Looking for a home and 50+ acres in VT. Should we be looking in NH?

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We've taken a couple trips to VT looking for a place to live. We do not home school however and the school systems must be great. Schools are our #1 concern. Our #2 concern is an outside job for me. I work construction, roads, bridges, pipework...I've also been a manager of an Agway feed and supply store. So there are different possibilities. We have 7 kids and we'll need some income and insurance right off. Many folks have recently asked why aren't you looking in NH? Well honestly we just haven't had the time to get in the car. If anyone knows of any farmland available in NH or VT we would appreciate the input. Also any advice why we do not want to pursue this move is welcome.

-- Bob Ambrozaitis (rambrozaitis@snet.net), September 16, 1999


hello, i`m new to this forum. i live in s.e. michigan, but lived most of my life in no. vt..allthe school systems in no. vt leave something to be desired(my expierence). no. nh is great but jobs are few and far between. have you ever considered dairy farming for work? most jobs come with a house and elect.,and i know there is a need for people in nh. i`m looking forsomeone who is or has lived in no. mi., especially the upper peninsula. thanks charlie 2brats@mciworld.com

-- charlie blow (2brats@mciworld.com), September 22, 1999.

Get in your car and drive. Go to NH and see if you like it-just like in VT all of NH is not alike. There are farming communities, vacation communities, cities, etc. We still live in CT (for lots of reasons) but have property in Wakefield/Sanbornville about half way up on the East side of the state. We love the area because it is rural but it is still close to a lot of activities and services. We could homestead there, but it is not a farming community. Again, perfect for us because I do things organically, and that can be difficult when those around you are not (spray drift, and shared water tables, etc.) Jobs with insurance are not easy to find, but they are there if you look. There is a beautiful area North of us that has a spring fed water bottling plant (Castle in the Clouds) that fairly often has openings for positions that pay well and have insurance etc. Just south of us is an area that has a lot of farming and is close to Rochester which is a city that offers a variety of industries and thus jobs. The thing to do is to find an area you like, find out about it (such as the school systems) and then subscribe to the local paper. You can get lots of information in the articles and the classified ads, including which companies frequently have positions open, which companies offer insurance, what the real estate market is like, etc. Town jobs are also listed in the local papers and they can be a great way to get insurance (and you typically work 7-3:30 so you can have a life besides).

Right now real estate seems to be really crazy everywhere (here in CT an older small cape down the road from us on 1/4 acre just sold for $269,000 within a week of being listed), but in NH you can still get a house and some property for a very reasonable price if you look around.

Good luck in your search.

-- Cathryn Lee (cl@greenwood.com), November 18, 1999.

We have lived in Vermont for twenty years. The school systems are not the best but of course this varies from town to town. We solved this by homeschooling. The job market is pretty depressed regardless of what the unemployment rates say. There seem to be more jobs available near Burlington but this is a good sized city with all the trappings including lots of traffic. Real estate prices may seem good to some depending on where they are from but income in Vermont is low. Twenty years ago I left a job in a major city to come to Vermont. It took me over a year to get a job in my field. (I waitressed and did several other things in the meantime.) When I finally got a job comparable to the one I left it was at about 60% of what I had made before. A good example is teacher salaries. Vermont is 48th in the nation last time I heard. Don't get me wrong, I love Vermont. I am not trying to discourage you but it is hard to make it here unless you have a good chunk of change. There is also a shortage of rental property and I just read about a woman who is living with her daughter in a homeless shelter. She moved here from the midwest this summer and still can't find a place to rent. If I were you I would try to find a job before I moved. I rented a farmhouse sight unseen when I came here. At least I had a place to live for three months. I also had enough money saved to live for about a year without working. What I'm saying is be prepared for the worst and you will maximize your chances of success. Good Luck!

-- Lani Jacobs (mlrd@together.net), November 25, 1999.

Have you considered Maine? I have friends that live in southern Vermont, close to the N.H. border along the Conn River. Property taxes are very high in my opinion in that state. They have 12 acres an old farmhouse and a 4 bay equipment barn, a very tiny pond, their taxes run close to $3000 a year Outrageous! We live in central Maine have 22 acres a 15 yr old home, a big barn, a 16x24 rabbitry and good size woodshed, holds about 8 cord of wood w/ room to spare. Our taxes each year even with the addition we just put on the house which was a 20x20 w/ a small 12x12 room off of that,are just about at $1000 a yr. We think this is getting a bit high as well. The problem here like in most of Vermont is the job market isn't the greatest. Income here is low as well. A friend of ours here just took a job w/ a cable company to get out of the shoe factory. This keeps him away from his family though for sometimes up to 2 weeks at a time and leaves the farm chores to the kids and his wife who also works out of the home. We are lucky enough to be retired quite early on because my husband was injured at work. We don't have to work but are very frugal. If I was to move here with a family, I would make sure I had a job and would start the job before moving my family here, leaving your wife to handle selling your present home and pack up. There is a lot of affordable homes here IF you can then find work. Farming is an option and there are quite a few organic farms in our immediate area that seem to be making a living or breaking even. You have much to consider.

Oh by the way, our friends that live in Vermont,used to live in N.H. They lived there for 6 years (this was about 5 years ago now) when they moved there their mortgage on their home was around $550. By the time they moved to Vermont the mortgage was about to go to just below $900, this was because of the tax increases there. They lived on the outskirts of Keene N.H. and had a big farmhouse an attatched barn and not much property. We don't think they are much better off in Vermont.

Our schools in Maine are not the greatest either. We were horrified one day to be at a friends house and finding her 9th grader in a struggle over trying to name the geographical regions of the U.S. (like the Great Basin, Great Plains etc.) She told us she had not started on the other countries in the world yet, not even So. America! I learned this by 6th grade! That is another concern for you.

I guess you do just have to go and explore more to see where you want to be. I don't know where you are from but another thing you have to consider is the long winters up here, which do many people in. But, if your family is used to entertaining themselves and love the outdoors in all seasons the northeast is great. Good luck.

-- Patty Haggstrom (vikingfm@midmaine.com), December 25, 1999.

Jobs are most plentiful in NH of the three (VT NH ME) listed. Schools in all three states are wildly variable. Some great, many OK, some poor. It totaly depends on the district. Housing is cheapest in ME, and hardest to get permits for in VT, and most heavily taxed in NH. So all three have things going for and against. You are gonna have to live here to find what suits you, has the job you want, and the school system that supports your children.

Personaly I liked all three but found work in NH...

-- Tom Cagle (nh-adapt@juno.com), January 19, 2000.

Why does everyone always forget upstate N.Y. ?St Lawrence county .There are jobs avaible .We have several prisons.G.M.,Alcoa,Reynolds metals ,several paper mills,several colleges and hospitals .Land is cheap and fertile.E-mail me if interested.Good luck

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), January 24, 2000.

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