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Seeking advice - living driving distance vs walking distance to family

 
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I'm in that fortunate position where I have a very good relationship with my mother, brother, and sister. They all live within 20 minute drive of each other, in the rural area where we grew up. Wife and I will now be moving back there, to stay.

My brother and his family now live on the family farm acreage, and of all the family, I have the closest relationship with him.

Because I'm still in the planning phase, I think it would be awesome to live within walking distance. Share equipment and resources, the social factor, wives already get along with each other, kids can play with each other, etc.

But help me see past my rose colored glasses - is it really worth waiting what could be years for something to come up for sale, vs living 10 or 20 minute drive away and finding a place sooner? I know to some the obvious choice would just be "move kinda close then if something comes up for sale that is next door, buy it". However, we are sick and tired of moving and want to settle down once and for all...

Looking for some objective third party opinions!

Thanks permies
 
rocket scientist
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If you find a place you really like, then a ten-twenty minute drive is nothing.
Waiting for an adjoining property to come available could be a very long wait... BUT perhaps...
Is the family farm large enough that you could build a "guest" cottage that you immediately become the first and longest guest to stay in it?
This way you have family ties within walking distance and in a few years, you might be able to make a deal with an aging landowner adjoining the family farm.
 
Aldo Caine
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thomas rubino wrote:If you find a place you really like, then a ten-twenty minute drive is nothing.
Waiting for an adjoining property to come available could be a very long wait... BUT perhaps...
Is the family farm large enough that you could build a "guest" cottage that you immediately become the first and longest guest to stay in it?
This way you have family ties within walking distance and in a few years, you might be able to make a deal with an aging landowner adjoining the family farm.



Funny you should mention that... he's actually brought that up before, or about severing off a small piece to build on. I know property on one side is a very old family that I couldn't see ever selling but on the other side is a property that has changed hands a couple of times.

I guess I am hesitant to take too much of a favor. I really value the health of our family relationship right now and wouldn't want to do anything to mess that up. I never realized how valuable it is until seeing some other family's inner workings. And it always seems like money is at the root of their issues. Still, food for thought!

EDIT: And I probably should have mentioned, I kinda want my own 50-100 acre piece. He and I both have grand schemes and I don't think we'd want to step on each others toes down the road
 
thomas rubino
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Well, with luck it would be a short road until the adjoining property becomes available.
As far as splitting a piece of land off for a home.
I really think a cottage for guests is a wonderful thing for a farm to have.
If it makes the deal easier for you and your bro than pay him a lease payment while you are there.
Go over and meet the neighbors that have the adjoining land... feel them out on their future plans and make your plans accordingly.

Remember you can always look 10 miles away if you feel the guest cottage is not working out.
 
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Hi,  Personally I would find my perfect place for my family and I. The relationship thing is put into question when living with someone else.  If I had a different vision for my land than my brother I would not live on his property (even if split) and jepordize what we have together.  Remember fish, friends, and relatives stink after 3 days.  Too many times family members fight over something and end up not speaking to each other. And sometimes it does work out. Why chance it?
 
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Aldo, how does your wife feel about this situation?

Does she want to live within walking distance of her in laws?

I had a great relationship with my in-laws and spent a lot of time at their house.

Most in-laws are not like that for a lot of folks.

I personally preferred to live 20 minutes away even though we had a great relationship.

I like my private life kept behind the screen and not where my in-laws could see my comings and goings.
 
gardener
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I live under the same room as my father in law, and until recently grandfather in law. The aunt in law lives in a neighboring house. We don't have adjoining acreage, but there is some small land nearby. The deeds are a little complicated.

The relationship with the in laws has been all shades of difficult at times. Personally I think it has been worth it living together, and I think I could manage an even bigger shared living situation now. There have been times where I was ready to walk out the door and go live in a city apartment to get away from the situation, but cooler heads prevailed and as my perspective grew I think so did my tolerance.

I don't think everyone can manage it, and you have to be willing to put up some shit to live with other people. Making allowances is a big part of community living. But sharing is really a powerful powerful social construct. It binds you and makes you better if you let it.

I want more land too, but barring a sudden influx of tremendous amounts of cash, or an unlikely bequeath, I'm probably going to be here with what we have for a long time. For the growing space I want I'm looking to finding a harvest-based rental. Several people do that around here. Old land owners who can't garden their plot anymore will often lend it out to someone who can in exchange for some of the harvest.

