Discussion in 'Home Matters' started by JenniferM, Jul 2, 2011.
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Oh, girl - I know exactly what you are going through! I am TERRIBLE about making big decisions like that.
With that said, I'm not sure I have much advice for you. I guess my question would be - are you more country folk or city people?! After being in Wylie a lot with my family and our church there, I KNOW we are city people. But, everyone has to answer that for themselves/their family. Everyone is different. What about the kids - would they enjoy the farm/animals or would they like kids playing together on a street?
I dunno - that might not be any help at all so take it or leave it! Best of luck!!!
If you choose to live in the city I would recommend narrowing your search to only cul-de-sac houses. You almost ALWAYS get a larger yard with them.
Personally, for us, my husband would never live more than a 10 minute commute to work so I can help with what would be best for you. Sorry. You could consider Flower Mound though, they have nice lot sizes (usually) and it seems in between Wylie and Azle.
I think about the same thing all the time (and we're not planning to move for another 1-2 years.)
I love the idea of "country," but I worry about a few other things like distance to the grocery store and distance to schools (and activities). How long will you spend driving or will they spend on the bus? I also worry about quality of schooling in some of our rural areas in Collin County - unless you plan to put in a lot of your own time to supplement.
Right now we're about an hour from my family, and while that prevents drop-ins, that also prevents quick help in an emergency or on a sick day. The big country houses would put us about 1.5 away - and I think that would be a lot harder than an hour.
Have you done renovations before? Taken care of a large property before? I know those activities work for some couples, but drive other couples crazy with each other.
Good luck with your decision!
Yes, I think you do have to determine country vs city. City has more of a convenience factor. Country has the charm. But there are realities with both.
My inlaws moved out to the country several years ago.. I think it had always been a dream of theirs... but everytime we talk to them, they are soo busy. Mowing alone takes HOURS on their 6 acres - even with a riding mower. And when that riding mower isn't working right... $$$$$. Taking care of their 6 acres is a LOT of work. And they are so far. Far from family, far from friends. Their hope was that people would come visit them a lot, but it's just hard to make that trip. And when we do, our cell phones don't work, needing something like an iphone charger is a total hassle (happened last time we were there), and other things are just more difficult out in the country. DH used to say he'd like to move to the country when he retired, but now he is slowly changing his mind.
But if you are truly country people, then these things might not bother you in the least. It might be a total blessing for your family to have that lifestyle.
Personally I'd look for an in-between on a corner or cul-de-sac lot. Maybe an older home or something, instead of a cookie-cutter community. But, I am definitely more of a city person! I neeeeed social interaction with neighbors and time with friends and hosting get-togethers and having local activities/events to attend, and my kids are the same way.
Good luck with your decision.... Hoping you feel peace with whatever you decide!
The area is not really too small. I grew up out in the country in Princeton when the population was like 2000. I was 15 minutes from the schools. We lived on 10 acres way out in the country. There was only one grocery store and it was a local owned store. I only had one neighbor but luckily she was only 1 year younger so we became best friends. This area is not nearly as "country" as where I grew up. I remember when McKinney was tiny. When I was growing up there was like nothing on the west side of 75 Azle looks like it has a lot of stuff. I did not drive around too much, but there was a big new walmart (hate walmart though) and lots of restaurants. Plus it is only 10 minutes from a big area of north Fort Worth with tons of restaurants and shops and a mall. I did look up the elementary school and it was 5 minutes away, so not far at all. 5 minutes in the country is further in miles than 5 minutes here though, but still not far at all.
There is a lot of time and money involved in proper horse care.
I dream of being able to go outside and pet horses and Llama's also, but I the reality is it's a lot of DAILY upkeep and expense in owning animals and it's the owners responsibility to care for the animal properly. i've seen plenty of recovered horses at my daughters stable that were not cared for - very ill animals that had to be nursed back to health.
In caring for horses, there is eye care, mane care, hoof care, dental care, bone health, weight monitoring, skin/hair care, pest treatments, intestinal health. Cleaning of the stalls. And comfort of the animal in a hot TExas summer (I suggest fans in the stalls). Battling horse flies in the barn. And that's just the animal doesn't include the upkeep of the barn/stall and equipment. I would estimate an annual cost of one horse so you can budget that and know what your commitment is.
