You’ve finally talked your family into starting a homestead, moving out in the country and building a new life for yourself so you can start growing a garden and raising chickens, making soap with the milk from your pet goat. Doing all the things you’ve been dreaming about while enjoying the fresh air and living a simpler life with your family. It’s going to be Great!
Where do you begin? Especially if you have no clue how to live on a homestead.
Well, a good starting point would be to look at the end. Meaning, what is it that you really want from living on a homestead? What do you really want the most? Where do you want to live? What are some of your goals?
So many questions that it would be wise to sit in a quiet place with paper and figure out your “End Game” start making a wish list of things you want the most. Imagine if you will, what you would love your homestead to look like finished.
Will it have farm animals like cows and horses? Will it have goats? Or will it be small and have just chickens and a big garden?
Dreaming of the finished homestead will help you decide what it is you really want to buy and where.
If you want a big garden then you’ll need some of the following;
- Good soil for growing crops
- Plenty of sunshine
- Well-drained soil
- Big enough land for the garden
Maybe you want to have cows or horses on the homestead? You need;
- A Barn
- Big enough pasture for animals to graze
- A good supply of water
That’s why it’s important to give some thought to how you want your homestead to end up like, so you can plan ahead. Make sure you have enough land available for cattle to graze, water, and hay for feeding.
You don’t want to buy land and a house but figure out later that you can’t even grow a garden, because it’s too shady and rocky soil.
The best advice is to start small. Don’t get in over your head with a big homestead, if you have no idea how to run one. But if you start small adding new features each year. Then your success rate and confidence level will increase over time.
For instance, if don’t know anything about growing a garden. Then just start with one plant rather than a full-fledged garden. You’re more likely to not get overwhelmed and give up halfway through the growing season.
The same goes for getting animals for your homestead. Start small if you have no experience with farm animals. Buying a few chickens is a good start, you can learn the ropes and gain some benefits with getting eggs to eat. Then later on you can buy a couple of goats or sheep, before moving up to owning a cow.
If you’re going to have several animals, you might want to check to see if there is a local vet that comes out to the farm and looks at all the animals at one time, twice a year checkup and worming are essential to a healthy herd.
Ways To Save Money
One way, homesteaders save money in the winter is to burn wood to heat their homes. Either buying wood from a local seller or clearing dead and dropped wood from their wooded areas. This would be a good thing to add to your wish list if you’re looking to make the homestead pay for itself.
Speaking of timber, have a professional look at the land you want to purchase and see if you can timber that land. Some families have actually paid the whole land off after purchase by selling off a few of the biggest trees and thinning the wooded areas.
If nothing else, you can save yourself quite a bit of money on heating costs, by burning wood in a woodstove. Many garages and workshops can be heated this way, enabling you to be able to work outdoors in the wintertime with some shelter.
A garage comes in handy for many things in a family. Like fixing up a tractor when it’s raining or getting out of the house and hiding from the kids for a while.
9 Easy Steps To Start Your Very Own Backyard Homestead
You have your heart set on living out in the country on your own homestead. Where you can live off the land, growing your own vegetables, preserving them, then show off your canned jars of preserved veggies with pride to all your friends and family.
But you don’t live in the country with 20 acres of land. Not to worry my friend. You can still have that, just on a smaller scale, in your own backyard.
Look at this list of 9 easy steps that will get you started today with your very own backyard homestead.
- Keep it simple and start small. Like container gardens first.
- Start composting with your left-over food.
- Buy a couple of chickens for eggs, no roosters, you don’t need them.
- Take notes on everything you do, saves making the same mistake again.
- Grow a tomato plant in a bucket.
- Plant a kitchen herb garden in containers.
- Make herbal soap and give to friends
- Keep trying new things.
- Learn to make salsa and can tomatoes for winter.
That’s an easy list of things you can start doing right away, no matter where you live. You might not want to get a few pet chickens at first but that would be a fun thing to do with the family.
Eating fresh eggs and having the kids go out to gather them each day, just might get them to stay off playing video games for a while.
Getting a few chickens and a small coop is a big step for a backyard homestead. But don’t worry about the noise. If you only get hens, then Mr. Rooster won’t start crowing at 4 a.m. each morning and upset the neighbors.
You really only need a rooster if you want your own baby chicks.
The local feed store usually keeps chicks in stock all year long. So really no need to raise any yourself unless you have more land for them. Just be sure to check with your local authority to see if you can keep them legally.
The other thing you can start working on is a backyard garden. If you don’t have the space then container gardens work just as well. You’ll need to water them more frequently. But you won’t have to weed the containers like you do a garden. Each has its pros and cons.
If you do want to start a little plot in your backyard, you’ll need to get the ground prepared with some rich soil. This can take a year or so to get the soil ready to grow a nice garden. Starting a compost pile or container is just the thing to try.
After a year in the compost you can add that to your garden dirt, mixing it in with a tiller or shovel to work the compost in your garden. You can also add your chicken poo in there as well. But you have to let that sit for a year or you’ll burn up your plants with all that fresh poo.
