There is land for sale in Floyd County, but…

Oak Hill Farm from the LCF Group

UPDATE- 8-22-07:

The Floyd real estate market has changed significantly since I wrote this article and I have updated the text and links to reflect the current situation

Yes, there was land for sale in Floyd County, but in 2004, you had to know where to look and who to ask. This was the big challenge we faced when we decided to move to Floyd County.

We had been coming to Floyd County, Virginia, since September 2003 when we drove down here from Charlottesville to meet blogger Fred First. We immediately fell in love with Floyd County and set about finding some acreage to buy.

Googling "land for sale Floyd" produced these results in 2003: There was land for $5000/acre if you bought 200 acres or so and there were single house lots for $35,000. Neither of these extremes fitted our needs and there was very few offerings in between. We could only find farms or house lots and we didn’t want either.

We tried employing a local Realtor as a buyer’s agent and she kept trying to sell us undesirable land instead of acting as a bird dog for us. A buyer’s agent is a specially trained agent who acts only on the buyer’s behalf and can speed up the buying process if they understand their job, which is to find you the best deal possible, not sell you scraps from their portfolio.

We finally found a Realtor in a nearby city who understood how to be a buyer’s agent and she found us the right piece of land in short order. It wasn’t as large as we wanted but it had the seclusion we wanted, and the price was affordable, about $10,000/acre.

We had many months of work to do getting the land perk-tested, surveyed, and getting the drain field located where we wanted it. Then we had the drudgery of negotiating with unwilling neighbors to get easements for electricity and phone lines to be brought in. It was a lot of work, but we are extremely happy with the finished result and I’ve documented the entire adventure in my articles on Moving to Floyd.

Today, it is easier to find land for sale in Floyd County. Google has a localized Housing search engine that instantly brings up information on the area of your choice.
Click on this image to fire up the Google search engine.

Googlelandsearchlinkpng

Here is the results of today’s search for land in the Floyd area. Your results will most certainly vary.

Googlelandsearch_2

The Pine Creek Mill, Floyd, VAThe image at the top of this article is Oak Hill Farm which is on Sandy Flats Road, just a mile up the road from the Pine
Creek Mill
, one of the little known scenic treasures of Floyd County.

The Oak Hill Farm site has many wonderful pictures of the property to rest your eyes on. Browse to your heart’s content. As far as I know, this developer is not currently offering land for sale in Floyd County, but you still might want to check for land in nearby counties.

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0 Responses to There is land for sale in Floyd County, but…

  1. David:

    Oak Hill Farm is not too far from our house and I’ve watched the development there over the months. Impressive.

    However, there is a potential dark side to pre-developed lots which flies in the face of the style of open country living that has drawn many new residents to Floyd County. The potential exists for a “sameness” to creep into the design of such areas and for a growth of such developments to cover the open stretches of land that makes the county so appealing. We see some of that already in the Twin Falls development near Copper Hill, an upscale development of lots of 25-acres and up that will be the county’s second gated community, complete with homeowner associations and Gestapo-like rules and regulations.

    Oak Hill is not a gated community but it is a subdivision — one of a record number of subdivisions approved by the county in 2005. While we can trust Dave and Gaynell to not create a development of cookie cutter lots, what about the next developer who takes a plan to the county planning commission? We have to work for a balance to keep the county from becoming a collection of the kind of upscale subdivisions that have all but ruined the mountains around Ashville, North Carolina, or Nelson County, Virginia.

  2. Sean Pecor says:

    Hey David, LCF sounds like a great organization. If they are interested in developing equestrian communities then I’d be glad to help market them. One of my properties, NewHorse.com is getting over 2,000 visitors a day now, many of them looking for new boarding and training stables after a move and many of those visitors looking in Virginia. I know of several 90 acre tracts for sale in Franklin County that would be ideal for LCF if they’re interested in developing equestrian farmettes. Even outside of the Web, our own horse farm in Boones Mill is visited every couple of months by folks interested in moving to Franklin or Roanoke County. It’s increasing lately too, as Carilion hires ever more executives and specialists to handle their rapid growth. They have relocation specialists helping them find homes and a number of folks moving in are looking for horse friendly properties in the $500K to $750K range. In fact a family from Sebring, FL just bought 15 acres that adjoins us, just to be right next door to us. Once they build their home, they’ll be buying two Dressage performance horses and boarding with us. Another family, whose husband was headhunted by Carilion, just bought a $749K horse property in Botetourt County but they wanted desperately to find a property closer to us but couldn’t. If LCF were to buy tracts, subdivide, and establish lots for personal equestrian mini-estates I could open a floodgate of leads. The ideal property would have a 36×48 colonial style board and batten horse barn (8:12 pitch w/ a hay storage in the attic), with 4 stalls on one side of the aisle, and a wash stall, a bathroom and a tack room on the other. A basic 140×70 outdoor ring would be great too. The house would be in the 3,500sq ft range and use concretian siding and higher end building materials. You could move those for $600,000 on 5 acres pretty quickly. Just some thoughts. BTW, we just bought another 54 adjoining acres, I’m up to 128 now. Woo hoo!

