Make sure to check zoning codes before committing to that plan since some areas will not allow you to build a second residence while the first is still standing - regardless of your future plans to remove it. Also, around here it is hard to get rid of a used MH. IF you can find someone who wants it, generally you just give it to them in return for getting it off your property.

I don't know how far away from your current home you want to spread your net, but I really enjoyed the Jefferson/West Jefferson area when DH and I spent a week there this past summer, and it is only about 18-20 miles out of Boone. Areas around Asheville tend to cost more.

Jovi

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#18 OurBoys

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:44 PM

Debbie, FSBO might be a way to go. I'll check out the ads when I get them.

Jovi, Good point on the MH. I'll check with the county. After googling Jefferson/West Jefferson elevation (3000-3200), I told DH about them. He said they sounded good too!

Brenda

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JJ (RIP 10/8/2014), Jake, Josie
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#19 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:51 PM

Boone/Lenoir is a lovely area and may have lower prices because it's a little further away from Asheville.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
New Kent, VA
Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis and mule sheep



Visit me on Facebook at Poudrier and Crowder, Set Out Specialists (P&C, SOS)


#20 Liz P

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:14 PM

Just curious, but what part of OR? I looked at a 30 acre farm with 2 houses for $150,000 in a fertile, ag friendly area not too far from Eugene.

If you want moist, fertile soil, how about central NY state? There are some nice 50+ acre farms for under $100k in the more isolated towns. Just be prepared to deal with upwards of 20ft of snow per winter.

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