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Cath123

Where to buy on a budget?

Hi
I've finally made it to this site on the advice of the chap who gave a talk about how to get a small holding at the 2010 Small Holding Show in Wales last year, sorry I've forgotten your name if you're reading this!
I've been looking all over the UK and Ireland (and France) to buy some land and something to live in for several years now on a budget of 120,000 - okay it's not enormous money but is something! I would love to know where people on a budget are going now to get land and live the dream as it does not seem to be this expensive, and at times overcrowed country! Spain? I would consider even the US and Canada but have little experience of these countries. Any advice gratefully received!
Nick

Ireland is stupidly cheap. It's miles from anywhere, so I'm not sure how supportable it would be.

daft.ie
marigold

Eastern Europe?
alice

Here.

About as different to, and as far from, the rest of the UK as you can get, without needing a visa.

http://www.lowsorkney.co.uk/

http://www.dreverandheddle.co.uk/index.asp?r=1

http://www.orkneypropertycentre.co.uk/
Went

120,000 would buy you a decent finca and house in certain parts of Spain but not here in the north - the problem you would have is what to grow and what to farm - Portugal is a cheaper option (Andrea has www.casalinho.com and could advise more)

The difficulty with moving to Spain or Portugal is the language - you would have to learn the basics and be able to converse on a level that would enable you to operate a small holding on an administrative level with the appropriate authorities.

Where ever you decide you want to be my advice would be to rent first and live the life for three-six months first. Dreams can sometimes turn into nightmares if not based on reality.

Welcome and hello.....from Asturias... Smile
gil

Bad Alice ! Laughing
Penny Outskirts

http://www.lowsorkney.co.uk/property_detail.asp?pID=270

Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

Laughing Laughing
Andrea

120,000 would buy you a decent finca and house in certain parts of Spain but not here in the north - the problem you would have is what to grow and what to farm - Portugal is a cheaper option (Andrea has www.casalinho.com and could advise more)

The difficulty with moving to Spain or Portugal is the language - you would have to learn the basics and be able to converse on a level that would enable you to operate a small holding on an administrative level with the appropriate authorities.

Where ever you decide you want to be my advice would be to rent first and live the life for three-six months first. Dreams can sometimes turn into nightmares if not based on reality.



And hello and welcome from Portugal Smile As Ian says, for that sort of money you could find something very nice here.

Saying that, I wouldn't do it again. Don't get me wrong, I love my place and my life, but this lifestyle is hard enough without battling a different culture and language at the same time.

I would completely agree with the advice to rent first. We've rented out our old house to several British couples looking for the good life over here, and they've all quit and gone back to the UK. Far harder to do if you've committed all your cash.
tim_and_nicky

We made it happen here in Galicia, northern Spain. Our place was 70,000 pounds for 5 acres and a livable house, but we were lucky in that. Galiciavista.com has some places but it will take time to find the ideal combination. Lots of wrecked houses and land but getting them together is difficult. Usually compromises to be made. Having said that, we are very happy here but making a living is the difficult part. Unemployment is very high. Unless you have a way of earning an income already in place, don't count on getting anything locally.

Good luck though
Cath123

Many thanks to you all for those replies and help.
Nick- Thanks for your comment - I've just got back from Ireland and found it hard to find anything in that budget yet! Locals and friends also kept telling me not to move there and definitely not to get ill there, which was a bit disconcerting! I looked most areas though did miss out Leitrim and Roscommon as being as you say maybe a bit isolated and over quiet. Beautiful country though lucky you.
Alice - Orkney was a top choice and I've not been able to find anything in my price range all this time- one house and half an acre came up at Birsay and went immediately and that's been it, but thank you for sending the estate agents links. I wondered if I drove around and networked I might be able to get something not on the agents lists?
Gawber and Andrea thanks so much for your comments; renting sounds good advice, places can be disappointing. I have a 10 year old and wonder if I would be able to find a really good school for her abroad, or even an international school? That's what put me off France as their mainstream system is so traditional and stressful for young children.
Tim and Nicky thanks so much for your comments and help and link. Great that you made it!
Cath123

p.s. thanks Marigold - Eastern Europe would be interesting but I'm not sure if I'm up to such a big challenge!
alice


Alice - Orkney was a top choice and I've not been able to find anything in my price range all this time- one house and half an acre came up at Birsay and went immediately and that's been it, but thank you for sending the estate agents links. I wondered if I drove around and networked I might be able to get something not on the agents lists?


