Owning Land

The “P” Factor in Rural Land

Last week during my visit to Wisconsin, I had a conversation with two managers of manufacturing facilities. The conversation turned toward deer hunting and eventually the topic of living in the country came up. The manager from Alabama said, “When I was buying my house and land, I gave my Realtor only one requirement. I told her I wanted to be able to “pee” off my porch.” The manager from Wisconsin said, “my house is in the woods and I can “pee” off my porch.”

Please understand I have wanted to write about this for a few months, but figured my wife would never let me actually post it online. My aim here is not to be uncouth, but to address one of the most important aspects of owning rural land: privacy.

I love living in the country. I am writing this article from a shooting house on our land overlooking several hundred yards of food plots we planted back in October. It is my expectation that no other hunter will show up during my time in the woods today. I grew up hunting public land and wildlife management areas, and it was not uncommon to encounter other hunters while afield. Now that I live on my in-laws’ farm, I do not have to share my good hunting spots with everyone.

One of the most essential elements of land ownership is the right of quiet enjoyment. This covenant is generally made when land is transferred from one owner to the next. The right of quiet enjoyment is the promise that you will be undisturbed or that there are no hostile claims against your property. Simply, it means that the property is now yours and you may do what you like within the confines of the law.

Quiet enjoyment is foundational to freedom in our society. Rural land offers the best atmosphere for privacy. Each week I see scores of vehicles drive down to Perry County where I live with four wheelers or UTV’s in tow; each driver trying to escape the clamor and cramped cities where they spend their week. As schedules allow they migrate out to the countryside where one can really soak up the quiet and let their hair down.

I get the sense that people enjoy being in the country for the same reasons I do. The countryside is much more relaxed when it comes to dress code or social etiquette. This seems to be instinctive, and even when I am showing land a spark appears in a prospective buyers’ eyes as they walk a piece of property. My customers often have a moment of privacy while they are on the land. This isn’t limited to men; two of the prettiest women I have ever shown properties asked to be excused while previewing a rural tract. Most people would not venture this in their neighborhoods. Out in the woods you have more freedom from social restraints.

John Eldredge makes the case that men (and many women) are “Wild at Heart”. There is an innate sense of freedom that we experience in the country. Private land ownership affords us the option of escaping and excluding others and quietly enjoying what belongs to us. Privacy is a rare commodity in large cities and certainly not found in a TSA line at some crowded airport. Maybe a trip to your piece of the country is just what you need to recharge your spiritual, emotional, and physical tanks. Now get out there and make your mark on your piece of the countryside.

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About the author

Jonathan Goode

Jonathan is passionate about helping people buy and sell land. He is an associate broker with Southeastern Land Group, LLC (SELG) and is the Responsible Broker for the company in Mississippi. Jonathan is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), working with Southeastern Land Group (AlaLandCo) since 2008, serving Alabama and Mississippi. He is a member of the Alabama and Mississippi chapters of the Realtor’s Land Institute (RLI), and is currently serving as Vice President of the Alabama Chapter. Jonathan specializes in marketing rural properties online, and is a contributor for LANDTHINK.com, writing articles focused on helping people buying and selling rural land.

13 Comments

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  • In my years in the land business, I have heard about the “P” factor more times than I can count. Privacy is an essential element of owning land in the country.

    “I want a place where I can pee off my porch if I want too”…I’m guessing a quarter of the guys I talk to about land say something of that nature…and even more espouse the idea. Sometimes it comes in the form of, ” I don’t want to be able to see neighbors, or them see me.”

    Great article Jonathan!

  • Kudos! The love of the land is generational. One of the first things my son learned from my Dad was the P factor! Excellent Post!

  • Jonathan this is a great article. You were right when you said it was humorous. One downfall to the “P” factor for little boys when they have enjoyed this freedom in nature for most of their young years is their lack of understanding this same “P” Factor Freedom doesn’t go over well on the playground at school. Just ask my little great-nephew. His father had to “meet” with the teacher after class to request he discuss the “proper” place for his son to P.

  • I want to be careful so as not to be self-incriminating. My son loves this aspect of living in the country, and you do have to give some instruction about mall parking lots, playgrounds, church, etc…

  • I appreciate the reference to “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. Great book! The author was very insightful in writing on what it is that makes us really want to be alone, in the woods, wild and self reliant. Eldredge did a fine job in elaborating and making sense of what was really longing in my heart, especially when it came to owning land, to privacy, to self sufficiency, to hunting, to living a bit on the “wild side”, away from it all, while being Christ centered everyday.

  • I bought a very private farm when my daughter was 3 years old. I had grown up in the country and was very familiar with the “P factor”. When my daughter and I would walk in the woods I would often excuse myself to a nearby tree or bush and go. She initially just asked me what I was doing but quickly graduated to enjoying the same priviledge. Even at three years old she was well aware that this was only something you do in the privacy of your own woods. It was a priviledge!
    Those days have passed now and I live in a neighborhood inside the city limit of our small town. My woods buddy is more into texting and I-pods than 4-wheelers and hunting trips, but she still has the memories of trip to the bathroom as nature intended!

  • Privacy and “quiet enjoyment” are primary motivations for many of our buyers, too. Most of us like to know our neighbors but, we don’t want to have to look at them or vice-versa. Exercising the “P” factor is a right-of-passage that was practically a family affair when my grandson visited us in the woods of MN.

  • The “P” factor is the same in Baja Mexico, selling land the foreigners in the valley of San Quintin BC it has been the same experience. Great article amigo. Respectfully: Jonathan Mendez

  • thanks so much for writing about the “P” factor. I have been looking for property now for some time and every time I think I have found it, I find someone else has already “found” it too. As a female, cant really relate to the pee off the porch thing, but can understand feeling like i can go about my own house or porch in my natural state or PJ’s if i so choose! There is just something right about having a place in this world to do what you want without someone griping about it!!

  • Good article and spot on with many of my customers. Love the picture of Coon Valley, Wisconsin, too. That is the quintessential picture of rural America! Probably the most photographed spot in Vernon County.

  • Paul- I enjoyed the book, and found much of John’s thesis to be true about me. Thanks for reading.

    Andrew- I have a 3-year-old girl and she loves being outdoors too. You’re absolutely right that she will never forget those times with her dad.

    Rod- Way to train the next generation. It’s a privilege of country living.

    Jonathan- Gracias.

    Janet- One thing that solidified the decision to live in the country was visiting a friend’s neighborhood where you could practically look through the windows of the adjacent house and see everything that was happening. I decided it wasn’t for me.

    Powerfred- Thanks for reading, and also for being able to give the geographic location of the picture. That’s good info.

  • Johnathan,

    This is a very good article. It is a previlege for some of us to own land and live in a quiet country, yet still be a short distance from city. It is a life style that is too good to describe on paper. It’s just a feeling and passion that city life lover will never get to experience.

  • Johnathon,

    I am a little late to the party on this article. I think it captures a lot of unsaid factors by many buyers I have represented over the years. This is well put and I hope your wife has forgiven you :). For the record my wife would have felt the same way.

    Cheers,
    Ben

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