If you are moving to Moore County, NC or any other rural area, you might think that buying some land and building a house is a great idea. You get to pick the lot and design the house. However, there are a few things to consider before buying your property. Have you thought about power, garbage pickup or Internet Service? Let me enlighten you on some of the lessons we had to learn and the questions we had to ask.
Is your property along a route where trash gets picked up? If not, call to see if they will come out. Otherwise, you will have to take your own trash to the closest transfer station. This isn’t particularly inconvenient, but if you don’t have a pickup truck to haul the trash bags, you might want to think this one through. Perhaps you can go in with a neighbor who does haul the trash. The local transfer stations are open most times of the year and for about 12 hours a day except Sunday.
Is there power to your land?
Is there power run to your land? If not, you have to work with the local electric company to get service. Even when we did have power to our land, we had two options:
- We could set another power pole on our property (the main one was across the street) and run the electric underground from there or
- Run the electrical all underground from the street pole to a transformer box on our property, which was more money out of our pocket
We decided to go with the transformer box instead of another pole. We didn’t want another power pole on our property that then had to be cleared of trees on both sides for electric company access.
Where is the post office delivery?
Post office rules dictate they cannot deliver a package down a rural, private road that is more than a half mile from your mailbox. So if your mail box is on the main road, and your house is .75 miles down the road, guess what? You will have to go pick up your packages from the post office each and every time. So think about how far down the road your property is located. Talk to your local post office and get it straight from them too.
Where is the bus stop?
If you live on a private road, the school bus is not allowed to drive down your road. Our bus stop is half a mile down the road where we intersect the main road. If you have small children, those in Kindergarten through 2d grade cannot walk home alone. A parent or adult has to meet them at the bus stop to get off the bus. Also, be aware in Moore County, the bus stops are usually right in front of your home.
We moved from Virginia where there was one main bus stop per neighborhood and collected 5-10 kids per stop. Here there may be a stop every few hundred feet to pick up one child at each stop. It can get frustrating when you are driving behind a bus and have to stop every minute or so. Finally, be aware that some bus rides can take up to an hour (or more) after school gets out. Contact Moore County Schools Transportation Department to learn more.
What is the Internet/phone capability for your land?
In this day and age, one would think that cell phones and Internet can be found everywhere. Well not necessarily. If you have land that won’t be cleared of all trees, you might have a connection issue.
There are not many cell towers in our county and coverage can be spotty even in your own home. We had to get an actual land line brought to the house because our neighbors are a few hundred feet away and not always home. Our 3 kids have one cell phone but what if there is an emergency? The land line is there to call 911. We had to install a 50-foot tower on our property to get Internet service which is less than 25 Mbps upload and download. It works for streaming videos and working from home, but think about how you use it.
Is there water on your land?
If you have to dig a well, be prepared to wait for a few weeks or more before it can be dug. Consider location and be prepared for it to not provide A LOT of water. Our neighbors had 20 gallons per minute but when we dug our well, it is 3-4 gallons per minute. It’s enough for a house but not enough for irrigation. We’ve gotten around the issue by using sprinklers we move every half hour to keep the grass green until Mother Nature can take over.
And just because they dig for the well, doesn’t mean they will hit anything. If you dig 300 feet and still have no water, you still have to pay the company for a dry well and then try another spot. Well digging can cost thousands of dollars too.
Water filtration system
Also, based on the water samples, you may have to install a water filtration system. You may need a water softener, a system to remove the smell in the water or the minerals. These can run up to a thousand dollars or more depending on what you need. Ask your neighbors to see what they have that works in their home. There are a few plumbers who know how to install a water filtration system in the area such as Premier Plumbing, Ben Franklin and The Plumbing Knight.
Where do you put the septic field?
If you are not on a public sewage line, then you have to get a septic field. They can be large fields on the side or back of your home but consider what you will be doing in your backyard. Do you plan on putting in a pool?
Location is important but sometimes you have no choice on where to put the septic field. It all depends on the health inspector and where they find the best location based on soil. Hint, if you have a hill then that is normally a good place to start.
Another thing to consider is your sink disposal. If you plan on having one in the kitchen sink, make sure it’s the kind that is good for a septic system. Otherwise, it will clog up your septic system and cause issues later.
Once you get beyond these questions and you feel confident that this is the property for your home, contact your real estate agent to get the ball rolling. And if you need help deciding on all those colors, finishes, fixtures and more for your new home, let me help you with the design decisions.