Now... what we have really missed while raising kids is being close to grandmothers. Neither of my kids' grandmothers live nearby, and since Covid swept the world it really made traveling a lot harder. Not having experienced child-raising relatives nearby has been a major challenge for us, especially when we were new parents. It made us grow a lot, so there is that. But it sure would have been, and would still be nice to have the grandmothers nearby.

That's my experience. Take from it what you will.
 
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My parents and a number of siblings live on several adjacent properties. The community aspect is good, but something can be good while being difficult. We have to work on our relationships often. Healthy boundaries are still necessary. My wife was able to enjoy our house a lot more after we installed curtains. I didn't mind the fishbowl life because I had shared a room with most of these people. She had not, and so increasing her privacy was a big help.

Some of the benefits are enhanced security. We just went through a wildfire evacuation and it helped to have family around. We evacuated to my sister's house in town. Which brings up a potential advantage to living at driving distance from your family. If your house is under evacuation orders, maybe your brother's is not. If you live within walking distance, chances are that both houses will be under the same evacuation orders.

Finally, you might consider biking distance. You could live a little further away from your family. But your kids could still bike over to see grandma and their cousins. If you can reduce the soccer-mom commuting, you will save money and time.
 
Aldo Caine
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Arthur Angaran wrote:Hi,  Personally I would find my perfect place for my family and I. The relationship thing is put into question when living with someone else.  If I had a different vision for my land than my brother I would not live on his property (even if split) and jepordize what we have together.  Remember fish, friends, and relatives stink after 3 days.  Too many times family members fight over something and end up not speaking to each other. And sometimes it does work out. Why chance it?



You know, deep down this is my fear. Why ruin a good thing. What is really gained being super close rather than a short drive other than minor convenience? To really capitalize on all shared resources (tools, shop space, tractor, etc), you're talking commune level arrangements which we've joked about but I think could end up being the end of a good thing. I really appreciate your perspective. A healthy distance.
 
Aldo Caine
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Anne Miller wrote:Aldo, how does your wife feel about this situation?

Does she want to live within walking distance of her in laws?

I had a great relationship with my in-laws and spent a lot of time at their house.

Most in-laws are not like that for a lot of folks.

I personally preferred to live 20 minutes away even though we had a great relationship.

I like my private life kept behind the screen and not where my in-laws could see my comings and goings.



You're pretty much exactly describing the situation, but in reverse (with her parents). This could all change after the move, but right now she sees my side as the family she always wanted. Healthy boundaries are not a thing on her side and it made the relationship tense. So again, why ruin a good thing by moving too close...

I'm glad to hear you had a great relationship with your inlaws. Proof that it is possible

It just seems like a bit of a healthy distance is the safer bet, with no real downsides, compared to what could happen should trouble arise from proximity issues. Still get the upsides from being near family, but like you say, maintain a bit of a private life
 
Aldo Caine
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L. Johnson wrote:I live under the same room as my father in law, and until recently grandfather in law. The aunt in law lives in a neighboring house. We don't have adjoining acreage, but there is some small land nearby. The deeds are a little complicated.

The relationship with the in laws has been all shades of difficult at times. Personally I think it has been worth it living together, and I think I could manage an even bigger shared living situation now. There have been times where I was ready to walk out the door and go live in a city apartment to get away from the situation, but cooler heads prevailed and as my perspective grew I think so did my tolerance.

I don't think everyone can manage it, and you have to be willing to put up some shit to live with other people. Making allowances is a big part of community living. But sharing is really a powerful powerful social construct. It binds you and makes you better if you let it.

I want more land too, but barring a sudden influx of tremendous amounts of cash, or an unlikely bequeath, I'm probably going to be here with what we have for a long time. For the growing space I want I'm looking to finding a harvest-based rental. Several people do that around here. Old land owners who can't garden their plot anymore will often lend it out to someone who can in exchange for some of the harvest.

Now... what we have really missed while raising kids is being close to grandmothers. Neither of my kids' grandmothers live nearby, and since Covid swept the world it really made traveling a lot harder. Not having experienced child-raising relatives nearby has been a major challenge for us, especially when we were new parents. It made us grow a lot, so there is that. But it sure would have been, and would still be nice to have the grandmothers nearby.

That's my experience. Take from it what you will.




Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Once of the reasons for the move is to be close to a grandparent (my mother) who is a bit of a saint, if I do say so myself. I know firsthand the benefit of a strong grandparent influence on a child, and lord knows the help my mother got from my grandmother when raising us.

I guess I'm just hoping for that sweet spot, of having all the benefits you mention, of sharing, social cohesion, but also having private space.

