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Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

Posted by new_frmr (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 28, 09 at 10:29

I am 28 and have owned my home for 2 yrs., and I've determined that i hate paying a mortgage! I have to work so much that i have no time for the stuff i really love. My fiancee drives 2.5 - 3 hrs a day to commute to and from work.

All we want to do is grow stuff, be outside, and for me - do my art. This economy, combined with recent food recalls, instability of gas prices, and the mainstreaming of "green" culture, makes me think there are other people out there like me, who want to make a drastic change in the way we live life.

I'm looking at purchasing an old farmhouse on a few acres in N.C. to fix up. My cousin and her hubby have had similar thoughts and are excited about the idea.

I'd like to diversify my future income, with my current work (web design), food produced from our farm, and by renting our land for small cottages, where other like minded artists can live. In the future, it would be nice to make the big, main house into a B&B with a restaurant, and possibly have some commercially zoned cottages facing the main rd for selling preserves, jellies, goats milk cheese, art, sculpture, crafts, etc.

I've found one place that really is the physical embodiment of the dream i've had for years - Serenbe in GA.

http://www.serenbecommunity.com

However, its just SO cost prohibitive for any full time artist to afford! $250k for a quarter or half acre land and no home! I could stay in NJ and buy land at that price right next to the ocean.

The property I'm looking at IS way out there; Greene county, NC. Is it too far for anyone to consider actually joining us? Is the idea too cost prohibitive to attain - ie, red tape to get rezoned, etc? Does this area of NC just possibly have no use for modern day, ex-traders turned hippies?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

I think what you envision and the reality are two different things. It will still be one big master planned community. You will want to control what others do with their land, in the end it is the same human squabbling that takes place in most communities. Each person as they put in money will want control, how will you handle that.


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

"Does this area of NC just possibly have no use for modern day, ex-traders turned hippies?" - yes. The area is country, country - not hippie,country.

I would suggest you check out areas outside of Carrboro or Asheville if you are looking at relocating to NC. You will be able to find many like minded individuals in these areas. They have thriving art communities any many people interested in sustainable/organic farming.

If you are interested in living a simpler life and becoming more self reliant, you can eek out a living doing side jobs. If you want a big B&B, restaurant, cottages and your own little business empire, you are going to need real money. You will not do that with proceeds from farming - at least any time soon. Some experienced family farms manage to pay their bills, but almost nobody makes enough money that way to fiance other businesses. A start-up farm should expect to lose money for the first couple of years.


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

im not looking to do that with proceeds from farming. farming is mostly for our own food. We will pay cash for the property and when we sell our house up here in a few yrs we'll have $$ to do that sort of thing. i just want to pick the right area.

i looked up Carrboro, it seems like the ideal town - however, i have family on the coast and its just too far. even greene county is far, but its only 2 hours not 4.

any ideas closer to the coast? Within 2 hrs of beaufort, nc?


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

newfarmer,
I am a real estate agent in the Charlotte suburbs. It sounds like you need a place that is acceptable to you to be used as a farm, and yet border a busy enough hiway to get the traffic needed to sell your wares. Tall order, but not impossible. One option would be to farm and B&B on one parcel, and then buy or lease commercial space where there are the clientel that you need to sell to.
I drove fro Charlotte to Sunset Beach last week, and it took me 3.5 hours.
If you want me to email you some lot listings, just let me know.
Good luck.


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

The NC coastline is pretty long, so one area could be within a few miles and another could be 3 hours away. What city is your family near?


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

new frmr: "However, its just SO cost prohibitive for any full time artist to afford! $250k for a quarter or half acre land and no home! I could stay in NJ and buy land at that price right next to the ocean."

Perhaps a bit OT, but where can you purchase a a quarter or a half acre of land WITH a home on it right next to the ocean in NJ for 250K?

I know someone who recently purchased a small house on a postage stamp of land a block from the ocean in Lavallete...for 800K.


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

LOL, I was wondering the same thing as Logic about oceanfront land in NJ. Where in the world can you buy it for 250K?


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

hey op, check out the intentional community board for people who have similar vision to yours. i'm building community in vermont and that site has been pretty helpful along the way. good luck, it can be done, especially if you are willing to think outside the 'normal' box.


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

I live in Raleigh NC. I've seen articles about communes such as you describe in and around this area (most were near Carrboro/Chapel Hill). To me, most of them seemed a bit too far out in the woods for the price they charged. It was as if I was buying a place in town for those prices - there was no discount for being a starving artist wanting to live communally. When the economy tanked they seemed to have some vacancies which I believe pointed to some member's retirement porfolios dropping in value so they could no longer afford to live the good life.

Around here everyone talks about Asheville as the primo spot to live but no one except movie stars can afford it and jobs pay squat and are hard to get.