Birsay is on the Mainland which is popular, so considerably more expensive.
The cheapest properties are on the less convenient north isles and many are sold privately without ever being advertised.
I would think there are quite a few properties on the agents websites at the moment that are well within your price range - just not on the Mainland.
marigold

When you say "land", how much land do you want? This looks nice to me, is near a school and would leave you plenty of change from your 120k. bayandgrey

Hi there, have you considered Aberdeenshire ? we looked at france, ireland etc and ended up in aberdeenshire and love it. most english folk we talk to (there are a lot here) love it as well. have a look at aspc on the net and see whats there. if you want any info just ask and i will try and help.
Andy.
boisdevie1

France can be a lot cheaper than the UK BUT if you need to find work here then don't fall into the trap of "oh I can manage gites for others/cut lawns etc" Lots of English people don't seem to realise that this market is already well supplied.
If you are considering moving to another country expecting that life will somehow be easier than in the UK then think again - don't get me wrong I'm happy here in France but I only have myself to look after so don't need to earn much money. And I spoke the language before I arrived. Even then dealing with foreign bureaucracys can be a real nightmare.
Nick

When you say "land", how much land do you want? This looks nice to me, is near a school and would leave you plenty of change from your 120k.

Quote:
There are road connections to Scunthorpe, Hull



Shocked
marigold

When you say "land", how much land do you want? This looks nice to me, is near a school and would leave you plenty of change from your 120k.

Quote:
There are road connections to Scunthorpe, Hull



Shocked

Yeah, I deliberately searched around Hull, knowing property is as cheap as chips around there, but, hey, you can't have everything and it is quite a cute cottage with a big garden... Wink . If you want a cheap property you have to look in wild places...
Chez

Hull. Where no-one can hear you scream. Katieowl

I think the million dollar question is the one posed by tim and nicky. You HAVE to have your income source as more than a vague plan before you commit. You can be as self sufficient as you can be...but you still need some sort of income, and if you are an 'outsider' it will be harder to do.

Kate
Mary-Jane

You HAVE to have your income source as more than a vague plan before you commit. You can be as self sufficient as you can be...but you still need some sort of income, and if you are an 'outsider' it will be harder to do.


Seconded. With knobs on.
Andrea

I have a 10 year old and wonder if I would be able to find a really good school for her abroad, or even an international school? That's what put me off France as their mainstream system is so traditional and stressful for young children.

A 'really good school', can be find to hard in the UK too!

Portuguese schools are very different to UK ones, in both good and bad ways. In a rural area, you will have a very limited choice. In our area, the closest school for your daughter's age group would involve a school day including travel starting at 7.20am and returning at 7pm. This would be until the end of secondary level. After that, choice becomes even more limited. Our nearest school offers post 16 courses in only three vocational subjects. Most foreigners I know send their teens back to the UK age 16.

Attainment wise, I think the local school has lower expectations than I would like.

There is also the difficulties of communication with the school to consider when you're doing so in a second language. And of course working your way around the school system (registering, subsidies etc).

I guess there must be international schools, but I'm not aware of any anywhere near us. It's worth bearing in mind that an International school won't integrate kids into the local community (language, culture, networking) in the same way that a local one will.
Cath123

Great thanks to all of you for your input and advice on this!

Alice, I hear you now; I must admit I was only looking at Mainland Orkney - I wwoofed a few years ago there and was advised to stick to mainland, but as you say the prices are way higher there, and there is so little availability. Sanday does seem to be a happy island, but only does school up to 16. I guess having a family poses problems. Where abouts may I ask are you?!

Marigold - gosh that IS cheap, thank you so much for taking the trouble to post that. I was hoping however for a few if not more acres - originally I figured out 12 would be ideal (but it doesn't have to be good land, infact better if not) now I'm not so fussy, but would want at least 2.

Hello Bayandgrey and thanks for your comment and pointing me to the aberdeenshire website. I did look at Aberdeenshire very closely about a year ago as I have friends down the road near Aberlour, but again couldn't find anything in budget! Sounds like a good place to live if a bargain comes up - do you do school locally?