If you had a large barn you COULD make it into a business if you hire a Stable manager and charge horse owners for horse stables and horse care
My dad always had 3-4 horses. But he didn't have kids to care for, or a wife for that matter. Horses were his passion. And it really has to be a passion. Even when it's snowing outside, the horses need to be blanketed and fed regularly. They are dependent animals, if they are rideable and trained breeds.
My dad was always cutting the lawn. For hours a week. But he did not have a 3k dollar ride on lawn mower. Which would have probably cut his time in half. He used a swingblade. Kept him in shape. he did have a few snake incidents over the years on the farm.
Then you have the time it takes to tend a garden. I would say an average of an hour a day.
Personally, i would want all my kids to be old enough to help out on the land. Toddlers are still pretty young and can't be left unattended.
Farm life is great if you have the time to do the work. Or if you have staff
I would take my husbands opinion into account. He's the one doing the commute.
All that said, if you love country living and your husband is up for the commute. Go for it!! You can always add the horses in the mix later. Take up the gardening first.
You are not making this easy! Matt and I both grew up in the country so I guess we wanted to give that to our kids. The thing is, sometimes you remember things differently as you grow up When I was a teen I HATED the country. All I wanted to do was go to Dallas all the time. I loved the second I could. Looking back, I loved the freedom of growing up with lots of places to explore, and feeling safe.
This is 7 acres, but only about a quarter acre or less of "yard". The rest is pasture. It is fenced for animals. I was told if you had a few animals like horses or even goats, they would keep the grass down. So only a small area to mow. We do have a riding mower now because we have a big yard, .33 acre.
I know that I would love to have my family come visit, but I am sure they wouldnt. I do have a romantic version in my head of family though. My family is all broken up now (fighting) so I only talk to two cousins and my mother. I rarely see them anyways, and one lives a mile away. Matt's family is a little bigger but spread out already and we only get together on holidays at his grandmas house in Mesquite.
It has been my dream since I had kids to move into a nice subdivision with lots of kids, neighborhood cookouts, and pool parties. I know that there is no way of knowing in advance who my neighbors really are though Where I live now, as most know, it is terrible. I have ghetto trashy neighbors. The other thing is, my budget. I qualify for much much more than I want to spend. I have a serious fear of layoffs and the economy getting worse. Matt was already laid off once and had to take a big pay cut in his current job. He is in sales now and doing great, but a few months of missing quotas and he would be let go. I want to be able to pay our mortgage on unemployment if it came to that. Basically I want to pay less than I would in an apartment That greatly limits me. I have mostly been looking at foreclosures and fixer uppers. The house in the country is almost half of what we wanted to spend so that made it more enticing. Yes, it needs work up front, but still cheaper. Anything in my price range in the area I want with a bigger yard is always either backing to a busy street or has those huge power lines out back.
Another weird thing I think about. I have always been afraid of things like "the end of the world". Yes, I know I watch too many movies. What if the economy really does fall apart. I see images flashing through my head of news stories with people rioting and store shelves bare of food. I think that in the country I could "live off the land" so to speak. I would have my garden and chickens (yes, I want my own eggs ). I would be able to survive with global food shortages. I know that is very unlikely to happen and a strange thing to think about, but I do
I think it would be more work to feed and water animals, but maybe having horses to ride would be worth it? I was in 4H when I was little and I raised bunnies. I love it! I had wanted a horse so bad, but my parents were poor and could not afford to fence their property to buy one. I would love to have some chickens for eggs, not many, just a few chickens. I do not think I could do the whole fresh milk thing from a cow though I do not eat meat so I do not think I could do cows for that.
Living in a suburb would be much easier. We would have more time to spend going on bike rides and stuff like that. Being so close to neighbors just sometimes feels like living in an apartment.
My sister and her husband have horses and they take care of them. They do not have kids though. They have race horses and do not ride them themselves. The kids cannot ride them. I could actually just keep a horse at their place, but there is not really any where to ride them where she is without being on a road. They do not have a huge area. They have a trainer that comes and works with them and a lot of the time they are out at race tracks. They do keep breeding horses at their property. They just keep them in the barn when it is bad weather and have someone come out and take care of their feet. They have a vet that comes out and takes care of them too. I do not know how much they spend on them, but I know that they do not win a lot They did mention if we got land they wanted to board some horses and pay us. Not sure if they want us to take care of them too. They made it seem like it was easy. I will talk with them more about what it would involve. I would love for my sister and her dh to move out there and be closer to us. They live on an acre now and would love to live on more land. Problem is, my bils parents need a lot of help and they live next door to them. It would be 2 hours from them.
