Locating the best land for your homestead is time-consuming and tiring. The desire to acquire the best area puts you in a fix. You ask yourself many questions about your ideal land. It’s a defining moment as any wrong choice will affect your entire life. And it will be too late to salvage the situation once you buy the land.
I had the same dilemma before I finally settled on my land of choice. The good thing is that I learned a lot that I want to share with you.
1. Select an Area of Interest
There are many areas that you can buy land for your homestead. However, you have to select the area that best suits you. People buy a property with specific plans in mind. Ask yourself whether;
· Do You Want To Keep Livestock?
Keeping livestock requires large acreage. For this reason, concentrate on regions with vast tracks of land. Livestock can multiply within a short time and requires enough space to feed and reproduce. I’ve seen people buying smaller property for livestock and later regretting the decision. Don’t join that list!
· How Far Or Close To The City Do You Prefer?
Do you want to have a homestead and keep your usual job? If yes, then you may locate land that’s closer to the city.
Some people like their life to have nothing to do with the city. They choose a land far away from the town to enjoy the quietness of the rural areas. Select such regions with full knowledge that you could get stuck on the roads on rainy seasons.
· Do You Want Complete Seclusion?
I have always wanted to live closer to other homesteaders. That’s why I chose my current region. But you could be having another idea of living your own secluded life. Therefore, you have to select an area that is sparsely populated.
· How Far Away From Other Amenities Like Schools, Hospitals, Power Grid, and Others
Social amenities are critical for natural survival in any setting. Accessibility to school is an essential consideration if you have school going kids or you are upgrading. You will have to decide whether to travel the long-distance or live within the school vicinity.
Power is another essential amenity that you need to consider. Do you want to live on or off the grid? Living off the grid involves generating electricity from wind, generators, or solar. The cost will play an essential part in arriving at the final decision. Getting power from the grid is relatively cheaper, but bills will follow you forever. However, off-the-grid power involves an initial high installation cost, but no one will hit you with monthly bills.
A combination of the above considerations will assist in selecting a suitable region that suits you. Now that you have narrowed down to the area, you need to locate the specific land.
2. Explore the Communication Tools
It is hard to know all the available land that’s available for selling. But how can you locate this coveted land? The most comprehensive trick is to explore the available communication tools in the locality. The following tools will give you invaluable information.
· The Internet
Online searching is the most common search with comprehensive information. The web contains millions of options that are helpful to your search. However, you have to be smart and assist the net on your search. Include the terms like a homestead, ‘available for sale, ‘and the region that you have selected. A lot of information will pop out. Select those that are most appropriate and make a note of the best choices.
· Local Dailies
When searching for land, be an avid reader of the dailies. The newspaper gives up-to-date information on what’s there and what’s available. I prefer them because they contain a seller somewhere who is itching to dispose of the land quickly. If you like the area and move fast, there’s a chance that the seller will have flexible prices on a suitable property.
3. Ask the Experts
You may have never bought land in your life. Don’t feel threatened, I was there and trust me, there’s nothing sinister in purchasing land. However, always involve professionals as in all other dealings that include properties. They have the know-how and have the inside information that the public will never know. Look out for them and be friendly to loosen their tongues. Some of the experts include;
- The realtors
- Insurance brokers
Keeping these groups close when searching for land has several advantages.
a) They Have the Know-How
These groups have daily encounters with available land for sale. They know the location and the coveted history that you would like to hear. Besides, some of them have access to the specific land documents. Having the necessary papers reveals whether the property has any pending court cases that could disrupt your homestead.
b) Contacts with the Owner
A substantial investment requires that you have contact with the real owner. Spending several hundred dollars doesn’t come easy. It calls for engagement with the actual owner. Your discussions will include how to solve any legal action on ownership arising in the future. The realtors could be the owners or could arrange for one-on-one engagement with the owner.
c) Lower Prices
You can bet that the auctioneers and bankers have several pieces of land at their disposal. The property may be from loan defaulters. Most of these lands have lower prices than the market value.
d) Shorter Buying Periods
The land buying process is tedious and has many bureaucracies before you get the ownership title. It can be intimidating and time-consuming to enter several land offices. Why not leave it to the experts? They know who and where to visit and have your title within a short period.
4. Do Your Homework
Suppose you know what you want and the region that you desire. Why not drive yourself there? Knock on doors, ask your friends or visit the local land commissions. You can be surprised by the information that you collect in one day. What you desire could be just around you if you ask around.
I have a friend who desired a particular area only. The searching journey was not easy. But no other area fitted the dream of complete seclusion from the world. After a day’s search, the region popped up more land parcels than anticipated. The results proved that what you want is not there till you lookout for it.
5. Consider the Price
What’s your budget for the farmland? Factors like location and size determine the cost of the land. Larger sizes located near the city have high prices than those in rural areas. You can decide to concentrate your efforts on the rural regions if you have a tight budget.