Taking notes is essential to remember what you did right and what you did wrong. It’s a working progress. Even seasoned gardeners have years where they get very little harvest from their garden, due to one thing or the other. But having it all down in a notebook really comes in handy. Be sure to add dates, like when you plant the garden or when you get your first egg from your chickens.
Growing a tomato plant is about the easiest, most rewarding thing you can plant in the garden. You will be AMAZED at just how delicious a home-grown tomato can be. We are so used to buying tomatoes from the store and those tomatoes have to be picked green, there pretty tasteless. But a fresh tomato ripe on the vine is mouthwatering.
How An Apartment Dweller Can Move Out An Start A Homestead With Very Little Money
Many people are itching to get out of their apartments and move out to the country especially after the events in 2020. But the big problem is where to get the money for it?
There are many options that will help you make your dream come true in a relatively short time with very little money upfront.
Buying Land To Develop
If you’re willing to do some work, there are many places that sell land on a contract with no credit checks or down payments. This could be a nice option. You can work on the land on the weekends until it’s ready to move a mobile home on it or even a camper.
Moving a camper on the land would be the cheapest way to get started as it has everything you need with a few modifications. It has a place to sleep, cooking options and electricity. By adding solar panels and some batteries you can have power, living off grid while working weekends on the property. What a fun adventure for the family to work on together!
When the land is paid off them you can borrow money from a bank and use the land as collateral, say if you want to build a home. If you are short on cash then a mobile home might be a better choice, the banks are more giving of those. As the home can be taken away if not paid for.
If you go that route and you have enough land to build on, then you can live in the mobile home in comfort while you build your dream home yourself, if you are handy. All of this can be done with very little money upfront. It just takes a little hard work from you.
The only drawback to this is that land companies tend to buy up big farms. Then they divide that land into tiny lots, say 2 acres or less. Most of the properties are uncleared land right next to each other.
You won’t know who will buy right next to you. And it’s rather expensive in the long run. But worth it if you have no other options.
You would also need to hire a bulldozer to make a road, put in water and electricity on site. But this can be done over time as you save up enough money.
If you have good credit then you can get this all done at the same time if you buy a mobile home. When you’re borrowing from the bank, then you’ll be borrowing enough to get the water and electricity installed on site, plus the road put in and the mobile home moved and set up.
Typically, that’s how many folks start out, when they move out to the country. After a few years, they can then sell the mobile home for a profit. The land has been cleaned up and It’s ready to move in for someone else. Then they can buy that dream home on more land for a bigger homestead.
It’s a dream come true it just takes a little bit of time.
Renting To Own
This is not something that many people advertise but it’s a possibility out in the country. If you find the right home and owner, this might be an option.
When going out looking for a house to rent in the country, if you find a place that’s run down and your handy, you could fix up the property for rent. This is not only helping you but also the property owner.
Fresh paint, fixing things that need to be fixed is an option. Also, those types of places are usually paid for, like a person that owns their grandparents’ home. These are the properties that are more likely to offer a “Rent To Own” option after you’ve lived there for a while and have a great rapport with the owners.
If you have the money you can buy homes at auction. But these are hard to find and you might not get them due to other people bidding on the home at the same time you are. But It’s something to look into if you’re interested.
When out driving around look at homes, look for properties that no one lives in anymore, maybe the grass hasn’t been mowed, there are no curtains on the windows, no cars in the driveway are giveaways that no one lives in them. Perhaps the home was a hunting cabin and now that person is elderly and not able to keep up with the home any longer.
Checking around with local grocery store will get you all the information you need. They know everything that’s going on in the neighbourhood.
The options are out there, even if you don’t have extra money right now. Perhaps moving out a little farther from the city, lowering your rent will give you the extra money you need to buy property to fix up on weekends.
Don’t give up, keep looking. The best time to look for property is spring and summer. And most won’t be advertised online. Do some driving around on weekends and enjoy the fresh air, you’ll find something.
How To Buy Land For Homesteading
When buying land for a homestead there are a few things you need to consider before making the purchase. Having a checklist when you’re out looking would be very helpful. That way you won’t forget anything.
Buying a homestead can be a big investment and it’s not just about the money spent for it, but the blood, sweat and tears you’ll be investing in it. (Yes, there will be tears.)
Less tears if you plan ahead.
If you don’t consider everything needed to make your homestead prosper, then you will soon be very disappointed and might be stuck with a piece of land that you can’t make a homestead out of or let alone resell it.
To avoid any catastrophe, it would be wise to decide first what the goals will be for your homestead. What do you want to do with your homestead? Do you want a big garden so you can sell produce? Or do you want to raise cattle?
It can be a bit overwhelming, but if you have a plan in place BEFORE you go looking for land. Then you have a better idea of what to look for in a piece of property.
Grab some paper and let’s get started, shall we?
