Asking the right questions

The couple sitting in Oddfellas Cantina Sunday pored over real estate brochures and maps, looking they said for their dream country home. “We’ve had it with urban life,” said the 30ish redhead, who introduced herself as Cindy. “We want the quiet and charm of the country.” Her husband, Charles, nodded agreement. “We can afford the change in lifestyle and it’s time to move,” he said.

The couple sitting in Oddfellas Cantina Sunday pored over real estate brochures and maps, looking they said for their dream country home.

“We’ve had it with urban life,” said the 30ish redhead, who introduced herself as Cindy. “We want the quiet and charm of the country.”

Her husband, Charles, nodded agreement.

“We can afford the change in lifestyle and it’s time to move,” he said.

We see couples like Cindy and Charles a lot on weekends in Floyd, real estate ads in hand, scouring the countryside for their ideal escape home. They land in Oddfellas, or Café del Sol, or Blue Ridge Restaurant, and seek out locals for information on living here in the mountains.

They want to know about taxes and services and restaurants and nightlife and social amenities. They ask about the country club and golf and recreation and whatnot.

I’ve run into enough couples like Charles and Cindy to prepare my own list of questions.

Have you ever lived in a home with a well or septic system?

Do you have allergies?

Do bugs bother you? Spiders? Snakes? Coyotes? Bobcats? Bears?

Do you get midnight cravings for something to eat and want to dash out to the nearest 24-hour diner for a bite?

Is accessibility to shopping a priority?

Does the smell of manure offend you?

I ran these questions and others by Cindy and Charles. No, they had never lived in a home with a well and septic. Cindy is allergic to ragweed and pollen. She’s deathly afraid of spiders. Charles has a phobia about snakes. They like to eat out and eat late. Cindy loves shopping at malls. Neither has the foggiest idea what manure smells like.

Country living, I pointed out, has advantages and disadvantages and many find it is not the panacea they expected. They admitted they had not yet thought such things through.

I suggested they try one of Asheville, North Carolina’s faux country communities, the gated kind with dozens of houses littering the hillsides, lights along every street and a shopping mall just 15 minutes away.

They said they planned to visit Asheville the following weekend.

Good. I think they will be happier there.

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11 Responses

  1. Great questions! Maybe the local restaurants will let you post them for the weekenders to see. Some others might be:
    How self-sufficient are you? If something breaks can you fix it or are you always dependent on others? For GA, maybe not VA, can you tolerate the smell of wet chicken litter after a rain?

  2. There’s a different set of issues for single women. The “good old boys”, married or unmarried, never did get the idea that I did not relocate in order to entertain them. Now that I’m in my 60’s, it’s time to try again; but I know now what my limits are … and my limitations that are easily overcome with a shotgun.

    You also forgot to mention the woodchucks and bunnies that ate veggies faster than I could plant them and the rotten-ass skunk who thought my car was a wonderful place to shelter from the rain.

  3. If you can keep up that line of questioning with all potential buyers and get your townfolk to do the same, you will have solved your rural traffic problems. No one will want to relocate there.

  4. I see Asheville as roughly equivalent to Roanoke.
    Jackson County, a bit outside of Asheville, is similar to Floyd.
    Macon County, even farther out, is more like Bath or Highland county, IE the real rural.

    My MHO.

  5. Can I add:
    *can you identify poison ivy or poison oak?
    *do you know what a skunk looks like and can you identify its smell?
    *do you know how to get skunk smell off of a dog?

  6. Good questions. Also ask if they are handy. Plumbing breaks and stuff needs to be repaired. In preparation for my move to the mountains I am learning as many “handy man” skills as I can. I have listened to folks who live around there and it seems to me that one should be prepared to “MacGyver” things at least until a “real” repair man can get in. About manure I don’t like the smell but I love to watch and listen to the cows. There is a cow path that crosses my property and I hope when I move up there I can leave it open.

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