What-If Presents: Buying Ideal Land

“What-if”—the worrisome words arrive in the conscious spinning topics in our mind, from safety and financial security to loved ones and pet health.  Asking, “What can I do?” leads to a proactive decision to invest time in the ultimate insurance policy—valuable life skills comprising security, shelter, food, water, and medical care! In any emergency, from extreme weather to a personal disaster, you have the power to take charge of your fate by making plans and taking action!  

The dream of escaping from traffic and the city’s bright lights in search of ample space, privacy, and fresh air does not have to be a fantasy.  In the quest for the ideal property to fulfill your dreams of self-sufficiency, whether your definition entails planting an orchard, raising sheep and goats, or being closer to mountains and trees, planning and research are primary! 

Finding a Great Small Town 

Surrounding Winston-Salem, you’ll find rural communities of small-business owners, farmers, ranchers, artisans, and those who don’t mind driving to work.   Visiting local businesses, you’ll quickly discover the appeal of small town and country life.  Store owners and neighbors offer invaluable information, recommendations, and helpful resources.  Intimate living also means residents will be curious about your history and life; therefore, take the time to wave, learn names, ask questions, and develop relationships.  

In addition: 

  • Visit the historical locations to learn more about the people and places of a potential residence. 
  • Join a group in the area and attend the local festivals.  
  • Find a social media platform to learn about the positives and problems within the county’s government.

Ask Yourself Questions 

The dream of land ownership comes with the benefits of lowered monthly expenses, from mortgage costs to annual taxes; yet, you should start thinking about the bigger picture through the following questions.  

  • What is the additional mileage to work and favorite shopping sites going to cost, monthly?  An alternative is finding local cost-effective stores or markets to buy produce, meats, and apparel.  
  • Does the location have internet access?  Not every rural location has a large bandwidth; therefore, you might experience freezes or problems using your cell phone.  
  • How often do the residents experience electricity outages?  Is investing in a propane range, tankless water heater, and generator a viable, cost-effective solution?  
  • Does the property need fencing and housing structures?  How much does it add to the price or cost to install? 
  • Will you need farm equipment?  How expensive are used or new attachments—for example, a tiller and bush hog?  
  • Will your potential animals require water; will it come from a well, or does the property have access to a pond or year-round creeks? 
  • How do I access the county’s plan for development to determine how rural life may change in the future?

NC State Cooperative Extension Benefits 

In each of our 100 counties, all North Carolina residents have access to a research-based resource—specialized agents who engage with farmers, businesses, and families to determine solutions.  Whether the need is to understand soil types, planting methods, preparing land for livestock, raising animals, or controlling pests, predators, or invasive species, an agent can schedule a house call and put science and research-based tools to work!  Transitioning to a country lifestyle also means having the state’s resources rooting for your success! 

Real-Estate Agents 

The times have changed!  Websites allow you to freely peruse a database of houses or available land in a particular county.  Take the time and sign up to receive property alerts and learn about the agents in your perspective area.  In advance, create a checklist of necessary accommodations, such as a house, access to water sources, buildings, and fencing.  Not every property will fulfill your needs; however, narrowing down the “must-haves” will help when you find the location that screams, “This is it!”   

Owning acreage is a choice of the heart and a change of perspective.  The desire for a meticulously mowed lawn will be replaced by the enjoyment of raising goats and growing wildflowers.  Fishing poles may remain on the front porch, rather than be used minimally across two seasons.  You’ll find peace, clear starry nights, long-range neighbors, and unexpected relationships with postal workers, police officers, and small business owners.  Country living is slower, and reaching destinations will take more time and patience; yet, there’s nothing comparable to the gratification of self-sufficiency, land ownership, and the outpouring of community support!   


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