Will you need a big garden spot? Or will you just need a garden big enough for your family? Typically, you’ll want to have two garden spots picked out, big enough for you to grow enough food for your family. On average that would be about the size of a one or two-car garage, depending on the size of your family.
You’ll need two spots picked out for the gardens. One that will be in use and the other one will be at rest. Alternating between the two each year. This will allow the soil to be replenished each year with important nutrients. (compost and animal poo that you add to it) This will enable you to grow produce that’s more nutritious for you and your plants.
A big thing to consider if you are going grow a garden, is to make sure it’s going to get enough sunshine each day. You’ll need at least 12-16 hours of direct sunlight for your garden to grow properly.
How much land will you need to purchase? It really depends on what you are looking for, it’s a personal preference. If you only want a small garden spot, a small home, with room for your dog and maybe a few chickens. Then you can get by with only a couple of acres, but that’s pretty small and won’t leave you much room to expand.
This is a very important thing to consider and why it’s so important to go to the land site in person. You can’t possibly understand the lay of the land by looking online. You must physically go see the layout for yourself.
There might be a big cliff on the property and in no way, could it be used for a homestead. It might be pretty to look at but really not practical for what you want.
If you’re wanting horses or cattle, then you will need a pasture big enough for those large animals. And you will need a sizable barn for them to be housed in at night and during bad weather.
The animals will need shade of some kind, plus you’ll need storage for hay. The animals will need additional hay during the winter months especially.
If you buy land that isn’t big enough for the animals then your pasture will turn into a big muddy lot. Not very appealing to your or your animals.
Oftentimes land will come up for sale that’s right by some water. If there’s a pond on the site, then all the better. But if the land is right by running water or a ditch that water runs into. Then you might have a problem.
This land will often flood at various times of the year. Maybe that’s why they are selling it in the first place. That’s the chance you take when you are buying land that’s not developed yet. Make sure it doesn’t flood before you buy it.
At lower elevations some land is just swampy, it never really drains the water out correctly. If this is the case then you will possibly never be allowed to build a home on the property. Let alone get a permit to put in a septic system for your toilet.
These are just a few examples of things to look for when you go out looking for land to buy for your homestead. Start your checklist and take it with you. That will help you make a wise choice, you’ll be much happier with your homestead if you put in a little thought with your end goals in mind, right from the start.
Tips on Buying A Homestead On A Budget
Are you thinking about buying a homestead, but really don’t have enough money, or a down payment on a home with acreage at the moment? There are options out there you might not have thought of, something that will get you into a home faster.
For example, there are owners who are willing to let you buy land and or a home on a contract with them. That means that you won’t have to go through any bank or finance company to purchase that piece of land or home.
You’ll be making payments directly to the owner. Many times, it’s a simple contract with the homeowner and the buyer with simple terms that are agreed upon by both parties.
Usually drawn up by a lawyer. This is ideal for people with low income that would not be able to get a loan traditionally through a bank.
This type of property is unlikely to be announced in any newspaper or from a realtor but more likely to be a happen chance with a friend of a friend or by just by simply asking the seller if this might be an option when inquiring about the property.
Many times, this is not even thought about by the sellers. They want to be finished with the property, they are not thinking of selling on a contract with anyone.
But if the seller has paid off the property, usually an older home that might need to be fixed up some. Then this might be an option they hadn’t thought about before, but you have to make it look appealing to them or they will just shut you down.
The owner might take into consideration your offer especially if you point out to them that they will have no risk involved. If you don’t make the payments the owner gets the property back. And all the money that you’ve paid them in the past they get to keep. You will just have to walk away from the deal.
Also, that if you point out the potential for more income in the owner’s pocket each month with your monthly payments. It will be a benefit to them, more than a burden. Showing them that you are the one taking the risk and actually paying them more money over time as an investment for them to consider.
Your payments will include a percentage rate of the loan amount. Money that they wouldn’t have received if they just sold it for what they are asking for it.
Then you might point out that the home is run down and more than likely they would not get the asking price for it, but much less due to the state of the home.
Unless they were willing to do more work on the home, that’s when you can mention anything that’s wrong with the property. Needs a roof or heating is not up to code. But you don’t mind, you’ll fix that yourself.
Showing them the benefits of selling the property on a contract to you, might help change their mind about it.
A contract for the land is normally not something anyone would consider. But it can be beneficial to both parties. The seller will make more income off the property with interest paid on loan. Plus, if you default then the property goes back to him and he gets to pocket the money you paid him.
Then he can turn it around and sell it again, until someone pays for the whole thing. Most likely this would be a 15-year loan or less, it’s not a good idea to go longer than that on any property.
You would be surprised that some people just might be interested in doing that. If they are retired with a small income. That monthly check from you might really come in handy.
Never hurts to ask, all they can do is say “No”. But what if they say “Yes”!
If you end up buying a piece of property with a run-down home, when it’s fixed up and paid for you can sell it for a hefty profit and buy a nicer piece of property.
