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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

Thanks to a great new job offer the family and myself will soon be moving to the Front Royal/Winchester area of Virginia. While we plan to rent initially and learn the area before buying, my dream is to buy 15-20 acres to start my homestead. Does anyone on the forum live in the area and have insight for me? I know there is lots of beautiful rolling farmland up there, but I'm not sure what to expect for costs as most of the property listings I've seen tend to target developers and have the high price tag to match. Though I grew up in the homesteading lifestyle it's something that I got away from as I got my education and started my career, now it's time to teach my own children the values that go along with that life and that can't be learned anywhere else. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks

John
 

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John,
I don't live there, but I have friends that do. There are more and more people moving to that area that commute to the Northern Virginia, Washington, DC area to work. You will probably have to search for reasonably priced land.

I don't know, maybe west of Winchester a bit?

A beautiful area though!

Good luck,
Michelle
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Michelle. You are right, there are already commuters living there and the number is only going to grow in the next few years. My hope is that I'm getting in there under the wire in terms of the prices, but you are right I will likely need to look west or a little southwest. One thought I have is that if I can't find land with a home I can afford, maybe I can just get my hands on some land and then build when I'm ready. Then at least if the property values went up I would already have bought it. I think I still have a shot but time is ticking, a $200,000 house in Winchester or Front Royal is selling for about double that just an hour away. There is no way that's not driving people in my direction.
 

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Hi John,
We moved to Charles Town WV about 5 years ago to escape the high real estate prices and crowds of Northern Virginia. We are about 30 miles from both Winchester and Front Royal. I am sorry to say both the crowds and the prices followed us!
My advice would be to look for land west of winchester in Hampshire county West Virginia. It is about a 30 minute drive to Winchester.
We are moving to Levels, West Virginia in the next three years.We bought 36 acres with a house, barn, fences, and ponds for $176,000.The same property in Charles Town would easily be 3 times that amount.
The Hampshire Review is the weekly paper. It is available online. They have a decent real estate section.
Good Luck!
 

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The Northern Shenandoah Valley is quickly becoming a bedroom community for the DC metro area. I should know, because I live outside of Front Royal and commute to Reston. Real estate prices have been going through the roof in the Valley, because of all of the commuters. I have a 2BR house on a one acre lot, and it was recently appraised at 135K- up from 80K four years ago. You might want to think about buying land in West Virginia, or in Paige county, which is south of Front Royal and still somewhat off the beaten track.
 

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I grew up in Winchester. It used to be a small town but it has changed so much over the years! Way too many folks from N. VA. moved in and drove real estate prices up. If you like the Shenandoah Valley, you may want to consider going further south=the area between Woodstock and H'burg is really nice and there is still lots of land for a more reasonable price than Frederick Co. I'm currently in Augusta Co. and there is land here too-especially in the western part of the county. (But real estate prices are heading up fast everywhere you look here in VA)
 

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I grew up in Front Royal and my parents still live there. Like everyone has said, there are now a lot of people living there and commuting to DC. Tons more traffic than when I was living there (OMG almost 30 years ago :eek: )! Some places to look where land should be cheaper: Luray, Woodstock, Bentonville, Mt. Jackson, Strasburg, Toms Brook, Sperryville, or Flint Hill. All within a half hour or so of Front Royal. Good luck!
 

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I live near Winchester too, in Morgan Co, WV. The main route here, 522, runs right to Winchester. In the western part of Morgan co prices are higher because of the easy commute. I'm on the opposite side of the county and prices are still reasonable, but are rising since we are so close to Winchester and Hagerstown MD. I don't know about prices in Hampshire county but it sounds like a good bet to start looking. I think Daycab is right Charlestown or anywhere in Jefferson county would be high, Berkeley county might be alright, depending where you look, but you have easy access to I81 from there. It all depends on what you want to spend and how much of a commute you want.

Personally I would forget living in VA because of higher taxes, but that is from someone who is waaaay slanted to thinking WV is the greatest place in the world. That might be from all the inbreeding ? (kidding, please forgive me :haha: )

Carla
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone for you responses. Yes it's true that development and growth are happening there already. It's just unbeleivable that so many people are willing to commute 1.5 hours to DC, and yet it's true. That's really telling about the quality of life over there, not to mention housing costs.

I'm not willing to do that long commute more than about 30 minutes, it just takes too much toll on what I want to do on my future little farm, and most importantly on my family time. I spent the last two years working 30 to 40 hours a week at a night job in addition to my "real" job trying to get ahead. All that happened is we didn't really gain much ground financially and I missed a lot of important time with my family that I can't get back.

We're looking in Mt Jackson area of Shenandoah county right now and will probably rent for the first 9 months to a year and then buy. It looks like we should be able to get a decent house and about 7-10 acres for that, and that's all I really need though more would be nice. Based on my research that will be about the most we can afford.

I just look forward to that day we finally have our place so much. After growing up that way most of my childhood I know that there is a lot my children can learn about life on a small farm, even if that's not our only income.

Thanks

John
 
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