Boisdevie1 - thanks for your comments and no kidding - I have seen and heard of lots of people coming back for those reasons. I do speak French and my Spanish is ok, but not a word of Portugese; but even speaking the language doesn't automatically integrate you as lifestyles can be so different.
As you and others wisely say making an income is an issue. I wasn't expecting to really make a penny out of running a smallholding/croft but did think if it was in a nice area the house might be rent outable for holiday lets for a while while we lived discreetly in a caravan or similar (bang go the planning people!) on the land, or converted an outbuilding for holiday lets, just to get money in. I've been out of the workforce a bit for the last 10 years while home schooling my daughter, so will need to be making some new steps.
Cath123

And thanks Katieowl, it's true. I need to work on this, at least staying in the British Isles I still get child tax credit, etc., and I think may be eligible for working family tax credit which I believe tops up a low income.
Andrea I am fascinated to hear your story! It is also very inspiring. I am familiar with the local school = integration perspective and do appreciate its truth! How have your children got on? How do you find the Portugese system? That is quite a commute - longer than the option we had in the highlands Lochinver to Ullapool. I don't think I could put my daughter into that, but I guess they get used to it? And it seems to be a truism in so many places I've looked at, any where nice to live i.e. rural, you face a long commute to school - which seems to be in some ways counterproductive of the kind of life we are looking for - what a world!
marigold

Hmm, well, I don't know all your circumstances, what your personal qualities are, where your income comes from and how big it is, or what your future expectations are (potential inheritances etc), but 120k doesn't sound like a huge amount of capital from which to start a one-woman smallholding enterprise from scratch (ETA - in the UK).

Maybe you already have a business plan, but if not you need to ask yourself a lot of questions. What will you do with your 2-12 acres? How would you finance converting buildings into holiday homes? How will you fund your ongoing expenses such as council tax, water, fuel, transport, clothing, insurance, essential tools and household equipment, repairs, education-related expenses, animal costs?

The rural idyll is a nice dream, but a small cottage with a large garden where you can keep chickens and grow veg, on the edge of a thriving village or small town might be more realistic and less stressful at least while your daughter is dependent on you.
Bulgarianlily

Land is very cheap here, but you don't need much, as the village grazing is free if you go with the animals yourself, or for 3 euros a month a man will take your cow out.

Comes down to what are you doing for income and what do you want to do with land?
Cath123

Hi Bulgarianlily, thanks for your reply. Wow that is cheap beyond belief. I had heard of Bulgaria being a place to move to but not sure I'd be brave enough with such a different culture and language and especially with a child.
How do you find the language/culture and do you have a family i.e. children who (may) need to go to school at some stage? All I've ever really wanted was a croft like piece of land with common grazing rights or similar to have a few native suckler cattle/ponies/goat,etc., to provide as much home grown untampered with food as possible and the lifestyle to match. It would be great to trade food/labour with neighbours. Income is an issue as you say, I have lots of good qualifications in English Lit at postgrad level - still wondering what I can really use them for!
bayandgrey

hi Cath123, we dont have kids but there are plenty of schools around and talking to friends who do have kids there doesn't seem to be any problems with education. It took us 7 years before we brought here as aberdeenshire prices seem to fluctuate a lot over time, usually reflecting how the oil industry is perfoming.
Andy
alice

Cath123 - have pm'd you. Andrea


Andrea I am fascinated to hear your story! It is also very inspiring. I am familiar with the local school = integration perspective and do appreciate its truth! How have your children got on? How do you find the Portugese system? That is quite a commute - longer than the option we had in the highlands Lochinver to Ullapool. I don't think I could put my daughter into that, but I guess they get used to it? And it seems to be a truism in so many places I've looked at, any where nice to live i.e. rural, you face a long commute to school - which seems to be in some ways counterproductive of the kind of life we are looking for - what a world!

My kids are in local school here. The elder gets very tired with his commute, particularly in the winter. When he first started it it used to scare the pants off me as it's a public bus he catches for the main part of the journey, and if he misses it there isn't another. The one time he missed it my phone wasn't working and neither was our car ....! Thankfully someone picked him up, phoned someone else, who phoned someone else, and eventually someone very kindly drove him all the way home (whilst I was frantically trying to track him down / borrow a car / panic, panic!)

I have a decision to make next year about whether the younger also starts there, or goes to a slightly more local school but then has to change schools again in a few years.