You can also save money by building around the original home. This will save you a lot of headaches getting the soil tested for a septic tank and having the water run, to the home.
Plus, the taxes will be far less on the property if you fix up a home rather than building a new one.
Many people do just that, adding on a little at a time. Paying only for the projects they are working on at the moment. Rather than getting a big loan from the bank.
You’ll end up with a nice home that will be paid off while you’re still young. Rather than going so far in debt that it won’t be paid off until you’re in your 80’s.
Where To Start Looking For Homestead Land When You Are Broke
If you’re serious about moving out in the country as fast as possible but really don’t have the money right now to buy anything. You might even have bad credit that might take years before you can purchase anything.
Not to worry, there are options out there for you. If you know where to look.
Head out in the country in the area you want to live. Remember to take into account the driving distance to work each day. No more than an hour each way, if you want to keep your sanity.
Grab a map, yes, a real map. Go old school for a change. Calculate the driving distance from work to the area you want to live. Then make a big circle on the map.
This is the area you can safely drive to work each day. Then make it a ritual to go out looking for land each weekend. Drive all the gravel roads and country lanes you can find. Keep your eye peeled for old homes or shacks on property.
Also, look out for handmade “For Sale” signs. Many farmers just pop up a sign on a fence, when they want to sell some land. No need for the newspaper or realtor. These are the prime properties you are looking for and you want to keep watching out for them because they sell fast.
Some of those people have passed on and the relatives are holding on to it, thinking it will be a wonderful place to go out in the country for the weekend. Then years go by and the house needs repair. That’s when they sell and you need to keep watching for them.
Make it fun, go visit the local pub for a quick meal and get to know the folks living there. Many times, it will be the best food you’ve ever eaten. If you don’t have the money for that, you can just grab a drink of coffee.
Checking out where the locals go is a sure sign that It’s the best place to eat and gather. Who knows, if you find a property that you might like that looks abandoned, you might inquire about it at the local pub.
Chances are people in there can tell you how to get in contact with the owners. With a quick phone call, they might be ready to sell or know of a place that is for sale but not listed.
Many places like that have been paid off for years and those farmers might do a contract with you on the property. Be it land or an older home that needs some repair. No credit checks, you just pay the landowner and if you don’t pay them, you lose the place. But it won’t hurt your credit.
Another wonderful idea would be to buy land on a contract and then move a camper on the property until you can afford to run water and electricity to it. Then you can add a nice trailer or cabin/tiny home on it over time or even build a home.
Also, you could ask the property owner if they would be willing to rent the home/property to you with the option to buy it at a later time. Maybe after a year or two of renting, then you can then buy it with a bank loan or they might be willing to put the property on a contract with you.
If you’ve been giving them rent for a few years on time, then you have earned their trust and are more likely to offer a contract.
A contract is just a simple contract with the property owner and the buyer, drawn up by a lawyer with the amount you want to borrow and how long the contract will be. Super simple, just make sure that you have them do a deed search first. You don’t want to buy something that doesn’t have a clear title.
There are also big land buyers and sellers who buy up big farms then split them into tiny lots of land to sell. Those are ok to get started. But you might be right next to someone, which might not be ideal. Most of those places don’t require a credit check.
How Country Neighbors Etiquette is Different than From City Neighbors Etiquette and How It Can Save Your Life One Day
What is the meaning of etiquette anyway? Well, that would be to…
- Open the door for an elderly person at the store.
- Wait for a person to pull out of a parking spot, instead of honking the horn at them.
- Smiling and saying “Good Day” to a person on the way to work or waving “hello” in your car to the person passing you. (That’s what country folk do.)
- Opening the door for your lady on a Sunday drive.
- Saying “Please and Thank you”.
Those kinds of things, you know. Being nice to people, times have changed and people aren’t as nice as they used to be. I’ll bet you don’t even know when your neighbour’s birthday is or if they are in good health?
Chances are that you don’t and don’t care to learn anything about them. That’s fine and dandy for living in the city or even in the suburb. You don’t want that strange old man next door to know your business.
If any emergency comes up you can call the police or a family member and they will be there in minutes.
Things are different when you live in the out in the country. So many things are different. For example, when the weather is bad, for example when there’s a heavy snowstorm and the roads are full of snow.
In the city the roads are clean by the next day mostly. Out in the country your road might not ever get cleaned up if you don’t live on a county road. How will you get out to go to work or the store? …Walk? (I don’t think so)
That’s when it’s handy to know a neighbor who owns a tractor to plow your drive or bring you food if they have a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
It’s super important when you move out in the country that you don’t make enemies of a person who just might save you or your family’s life one day.
The response time for any emergency person out in the country is half-hour to an hour on a good day. When things go south, you’re talking days.
When you just move out in the country you have no clue all the things you might need in an emergency. Like a 4-wheel drive vehicle, tractor or chainsaw.
When bad weather happens and a tree falls across your driveway, you’ll need to call a neighbour to cut the tree up for you. No emergency person is going to do that for you out in the country. It’s up to you, especially if it’s on your property. That’s when a neighbor that knows the ropes comes in handy.
