When city dwellers get fed up with the expense and congestion of urban life, they frequently entertain the same dream: pack it all in and move to the country.
This series of stories covers some of the major factors to consider before taking the plunge, as well as insights I gained from my own experience building a home outside of Leavenworth.
Here, I discuss the realities of owning a part-time home, as well as what to think about before you pack it all up and make your vacation home your forever home.
Plan to be away
Like cars, houses don’t do well if they sit unused for long periods of time. If you’re building a vacation home, a host of problems can arise while you’re away. A tree can fall on your house, pipes may freeze or mice can infest your house without you knowing it.
Even if nothing dramatic happens, you can expect to spend many weekends fixing and maintaining various issues. It helps to have a trusted neighbor or a property manager to keep an eye on things and help you during an emergency.
Make extra money with Airbnb (maybe)
Many people envision using rental income to pay for their country getaway. In certain areas, offering your house as a short-term rental can pay the mortgage and then some.
First, be sure your location allows weekend rentals. Some popular spots, including Leavenworth, have banned them outright. Some neighborhood associations prohibit them as well.
Move in permanently
Before making the leap to living in the country full time, you should imagine what it would be like to live there permanently. Will it be lonely without friends nearby? If you dread living without delivery pizza, ballgames or good libraries, it’s probably not a wise move.
Also, most rural areas have poor cellphone service and slow internet. As you imagine living somewhere (or you need to work remotely), you have to decide if dial-up-like internet speeds and land lines are worth the trade-off for a country life.
Writer Jeff Layton owns Osprey Acres, a three-year building project near Leavenworth that includes his dream home and a pair of weekend rental units available via Airbnb.com or Peerspace.com.