After quite literally stumbling into farming, I've always wanted to have some land of my own.
Somewhere I could settle down with my family, grow and raise my food, and live a more meaningful lifestyle.
And although purchasing a property to start your homestead represents a giant leap toward autonomy and a unique chance to reconnect to your roots, it is an enormous undertaking.
When looking for homestead land, there are many things to consider, like climate, soil quality, zoning laws, and natural or man-made hazards.
It's normal to have some anxiety about a purchase of this size but be assured that you can make an informed decision and select a piece of property that is perfect for your goals with the homestead.
In this article, we will go through the 20 most crucial considerations to help you identify the ideal plot of land and with these tips in mind, you can purchase land with confidence and embark on your homesteading journey.
Table of Contents
Finding the ideal homestead property necessitates a well-defined goal for your homestead. You'll know when you've arrived at the perfect location for your needs. Consider the type of farm you want to build. Do you consider growing a lush garden, maybe raising a couple of animals, and practicing sustainable living? Do you want neighbors close by, or do you want to live in complete isolation? Do you want to settle down or start a family?
Your homesteading goals will determine not only the land and resources you'll require, but also the location, community, and way of life you'll adopt. Don't second-guess yourself; instead, let your dreams guide you to the property that speak to you the most. If you know what you want out of homesteading, you can confidently assess a property's viability and make your dreams a reality.
One of the first things to think about when looking for the ideal homestead property is whether you want to be on or off the grid. The type of home you end up purchasing may be heavily influenced by this choice.
Access to utilities like electricity and running water, found on a "on-grid" property, can make homesteading a breeze. Of course, this means you'll have to abide by whatever regulations your utility provider sets forth. More freedom and independence come with owning an off-grid property, but also the responsibility of providing your own electricity and water.
It's like deciding whether you'd rather be a free spirit who makes up your own rules, or a member of a society where everyone follows the same set of norms. There is more independence with one choice, and more ease with the other.
In the end, it's up to you to decide whether you'd be happier with an on-grid or off-grid home. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option and pick the one that will help you achieve your homesteading goals the most effectively.
Finding the right amount of land to start a homestead on can be a challenge. It's like looking for the last missing puzzle piece of the right size to finish the job. It's possible to hear arguments on both sides of the "more land is better" debate.
What you want from a farm depends heavily on your own personal goals. Do you want to farm on a larger scale and have enough land to accommodate a variety of structures and animals? Alternately, do you foresee a more minimalist lifestyle in which you maintain a smaller garden and a less elaborate dwelling?
When deciding how much land is right for you, it's crucial to think about your needs and your financial constraints. In order to determine how much land you need, it is recommended that you first make a list of your current and future needs. Keep in mind that more important than the quantity of land at your disposal is the suitability of your prospective homestead to your needs.
You can't just blindly buy a plot of land and call it a homestead; you need to consider your lifestyle, your goals, and your budget to find the perfect fit.
When deciding where to settle down, the local climate is an important consideration. The homestead's success or failure largely depends on the weather. It's like traveling with a friend or foe on your homesteading adventure, depending on your mood.
Do you prefer the shorter, colder winters of a mountainous region or the milder conditions of a coastal area with predictable rain? Which type of plants do you want to grow on your homestead: temperate crops or exotic tropical fruits?
The range of animals you can raise and the regularity with which your farm will require maintenance varies greatly with the seasons and the local climate. For instance, homesteaders may need to put in extra effort in areas with more severe weather, such as higher average temperatures, more frequent and/or heavier precipitation, higher wind speeds, etc.
Consider how the climate will influence your homesteading endeavors and your way of life. Understanding the local climate and its long-term patterns is essential prior to making any decisions. It's important to look for a place where the weather won't be too good or too bad for homesteading.
When it comes to homesteading, the location of your property is just as essential as the property itself. It is the foundation that sets the stage for your homesteading journey. Carefully choosing the right location can make all the difference for your homestead's success.
Are you looking for a secluded, rural location that offers privacy and tranquility, or do you prefer to be close to amenities and civilization? Is proximity to friends and family important to you, or do you see yourself as a true homesteading pioneer, willing to go off the beaten path? Are you retiring, or do you need to make an income from the land?
Another important thing to keep in mind is the access to resources, like markets, hospitals, schools, etc. it's important to have access to those resources in case of emergency. Moreover, the location will also affect the zoning laws, taxes, and other regulations that could impact your homesteading goals.
Researching the location and getting to know the area is essential before making any decisions. The location should align with your homesteading goals and lifestyle. Finding the perfect homestead location takes time, but it’s worth it in the end to find the place where you and your homestead can thrive.