What’s that old saying your great grandparents used to say? “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you?” Well here’s one for your neighbors “Don’t burn bridges with your neighbor, because one day you will need them, your life depends on it.”
If nothing else, be nice to people. Folks out in the country live a slower more, simpler life. They do things for people and they expect neighbors to be nice and offer help when needed. That’s why you wanted to move out in the country in the first place.
You were looking for a place to live and raise a family with good values. A quiet life, that’s slow, warm and loving.
So wave at your neighbour when you pass them on the road and be a nice helpful neighbour to everyone.
10 Top Things To Consider Before Buying Land For A Homestead
If you’re thinking of starting a homestead the first thing you might be thinking about is buying land. It can be a big step and not to be taken lightly. Here are several tips to help you choose the property that will fit into your lifestyle with room for you to grow.
1.Location To Work
This is something that is really important if you still need to drive to work each day after you move to your homestead. Traveling more than an hour each way will be way too stressful, besides the fact that you’ll be spending a lot of your time driving.
You need to think of the commute as well. How are the roads maintained during the winter months? Is your road plowed regularly? Ask around the locals will be able to tell you.
2.Internet Connection and Cell Phone Signal
How is the internet connection? Do you have cell phone signal at the property? You don’t want to drive up a hill just to make a phone call.
Internet connections can be kind of sketchy out in the country. Be sure you know if you can get service or not.
3.Place For A Garden
I’m sure you’ll want to have a garden on the property. That’s part of the reason to move out and start a homestead, so you can grow your own food. Is there anywhere you can grow a garden? Make sure you’re not right under a big power line.
What about shade? If you look at property in a forest is there enough sun to grow a garden? It’s easy to forget things like this when you find a beautiful piece of property.
4.Enough Land For Animals
Is there enough land for Animals? Cows need big fields to graze on, but if you’re getting a goat, you’ll need really good fencing. Is there any fencing on the property?
Is there more land available that you might make pasture out of, perhaps some acres that are heavily grown up with weeds that could be cleared off?
It’s a lot of work but if you’re buying property, you want to make sure you buy it big enough for you to grow so if you later decide to get some horses or something, you’ll have plenty of room.
5.Utilities on Property
What kind of utilities are on the property? Does it have electricity or will you need to put that in? You should add this to the budget if that be the case.
6.Water or Cistern
Some places out in the country don’t have running water. The water can be trucked in weekly and refilled or if you have a truck you can haul it yourself. Some are just not hooked up to the water when it went through. It’s worth checking into that and how much it will cost to run water lines.
Also, if you have to bring in water, you need to think about the animals. How will you get water to them? Hauling buckets of water to fill up a water trough is not that much fun in the winter months.
This might be a no-brainer but look at the neighbors of the property you want to buy. Do they have trash everywhere? Is their grass mowed or not? You might want to look elsewhere if that be the case. You don’t want to worry about your stuff getting taken when you’re not home.
Not only that but your property will never be worth much, due to the fact of your neighbor’s mess. Who wants to live next to that?
8.Road Condition During Floods or Winter Weather
It is really important to look into the weather of your property and the road conditions. You might find a sweet spot one summer and then when the rain comes you find out that your road is flooded with no way in or out until the water goes down.
Or you might have to drive 2 hours out of your way until the flood waters go down. Also check that your property doesn’t flood. Go see for yourself when you have a big rain, this goes for buying a home as well.
If there’s a river bed nearby even if it’s empty. It could get flooded.
9.Buy Subscription To The Local Newspaper
It might turn out to be a good idea that you check the weekly paper for events in the local paper where you want to move. This will give you a really good idea on things going on in the community. Fun activities you can join in on and also the crime rate in the area if there is any.
You might also find out that the land you want to buy used to be a chemical dump way back in the day. That would save you a lot of heartache, finding out that little piece of history before buying the property.
10.Never Buy Land Sight Un-Seen
This is also a tricky one, especially if you are buying far from where you live. But very important to get the lay of the land with your own eyes. If the property is too cheap, you might be buying a big cliff with no building spots at all.
10 Reasons Why To Never Buy Your First Homestead Property Sight Unseen
Buying your first property is a big step and you might be tempted to just buy some cheap land you see online. The price is too good to be true and you might think you need to act fast before it’s snatched up by someone else.
I assure you this is a big newbie mistake. You’ll be caught up in the moment, over-excited at the prospect of owning your first piece of property at a cheap price, that you overlook some really important things.
For instance, the property might just be unfit for any and all homestead prospects. It might be totally unfit to grow any garden at all. The list goes on and on, of things that could be wrong with the property for your purpose. That’s why It’s so important to take a trip and go look at property for yourself. Rather than buying sight unseen.
It would be a real shame if you spent all of your hard-earned money on a property not suited for homesteading. Only to find that out AFTER the purchase that you can’t even sell it to anyone else, because you’ve been misled and bought a piece of property that is unsellable.