  3. Sean,

    LCF probably has what your visitors are seeking. They have several properties in Franklin County with acreage in various sizes and price ranges. Here are a few I have visited. All of the property has been surveyed to ensure that it perks, underground power and phone lines available on many sites and owner financing is available. These are the kind of properties we were looking for when we came to Southwestern Virginia.

    Serenity Ridge offers beautiful sites above Maggodee Creek to build family homes with pasture and hayfields for horses or other livestock. http://va-mountainland.com/SerenityRidge.html

    Chestnut Ridge Farm is wooded and has a water source on nearly all of the tracts. Some have sufficient pasture for an animal or two. http://va-mountainland.com/ChestnutRidge.html

    Lake Ridge Farms and Hunter’s Retreat Farms are less than a mile from public boat launch into Smith Mountain Lake at Magnum Point. Just off of Rt. 40 near Union Hall, Virginia, it is a short drive from Rocky Mount, and convenient to Roanoke and Martinsville.

    http://va-mountainland.com/LakeRidge.html

    For more information, readers should go directly to the source. Call Dave Larsen or Dee Dannewitz at 540-763-2321.

  4. Sean Pecor says:

    Thanks David! I’d have better luck in the short term generating leads for northern Franklin County. The Lake is a beautiful setting but it’s just too far from the Roanoke metro area to be practical for many of the folks that I’m in contact with. The Serenity Ridge is a good one though, I’ll look into it! Only about 25 minutes to downtown Roanoke.

    Sean

  5. David Larsen says:

    David,

    Just wanted to post our thanks to Doug Thompson for his kind comments about us and our Oak Hill Farm near his home…

    I would also say that Doug’s cautionary comment regarding the potential dark side to land development in Floyd County has merit. LCF Group is concerned, too, about development which would “overtake” the County and make gated communities the norm in our area.

    We hope to continue in our own mode of “developing” land, which is to say that we will continue to create amenities for an environment which fulfills a dream for so many – retirees, the working class, new families, etc. It is our desire to amplify the benefits of nature — to preserve the wonderful contours, the terrain of the land — to enhance natural water sources — we participate in stewardship programs for forests, conserve wetlands and other habitats– we do “clean up” of slash, briars, even junk cars and tires 🙂 We hope the “beauty” of the land itself will be the selling point, rather than an exclusivity of people by Association or confining restriction.

  6. David Larsen says:

    David,

    …A real conversation we have going here! To Sean, congrats on NewHorse.com with its many visitors! We often field inquiries by horse enthusiasts, and they’re always hoping for a “home” for their horses, for boarding and training facilities right here in Floyd County. It is a real need and could certainly be a boon for someone in the business.

    Since we are, and wish to remain, land developers, we would seek expertise from someone like Sean as to how we could develop land parcels to specific purposes (he mentioned “establish lots for personal equestrian mini-estates”). Beyond that, we would hope to find a suitable partner to bring about the building infrastructure as per the recommendations he made in that first comment. We will keep his comments to drive some future endeavors – thanks!

  7. David,

    Thanks for your article– David (Larsen) and I have enjoyed the reading, and have been in concert about the responses.

    We were out all day Tuesday “working” on the farms…It turned out to be a lovely day! We’re posting some stories, so we’ll be happy to share them with you.

    BTW,I’m looking forward to selling the “pond lot” you have pictured in the article…It’s the last piece available at Oak Hill Farm!