As you work on the cost considerations, other incentives make an area attractive. If you have a tight budget you can look out for the following incentives from the government and other corporations;
· Loan Programs
If you are a retiree or a young couple intending to start a homestead, there’s a chance that the bank on your state has a ‘comeback home’ loans. The lenders slash the initial down payment and offer free bank services if you agree to settle permanently. The incentive provides a cheaper payment mode that has less financial constraints as you start your homestead.
· Free Building Lots
The government may offer free building lots when the population of a particular area falls significantly. You can benefit from one if you accept to follow the guidelines provided for qualification. Among the additional benefits in this plan includes building permits fee waivers, property tax rebates for over ten years and membership to local country clubs.
· Look out for foreclosures.
It’s a sad situation when creditors comes calling for a default payment. They can seize your property and set it up for sale. As a buyer, this opportunity offers a sweet deal as the land is always at a lower price.
6. Size or Acreage
To decide on the size of the homestead, you have to review whether;
· Do You Want Self-Sufficiency or Make Some Profits on the Land?
For self-sufficiency, only you need around three acres of land. This area is capable of producing enough vegetables, keeping some poultry, few livestock and some beehives for honey.
Small-scale homesteading is okay to some extent. On the other hand, I have seen farmers regretting the small acreage. The need for larger sizes comes into play when you realize you could be fetching some good profits. Besides, the limited size will curtail your expansion into large-scale farming.
· Are You On Trial, Or Do You Want To Practice Homesteading Permanently?
I have some friends who choose a trial journey in homesteading. They wanted to test and gain skills before they become full-fledged. It was not a bad idea. If you decide to go down this road, then buy a smaller size of land.
If you choose to delve into homesteading permanently, you will have to make a final choice on the acreage that will suit your activities. A larger area is suitable for large scale farming that includes livestock for commercial purposes.
· You can go large scale.
Farming for self-sufficiency is relatively affordable to many people. The driving force is that you save money spent on buying food. The savings are then ploughed back to the farm for expansion.
Large scale farming requires a lot of cash on the initial stage. Buying all the high-grade livestock and ploughing many acres is quite expensive. However, you can start on a single project as you progress.
7. Water Accessibility
You can never achieve self-sufficiency in the homestead if you rely on seasonal rainfall. Locate and purchase land near a water source like a river. Ask around to ensure that it’s not seasonal. Such a location is ideal as you can use gravity to water your entire farm. You end up saving a couple of dollars on fuel or electricity.
If the area has no permanent river, you can drill your borehole. Drilling will involve some cash and permission from the local government. However, the investment is worth the pain as the farm will need the water.
8. Soil Fertility
Soil is an essential consideration in any planting space. After all, what are you working on if the land is not productive?
Visit the local extension lands office for copies of the latest soil survey. Alternatively, you can engage an agricultural engineer to test and report on the following;
· Soil Structure
The soil structure defines how the clay, silt and sand particles aggregate into larger groups with various shapes and sizes. The soil structure dictates the movement of air, water and plant roots for better plant growth and development. Note that an extensively cultivated land has poor soil structure with lower productivity.
· Soil Depth
The soil depth determines how your plants will have access to structural support, water and nutrients. It’s the thickness of the soil’s upper layer that provides vital growth substances. Avoid an area with a thin soil depth as it has poor nutrients and, therefore, low yields.
· Soil Chemistry
Some areas have salt-affected soils that have high levels of soluble salts and sodium. The soil is either sodic or saline, and it’s common where groundwater moves up to the surface. The water containing the dissolved salts evaporates, leaving the land sodic. This type of soil is not suitable for farming.
· Soil Permeability and Infiltration
Permeability is the extent to which air and water move through the soil, whereas infiltration is the rate of water movement from the surface downwards. These properties determine how the soil absorbs and retains water. If the land has good permeability and infiltration, it will retain water for sufficient periods.
9. Internet and Mobile Coverage
You don’t have to stop your life when living in the homestead. High-speed internet and reliable mobile coverage will spice up your life. Above all, a secure mobile and internet connection comes handy on several fronts.
Medical emergencies can strike at a moment’s notice. Timely intervention may save lives when you seek help quickly.
· Connecting With Friends
Social media and emails have become a must-have for everybody globally. You don’t want to be left behind in the latest happenings around. Besides, it’s also a source of weather updates for farmers like you.
The internet has unlimited information that you can learn. Any topic that you want to explore is right there. Besides, you can gain valuable information on how to improve the productivity of your farm.
Taxes are our responsibility to pay the government either yearly or after some other set times. Different regions have different tax obligations. It’s, therefore, necessary to check the tax regimen in your preferred area. Since this is a continuous cost, you have to factor it in your final buying decision. If the tax is manageable, you can go ahead and purchase the land. However, some tax obligations are prohibitive, and you have to decide whether the property is worth the cost or not.
Make the Decision Now
Your final decision depends on all the above factors. However, the region of choice and price overrides the others. You can improve on other factors to your desired level. An example is using compost manure on poor soil in the land to make it productive and drill borehole for water. All in all, select an area that satisfies your farming needs and relaxes your mind from the bustles of the city. Remember that the homestead is a self-sufficiency haven in both body and soul.