So many problems can arise without first doing your research on the land purchase. Sometimes it might be difficult to drive to the location if you are moving from another part of the country.
If that’s the case it would be wise to just rent a place for a while in the area that you want to move to. That way you can take day trips and find out where you want to live. Just by living there you’ll find out many things about the area you want to live, and the best areas to look for land to purchase.
Another reason to do this is you’re not tied down to making a big purchase that you’ve not even seen for yourself.
You might find out after the move that you don’t even like that state and want to move someplace else altogether.
10 Reasons Why To Never Buy Property Sight Unseen
1.You might be buying a side of a mountain.
2.You might be moving into a bad neighborhood.
3.You might be buying property that floods each year.
4.You might be buying swamp land, that you can never build on.
5.You might be buying property that you can never grow a garden on.
6.You might be buying land that is out in the middle of nowhere, and the roads all close down in the winter due to heavy snow.
7.You might be buying land that you can’t get water or utilities to.
8.You might be buying property that is full of brush and trees that you will need to clear off first.
9.You might be buying property that was once a chemical dump.
10.You might be buying land that has a portal to hell on it, just kidding! But it might have a large sink hole on the land, making the property unusable.
Let’s just look at a few of these. Many reasons people sell property, one reason is that a person dies and owns a big farm. That farm is bought and then divided into little lots of land; the best parts of that property get snatched up quickly. Leaving Cliffy areas unsold or even unsellable for anyone wanting to build a home on the land.
Another reason land becomes unsellable is due to the fact the property often gets flooded each spring. It’s ok for farming corn or another crop, but no for building a homestead on.
Some property is located in a low area, with very little sunlight, thus the ground is wet and soft or swampy all the time. Not ideal for living on at all.
Many places might go up for sale that is in a bad neighborhood. Most likely in an area that’s hard to sell and the land gets divided into small lots, that might lead to a bunch of trailers and junk piling up on the cheap properties.
If you buy one of these the land will never really be worth much unless you purchase many of these lots to make a farm land again with several acres. But you’ll still have to live with the mess of the other neighbors.
Some of them you might not want to live next to, if they don’t work to clean up the land, just place a camper on and pile trash up and old cars everywhere. A great reason to check out the property you want to purchase for yourself. To see if the area around the property is clean. You can’t see these things from an ad online.
What To Do If There is No Water On The Homestead Property
What if you find out that the new property that you had high hopes of buying, doesn’t have any running water on the property? What to do then?
Don’t freak out, there are a few options. The first is to find out if the property has a water pipe on the property. Many times, older homes just didn’t hook up the service when the water was run in the neighborhood.
It was often times very expensive and if that home was vacant or had other means of getting water then there would be no reason for the property owner to fork over a bunch of money just to get city water hooked up. Or they didn’t want the monthly bill.
If that’s the case then all you would need to do is run a line to the house and hook up to that service. Fees are involved of course. But an easy fix to your water problem.
Some older homes have what’s called a cistern, it’s a big hole dug deep in the ground, usually lined with brick and at one time it was dug until it hit some main water supply underground usually a spring.
Those usually fill up all on their own, unless there’s been somewhat of a drought. Or if the water is being used quicker than the spring can fill it back up. Then the owner would have to have water brought in from a water company or water hauler.
Dig a pond perhaps, this is another popular way of getting water to a property that doesn’t have city water. You’ll need some kind of pumping station to get the water from the pond to the house. This is ok, but just be ready to have dirty water in washing water if the filters can’t keep up.
One thing to consider if you are clearing land to build your homestead on is how far away on the property the house will be located. If the house has a sweet spot on top of a big rocky cliff. Chances are you won’t be able to get a water line up the cliff.
Also, you will be charged by how far they have to run the pipe from the road to the house. Which can be really pricy. Also be aware that these pipes don’t last forever. They will have to be replaced every 15 to 20 years. That can be a rather expensive, but one that can’t be put off when water starts running out of a broken pipe.
The water company will only allow one or two times of excessive water usage bill from a broken pipe. Then it will have to be fixed or you might get your water shut off completely.
Rain water can be collected and added to a cistern from gutters on the house and out buildings. But when it doesn’t rain, then the cistern won’t get filled up. That’s when its handy to have a truck and a water tank. Many places will let you fill up water for free or a nominal fee.
Another thing to think about is how to water the homestead animals. Bigger animals can drink from a pond or water tank. A water tank will need to be filled up regularly, so you’ll want to be able to get water to livestock each day. That’s when a little planning can save you a lifetime of worries.
When buying a property, the first thing on your list should be to ask about the water supply and how you’ll be setting that up on your homestead.
How To Live On Land With No Running Water Or Electricity
It might seem impossible to think about, given all our luxuries that we live with each day. We switch on a light and the room turns from dark to light. We slip out of our bed at night for bathroom run, in our bare feet. And not give another thought to the matter.