  8. Greyfox says:

    David you’re on thin ice here. Get out of the office a little you may notice that one man’s profit is built on another’s loss. The avoided costs might be borne by the rest of us. The more you know about the story, the further from “good” it seems. Imagine 20 new lots on a rural route, with inevitable impact on roads, waste handling, schools, sheriff and demands for other county services. Picture “cleaning” (with a dozer) a 1/2 centuries field margins and fragile habitat, unmitigated destruction of Blue Ridge wetlands and vernal pools. No one’s watching, the Corp of Engineers won’t enforce their minimal restrictions cause the lot size shields the impact below regulatory limits. The “Equestrian Community” wasn’t a bad idea, but there don’t seem to be any community facilities or trails. That is what the developer’s team suggested at the Planning Commission meeting. The proffer is very economical, no investment on boasted infrastructure, simply hang the term on a brochure. Ever noticed horses on “farmette” lots? Think bare ground, manure & erosion. Deserve better? Think 20 driveways and a gerrymandered plat to get around County restrictions, is this good for Floyd?
    This is raw promotion of a rural lifestyle in hopes of bringing culturally unrelated (but well healed) folks with no more relation to the current population than a Manhattenite in LL Bean has to a down-easter. These lots have no relation to their neighbor’s beyond the roadfontage they share, and the price they paid for the “rural living” experience. There is a dark side to making ripples. If development continues in this fashion the build-out destroys the very County we enjoy.

  9. Impressive rhetoric from the anonymous Greyfox, but he or she is a little loose with the facts.

    18 lots of 8.5 to 11 acres each hardly qualifies as the high density tract he pictures. The wetlands and vernal pools he mourns are still where they were because the Corps of Engineers does enforce regulations. And finally, 11 acre farmettes are far less likely to have bare ground and manure piles than older farms which dot the back roads of this county.

    As for the new settlers who purchase land on rural routes, they hardly qualify as hardship cases who will burden county services beyond their ability to contribute to county revenues. Like it or not, these are people who have made their mark elsewhere and choose to live in Floyd because of the lifestyle. They bring money and talent to Floyd and I would be interested to see how that threatens the image of Floyd that Greyfox enjoys.

    The folk who join us here in Floyd may be more culturally related to the current population than Greyfox. In many cases they are active in the community, serve as volunteers for worthy causes, and are active as artisans. They are here on the same terms as the rest of us and their contributions will determine how valuable they are to the community, not how long they have lived in Floyd.

    Seeking to categorize new settlers as “them” or land developers as “evil” is to ignore the value that both bring to a county with less than average income, a scarcity of economic resources, and a need for sustainable economic development.

    Open communication resolves many issues. If Greyfox is really interested in finding out what is happening here, I suggest he or she sends me an email and we can arrange to meet and put the issues and the facts on the table. I’ll spring for the coffee.

  10. Greyfox says:

    David,
    We’ve met & spoken before, however let’s keep anonymity on the web. My person doesn’t reduce or increase the validity of my remarks. While I regret putting you on the defensive, you might consider the issues I raise. I’m not alone in concerns about the build-out of Floyd under the current models of growth.
    We do have an unusual chance to reshape the model, LCF is only vulnerable due to the extremes of the Sandy Flats project. We can examine similar examples accross the County, Dusty Rock Road is one, it predates the County Sub-D ordinance. Those folks wanted VDoT to pave their road, with County funds -cause it’s dusty! Weren’t they warned by the name? Shouldn’t the developer have provided funds for the needed improvement rather than pocketing the considerable revenue. When the developer appears before our Board of Supervisors, crying crocodile tears for the the “young families” that need to buy their homesites let’s remember the spread between $2 grand and 10 grand/acre, and ask who’s ox is gored by the notion of controls on the cost and patterns of growth. I will make a strong case that we should have permissive zoning. And we can expect growth pressures to rise, so we should expect the funding for these changes to come from the profits of those that profit, i.e. transfer taxes, subdivision fees, PSA levies even seeing education or other developement proffers that will come with increasingly sophisticated developers that will see the writing on the (courthouse) walls.
    We aren’t talking about restricting rights of ownership, we’re talking about protecting the rights of residence.

  11. fred1st says:

    Hi Dave, just wondering whatever happened to my comment posted the first day this piece was at Ripples. Sorry not to have been included in the discussion on this timely and important subject.

    David responds: Comments need to be confirmed by taking the simple robot screening test. You may have closed your comment window before you filled in the little screen. If you can recall what you said, I will be happy to include your comment with the rest.

    The subject is definitely timely and important. Your comments are welcomed.

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