When looking for a place to settle, having easy access to the land should be a top priority. Accessibility is a major consideration in determining whether or not a particular plot of land is suitable for you. Investing in a decent road is quite costly!
A property with easy access will make it far easier to bring in new tools or equipment and leave whenever needed.
A year-round accessible property is more practical for year-round habitation and activities such as farming or forestry.
However, if the property is difficult to access, bringing in supplies, and equipment, and working the land may be difficult. This can increase the cost and time involved while also reducing the land's potential for homesteading.
Some properties may be (partially) flooded for several months of the year, while others may be inaccessible due to snow or freezing temperatures during the winter months, further limiting their use during those months.
When deciding on a homestead property, consider the accessibility of the land, the condition of the road, and the quality of the infrastructure. This will help determine whether or not a plot of land is suitable or whether you'll need to first build a road to get there.
When looking for the perfect homestead land, orientation and the landform of the property are extremely important to look at. A southern-facing slope (in the northern hemisphere) will typically receive more direct sunlight, which will greatly impact your gardening and crop-growing capabilities (sometimes even extending your growing season by several weeks!). Everything from trees to animals will greatly benefit from this.
The landform, or shape and contour of the land, can also provide insight into drainage and erosion. A hilly landscape can offer natural shelter and a diverse range of microclimates, making it a haven for a wide range of plants and animals. Who wouldn't want to wake up to the sound of birds chirping, while having a beautiful view over the hills?
Next to that, the landform and orientation can be a factor when planning for building on the land. A south-facing slope can be ideal for an efficient home and a hilly area can provide natural shelter. Imagine your solar-powered home, nestled on the side of a hill, with a perfect view of the south and all the energy you could ever need, generated by the sun.
A property with a mix of flat and hilly areas can provide a variety of microclimates and opportunities for homesteaders to be self-sufficient. Imagine the sight of a perfectly flat field, with rows upon rows of rice, interspersed with pockets of berry bushes and fruit trees nestled in the hilly areas.
When searching for the perfect homestead property, the availability of a year-round water source is an essential factor to consider. Having access to clean and reliable water can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining your garden, raising livestock, and overall living on your land. When you are checking out a property, take a look at the water sources around it, such as a well, stream, river or a lake, or check the feasibility of drilling a well or installing a rainwater catchment system.
The convenience of having a year-round water source can not be overstated, think about the time and money you can save by not having to haul water or drilling a well. Imagine the ease of just walking to a nearby stream or river to fill up your water containers or having a well right on your property, constantly providing you with water.
Access to a year-round water source can also open up new opportunities, like fish farming. It can add an extra source of food and potential income to your homestead. Fresh fish for dinner straight from your backyard!
One thing to keep in mind is that the quality of water is just as important as availability. Make sure to have a water test done or check local well water quality reports to ensure that the water is safe to drink and suitable for the plants and animals on your homestead. With access to clean and reliable water, you can turn a piece of land into a thriving homestead. So, when you are on the lookout for that perfect homestead property, make sure to check the water sources and picture the convenience of having water right at your doorstep.
When searching for the perfect homestead property, it's important to consider whether there are existing buildings or infrastructure on the land. The presence of existing structures can greatly impact the feasibility and potential of a piece of land for homesteading.
For example, an existing home or barn on the property can provide immediate shelter and a head start on developing the land. It can save you time and money on building a new structure and can also add character and charm to your homestead. Imagine moving into a cozy cabin on your property, ready to make it your own or having a sturdy barn that can be repurposed into a workshop or storage space.
Additionally, existing infrastructure, such as electrical or plumbing systems, can also greatly impact the feasibility of homesteading on the land. Access to reliable utilities can save you the time and cost of installing them, and it can also provide you with a more comfortable living experience. Imagine flipping a switch and having lights turn on, or being able to take a hot shower after a hard day of work on your homestead.
On the other hand, existing structures and infrastructure can also have negative impacts. It's important to assess the condition of existing structures, to evaluate whether repairs or renovations will be needed. Also, you should check for the zoning regulations, if any and to check the compatibility of the existing structures with your intended use of the land.
Overall, when evaluating a potential homestead property, take a close look at the existing structures and infrastructure on the land, consider the advantages and disadvantages and evaluate how they could affect your homesteading plans and goals.
When searching for the perfect homestead property, it's important to consider the established mature trees and vegetation on the land. The presence of mature trees and lush vegetation can greatly impact the feasibility and potential of a piece of land for homesteading.