But it wasn’t always that way. As a matter of fact, electricity in homes were for the very rich back in our great grandparents’ day and didn’t really get popular in rural areas until the 1930’s. Most rural farmers used kerosene lanterns up until then.
Their bathrooms were outside in an outhouse, usually alongside of the fence where they kept the pigs.
The water the farmers used came from wells they dug themselves. Dipping out water to be carried inside for drinking and cooking. Drinking buckets were kept on the back porch, so a person could dip out enough to wash up before coming in the house.
If our ancestors could live without all the luxuries then so can we, Right?!
Well maybe…people were a bit tougher back then.
No worries, it can still be done and with many more luxury items than you might think.
Many people wanting to live off-grid have found that using a compost toilet to be a wonderful solution to the bathroom problem. Some people even add them to camper’s when they want to camp for free where there are no utilities available.
These toilets really are wonderful and not as messy as one would imagine.
They need no running water and make a nice compost for your garden. Many people build a separate room off the house for this set up. Not to worry you won’t have to go to the bathroom with the pigs or anything, besides you can make it quite luxurious, with a fancy sink and carpeting.
They are usually connected to the house by the means of a patio decking connecting the house with the outhouse building.
So, you can still run outside barefooted during the night and have the solar powered light come on when you pass the automatic light sensor. Such luxuries and all for free!
Free Hot Water
Running water can come in many ways, a person can get a few barrels of water and collect rain water off the buildings, then have a black hose that is in a case with clear plastic or glass on it, that then faces the sun all day or at least most of the day. As the water runs in the case with the black hose the water heats up giving you a small amount of hot water totally free.
Depending on how much hose you have laying out in the sun it can last longer. The more hose you have the more water, you might have several of these set up.
Dig A Pond Or Install Cistern
You can also have water hauled in and put in a concrete cistern. Or dig a pond that has a pump in it, to pump that water to the home and animals.
Setting up some kind of pump for the water with either solar power or batteries.
Battery Power for Electricity
Battery power is another option for getting electricity to an off-grid home. It’s just like, a camper set up. Using 12-volt lights that’s powered by several car batteries, depending on how many lights you have. And just like a camper you can buy household fans and refrigerators that can run on 12-volt electricity.
You can buy propane gas that will run your cooking stove and heater of your home. Propane is a nice addition if you’re wanting to go totally off-grid, giving you more options.
Solar power is getting really popular in small towns, you can see grids set up on the edge of towns that help supply the town with electricity. Some of those hire goats from local farmers to mow the grass in the solar power field. It’s quite comical.
Solar power can generate power for many things, with a little studying you can convert from solar to batteries or vice versa on many things in the home. Depending on your needs. For instant just like the camper refrigerator. It can run on propane or electricity.
If your batteries didn’t charge up enough one day, you can switch the refrigerator to run on propane for a while. It’s a little bit of a learning curve. But once you get the hang of it.
You can have free power to your land and not have to live uncomfortable at all.
Must Have Off Grid Essentials For Your Homestead
If you’re thinking about starting a homestead but you really want to be more self-sufficient then going totally Off-Grid would be the way to go. It can save you quite a bit of money on electricity and water plus you won’t have to pay those bills each month.
That means you might not have to work your job anymore. The cheaper you can make the place you live the less money you need to survive. You might even be able to get a part time job to pay all your bills until you can get your homestead to start making income enough for you to quit working for other people all together.
That’s a dream many people have is to work at home. A homestead can provide a good living if you’re willing to do the work it takes to make it profitable.
For now, let’s just concentrate on the essentials you must have for your homestead to be totally Off-Grid.
Let’s assume you already have land and some type of small home.
Land- This is obvious, you will need land. But it will need to have enough sunlight to charge up your solar panels if that’s the route you’re going and garden space if you want to be a homesteader.
Sun- This is a must for charging up your solar panels and for a garden spot. Be sure to be aware of how much sunlight the site is getting each day. You must get from 10 to 12 hours of full sunlight each day to charge up your solar panels.
Home- A Home can be simple a prefab shed or building that’s already built and moved onsite for you. You will need to finish the inside yourself if bringing in a prefab. That’s ok if you want it to run on 12-volts electric anyway.
Electric- You’ll need to decide if you’ll run your 12-volts with batteries or solar or both. Big box store deep cycle batteries will work nicely if you’re on a budget.
Lighting- LED lights are the way to go because of their efficiency. A small cabin can be wired with LED lights and 12-volt ceiling fans with a radio playing, and can last all weekend long on one fully charged battery. Just be sure if you go this route that you have another battery fully charged to exchange it out each week, maybe set up a LED outside light to come on with a timer each night.
If you’re not living their full time yet this will help make it look like someone is living there with the lights coming on each night. And will help keep your batteries fresh as well.
By continually using the battery this way and not letting them run all the way down from non-usage you won’t ruin the battery quickly.
Photosensor lighting that automatically turn on and off will save you a lot of money. Place a few outdoors, say going to the outhouse along the pathway or if someone steps up on the front porch of the cabin. The light will come on and scare off any unwanted visitors in the night.
