There are tons of reasons to want to start a homesteading lifestyle but there are a few things you should think about when choosing one. It’s not just privacy or aesthetics there are other considerations to think about.
First of all. Is there water access? Sure, lots of people that live off grid have their water hauled in either by themselves or a service. Do you have a truck and a tank? Or a trailer on which to pull the tank? If you’re off grid and relying on income solely from the property will you have funds to buy water and have it delivered. Yes, water delivery isn’t expensive but it is an extra expense you might not have thought of. So is the time needed to drive weekly to the access point and time spent filling your tank.
Plan on drilling a well? In some parts of the country the water table is very far down. The deeper your well company has to drill to find water the more expensive the operation will be. Find out what the depth is of homes in the area.
Plan on harvesting rainwater as your primary water source? There are some parts of the country where it’s illegal to harvest rainwater. Where it is legal you’ll need determine the average rainfall (and the size of your roof and containment system) to determine if rainwater harvesting is viable for you. Some places get all their rain in a short time frame and some get hardly any rainfall at all.
Is there an alternate water source nearby? A spring, a year-round creek or stream, a lake? And have you secured the resources to make the water drinkable?
You probably dream of a hilltop home tucked away on a mountainside somewhere far from the busy world, but have you thought about access? An ideal homestead is far enough away from the city yet not so far that it takes hours to get to one. Homes tucked away in a remote location also prove hard to deliver materials and heavy equipment in and out. Some roads wash out in a heavy rain, and others become totally impassable. Do you have the funds and the means necessary to make your driveway/road passable year round?
Lions and Tigers and Bears
What’s the wildlife in the area you want to homestead? Sure, tigers might be a stretch but if you’re planning on growing food and raising some animals it’ll help to know what predators you are up against. Knowing if there are bobcats, raccoons, or even bears in your neck of the woods will help you plan a re-enforcement or other barrier around your food supply. Knowing the local wildlife will also let you know if there is an abundance of harvest (deer etc…) for your own table.
Natural Disasters & Weather
If you’re moving to a new location be sure to check out the common weather abnormalities and common disaster scenarios for the area. If you move into tornado alley and you’ve never witnessed tornado season you might find yourself in for a surprise. The same holds true for moving into a hurricane prone area, or one prone to wildfires or flooding.
I know you think you don’t want ANY neighbors but having someone, anyone within a ‘not too far of a distance’ can be a good thing. If you’re so far out that you have no cell-phone service you’ll find that knowing your neighbor can be quite helpful in an emergency situation. Get to know your neighbors.
One should always consider the distance to the nearest medical facility. It’s often times faster to get yourself to the emergency room (if possible) rather than wait the ‘long’ time for the ambulance to make it’s way all the way out to your ‘off-grid’ home. You should also think about safety in general. Do you have more than one way off the property? How about different routes to town? Part of safety is always knowing your surroundings. When driving home pay attention to landmarks. Knowing where the landmarks are can help you navigate at night, you know, just in case.
When you homestead you’re planning on feeding yourself (and the family) with the food you grow and raise. If you’ve never grown a garden, raised a chicken, or haven’t done it in this new location you may find that plans don’t always turn out the way you think they will. Even a seasoned gardener will have issues growing a garden when they change climates or growing zones. Different locations will have different issues. You may have hot blazing sun in your new location, the ground may soak up water faster than you can put it down, or you could have clay or rocky ground. It always pays to have a backup plan, especially for food (and water). You should move into a new place with some food stored because you don’t know what you don’t know!
Be like a scout and always aim to be prepared.