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How to Buy Land to Homestead – 5 Things to Consider (A City-Slicker’s Guide)

Can any old plot of land work for homesteading? Maybe. However, there are a few factors that will make your homesteading journey a whole lot easier. Here are some key aspects of how to buy land to homestead.

chickens outside on green grass with trees

What is homesteading?

The word “homesteading” is often used as a broad term. Its basic meaning, however, is a life of self-sufficiency. For some, this means living completely off-grid and producing everything from food to solar energy. For others, though, buying land to homestead simply means having the space to raise a few chickens and grow a garden.

If you’re looking to move so that you can begin homesteading, you’ll want to put some thought into the area and type of property that will best suit your needs.

2 goats standing in doorway with straw

How to choose the best land for homesteading

The right land is an incredibly important part of your homestead. As you search for land, here are a few key aspects to consider:

  • The Land is level. First, assess the evenness of the land. If you’re going to plant a garden, you’ll need a large, mostly flat space. Land that is significantly uneven can easily become too wet or otherwise unusable for your homesteading goals.
  • Water access. Next, figure out if there’s access to freshwater. It takes plenty of water to maintain plants and animals (and humans, too!). If there’s no water access currently, is digging a well a possibility?
  • Easements or other restrictions could make it difficult to homestead the way you imagine. Unfortunately, just because you own the land doesn’t necessarily mean you can do anything you want with it. Check to see what restrictions are in place in the area you’re looking for, and ask yourself if they matter to you.
Old wood bridge on homesteading land with trees and plants around

5 things to consider when buying land to homestead

After you’ve considered the land itself, here are 5 more important aspects to think about as you search for your perfect homestead plot.

1. Land maintenance

Has the land been farmed or grown on in the past? How is the soil health? Is there a large portion of the property that is forested and will need clearing maintenance throughout the year? How do local homesteaders and farmers maintain their land (for example, planned burns, clear-cutting, spraying, etc.)?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself as you think about whether the land fits into your homesteading goals.

2. Internet access

Internet is necessary, even for homesteaders. Be sure to check out which internet services are available at the property you’re considering. Options for rural internet include Starlink and local satellite services. Take note, however, that these options can be more costly and less reliable than city internet services. 

3. The right vehicle

Many folks from the city move to a rural property only to discover their two-seater sports car is no longer happy on the dirt and gravel roads of rural life. Consider trading in your sedan for an all-wheel or four-wheel drive car, truck, or SUV. While not always necessary, trucks make the farm and land chores much easier. 

4. Septic or sewer?

If you’re looking at property that includes a home, check to see if it is on a city sewer system or a septic system. Before purchasing, it’s a good idea to have the septic system checked and cleaned. 

5. Access to freeways and other resources

Lastly, note the distance from nearby towns. It’s a romantic idea to live on 20 acres in the middle of a forest. In reality though, if you’re transitioning from urban or suburban life to a more rural way of living, you’ll need to consider your family’s daily, weekly, and monthly needs.

For instance, do you need faster access to goods and services? Access to schools and buses? Note which aspects you wish to change about your current way of living and which aspects cannot be changed (or you’re unwilling to change). This will alter the decisions and land types you may purchase.

Woman's hand holding a harvest of fresh pea pods in her shirt.

Consider your homesteading goals before buying land to homestead

In conclusion, it’s important to define your homesteading ambitions before you jump in to buying a plot of land. For example, do you need lots of acreage for large animals? Excellent soil for gardening? Proximity to a day job? Everyone’s goals are a bit different, so you’ll want to narrow your search to find a property that fits yours.

What is your #1 goal in homesteading? I’d love to know!

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