It will also make it look like your home even when you’re not. Timers on lights in the cabin work as well. These usually work on batteries so having plenty of rechargeable batteries on hand will save quite a bit of money.
Wind- Is another way to save money on electric, it can be mounted on a long pole, the wind power charges up a bank of batteries. It takes a lot of wind, so keep that in mind if where you are living isn’t windy. The wind power won’t be very profitable for you.
Solar Panels– You need full sun to charge these up. But they can run many different things in a cabin. You need to do your research on what will work best for your area. Also look into the different items you can buy and what they run on, say a solar power hot water heater for instance.
Heating- Wood Stove-This can be rather simple by just adding a wood stove, being sure that it has proper piping and put in an area of the cabin that has heat resistant protection on the walls and floor where the stove will be located. With that in mind also be thinking on where you will get the wood for the stove. Will you be cutting the wood yourself? Or buying it?
Heating- Vent Free Heater- Some people don’t like them, while others praise them. It’s a matter of choice. A vent free heater can be less intrusive that a wood stove. You might be able to find a wall mounted heater. This will give you more space in the cabin for other things and you won’t have to worry about keeping the wood stove burning all the time. The vent free heater is easier to use and less work.
Water- This can be hauled in, if you’re just staying on weekends. A 55-gallon RV tank can be installed in the ceiling for a gravity flow system. For washing your hands, dishes and brushing your teeth. Catching rain water is also good idea by installing gutters on the cabin and having that run into a barrel or cistern.
Essential Power Equipment Needed For The New Homesteader
When you think of homesteading you might not think about power equipment. But as an efficient homesteader you will need to have many tools in your toolbelt that will make life easier on the farm.
Power equipment will be some of the more expensive items you’ll be purchasing as a homesteader, but can save hours of labor on projects around the farm. For instance, a garden tiller might be an essential purchase if you plan on selling your garden produce at the farmers market.
It will allow you to till up weeds much quicker rather than breaking your back by using a simple garden hoe and would be almost impossible task for any one person to accomplish, if you have a larger garden. And being a homesteader, you probably won’t have a lot of money to pay for help. So, the majority of the tasks on the farm will have to be done by you alone.
Adding money to your budget for some of the essential power equipment at the start of your homesteading adventure, will ensure that it prospers more quickly and becomes more profitable in a shorter amount of time.
Here’s a list of some of the essential power equipment you might want to purchase early on.
Utility 4×4 vehicle
Once you own a large piece of property, you’ll want to purchase a utility vehicle that has 4-wheel drive. This is a must for all homesteaders with land, you’ll used it every day, all day long. Checking fence lines, feeding animals, hauling hay around, picking up firewood, chasing after stray animals that escape the fence and so much more.
Tractor with Backhoe and Scoop
A tractor is another must have equipment if you have a lot of land. It will be used to clear the snow off the driveway, scrape the driveway after it rains to remove all the ruts in the road. Dig up dirt for various reasons. Scooping up rabbit or chicken poo and for dumping. Hauling off brush from a cleared field, moving rocks to make a patio. Pulling the neighbor out of a ditch, mowing the field or digging a pond.
It’s one of the best purchases you can make for your homestead as they hold it’s value over time. And you’ll find you use it quite frequently for many projects.
Heavy Duty Riding Lawn Mower
Many areas will need to be mowed regularly around the house. You could use a push mower, and you will need one of those as well for small areas of the yard. Using a push mower depending on the size yard you have; the job can take a few hours or a few days.
With a nice riding mower that job can be cut down from days to hours. There are many more things that can be done around the homestead instead of spending too much time cutting the grass. Invest in the nicest one you can afford and save yourself some time and backache.
Purchase the best high-quality power tools you can afford, not the cheap stuff. These will last much longer than the cheaper models. Buying brand names products will insure you can find replacement batteries for them when needed.
Gas Weed Eater
A gas weed eater is an essential tool and much more effective than an electric one. It would take forever if you have a lot of trimming to do. Electric fencing will need to be trimmed regularly.
A chainsaw is a much-needed tool to have on the homestead. Especially if you’re going to burn wood in a woodstove. You will be using it to clean out any dead trees on the farm or if a tree blocks the road to the house.
Or trimming low limbs on a tree out of the way. Chainsaws are an essential tool, just learn to be safe with them.
A trailer can be a simple flat trailer that your lawn mower or Utility vehicle fits on, you’ll need some way of getting your equipment to the dealer for regular tune ups and oil changes. Another trailer might be to haul your livestock to market or on trail rides if you have horses.
A truck is an absolute must for your homestead. You’ll be hauling firewood, plywood, hay and maybe baby goats in the back of your truck. Don’t want to shove that stuff in the back of your car.
Investing in the very best essential equipment you can afford early on, will make homesteading a lot more productive and enjoyable avoiding headaches down the road.
In part 3, I’ll be looking at how homesteaders make money.