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wreck ship

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: May 04, 2012, 08:11:03 PM

Been made an offer I can't refuse but don't know what to do with it.
It's basically 30 acres of wooded property in the middle of nowhere. There is about an acre clearing with two houses(one is habitibal), a quarter acre pond stock with catfish, and it is off the grid with no electricity.
It does have a water pump that pumps spring water from 300 ft underground and there is a septic tank.
It is about 4 hrs from a major U.S. city and is in close proxy to a river that feeds into the atlantic. The closest town is about a 15 minute drive but it is like a rundown ghost town and most of the citizens live off of govt assistance or retirement.
The appeal of it is living self sufficient and raising my family on a small farm. But It needs work, money, and time to get it there and I'm not sure I'm ready to put my family through it.
It's always been a dream of mine to own a farm and live off the land and starting small with 30 acres could give me the experience I need before upgrading to a bigger enterprise.
But there is a time frame on the offer and I'm leaning more towards passing it up b/c I just don't have the resources or time to get it functioning to where my family could live there. If it were just me, I'd jump on it in a heart beat, but I have two kids and a baby and my wife is a city girl. She liked the idea of living on a farm until she saw it and realized how much work it needs.
I'm boiling over with excitement like a kid in a candy shop but I don't want to get into something that drains me and my resources...HELP!

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#1 : May 04, 2012, 08:22:45 PM

We considered going off grid here and I can tell you based on your description it's probably not worth it.  Especially considering the location you are describing.  Any home/property ownership costs substantially more than you ever expect.  Does it have electricity or cable running to it or will you need to pay for them?  Phone lines?  Are you sure you are comfortable raising kids in that area?  Do you know how to farm?  Do you know how to cook and preserve what you farm?  How to sell it? You're talking about a TON of work not just for you, but for your family as well.  And do you have a plan in case anything goes wrong?  If you can't make ends meet by farming alone, will you be able to find work in the "ghost town"? 

Sorry to be a buzz kill, but you sound exactly like I did when I first considered it, and these were some of the things I considered and finally swayed me.  Good luck if you do it though.

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#2 : May 04, 2012, 08:28:21 PM

If it doesn't have and poles with electric or cable running to it. I'd stay far away from it. The cable company wanted 30 grand from my grandparents to put in cable lines and they already have the poles and don't live near that far out. In fact they have quite a few neighbors. Sounds like a money pit. I'm sure you could find a nice farm for sale that needs work, but not nearly as much as that home seems to need.


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#3 : May 04, 2012, 08:34:59 PM

If it is a second property I would seriously consider it. As a primary I would say no. Particularly with young kids.

My first thought was bug out bag. If you know what that means you will get my drift. I have a similar property up near Ocala, but it did come with Electricity.

wreck ship

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#4 : May 04, 2012, 08:47:55 PM

We considered going off grid here and I can tell you based on your description it's probably not worth it.  Especially considering the location you are describing.  Any home/property ownership costs substantially more than you ever expect.  Does it have electricity or cable running to it or will you need to pay for them?  Phone lines?  Are you sure you are comfortable raising kids in that area?  Do you know how to farm?  Do you know how to cook and preserve what you farm?  How to sell it? You're talking about a TON of work not just for you, but for your family as well.  And do you have a plan in case anything goes wrong?  If you can't make ends meet by farming alone, will you be able to find work in the "ghost town"? 

Sorry to be a buzz kill, but you sound exactly like I did when I first considered it, and these were some of the things I considered and finally swayed me.  Good luck if you do it though.
Don't apologize, I need the buzz kill to keep from doing something stupid.

I'm not afraid of the work and I do anticipate there will be lots of it. I grew up in a divorced home and my fathers side is All country so I'm no stranger to it. My biggest fear is bringing my kids along at this stage.

As for it being off grid, that is ideally how I'd want my farm to be. I've been self studying solar energy for the past two yrs(even got certified in solar instillation!) and my vision is to build small passive solar contemporary dwellings and one central building/kitchen as opposed to one big house.

Obviously I have a lot of ideas and also a lot of hesitations. I like the property but not the timing.

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#5 : May 04, 2012, 08:49:50 PM

If it is a second property I would seriously consider it. As a primary I would say no. Particularly with young kids.

My first thought was bug out bag. If you know what that means you will get my drift. I have a similar property up near Ocala, but it did come with Electricity.

I get your drift but that's a luxury purchase.  Hard to justify if the expense isn't super cheap or you are absolutely certain it's time very soon.

wreck ship

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#6 : May 04, 2012, 09:01:27 PM

If it is a second property I would seriously consider it. As a primary I would say no. Particularly with young kids.

