What’s it really like living in the country?

I’ve been in the sticks for almost a year now. I get asked this a lot. For the most part, it has been everything I hoped. I enjoy it. I did have some concerns before we moved, and of course there are a few things I had not thought about.

My biggest concern was getting stuck out here in the winter. I don’t know why, but for some reason ice on my street in the country bothered me more than ice on the street at my old house in a neighborhood. It was about two miles inside the neighborhood at my old house before I got to well maintained road. Well, I live about the same distance from a major state highway. Guess what? Two miles of ice is still two miles regardless of where you live. The good thing for me is that my road gets plowed and salted faster than my old neighborhood road did. My next door neighbor out here is the police chief, so I guess they want him to be able to get out easily if there is an emergency.

I was worried about crime. That is probably because having grown up in neighborhoods, the thought of nobody being close by was scary. That’s been a non-issue. Only your neighbors drive past your house unless you live on a main road and there seems to be a real strong sense of respecting the property of others out here. And for those that aren’t so respectful, they assume everybody has a gun so they don’t really want to risk getting shot at for your stuff.

There are really only two things that I didn’t think about. Neither are big deals thankfully.

The first is that most people in the country keep to themselves. My neighbors will wave to me. Several stopped and introduced themselves to me when I was new. But most of the time it is just like a neighborhood where you mostly just smile and wave. I guess small talk is harder to do at the mailbox when your houses are so far apart.

The other thing, and this one is what bothers me the most, is that there are no storm sewers. In a neighborhood, the rain water runs neatly down the curb into the storm sewer and disappears. Out in the country, the water runs down a hill, crosses the road leaving mud and gravel for daaaaaaaaays after it quits raining. This probably wouldn’t bother me if I wasn’t trying to keep my cars clean. As soon as it all dries up, here comes another rain to do it all again.

And that’s it. Other than these few things, it really isn’t that much different than I expected. Sure, I have to drive longer to get anywhere and I have a lot more grass to mow. That is totally worth it to me to get the peace, quiet, calmness and beauty that county life offers.

I love showing rural properties. Nothing like a fun drive in the country and then getting to see a house and some land. Here are the counties I work in for both rural and neighborhood properties: Fayette, Scott, Jessamine, Clark, Madison, Woodford, Bourbon, Montgomery, Franklin and Garrard Counties.

5 things I like/dislike about country living

I never thought I would live in the country. I’ve always been a neighborhood guy. I like having pizza delivered. I like not having wild animals around, especially snakes. I hate snakes. When I was a kid, I was convinced that living in the country was the surest way to be murdered since nobody was around to hear you screaming for help. Or get eaten by a wild animal. I never investigated the statistics, but I was sure that living in town was MUCH safer than living in the country.

My love of seeing trees instead of concrete, hearing nature instead of traffic and leaf blowers, feeling calmness over chaos eventually convinced me that I could only get all that in the country.

So, here are my top 5 things I like and dislike about being in the country. I hope it helps you decide if country life is for you!

THINGS I LIKE:

  1. Peace. You can’t get this type of peace anywhere else. You wake up and everything is so calm. You notice more enjoyable little things like the wind blowing through trees.
  2. Space. I used to think having a big yard was space, but there is nothing like neighbors being 500 feet or more away from you.
  3. Sunsets. I have always loved the sunset. It is even better when paired with hills and trees than your neighbor’s roof and power lines.
  4. Being alone. I am either the world’s most introverted extrovert or the world’s most extroverted introvert. Whichever it is, I really enjoy when I am home. It recharges me.
  5. Being outside. When you live in the country, you tend to think of your property as land, not a yard. I don’t know if this makes sense, but when I was in a neighborhood, I thought my house was the property and it was just on a lot. Now I have switched it and think of my property being the land on which my house just sits.

THINGS I DON’T LIKE:

  1. Gravel. It’s usually all over the road and at the end of driveways. I am too into cars to not have this bother me.
  2. Snakes. I have only seen two of them but I did find a 5 foot skin that one left…..which means it is bigger than that now.
  3. Mowing. I actually love mowing. Always have. I just don’t like that it is a half day commitment. I especially don’t like it when you are half way done and it starts raining.
  4. Mowing.
  5. Mowing.

That’s it. Overall, being in the country has been super nice. The positives far outweigh the negatives. Every house in the country I have sold, the sellers have all missed their homes. Most of them moved back into town because they were driving more than they wanted to be. It can be a little tough for those with kids who are always needing shuttled to and from band practices, sports and other events.

Sold for 25% OVER list price!!

I listed a manufactured home in a tiny town in northern Scott County on 15 acres last week. I have had it in my pipeline for close to a year so I have been watching the market in the area for a while. Prices have gone up quite a bit, but lately similar properties have all been listed for about $160k.

So we got pictures and put it on for $160k. I fully expected it to sell for a little more since the market value is no longer determined by recent sales. It is determined by how desperate the buyer is.

Turns out they get more desperate every day.

We got 8 offers. 10 actually but two were for a financing type that did not do manufactured homes so we can’t really count those.

One offer was $155k. I always laugh at those buyers and scratch my head. What rock have they been hiding under that they and their realtor don’t know that practically every house in multiple offers goes for at least list price.

Five of the offers had escalation clauses. That is where the buyer pretty much says they will pay so much more than any other offer up to a certain price.

