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How would you approach neighbor?

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  • How would you approach neighbor?

    We just moved last Feb. Little bit of a weird situation... our house was part of a larger 110 acre piece with another house, barns, farming operation, etc. The couple who built our house were older and have farmed about 400+acres around us for the past 70+ years. Older man passed away- wife went into nursing home and later passed away. Son (in his mid-50's I'd say) moved into the house with all of the farming "stuff" and took over ownership of ALL the buildings, acreage, etc. Our house was parceled off with 5 acres. The thing is, we would LOVE to buy more land one day. We don't want to be presumptuous and assume that he WOULD sell us another 5 acres, but how would you approach maybe throwing out the idea?

    It's one of those things where if we could be another 5 acres, we would probably be happy making it a "forever home". If not, we can see ourselves here 10 or so years then moving closer to civilization. Neighbor has been a bit fatherly towards us and friendly. I'm sure it's weird, but nice that we are nice people living in their parents' home. He comes over and chats with DH and does occasional favors for us transplanted city-folk. He took one look at DH's weeny riding lawnmower when we moved in and said "you're not from the country are you?" So... would you just wait for it to casually come up come springtime when we're all outside again and throw a hint in there? Or would you flat out ask? I know I'm over thinking it, but I don't want to do anything to offend him or weird him out or something. Basically, if this was you with the land, would you think it was weird that I was asking you this?

  • #2
    Originally posted by dmalbone View Post
    The thing is, we would LOVE to buy more land one day.
    If you are ready and willing to buy 5 acres now, I would talk to the neighbor. Let him know that is something you would love to do, and ask if he would consider it.

    If it something you are dreaming about doing someday in the future with no specific date, plan or budget I really don't see the point in bringing it up at all.
    Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
    Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


    • Original Poster

      Yeah... I see what you mean. I guess, no, we're not ready to do it right now, but in about a year maybe. Will it make any immediate difference in our plans? No way, our house is still brand new to us even after almost a year! Our barn's not even done yet. I guess it seemed like I didn't know if I should "plant a seed" in his mind or not. Never know what they're planning... I guess they could be planning as we speak to sell it to Joe Schmo developer to put a subdivision in and we'd never know until the signs went up. In THAT case, I'm sure there would be a way we could manage something.


      • #4
        I agree that if you can work something out in the near future, it's worth mentioning. I wouldn't stress about how to ask - pretend it's a horse that neighbor has that you are interested in. As in.. Have you ever thought about selling off some of your land? Don't worry about it, really. It's not a big deal to ask. If he's not interested, he won't be offended.



        • Original Poster

          Thanks, I know I was over thinking it. It just seems weird honestly to be living in his parents house with him next door. We're outside in the summer redoing landscaping, painting, etc., he's in his yard, and I'm wondering if it's weird for him that I'm changing what was partially his childhood home. I guess it's because of stuff like that that I'm over thinking it and worried about offending him. I'll lighten up and just let things play out.


          • #6
            Agreed, if you aren't the position to purchase the extra acreage right now, I'd not make a specific trip to his house to broach the subject.
            Wait until spring when you're bound to run into each other and then during the course of the conversation mention something like, "If you're ever willing to part with another 5 acres or so of land, we'd be interested. We like living here and the neighbors."
            Country folk aren't normally put off by conversations like this. I doubt if he's been friendly and helpful he'd be upset by a comment like that.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              I would tell him the next time you see him that if he ever wants to sell of 5 acres that you would be interested in buying, but that you can't afford it for a year or so. I doubt he would be offended, and if he says he isn't interested then drop it. However, if you don't say anything and he sells to some developer you'll probably end up in subdivision hell, and have to move. Plus, if you never mention it to him and he does sell someday it would be good if he knew you wanted the acreage-after all if you don't tell him how is he supposed to know? I don't see the harm in just mentioning it-maybe when you take the cookie plate over this week or some other friendly gesture.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                I agree with the others who said to mention buying the extra acreage next time you see him. As you said, you never know what he may be thinking of doing with the land and it is a good thing to plant the seed. I highly doubt he will be offended.

                Around here there are certain neighborhoods that people really want to live in and many houses change hands without realtors being involved because of the people just stopping by and knocking on the door. Sometimes the sale happens quickly, sometimes years later, sometimes never. In fact, my neighbor always jokes about hoping for that knock on the door - they have yet another wedding to pay for!