My first thought was bug out bag. If you know what that means you will get my drift. I have a similar property up near Ocala, but it did come with Electricity.
It would be a second property until it's ready for occupancy.

But that would mean I would be spending a lot of time there while my family stays in the city.
wait...

lol @ "bug out bag". memories of wilderness therapy

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ONEBIGDADDY

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#7 : May 04, 2012, 09:11:51 PM

Been made an offer I can't refuse but don't know what to do with it.
It's basically 30 acres of wooded property in the middle of nowhere. There is about an acre clearing with two houses(one is habitibal), a quarter acre pond stock with catfish, and it is off the grid with no electricity.
It does have a water pump that pumps spring water from 300 ft underground and there is a septic tank.
It is about 4 hrs from a major U.S. city and is in close proxy to a river that feeds into the atlantic. The closest town is about a 15 minute drive but it is like a rundown ghost town and most of the citizens live off of govt assistance or retirement.
The appeal of it is living self sufficient and raising my family on a small farm. But It needs work, money, and time to get it there and I'm not sure I'm ready to put my family through it.
It's always been a dream of mine to own a farm and live off the land and starting small with 30 acres could give me the experience I need before upgrading to a bigger enterprise.
But there is a time frame on the offer and I'm leaning more towards passing it up b/c I just don't have the resources or time to get it functioning to where my family could live there. If it were just me, I'd jump on it in a heart beat, but I have two kids and a baby and my wife is a city girl. She liked the idea of living on a farm until she saw it and realized how much work it needs.
I'm boiling over with excitement like a kid in a candy shop but I don't want to get into something that drains me and my resources...HELP!
Its very simple...Unless you want to work 24/7 don't do it. You will regret buying this unless you have the capital it will take to get it up and running. You give no time frame which really gives me a hard time to say much. I come from a bunch of farmers in this state and you don't get a day off....I don't like time tables if it is really in bad shape...OBD


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#8 : May 04, 2012, 09:23:37 PM

Been made an offer I can't refuse but don't know what to do with it.
It's basically 30 acres of wooded property in the middle of nowhere. There is about an acre clearing with two houses(one is habitibal), a quarter acre pond stock with catfish, and it is off the grid with no electricity.
It does have a water pump that pumps spring water from 300 ft underground and there is a septic tank.
It is about 4 hrs from a major U.S. city and is in close proxy to a river that feeds into the atlantic. The closest town is about a 15 minute drive but it is like a rundown ghost town and most of the citizens live off of govt assistance or retirement.
The appeal of it is living self sufficient and raising my family on a small farm. But It needs work, money, and time to get it there and I'm not sure I'm ready to put my family through it.
It's always been a dream of mine to own a farm and live off the land and starting small with 30 acres could give me the experience I need before upgrading to a bigger enterprise.
But there is a time frame on the offer and I'm leaning more towards passing it up b/c I just don't have the resources or time to get it functioning to where my family could live there. If it were just me, I'd jump on it in a heart beat, but I have two kids and a baby and my wife is a city girl. She liked the idea of living on a farm until she saw it and realized how much work it needs.
I'm boiling over with excitement like a kid in a candy shop but I don't want to get into something that drains me and my resources...HELP!
Its very simple...Unless you want to work 24/7 don't do it. You will regret buying this unless you have the capital it will take to get it up and running. You give no time frame which really gives me a hard time to say much. I come from a bunch of farmers in this state and you don't get a day off....I don't like time tables if it is really in bad shape...OBD
The work doesn't scare me one bit. Actually, it makes me excited to think of the work ethic I could instill in my family and the appreciation they would have from living this lifestyle.

I wasn't given a set time table but I'm giving myself till monday to decide. I'm going to use this weekend to really hash this thing over with as many people as I can. RIght now, I'm leaning toward passing on it even though I can't imagine passing on property.

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wreck ship

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#9 : May 04, 2012, 09:40:06 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. I need it.