Wilmington, Beaufort and Manteo are all charming cities on the coast with a nice but tourist driven economy. Making money off of tourism is hard hard work, it is much better to sell at a larger city with a less seasonal economy. I would think that there is still cheap land on the outskirts of Beaufort but you would have to earn money from something other than farming or tourism (though they are good part time incomes). I would also think that now is the time to buy before the prices skyrocket again.


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Let me apogize...

Let me apologize... in an abstract, collective sort of way, for all the price inflation in good 'ol North Carolina.

Seems it's the "exurb" for all of South Florida... you know, that huge chunk of humanity from East of the Mississippi, and North of the Mason-Dixon, who moved to Miami-FLL-WPB, thinking it was Shangri-la, only to be dismayed by the many downsides of reality.

... they don't want to go ALL the way back "up North" (which they ruined with HIGH taxes), so they aim for the happy medium--NC... bummer... sorry. ;')


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

85% of my business was from Fl. and the NE. "Was" is the operative word here. Now, those same potential buyers can not sell their properties in order to get here. And if they get lucky and do sell, they do not have that pocketful of equity to bring to NC.
But, let's not hijack newfarmers post.


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

Prices in Asheville are waaaaay up there. They are much lower in Tennessee, especially if you can accept someplace that isn't commutable to a major city. By not commutable, I mean 90 minutes or more to the city center or where most of the work is located.

I've linked a famous Tennessee commune.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Farm


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

new_frmr-"The property I'm looking at IS way out there; Greene county, NC. Is it too far for anyone to consider actually joining us? Is the idea too cost prohibitive to attain - ie, red tape to get rezoned, etc? Does this area of NC just possibly have no use for modern day, ex-traders turned hippies?"

If you aren't from North Carolina (or the South) then you might want to do a little more investigating before you decide to move there. The countryside is beautiful but jobs are tough to find unless you have a particular skill (nursing, etc).

I have family outside of Asheville. It took them years to integrate. 20 years later, they have good friends and neighbors, but it took alot of work to fit in. Several years ago I picked up a book called "How To Find Your Ideal Country Home". EXCELLENT book that describes what pitfalls to avoid when choosing what and where you want to settle. The author also has a website/forum. You might get some ideas there. Here is a letter to the author describing what overly bossy outsiders can expect.

"Hi, Bumpy Gene, I'm from North Carolina, Greenville, to be exact, and we are overrun with Yankees! It's hard to find anybody with a southern drawl anymore. They have brought all of their big-city problems with them--crime, gangs, traffic gridlock, and a holier-than-thou attitude. I thank God for hot, steamy summers, lots of bugs, snakes, and so forth. I like to see 'em squirm (the Yankees that is!). Even after a major flood here last year they are still moving here by the hundreds every week. Nothing will deter them. It's colonialism--the natives suffer when the population influx begins. We are all in the "service economy" down here. Low-paying jobs to provide services for the rich SUV crowd. Thank God we just moved onto some family land which is in a trust (it can't be sold to make a subdivision for those outsiders). 100 acres and not a Yankee in sight! Yee-hah! Keep up the good work and take care. Sincerely, Sharon H.
You Yankees might want to either steer clear of North Carolina or practice your drawl before you move down to Sharon's neck of the woods. She has friends."

Go in with your eyes open! I like visiting N.C., but I don't think I'd want to live there. I've listed some websites you might find helpful. Good luck!

Links that might be useful:

GardenWeb-Homesteading Forum
forums.gardenweb.com/forums/homest/

How To Find Your Ideal Country Home
www.ruralize.com/

The Working Farm
theworkingfarm.proboards.com/index.cgi?

City Data
www.city-data.com/forum/


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

Here's a artist coop that's been around for awhile - small
http://www.greenestreetartists.org/GSAC/Home.html


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

Just an FYI. I live in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area and one thing that hasn't been mentioned is that Carrboro has the highest real estate taxes in the state. It is a wonderful place to live and pretty much convenient to everything. In the state of NC, this is definitely an area with a liberal mindset and green living is highly touted. HOWEVER- we bought a new construction house here 3 years ago. We chose the area because the schools are the best in the state. We have close proximity to UNC, Duke, and the Research Triangle. I've heard we have one of the highest per capita percentages of P.H.D.s. This is a very pricey area to live in and we have actually decided to sell. Our real estate taxes this year will be around 16,000. It's prohibitive and insane. We moved here from the Hudson Valley in NY hoping for a quieter life and find ourselves having to work twice as hard. The economy has drastically slowed the work available and many homes are for sale and sitting on the market for long periods. Just less than 2 years ago homes in our neighborhood sold in under a week. Do your homework and go in with your eyes open


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RE: Concept: a co-op artist community / commune

pattiem93...
"this is definately an area with a liberal mindset",
"Our real estate taxes this year will be around $16,000"

Those two go pretty much hand in hand.

Good luck finding the quieter life.


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