On the point of wanting more land... I'll be the first to admit that my lust for acreage has been the cause of this taking longer than it could have.
 
Aldo Caine
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Jeremy VanGelder wrote:My parents and a number of siblings live on several adjacent properties. The community aspect is good, but something can be good while being difficult. We have to work on our relationships often. Healthy boundaries are still necessary. My wife was able to enjoy our house a lot more after we installed curtains. I didn't mind the fishbowl life because I had shared a room with most of these people. She had not, and so increasing her privacy was a big help.

Some of the benefits are enhanced security. We just went through a wildfire evacuation and it helped to have family around. We evacuated to my sister's house in town. Which brings up a potential advantage to living at driving distance from your family. If your house is under evacuation orders, maybe your brother's is not. If you live within walking distance, chances are that both houses will be under the same evacuation orders.

Finally, you might consider biking distance. You could live a little further away from your family. But your kids could still bike over to see grandma and their cousins. If you can reduce the soccer-mom commuting, you will save money and time.



I'm not sure the word for it, but I'm resonating with what you're saying. Some kind of social/lifestyle redundancy, I like the idea of being around these people because I know I can trust them 100%, be it eviction due to disaster, child needs, whatever it is. I like how we already do things for each other, help each other out, and it seems like we get a legitimate pleasure on both sides. I feel like I only want to encourage that, and not ruin it by infringing on boundaries, whether it physical or otherwise.

Love the biking idea!
 
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Well, have you thought about asking the adjoining properties if they have any intention or inclination to sell?   I've sold two homes because someone was interested in it, and I had been *thinking* about selling in the relatively near future anyway.   So it was incentive for me to just get on with it and we didn't need any realtor commissions to pay or deal with,  just attorneys.  

Not sure what the neighbor relations are like, but maybe wouldn't hurt to put a bug in their ear that you'd be interested, and it could save them all the effort of listings, showings, open houses, fallen through offers, etc.  
 
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My family is very close.  We help each other out and anyone in my family would drop everything if another member needed something.  We have been through a lot together.  My sister that took her own life, the loss of my baby brother a few years ago.  We have all been there for one another through everything.  All that said, I live 15 or 20 minutes from my family, and I prefer it that way.  My mother is a worrier.  I don't want her to see me working on the roof of my new chicken coop on rigged together scaffolding that I know is safe, but would look death-defying to her.  If I'm not home by dark, she would be watching out the window until she saw my car lights pull in.  She doesn't sleep well now that she is older.  A light came on at my house at 3 AM?  Someone must be sick.  She would drive herself, and me, crazy with it all.  I prefer at least some barrier to all that, and a 15 minute drive to get together is nothing.
 
Aldo Caine
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Heather Staas wrote:Well, have you thought about asking the adjoining properties if they have any intention or inclination to sell?   I've sold two homes because someone was interested in it, and I had been *thinking* about selling in the relatively near future anyway.   So it was incentive for me to just get on with it and we didn't need any realtor commissions to pay or deal with,  just attorneys.  

Not sure what the neighbor relations are like, but maybe wouldn't hurt to put a bug in their ear that you'd be interested, and it could save them all the effort of listings, showings, open houses, fallen through offers, etc.  



You betcha! Letters sent. Just not sure if I should press them as they haven't responded. It's really encouraging though to hear your perspective from the other side though, as a seller. My brother has graciously spoken in person with one of the neighboring owners before we sent the letter. Nicely said not in a million years :) But no harm in asking right, as long as I am not pushy
 
Aldo Caine
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Trace Oswald wrote:My family is very close.  We help each other out and anyone in my family would drop everything if another member needed something.  We have been through a lot together.  My sister that took her own life, the loss of my baby brother a few years ago.  We have all been there for one another through everything.  All that said, I live 15 or 20 minutes from my family, and I prefer it that way.  My mother is a worrier.  I don't want her to see me working on the roof of my new chicken coop on rigged together scaffolding that I know is safe, but would look death-defying to her.  If I'm not home by dark, she would be watching out the window until she saw my car lights pull in.  She doesn't sleep well now that she is older.  A light came on at my house at 3 AM?  Someone must be sick.  She would drive herself, and me, crazy with it all.  I prefer at least some barrier to all that, and a 15 minute drive to get together is nothing.



Thank you for sharing your experience.
 
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In my little town of about 1000 people there are several families with relatives owning multiple houses in town. From what I can tell, none of them are right next to each other and they usually they are spaced apart by at least a 15 minute walk. That seems to be the sweet spot for being close enough to get a lot of the benefits of nearby family while also having some space.
 
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