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#10 : May 04, 2012, 10:21:18 PM

Some specific stuff:

 It's wooded, you will have to clear that if you want to farm it.  Not cheap. 
Condition of septic tank and field, if it's as run down as you say that can be an issue.
Money.  You need to consider this as opening a business in a way, not as buying a house. Dou you have the funds, right now, to get it up and running without going into debt?
Safety net.  Said before, what do you do if it isn't self sustaining?  Most businesses are not profitable initially, do you have the funds to deal with that monthly loss and still cover needs without going into debt?  Is this an "all in" for you or could you survive it failing?
Income.  You always want to be generating income in your family.  While taking a loss on the business, will someone be able to find a job in that town while you continue to build it up?
Knowledge.  Do you know anything at all about farming?  trying to start a business you don't have experience in is a disaster waiting to happen.
Schools.  Where will your kids go to school, and what kinds of kids will they be meeting?  A welfare town doesn't really sound like its stacked with good influences.
Permits and zoning.  Is it zoned ag already?will you be permitted to clear the land or is it protected, i.e. are you sure you will be allowed to do what you are planning?  Each state is different.
Property history.  Have you checked that it's safe, no sinkholes, etc, ?


I would take the approach of writing up a business plan for this myself.  See if it makes sense and could work as a business.  Try not to think of it as a home, keep that side of the equation out of yr head while you analyze the plan, because it needs to make financial sense.

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#11 : May 04, 2012, 11:24:41 PM

Some specific stuff:

 It's wooded, you will have to clear that if you want to farm it.  Not cheap. 
Condition of septic tank and field, if it's as run down as you say that can be an issue.
Money.  You need to consider this as opening a business in a way, not as buying a house. Dou you have the funds, right now, to get it up and running without going into debt?
Safety net.  Said before, what do you do if it isn't self sustaining?  Most businesses are not profitable initially, do you have the funds to deal with that monthly loss and still cover needs without going into debt?  Is this an "all in" for you or could you survive it failing?
Income.  You always want to be generating income in your family.  While taking a loss on the business, will someone be able to find a job in that town while you continue to build it up?
Knowledge.  Do you know anything at all about farming?  trying to start a business you don't have experience in is a disaster waiting to happen.
Schools.  Where will your kids go to school, and what kinds of kids will they be meeting?  A welfare town doesn't really sound like its stacked with good influences.
Permits and zoning.  Is it zoned ag already?will you be permitted to clear the land or is it protected, i.e. are you sure you will be allowed to do what you are planning?  Each state is different.
Property history.  Have you checked that it's safe, no sinkholes, etc, ?


I would take the approach of writing up a business plan for this myself.  See if it makes sense and could work as a business.  Try not to think of it as a home, keep that side of the equation out of yr head while you analyze the plan, because it needs to make financial sense.
Right on! Those are some good questions.

Off the top of my head I believe the septic is fairly new, maybe 5, 6 yrs old.
I have a little experience in farming. My first job was a farm hand and I helped take care of horses. I used to ride, now I just ride motorcycles.lol
As for money, lets just say getting the house powered would be the only big investment I would make. Everything else I would start small and work up. Luckily me and the wife work out of our home, although we would sacrifice some income while I experience the trial and errors of farming. I've told my family and one of my brothers said he would move his family down in a heart beat.lol. Definately encouraging.
It has been zoned and it doesn't require building permits and clearing the land would bring me extra income as the owner has recently sold about an acre worth of poplar trees.
The property has been reduced to 30 acres from over 200 since 1900. The 30 acres we're talking about was crop farmed until around the 70's. Mostly cotton but crops and herding for family consumption was done.
There is a rundown smoke shed where they smoked meats and an old boiler room where they boiled sugar cane and made syrup.

I wouldn't approach this as an investment. I would like to farm for self sufficency and the lifestyle but I kind of like the secluded location enough to retire there some day.
Who knows, I may like farming enough to make a day job out of it. My brothers excitement has me excited even more. Need more buzz kill.

: May 04, 2012, 11:48:54 PM wreck ship

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#12 : May 05, 2012, 10:17:27 AM


If you can afford to purchase this property and not develop it, then by all means go for it.

Illuminator is a good poster. He sticks to his guns and makes good points. Some don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t like that.

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#13 : May 05, 2012, 12:19:11 PM

Can you afford to take a slow approach? That is, buy it and do a little work on it every year with the idea that it will be ready to go when the kids move out.

Also there are things you can do to bring in a little income in the mean time like lease out the timber rights (you said heavily wooded) to a lumber co. You won't get rich but you could cover some of the prop. taxes and insurance.


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#14 : May 05, 2012, 01:23:34 PM

whats the infatuation with "living off the land" lifestyle? dissatisfied with contemporary life?
Not dissatisfied with contemporary life, I like options. Changing lifestyles doesn't mean I become a hermit and never go to the city.
What appeals to me is growing my own food, an appreciation for nature, and a work ethic I'm not getting logging hours for others.

And what is contemporary life? Working 8 hrs and then plopping in front of a t.v. or computer, or both?

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