I got one offer for $200k. My mind was blown. No escalation clause. Just a flat $200k.

This gave me the chance to tell the buyer’s agents with the escalation clauses that they might want to up their amount if their buyer really wanted the house.

Fortunately one buyer whose offer had some better secondary terms raised their escalation clause to be $200k. I have seen where people throw out some high number on an escalation clause to get their offer noticed but they have no intention of every going that high. I called that buyer’s agent to confirm they were legitimately willing to go that high. They were. They got the house for $200k. Next step is to convince the appraiser it is worth that.

What’s the market like right now?

I had an appointment to show a house this evening after my client got off work.

The listing hit the market at 7:38 this morning.  By the time the buyer and I worked out a time, the house already had multiple offers on it.  By 1:PM, the house sold.

I’ve got an out of town client who has been driving down from Ohio whenever a really good house comes on the market.  We had an appointment to see a house the first day on the market.  When my people had just crossed the state line into Kentucky, I got word that there were multiple offers and the listing agent wanted to present all the offers at the exact same time as my appointment to show it.  My people turned around and went home.

I had another client make a contingency offer on a house they loved.  The seller accepted it with a 48 hour kickout clause.  A couple days later, the house had a non-contingent offer.  Fortunately my people were in a spot to remove their contingency and purchase the house without first having to sell their old one.  This house is in a small rural community, not exactly where you expect houses to sell fast.

Meanwhile, every night before I go to bed, I catch up on news from an app on my phone.  Many articles say the market is slowing down.  They usually quote some statistic about the declining number of sales.  The reason there is a declining number of sales is because it is so hard for a buyer to actually get a house these days.  Last week I blogged about a house that had 14 offers.  Only one person will get the house.  That means there are 13 buyers out there waiting on a house.  Does that sound like a slowing market?

Unless sellers get in the game this spring, we are shaping up for another crazy year.  When 14 people want a house and every house goes in multiple offers, we will see prices go up.

Some of my favorites houses I have sold

It’s been a pretty relaxing day.  Woke up a little early.  Drank some coffee.  Thought about some of my favorite houses that I have sold.

There are a lot more than these, but I wanted to share with you a bit about what I saw in these homes.

1.  The Cottage on the Lake House

LAKE

One of the things that made this place so cool was how much it offered for such a little price.  The seller used it mostly as a weekend get away.  While the whole place was special, this room with a wall of windows overlooking Herrington Lake was amazing.

2.  The Preserved Craftsman Cottage

sTAMPING GRD

The sellers used me when they bought this place.  It was a time capsule.  I think it was built in the 20s and updated a bit in the 50s.  The previous owner had lived there forever.  Everything was pink.  My sellers updated it with an eye on preserving it’s original character.

3.  The Transformation in the Sticks House

tAYLOR RIDGE

This place was so deep in Jessamine County that it was closer to Madison County than it was to Nicholasville.  It was literally a very plain shack when my buyer with a ton of vision and the energy for the transformation bought it.  Everything she did was totally amazing, but I had to pick one picture and I picked this one because of the window.  The ceilings were low in this house.  The windows were low too.  She came up with the idea to put all that trim around the windows and get this, to make the windows look taller, she put mirrors above them.  Take a closer look and you will see a reflection of what is inside.  Pretty clever!

4.  The Party House

Wyndham

Some friends of mine built this house and then added the pool.  I just sold it for them.  What I loved about this house was all the space for entertaining, which sounds strange of me to say because I never entertain….but if I did, the pool, the flat lawn, the patio, deck, and finished basement with a kitchenette would be what I would want.

5.  The Cozy Corner House

Hemming

I am a sucker for natural light.  This place was vacant when my clients bought it.  I liked this corner because it had windows on two sides.  It looked even better when they got this wicker sectional.  It was so cool that the people who bought it when I sold it wrote on their offer that the sectional stayed with the house.

6.  The “Everything I wanted except a 10 car garage” house

lake v

This is a house that made me wish I was 10 years younger.  Well, I wish that all the time, but what I mean is that I am too close to being an empty nester to want a perfect 5000 square foot house on an amazing lot, in my favorite neighborhood, that has been totally renovated.  If it were 2008, I would have bought it.

7.  The Love at First Sight Garage House

David Powell Media

These buyers had a 3 car garage in their old house that I sold.  They didn’t want to go backwards.  It is hard to find a 3 car garage in Lexington, but somehow we managed to find a 4 car garage.  The seller of this home was some famous football player.  He added the extra garage seemlessly into the house…..that’s how I will always remember him.

8.  The In the Country but not in the Country House

Todds

Talk about location.  Here are 10 acres and all the wonderfulness that comes with being in the country, but Domino’s in Hamburg will deliver your pizza.  Plus it has a pool and a bonus garage with an apartment.

9.  The “My Three Kitchens” House

Cambridge

This place not only had a really nice kitchen upstairs, it had a really nice kitchen in the 3000 square foot basement, plus this poolside kitchen.  I am not really sure why this impressed me because I never cook anything, but it did.

10.  The “Made my wife cry tears of joy” House

antilles

While it doesn’t look this good now, it did when I bought this place.  My wife had always wanted a covered patio and an outdoor fireplace.  When we came to see this house, she cried because she liked it so much.  It was like a dream come true.  I try to remind myself of that when I think about all the work I need to do to the inside….which I have been deferring for over 6 years now.