Sunday, March 27, 2011

Comments Please

I am in sort of a questioning time regarding housing and would love your input.

Picture Perfect World: The VA loan, which we will most likely use, doesn't cover mobile homes or manufactured homes, which are on most of the acreage out here. Of course, I want anywhere from 1 acre up to about 11 acres. I would like some woods, a place for a backstop for target practice, but cleared areas near the house for gardening/ yard. Other similarly sized lots (neighbors), moving water or a pond would be welcome. A well is pretty much a deal-sealer and a metal roof would be ideal. I'd love to have a huge front porch. I need 3 bedrooms and would like 2 living spaces. I have dogs and kids that need a space to play, then I want space for chickens to be secure and a big grazing space for goats. Outdoor shed(s) and workspaces for my husband are pretty much required, and a garage in addition would be ideal. A greenhouse and our cups of joy would overflow. So, pretty typical for preppers?

At present, we are renting a house from my parents. They want to sell it, but it's too big for most families (incl. us). They have 5 years to sell it and avoid capital gains.
  1. relatively inexpensive rent
  2. well (electric-no solar pump)
  3. large lot (1+ acres)
  4. in town, road with neighbors, but not a "house farm" neighborhood
  5. no garage
  6. lots of ground-floor windows
  7. room for chickens
  8. yard is unfenced (regarding dogs- mine or others)
  9. may or may not be allowed to get goats
  10. prob. have to buy it or move in 4 years
  11. waaay out of our price range- more than 3x.
We are looking for a place to buy of our own. We're trying to balance Ferfal's and Rawles' advice, which directly contradict each other. Distance from town to avoid sheeple and golden horde. Close to town to have community and none of the home-invasion-no-one-can-hear-you-scream crime. Space to garden and have sheep and goats. Close enough to neighbors to have community. Near hospitals and fire departments. Far from panicked hordes.

It's harder to compare pros and cons of an as-of-yet non-existent property. But I have found a few patterns in the properties that come up on searches.
  1. wells are out there...
  2. land- will it need fencing? different fencing than existing?
  3. too far away from our existing support network
  4. great (land) deal, but house in disrepair
  5. house is great, but no room for goats
  6. if only I had income for a $400,000 property that was perfect!
  7. for anywhere from $45,00- $90,000 we can get 2 acres and a "handyman special" style home.
  8. for anywhere from $90,000-$130,000 we can get a 25,000+ square foot lot with a nice house, neighborhood, no well, no HOA (so chickens are ok- now). 25,000 sq ft is about the smallest lot we'll consider.
I guess my question is: should we just rent here and try to settle in or should we continue looking for our own place? After the flood last year, we are tired of boxes and unpacking and moving, but we are really, really ready for our own place, with no one to tell us how to use it. I want to paint and get a dozen more chickens and stop hauling our stuff around. I'd prefer to get our own place, inexpensively, and spend money repairing/updating it instead of that money getting tied up in a higher mortgage or rent (for a nicer place). But I really don't want to get a place "with potential" and then have inflation hit and we can't afford wood or tile, etc.

I know we can never know. What are your thoughts or questions?

I'm of the prepper variety that there isn't going to be an official "C-day" (collapse day) but just a continual deterioration and rising prices and crime, if that helps. I've thought of staying here and spending money on supplies- Mels' Mix, lumber etc, but the mere idea of moving all that to a new place later is exhausting.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!


Lace said...

I'm like you, no sudden collapse but a gradual winding down. As such my thoughts are to be closer to town than not. I don't think you'll see golden hordes for the most part unless it's sudden and extreme (like we run out of gas tomorrow with no warning). You will want a community to help you hold strong against invaders too though.

I don't actually know where you live so it's hard to say without all the specifics but I'd think a smaller town if that's possible depending on work needs etc. Would it be possible to buy some acreage in a small town about an hour from you and build on it gradually over the next 4 years?

Anonymous said...

Several ideas for your quest:

Finding land:
1) Land is not handled well in the MLS. You need some agents who know land. Look for their signs in the country.
2) Renting a flying parachute (100/hr), and letting the pilot fly you over much of an area with parcel maps in your hands is also a good way to look.
3) (Yes, I agree, that idea occurred before Google Earth was invented), but there is still some value in seeing it and circling it at 30MPH and landing if you want to.
4)You gotta love the land you find or the whole "affair" lacks charm.

Buying Land: Do you need to own the land? Lease-purchase is legally more dangerous, but maybe you could make it safe. Refi with VA later?

Settling your land: build a huge pole building first, big enough to cover your single wide trailer and most of your "stuff". Expand your influence from there.

Home: The new "modular" homes comply with IRC and are by law acceptable in all places as “stick built homes.” The only concern is blowing away - the need to be strongly anchored to a real foundation (even though many stick builts are not). Mine is welded by pipes to the concrete foundation. Check out the modular for the longer term.

Humble wife said...

I am going to reread this! Sounds so familiar :)

In New Mexico, manufactured homes are considered the same as stick built the moment it rests on the property, therefore our VA Loan worked quite well with our manufactured home. It took about 90 days and we had to really follow through on the owner ensuring the septic was done properly(as it was not until we put an offer in).

The most important issue for us was the well as we are in the desert.

I am certain you will find your home as we did, and if your criteria is not perfection all will work out!

suek said...

If the decision is that you'll have to move within 5 years, then you have to plan on finding _something_. You can't just settle in and then have the same decision then. The only possible benefit to that is that with a continuous economic decline, your parent's house may be within your budget by that time. I don't think I'd wish that on my parents.

Not knowing your parent's situation, it's hard to guess, but if they can afford it, perhaps you could buy the house today with a "reverse mortgage" kind of plan...price agreed upon, payments agreed upon, debt forgiven over time ((10K max to each of you per year to avoid taxes) and balance upon the death of both of them - or some such. Basically, a loan from them. However if they're planning on the funds for living, that might not work.

I understand not wanting to move - believe me...I do! But I'd be more inclined to find an area I thought I liked and then go rent in that area for a year or so. At that point, you'd have a better idea of the desirability of the area, various properties in the area and be close enough to take advantage of opportunities.

On the other hand, unless you were incredibly lucky, you'd have to move twice. Don't forget the possibility of a lease/option...setting the price of a sale, some of the rent going to down payment but actual sale occurring down the line at a set period of time.