                • #9
                  Just a practical ?:

                  Can you handle another 5 acres? Do you have a big tractor now?
                  “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by JohnDeere View Post
                    Just a practical ?:

                    Can you handle another 5 acres? Do you have a big tractor now?
                    Nope, not right now which is part of the reason we really couldn't do it asap. We have 5, half is pasture and the two horses will keep that taken care of fairly well, the other half is not a big deal to mow, but 5 more would mean a tractor. It's currently farmed and I honestly have NO idea what we would need to do to get it back to grazeable (is that a word lol) pasture for the horses.


                    • #11
                      Right now, just be a great neighbor.

                      During the holidays, bring him over a bottle of wine or something you baked, whatever.

                      Hang out a little bit and admire the farm his parents built. Let him tell you stories about it or listen to what he has to say. That may tell you a lot about how he feels about the farm, your living in the original house, etc..

                      When the time is right to broach the subject, you'll know. He may really enjoy the idea of having someone keep at least part of the farm a farm. Or he may find the whole thing a burden.

                      Since you will continue to be neighbors for a very long time if he sells those five acres to you, give him time to get to know you as people he wants around.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        I got another 5 acres for my farm by just mentioning to the neighbor if he ever wanted to sell his piece, I'd be interested. It took several years to occur, but when he was ready he gave me a call.
                        Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for all the great advice! I was going to bring them over a batch of cookies this week regardless, so I'll just try and get closer with them. They're very nice people and we'd love to get to know them more regardless. I'll just feel him out and play it by ear. He's always out in the spring and summer so I'll just keep it casual.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mvp View Post
                            Right now, just be a great neighbor.

                            During the holidays, bring him over a bottle of wine or something you baked, whatever.

                            Hang out a little bit and admire the farm his parents built. Let him tell you stories about it or listen to what he has to say. That may tell you a lot about how he feels about the farm, your living in the original house, etc..

                            When the time is right to broach the subject, you'll know. He may really enjoy the idea of having someone keep at least part of the farm a farm. Or he may find the whole thing a burden.

                            Since you will continue to be neighbors for a very long time if he sells those five acres to you, give him time to get to know you as people he wants around.
                            I really agree with everything mvp said.

                            I am older than your neighbor. My 40-something brother still owns our grandparents' small dairy farm and I currently live on 23 acres of someone's farm (who have passed) that was loved and cared for.

                            You will know the "right and respectful moment" to ask the question


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post

                              "right and respectful moment"
                              You hit the nail on the head. Thank you- I really want to approach it respectfully since this is the farm that his father started (or continued?) and has family history.


                              • #16
                                And maybe if he agreed to sell it to you, you could lease it back for him to use until the day comes that you feel ready to take it over.


                                • #17
                                  Great advice already, particularly about picking the right moment and approaching the topic in a respectful manner.

                                  I just thought I'd share our experience in making a similar proposal to our elderly neighbors. Just while chatting over the fence one day about gardening and growing grass and what-not, I casually said something like: "Don't know if you'd ever thought about this, but if you WERE to become interested in leasing or selling some of your unused land, Mr. CH and I may very well be interested in expanding our pasture. If you don't mind, please keep us in mind."

                                  It was very well-received and, in fact, Mr. CH reports that Mr. Neighbor mentioned to him this week that they were thinking about leasing 5 or so acres. So maybe a "if you ever were to think of selling, will you think of us first" approach, you might get a similar positive reaction, particularly if you were willing to make some concessions for his needs.
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                                  In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                                  -Albert Camus


                                  • #18
                                    All great advice. We bought our 200 acre farm after a good five years of cultivating our neighbors. We always brought them Christmas goodies, and I helped them hay one year for free (that was an education, and paid dividends for years later). Our line was "We hope you never sell, but if you ever do, please let us know, we would be very interested in talking to you." And when they were ready, they let us know and we ended up buying the farm without it ever being put on the market.

                                    We each got appraisals, and luckily they came in exactly the same. And then we paid 20% over the appraised value after much negotiating.

                                    Good luck!
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                                    • #19
                                      It sounds like you have a nice releationship established with the
                                      neighbor so I would just ask. "Hey would you be interested in selling
                                      us another five acres.?" you will never know untill you ask.


                                      • #20
                                        I second the "If you eve think of selling, think of us" approach -- but be prepared for nothing to ever come of it.

                                        People get old and forget. People get sidetracked by tempting offers from other quarters. People die and nobody in charge knows/remembers interest in buying was expressed.