The Texas heat is something I have been thinking about. I am not an outdoors person. I do not like sweating I am worried I just have a fantasy about living on land with animals but will hate it if I actually do.
I also worry about my business. I will have a further drive to my clients, but that is not a big deal. I had wanted to have a studio space in my new house and offer sessions there. It is hard to pack all my stuff for every session and I cannot always take all of the props I want. Then again, my clients love that I come to their house and I am not sure if anyone would come to my home studio anyways. It would be awesome to offer sessions in my own blooming orchard though
The commute for dh, we were already looking at a 30 minute commute anyways so 15 extra minutes does not seem like much more. Now he is looking at land out in the Rockwall area. That would be a 1 hour drive across downtown Dallas every day. I told him no because that is just too much, but he said it might be worth it to be closer to family. I do not want him driving more than 2 hours a day It is 1 hour without traffic so I am sure it would be at least 1 hour 20 minutes each way.
My fantasy involves a farm also. But I just want to go to the barn and pet the animals while I have my morning coffee. I think my farm fantasy takes place in Montana tho
Jennifer, have you looked over by Lake Lavon? That's the area we're thinking of looking when we can finally afford to get some land. If all of your family is on the East side, that would put you a lot closer to them, and we've seen plenty of properties similar to what you're describing pop up when we've gone browsing.
That is where my sister lives. It would be more than an hour commute for dh though. We thought about that. Anything further north than Plano would be too far.
a Montana farm would be awesome!
You answered your own question right here.
We went through this a little when we moved. I kept looking at the houses in Celina and drooling over the giant yards (some with ponds too). We talked about it and decided it's just not for us at this time in our lives. We decided that when we retire we'll think about moving out to the country with more space, but for now it's more important to be closer to DH's work.
We ended up with a yard that's about the same size as at our old house, but it's laid out differenlty so it seems much bigger. It's pie shaped so the front yard is small, but the back yard is plenty big for the kids and the dogs. As we looked at houses we noticed big differences in the same sized yards, depending on the houses were laid out.
I, personally, am a city/suburbs girl... so my answer at this point in my life (if it were ME) would be "no" We happen to live on a street where almost everyone has over an acre of land; there are horse farms and some people own goats, sheep, chickens, and more. But it's right smack in the middle of everything. In fact, our road is a busy through-road. So we kind of get the best of both worlds as it stands right now. And for jsut $400K or more, you can too!
My point is... I think you just have to reckon with what is more important (being close, schools you know are great, a more neighborhoody feel, etc) I will also say, even on our street, we barely know any of our neighbors b/c we're spread out so far. The only reason my DD has anyone to play with here in the "neighborhood" is b/c our yard connects to another yard and they have 2 young girls. (most of our yard is unfenced b/c it would cost a fortune to fence it, as would theirs )
Well, it is a pain getting up milking the cows and feeding the chickens out here in the "country". :rolleyes
Well not everyone can afford $400,000
Have you looked into the homes in Saginaw? They offer lots of acreage and it's right behind us, which we are in the North Fort Worth area by the Alliance shopping center. The people I know who live in Saginaw love having the country feel to their homes/land, but with just a minute drive to shopping centers and cities, highways, etc. I'd live there if we could buy a house.
anyway, I haven't read through all the responses, but this side of the world isn't bad at all - as long as you don't have to make the 820 commute for work - that's going to be a bad location to drive for 5 or so more years as they redo the roads. But 35 to 170 toward 114 into Grapevine is an easy way to get anywhere that way...
Everything I have seen in Saginaw was on a .15 acre lot All new subdivisions are packed tight! Even the ones way out in Justin are on small lots.
The commute for dh would be 820. He would have to drive from Azle south to 820 and then across to Bedford.
We did find an awesome house on 4 acres in Rockwall. I just worry about him driving across Dallas every day. It would be closer to family and friends though.