From lurking around here I believe that I'm definitely in the minority. Rather than purchasing a "way out in the sticks" lot for off grid or self-sustained living, I just bought a small (about 1/3 acre) lot in town with city water and sewer. I am pretty much decided on building the 2 story 20X34 cottage, based on its small footprint and the ease of construction.
The lot is in Clover, South Carolina, and it's very close to the school that my 6 year-old daughter loves attending. The downside is that it will be a fairly long commute for me. Although this log is in a town, it's a small town a good hike from where most of the jobs in my field are in the greater Charlotte (NC) area.
My next decision is going to be foundation type. I'm afraid there may be a huge layer of rock on the property that may prevent a basement foundation, but I'm going to explore that option and see where it gets me.
One thing I really liked about a town lot is saving a lot of development expenses by being able to tap into city water and sewer. The lot only cost $6,000 which is probably less than a well and septic would cost for a rural lot. Not to mention the lot had a home on it until about 10 years ago, so I should require minimal grading and site prep.
w* Ray. It's not all that usual to have town / city dwellers here. We're the same as far as the main full time home. Started out as a smallish town when we first moved here 27 years ago. Kinds large now though 80-85K. Hope you have good neighbors.
The town population was 5158 as of 2009, so it is a small town. As for neighbors, the houses on either side are rentals, but they are well-kept. I don't think the neighbors will mind the construction too much, and they may even enjoy getting the vacant lot cleaned up a bit since it was been a little overgrown with grass and weeds.
I may get me a good pair of boots and a slingblade so I can blaze a path to find the stakes and monuments to find the property exents. Then I may go ahead and place stakes and level some string between them to get an idea how much of a grade I have.
If I don't post again you'll know that there was a snake lying in wait for me in the underbrush. :(
Oh well, so much for building a home. There was a snafu and the attorney is sending my cashier's check back that I sent for the lot because apparently it was sold out from under me. What a great lot, too! Oh well, I suppose there will be others, but I am bummed.
I have an offer on a 3 acre parcel of land out in the country. It was verbally accepted, so I'm crossing my fingers right now. I may get to build something after all!
And I am going the same path as you with a town lot which already has water and sewer, a little bigger then a 1/3 acre for $3,000 in Lavonia, GA
Same idea with saving the improving costs and adding that to fund the build which will be extremely tight budgetwise!!!
Just as a note here for you when you start pricing out foundations.... I am going with a concrete slab for mine which will be 20x40 and the total cost for that is $3,500 materials and labor
There are quite a few SC builders on the site here right near you, so ask for help and you will get it
When are you going to start?
Well, since the town lot was sold out from under me I put in an offer on a 3 acre rural lot. The land is now in my name, so I'm moving forward. It's a little different from the town lot, with water and sewer, but this parcel already has two wells and two septic tanks. Now I'm just praying that it all works.
I have a LOT of cleanup yet to do. The parcel has two mobile homes and a house. At least it looked like a house, but it's actually two single-wide mobile homes placed side-by-side with a brick veneer built around them and a roof built over them. But all three structures are pretty well shot so they'll probably need to come down.
I'm really debating whether to do monolithic slab or crawl space. The nice thing about the crawl space is I can save up in "chunks." I can save enough to pour the footer, then save to buy block and mortar, etc. On the other hand, if I can just be patient and save enough to pour a slab I'll have a lot done in one fell swoop, including my first floor. Decisions, decisions!
I personally like slabs. Save and get it done all at once then there's just walls and a roof. :)
Any progress on your build Ray?