When we first came to Portugal I intended to homeschool. I changed my mind very rapidly when I realised how isolated we would become. It's been the right decision as the kids are now looked upon as locals whilst I will always be a foreigner.
clydesdaleclopper

I'm in Aberdeenshire and it's great. We are literally on the border with Moray and I'd say Moray is that bit cheaper as it's not commutable to Aberdeen so you don't get the inflated prices from all the oil people. I've got round the schools issue by home edding.

The Moray Solicitors Property Centre is http://www.spcmoray.com/ and the Aberdeen one is http://www.aspc.co.uk/
Cath123

Many thanks to you all for all your replies and advice and your own stories: it does help with giving a wider perspective and inspires too.

Andrea thanks for telling me your school experiences! I guess your boys benefit from being integrated in Portugese local society, depsite the commute and being away for so long during the week. I have homeschooled and can confirm it can be isolating even in your own country and being part of a network. I wouldn't do it abroad either for the reasons you give, but would worry about that journey (character forming to say the least!).

Clydesdalehopper thanks so much for your comments - believe it or not my daughter and I lived for 2 years at the Findhorn community in Moray and I homeschool too (though want to stop soon!) - I did some things with Noshed, perhaps we even met!

A
Cath123

And Clydesdalehopper thank you for those property sites.

And Andy thanks for explaining why the Aberdeenshire prices fluctuate - I thought I'd missed the boat for Aberdeenshire but will keep watching.

Finally Marigold thanks for your comments. As I said I wasn't planning setting up a big or even medium small holding "business"; just looking to feed my family clean food, keep some livestock and enjoy the lifestyle that goes with it. Money for converting outbuildings would probably come from initial holiday/summer lets on the house, if I went down that road, though I would do a lot of the work myself or with friends. I've wwoofed on lots of crofts and small holdings and seen/worked on the same thing. Family tax credit supports families on low incomes in the UK, and there are grants to start up small businesses. I don't think a semi with a large garden would ever be for me and is not the kind of lifestyle I would want for my daughter either which is why I posted my query in the first place!
WandaBlue

I've just bought over 6 acres on Sanday but haven't moved up yet (house/tractor shed needs scrubbing Shocked ). Visited last week and it was beautiful on the island, the people I spoke to were helpful and friendly. Luckily I don't have kids so this is not an issue for me. The links to the Mainland are excellent and it's only an hour and a half to Kirkwall on the car ferry. I can't wait to make the final leap. Alice, which island are you on? Local knowledge is a wonderful thing. alice

Hello and welcome Very Happy.
I'm over on Stronsay. Pm me if there's anything specific you'd like to know.
gil

Hope the move goes smoothly, Wanda. WandaBlue

Thank you Alice for your messages and thank you Gil for your good wishes. I suspect I may be asking many dumb questions here in the not too distant future.
Cath123 I hope you find something suitable soon. I found mine on the Greenshifters site (it was also listed on Tepilo). Well worth a look.
Cath123

Congratulations WandaBlue and best of luck and thank you for your good wishes. Sanday does look lovely and I have heard happy reports, and lucky you not having to think about schools, etc.,! I did used to look at Greenshifters, thanks for reminding me - I don't know Tepilo so thanks for telling me about it. Cath123

Got a great place!!!

Just to say thanks so much to all of you for your comments and advice, it was so heartening - and Biggest thanks to the Orkney resident who sent me the link to Low's Property, Orkney - my modest offer on a stone house with 5.1 acres, outbuildings and greenhouses on South Ronaldsay has been accepted!
Very Happy What a great website/forum, I am sure I too will be asking questions in the future here, all the best to you all!
Andrea

Many congratulations Cath, and best wishes for your new life in Orkney! Cathryn

Good luck Cath! Orkney looks very lovely. gil

Re: Got a great place!!!

Just to say thanks so much to all of you for your comments and advice, it was so heartening - and Biggest thanks to the Orkney resident who sent me the link to Low's Property, Orkney - my modest offer on a stone house with 5.1 acres, outbuildings and greenhouses on South Ronaldsay has been accepted!
Very Happy What a great website/forum, I am sure I too will be asking questions in the future here, all the best to you all!

Lucky you ! That was the one I saw and rather liked. The very best of luck for your move and future life up there.
alice

Ooh, how exciting!
South Ronaldsay is where I would choose if I had to live on the Mainland.
Good luck with the move.
One word of advice. Hire professionals to move your stuff - even if you have to sell a kidney to pay for it.
I wish I had Rolling Eyes
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