For example, mature trees can provide shade and beauty to the property, as well as a potential source of food, firewood, and shelter for wildlife. Imagine the tranquility of sitting under the shade of a mature tree, or picking juicy fruits from a fruit tree, enjoying the natural bounty of your land.
Established vegetation can also provide benefits such as improved soil quality, erosion control, and natural habitat for wildlife. Additionally, they can also be a source of medicine, fibers, and other materials. Imagine having a vegetable garden, surrounded by lush greenery, providing you with fresh produce all year round or having a herb garden, where you can harvest medicinal herbs.
On the other hand, mature trees and vegetation can also have negative impacts. It's important to assess whether the trees or vegetation are invasive or damaging to the property, or if they can cause problems with drainage or shading. Also, if you have plans for using the land for agriculture or building, you should consider if the existing vegetation needs to be cleared or not.
Overall, when evaluating a potential homestead property, take a close look at the established mature trees and vegetation on the land, consider the advantages and disadvantages and evaluate how they could affect your homesteading plans and goals.
It's crucial to think about the soil quality of a prospective homestead location. Soil quality has a significant effect on a plot of land's viability and potential for growing food.
Soil that drains well and is rich in nutrients, for example, is great for farming, livestock, and gardening. But if you live in an area with poor soil, you may find it difficult to grow crops and raise livestock. Eroded, waterlogged, or poorly drained soil can be problematic for gardening and farming, and fixing it may be expensive.
The ease with which buildings and infrastructure can be developed on a piece of land may also be affected by the quality of the soil there. Building on top of high-quality soil can save time and money. Envision yourself free from concerns about the soil structure as you lay the groundwork for your ideal home.
Consider the drainage, fertility, and structure of the soil, as well as how these factors might affect your homesteading plans and objectives when assessing the overall quality of the soil on a potential homestead property. A professional soil test can help determine the soil's quality and usefulness.
When looking for a place to settle down, it's crucial to think about what kinds of natural or man-made disasters could occur in the future on the land you're considering. A parcel of land's viability and potential for homesteading can be significantly impacted by these dangers.
A home and its occupants are at greater risk, for instance, if it is situated in a region prone to flooding or wildfires. Whether the property is in a floodplain or a high-fire-danger location will determine the precautions you need to take to safeguard your home and belongings.
Furthermore, the soil and water quality of your land may be at danger if it is located near industrial or commercial areas due to pollution or contamination. Pollution and contamination pose threats to the quality and safety of your food and water supplies, therefore it's vital to think about them.
It is vital to think about the possibility of earthquakes and the impact it can have on the structures on your property if it is located in a seismically active location, where there is a higher danger of earthquakes and building and maintaining infrastructure can be more difficult.
When looking for a place to settle down, it's important to consider the possibility for any natural or man-made risks, such floods, wildfires, pollution, contamination, and earthquakes, and how they can effect your homesteading plans and aspirations. Potential dangers can be better understood by investigation of the area's background and known threats, as well as through discussions with local officials. You may use this information to make a well-informed choice and implement appropriate precautions to safeguard your family, home, and possessions.
You should think about whether or not the land has been surveyed and how it is zoned while looking for a homestead property. If you want to know more about the property's borders, terrain, and potential dangers, a survey is a good place to start. If the land has been surveyed, you will have a far better notion of its dimensions, borders, and legal description.
It is crucial to know if the land is designated for agricultural, residential, commercial, or industrial use since zoning regulations might restrict or allow certain uses and developments on the site. Always verify the legality of your planned development by researching zoning laws and other applicable rules. You may use this information to make a well-informed decision and avoid any trouble with the law or your neighbors.
Having unrestricted access to the land's resources is a major factor to consider when looking for the ideal homestead location. In this context, "natural resources" refers to things like water, minerals, timber, etc.
Finding out if you have ownership over the land and its resources is the first step in determining what you can and cannot do with them. You really need to research and fully comprehend any easements, rights of way, or other legal restrictions that may affect your use of these assets.
You definitely don't want to run into any surprises after buying a piece of land.
This can also help you avoid potential conflicts with law enforcement or other parties claiming ownership of the resources, and also help make a more educated decision.
When searching for the perfect homestead property, it's important to consider whether there are any utilities connected, as well as access to internet and phone connection.
The availability of utilities like electricity, water, and sewage can greatly impact the feasibility and potential of a piece of land for homesteading. Make sure to check and understand if the property is connected to these services or the feasibility to connect them, if at all.
