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Country Life In The City

Updated on September 15, 2011

Taxes got you down? Consider moving back to town!

Thinking about downsizing? Or, does your tax bill got you down? Many folks in suburban America find that they are paying 10, 15 or even $20,000 a year in property and school taxes just to live in their own home. Now with gas prices out of control it is costing more and more money just to get to work. Living on the outskrts is becoming less profitable. Burbanites are just plain sick of traffic, long rides home, taxes, taking care of the lawn and keeping up with the Jones.

Consider an urban life. You can create a country home in the city. I live in Rensselaer, N.Y. My taxes are $2,000 a year. I no longer have long commutes to deal with. And get this. I have a four bedroom home with two full baths, a family room, and a formal livingroom and dining room...all for $109,000.

Many cities in the State of New York are worth checking out such as Rhinebeck, Croton, and Rensselaer. Many cities are safe, beautiful, and sport a Victorian style elegance you just do not find in the suburbs. My town boasts a brand new high school and a brand new Public Library. There is a pleasing boat launch right on the Hudson River and my home is in close proximity to Papscanee Island Nature Preserve.

If you plan a move such as this, here is a few tips.

First, consider a quality home. If you are coming from the suburbs you may not be familiar with older homes. Check the roof, the foundation, all the electric outlets, and the furnace. Investigate the neighborhood. Talk to police, as well as neighbors and do an online crime search of the area. Keep in mind recreational activities that will add to your life as well. Find where the public pool is nearest to the home you are thinking about buying. Is there a gym or neighborhood community center?

Next, skip a flat roof. It can be brand new and you can still have problems. Look for homes with a pitched roof. Look for homes with a fireplace, attractive mantle, and an intact chimney. A stainless steel chimney is best. Make sure the chimney is well attached to the house. Skip the front lawn. Many city homes have no front yard. If you are going to live in an urban setting why get stuck taking care of a large front lawn.

A good home idea for country life in the city is to roto till the back yard and put in raised bed gardens for a whole yard full of vegtables and flowers. Only keep enough space left in your yard for an outdoor patio and barbeque. You can easily create an outdoor living area by laying in a brick square and put in a small brick path around the garden beds. I recommend hanging bird feeders and a blue bird box. A humming bird feeder near a back window is always a nice touch. When you never have to mow your lawn again you will be sure glad you have only a patio to take care of.

Plant roses.This will always bring a country feel around your home. The front of my house displays wild pink roses. In the backyard my husband and I planted deep red roses that bloom all summer long.

Inside your home insulate, insulate, insulate. You may want to buy a two family. Many older homes only have one bathroom. Most two families have two or three. This will give you a lot of room. You may want to use some of the money you saved on the initial price and redo the bathrooms and possibly update the kitchen.

Last, once you move in search your new home. Many people have found hidden rooms in older homes, even long forgotten wine cellars. And most of all have fun decorating. You can find a great country style home in the city. By Joanne Kathleen Farrell, author of Liberty For The Lion Shield.


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