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Looking For Great Homestead Land? Do This First

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The search for the perfect piece of land for your homestead can be overwhelming. After a while, all property starts to look the same, and making a decision becomes difficult. However, don’t be discouraged. Remember, finding your forever homestead land is an adventure and enjoying the journey is half the fun.

Here are some tips to help guide you to your perfect homestead land.

Price

Price is one of the first things you should keep in mind when starting on your land hunt. You can build a home and fences can be fixed, but once you acquire a debt, it can weigh heavy on your shoulders. As you set out on your land search, keep a close eye on foreclosures, for sale by owner property, or even free land. Keep in mind that at the root of homesteading is the idea of creating simplicity. It is not simple to owe a lot of money for your land – especially money you don’t have. 

How big

It may be tempting to go for the large lots – 10 acres or larger. If you are new to homesteading, however, it is essential to understand that being sustainable does not require a massive amount of land. When set up correctly, it is possible to homestead on just a few acres. Many people do it on even less. Before you set out on your land search, define how much land you need to create your homestead – now, and in the future. 

 

Water

If you are going to build a home and create a homestead, you need water and plenty of it. Without water, you can’t grow anything or keep livestock – two significant homesteading activities. Some of the best land for homesteading is land with an abundant water source such as a creek, lake, or even a bountiful underground aquifer. If you are up for it, many rural lots offer a community well and the option to haul water. Of course, this requires you to have a storage tank and a way to haul the water. If a well is necessary,  be sure to do some research about how deep others are drilling to find water. 

Access

Knowing what kind of road access your land has is incredibly important. Is the road state-maintained or privately maintained? This can make all the difference in the world when you need to take delivery of supplies or get on and off your land yourself. If you live in an area where it snows, knowing who is responsible for clearing a path out is imperative. If you have to clear your own way, do you have the necessary equipment to do so?  

Zoning

Zoning is incredibly important when seeking out homestead land. In many cases, the property must be zoned agricultural or at least be approved for keeping some livestock on site. Determine what you want to do with the land and be sure that the zoning matches. This way, you will not be disappointed down the road.

Internet/cell service

Staying in touch is essential, even for homesteaders. If Internet and cell service are top on your list, be sure to know what your available options are with each piece of property that you look at.  

Location

When you think of homesteading it may seem romantic to imagine a piece of land far, far away from a sizeable population of people. Especially if you are moving from a larger, noisy city. However, it is a good idea to consider the practicality of moving so far away from civilization. Do you need to make an income away from home? How close it the nearest medical facility or airport? These are questions you need to consider when determining a location for your homestead. Keep in mind; you can often find lovely land for homesteading on the fringes of cities where you still have easy access to supplies and services.

Electricity

Do you want to live grid or off of the grid?  It is best to consider this before you begin your land search. If you want to be on the power network, you will need to consider the cost involved in getting electricity to your property and even if this is a possibility. Living off the grid may seem like an easier choice, but there are many costs involved with this as well.

Existing structures

Sometimes you can find nice land with already existing structures on the property. It is a wise idea to assess these structures to determine if they are useful or not. Sometimes, they can be hazardous, costing quite a bit to remove. If you are handy, you might want to search for land with an existing home in need of repairs. This can sometimes be easier than building a new home from scratch.

Taxes

Although you may want to ignore them, taxes are an inevitable part of owning land. Take the time to research your tax responsibilities before committing to a piece of property. 

Wooded vs. cleared land

It takes a little bit more imagination to picture the perfect homestead on a heavily wooded lot than it does on one that has been cleared and is ready to go. However, you will often pay more for the turnkey land versus that which will require a little bit of prep work.  Consider that you can also sell wood from your property to help pay for it.

Remember to enjoy the journey!

-Susan Patterson

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