Similarly, reliable internet and phone connection can greatly impact the ease of living on the property. It is important to consider your communication needs, and how you will stay connected with the outside world. This can have an impact on the use of technology and equipment needed for the homestead. It will be important to check the availability and reliability of internet and phone services in the area and to consider the additional costs, plans, and efforts that may be required for having them if not already available.
Researching the neighborhood and surrounding area is essential while looking for a homestead property. This might help you get acquainted with the local way of life, customs, population, and amenities. Getting to know the locals and the area around your homestead will allow you to better foresee potential problems and assess whether or not the area will help you achieve your homesteading goals.
For example, if you keep a rooster, your neighbors can feel annoyed by the noise early morning. Neighbors who share your interest in growing plants or keeping animals might be invaluable resources for your homesteading endeavors.
It is possible to determine whether or not a neighborhood is suitable by learning more about the healthcare facilities, educational opportunities, food sources, and marketplaces available there. You can better evaluate the community's resources, services, and possible challenges like crime rates if you take the time to learn about the area.
Investigate the area and potential neighbors of a home you're contemplating purchasing. This will allow you to evaluate the area's way of life, culture, demographics, and resources to see if it is a good fit for you.
Another important consideration is the hunting, fishing, and foraging you'll want to do on your homestead property. If this is something you're interested in or thinking about, researching if you're allowed to do this can help you make the most of a property and everything it has to offer.
Since it can provide a good source of food for you and your family, it is important to know as much as you can about the property before purchasing it, especially if it is near hunting or fishing grounds or if wild animals or fish are possible.
Next to that, connecting with the land and its inhabitants through activities such as hunting, fishing, and foraging can be both enjoyable and fulfilling. It allows you to observe the ecosystem around you and discover the ways in which all the different elements interact with each other.
This can be a wonderful opportunity to broaden your horizons, bond with loved ones, and forge a path toward greater self-reliance. It sure is something to consider when assessing a property.
It is crucial to verify if the seller is the legal owner of the land when looking for homestead property. Next to that, it's important to make sure the land is free of any liens or claims and that the seller has the authority to sell.
Also, determine if foreclosure proceedings have been filed on the property (as this might create ownership problems in the future).
A title search and title report prepared by an attorney are also necessary before an offer is made. This will reveal whether there are any liens, mortgages, or other claims against the property.
It's also a good idea to double-check with the relevant agencies to make sure the land is not subject to any tax or other governmental liens. Identifying the property's legal owner is a crucial first step before making an offer.
19. Are there any existing debts or unpaid taxes on the land? And what are the recurring taxes on it?
If there are any outstanding mortgages or tax liens on the property, this will have to be taken care of by the previous owner before you continue with the purchase. This is definitely something that needs to be looked into beforehand.
A property's new owner may have to carry a heavy burden if outstanding taxes or debts are not settled. You can find out about the financial obligations linked with the land by looking into its tax history and contacting local authorities to see if everything is paid for.
The property's ongoing tax liability should also be investigated. Local governments may levy a variety of taxes, including those for properties, schools, and other services. Finding out how much these taxes will be and when they are due will be useful information for planning the property's continuing costs. When determining whether or not the property is affordable, it is crucial to factor in the annual tax rate.
You should think about your budget before starting your hunt for the appropriate homestead land. Investing a large sum of money into a piece of real estate necessitates careful consideration of whether or not the property is actually affordable. Not only does this incorporate the initial outlay of cash required to acquire the land, but also the recurring costs of insurance, upkeep, and taxation that come with being a landowner.
Prior to starting your search, you should have a good notion of your budget and financial goals. This can narrow down your search to affordable options, letting you make an educated choice about the best property for you.
It's crucial to remember that there are additional costs associated with buying and constructing a homestead in addition to the purchase price. Verify that you can afford it, both now and in the future, before committing to the purchase of the property. Check the numbers to make sure it is within your price range and don't forget that individual projects on a homestead quickly add up!
When searching for the perfect piece of land, it's important to consider all the key factors that will make it a great fit for your dream of establishing a homestead, becoming more self-sufficient, and living off the land. From access, resources, and community to ownership, taxes, and budget, every detail counts.
Next to that, an important consideration and something to remember is to not only just focus on the practical aspects, but also take the time to appreciate the beauty and potential of the land.
Where are you going to plant food forests? Where are the gardens coming? What looks like the best place for chickens? Most importantly, trust your gut feeling and choose the land that resonates with you.
In the end, it's all about finding the perfect balance between budget, functionality, and emotion.
I hope this post will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls and give you some food for thought when searching for the perfect homestead property.
PS: If you want to see a video in which I go a little bit deeper into some of the key considerations, feel free to watch it here: