Top Considerations When Buying a Homestead

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There are many things to think about when you’re considering purchasing a place in the country. Some folks are looking for a fixer upper, others for ready to move in, and others are looking for raw land on which to build.

Buying a place, even if it’s just land, is a big investment and one should think through all their options and resources before doing so.

You’ll want to make certain that the property will fit into your current or proposed lifestyle and still allow room for growth. Sure you can homestead with a few farm animals and a garden on a small lot but bigger is better. Although there are times when a property is too big!

countryside

It’s a big move to change your physical location. This means a new route to your place of employment. Not everyone will be happy with a long commute. In my neck of the woods, most of the people work in the city. Some have a longer drive than others. A drive-time of an hour each way seems normal to the average country-lover.

Would you be able to handle a long drive, twice a day, five days a week? (It’s rare to find ANY form of public transportation in the country. You will need a vehicle, or two.) Will your spouse or partner? Is your vehicle ready for the toll? Are the roads maintained during the winter? I spent many years driving half of my commute on a road that wasn’t sanded in the winter just to get to the interstate. Drive times could be as much as 2-3 hours with icy weather.

commuting

Do you rely on the internet and your cell phones? Not all cell phones work in the country. Sure, they’re putting up more towers but there are still blind spots where your cell won’t work. Also, there’s no cable internet in the country. If you’re lucky you can get fiber through your electric company, or through your house-phone company. And there’s always satellite providing your spot affords a clear view of the sky.

Is there a spot for a garden at the property you’re looking at? Tall trees are pretty but you’ll need a sunny area for growing food. Are you up to removing trees and clearing land?

clearing trees

Are you planning on adding chickens or other farm animals? Are there pens/coops ready? Are any of you hand at construction? Is there cleared land for pasture grazing?

Does the property already have utilities? Raw land might not have power except at the road. Some power companies require YOU to pay to have it brought to the interior of your property. If you’re planning on going with wind or solar you’ll need to consider the initial outlay to get that going as well.

Is there a well? Or other water source? You should also take into consideration the price of drilling water. Some locations only need a shallow well, others must drill deep. The cost is typically by the foot and a deeper well means more cash outlay. Suppose you drill within a budget but don’t hit water. Are you prepared to haul water in with a truck?

What do the neighbor’s properties look like? Are there dead cars, piles of trash, general unkempt? Their mess will most likely make your property cost less both when you buy it and when you try to sell it. Look for good neighbors.

Check flood plain maps. You don’t want any surprises there! Creeks are good sources of water but can overflow their banks in heavy rains.

Most of all, never buy land unseen. Sure, that ad with the cheap land, no down, and easy payments sounds like a bargain. You really never know what the land looks like without physically inspecting it yourself. Who knows? It might have been a dump at one point in time, or full of gullies, or barren land where nothing grows or extremely vertical!

dried out land

Buying a spot in the country is many people’s dreams. That dream can become a reality but be sure to use some common sense when scouting your location.