Finding and Buying a Homestead

There's a lot to consider when you’re looking to start homesteading. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources out there. Books such as Homesteading: A Backyard Guide and Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills are both great places to start. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the first things you should consider when you want to find and buy a homestead.

Finding the Perfect Location
It’s important to look at many different areas when you are searching for a location for your future homestead.

Laws and Regulations. Different areas offer many different amenities depending on the country, region and specific location. Consider the state and local laws regarding homesteading, hunting, collecting rainwater, raising livestock and owning firearms. It’s important to make sure your homestead is in a location where you will have the freedom to carve out a life without having to worry about too many permits or other laws.

Seasonality. Think about the seasonal changes and natural resources in the location of your future homestead. Will you need to prepare for long winters with below-freezing temperatures and deep snowfall? What kind of rainfall does the area typically get during the growing season? Will you be near a wooded area where game is plentiful?

The answers to these questions will affect the kind of life you can live on your homestead and will have a huge impact on your ability to be self-reliant and sustainable. Homes and land are a great resource to use in your search.

Features. When you're considering whether a land parcel is right for your homestead, ask yourself the following:

• Is there an existing well? If not, how deep are wells in adjacent or nearby properties? And how much does drilling a new well cost in that area?
• Is there an existing road or drive? If not, how much will you have to budget to put one in?
• What kind of ground and soil does the land have?
• How many livestock can the land support per acre?
• If you’re going to be growing your own food, will you need to bring in extra support for irrigation or raised beds?
• Will you need to make any special provisions to deal with local weather events, such as building a storm shelter, windbreaks or the like?
• How far is the homestead from the nearest town? Is it close enough – or far enough away?
• Are there existing structures on the land that you will be able to convert or use as-is?

Set a Budget and Stay Flexible
Once you've selected the ideal location for your homestead, determine the budget you have to work with early in your search, and stick to it – but stay flexible. You may have a preference of a vacant parcel of land, but find that buying a lot with an existing structure is easier in the long run.

Your budget cap should be firm, but your vision of your homestead and your preferred location should be able to change with what is available to you in that budget.

Carefully Consider the Condition of the Property
The degree to which the parcel of land will need work to get it ready to be a working homestead is very important. While a low price can be attractive, you do not want to buy something that is going to need much more than cosmetic fixes or repairs. Otherwise, you may find the costs of owning the land ballooning to much more than the original price.

If you’re thinking seriously about homesteading, chances are you are fairly handy and can be relied upon to do basic fixes yourself – but always keep in mind the costs of doing them when you are negotiating the selling price.

Be sure to get a home inspection if there is an existing structure on the property, and make sure that it doesn’t need major repairs like a new roof or repairs to the foundation.

Your Advice
What did you look for in a homestead? What helpful tips do you have for others that might assist them as they're looking at buying a homestead? Comment below and let them know.

5 thoughts on “Finding and Buying a Homestead”

  • fauna

    Evidently, my definition of a homestead is quite different than in this article...I lived in Alaska when you could claim a piece of land and when made good (by certain definitions) it was yours....my parents did this in New Mexico over 80 years ago.

    However, we did try this articles form of homesteading in the mountains in Utah. Our home was well built and insulated so that we did not require much for heat or cooling. Windows accepted heat well and in the summer, opening cross windows allowed for a soothing breeze. The specific lot of 8 acres was picked out for its location next to a spring and we had perfect delicious water to drink and use out of our faucets. Eventually we added a water heater and a generator, but it was like a fun form of camping until then. It was nice not to hear a phone ring unless we wanted to travel to the "Hooterville" phone down the mountain 1 1/2 miles.

    Once I had to start working daily and making the ascent down and up the mountain on a daily business it got more complicated. Going up the mountain with horse feed during a snowy winter became very burdensome - eventually we had to give our prize horses away and then a year or two later we moved into town.

    I would like to retire there with a bountiful food supply and no schedule. We felt like we were almost in heaven each day as we looked out of curtainless windows (no neighbors within sight distance) upon the beauties of Gods handiwork and the serenity that wildflowers and wildlife impress upon our little spot on the mountain....Someday!

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  • Anita

    Fauna, sounds awesome...good to know that you have a place you will feel comfortable in retirement.

    After living in MN for more than a decade, the thought of snow is not very appealing for me. Also, lived in TX for much more than a decade as well. TX is suitable for year round gardening if you have a green house. The Illegal Aliens in or near the larger cities there can be an area of concern; however, not really so much of a problem in the rural areas far enough away from the border. So many nice BIG lakes to live around....Lake Livingston is a 93,000 acre lake, (I think the second largest in TX) so there are plenty of small towns and rural areas that would be great place to go fishing...living solely on Social Security, growing my own vegetables and fishing would seriously go along way for me...Granted, would need small storm shelter due to Tornado possibilities but doable. Lots of cheap land in West Texas but too close to border and very dry (not enough rain or large lakes close by). TX is my choice spot! Yes I know it gets very HOT in summer...work outside early morning,stay in afternoons in air conditioning or go go finishing with occasional jump into the water to cool off...Who's up for TX fun 'n' Sun?

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  • Chuck

    How do you locate the properties that are available?

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  • Nancy

    In spite of rough winters, I am a fan of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Game and fishing is plentiful, wood is endless, and property and homes are very inexpensive. Best of all, however, are the very few people who are mostly hearty, competent, gun and trap owning, kind, sharing, and very capable and useful. They somehow retained practical skills no doubt due to the harsh and long winters. I can't think of a better place to set up a homestead or to bug out to when things get even more interesting.

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  • Bobby C.

    `IF & When`, the SHTF of any nature....When looking for that parcel of land, Check out yer surroundings for 20 miles around.
    Look for , `Who & What` is within that circle ! If it is an EMP or Smart Bomb....Horse back or Mule will be your choice of transportation. What will you have to travel through to get to where your going. Is your parcel , stocked....Food, Water, Tools, Fuel, Organic seeds, (Out of Sight) ? Who are your neighbor(s) ?
    Just a little food for thought ;>)

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