Looking for land and farm for sale? If you want to start homesteading on your very own property, get started with some of these excellent homesteading tips.
Simple Tips For Homestead Land and Farm For Sale
So you have the dream – now all your need is the farmstead! Having gone through the search for my ‘final home’ only a few years ago, I know how hard it is to locate that perfect place. Whether you are looking to purchase a turn-key, ready-to-go farm, or a piece of raw land to pour your heart and soul into, there’s a few considerations that will make the process a little easier.
Here are some tips that helped me find the farm of my dreams, but be warned – it might be a long search!
1. Be Proactive
Don’t just sign yourself up to a realtor and sit back waiting for them to find you your home. No one works harder for you than YOU.
2. Make A List Of Things You Want
Then split the list into ‘must have’ and ‘flexible’. Here’s mine from when I was searching:
MUST HAVE: at least 30 acres / a barn / minimum 3/2 house / no subdivisions
FLEXIBLE: shop/pond or creek / existing fencing / surrounded by other farms.
Be prepared to consider balances; we accepted the house ‘as is’ because it was technically habitable and we decided we could handle its downsides for the short term because the entire property was securely fenced and cross fenced. The house we could fix up piece by piece, but we couldn’t have afforded to fence the whole 45 acres, and couldn’t have moved in with the animals otherwise. This was our major give and take.
3. Be Honest With Yourself
Do you REALLY want a fixer-upper? We got the farm of our dreams by sacrificing some creature comforts and accepting a house that needed A LOT of TLC; there was a significant mouse infestation problem (our cats thought we moved to Disneyland, we were finding pieces of mouse spread across the house for weeks) and the second bathroom was so disgusting that I simply closed the door to it and refused to acknowledge that it existed for several months after we moved in. Additionally, there was no central heat or air. So, if this kind of roughing it isn’t your thing, don’t make yourself unhappy by thinking you can put up with it!
4. Don’t Allow Yourself To Be Tempted By More Farm Than You Can Afford
It’s not worth it to be made miserable by struggling with a lifetime of mortgage payments you can’t afford, or having to work so hard you never get to enjoy your farm. Be realistic about how much you can afford per month on your mortgage payments, remember you will have all the other things to pay for too: repairs, fencing, feed bills, household bills, taxes, and more.
When we were looking, the area we were living in at the time was extremely expensive in both terms of price per acre, and taxes. While we did look around for a good while to find something in that area, we eventually had to accept that something had to give. We moved less than 150 miles away, and got literally five times the property we would have been able to afford in our original location, and our property taxes were reduced by thousands. If you are not tied to a specific area and the quality of your land and property is especially important to you, this might be something to consider.
If you are not tied to a specific area, consider moving to a different location where property may be cheaper and more suited to the kind of farm you want. Farming is a hard enough lifestyle choice as it is, without spending your days trying to cram a square peg into a round hole.
5. Always Research Property Zoning
DO NOT TRUST YOUR REALTOR! We made this mistake once with a property; we were told that it was zoned ag when in fact, it had been quietly changed to a residential zoning, thanks to pressure from a local large landowner who had big plans for a subdivision named after him. As a result, chickens were suddenly restricted, cockerels were banned, and there were strict and unrealistic acreage requirements for goats, cows, and horses.
6. Search, Search, Search
My favorite sites included Craigslist, www.realtor.com, and www.landandfarm.com.
Craigslist is both a fabulous resource and your worst fear come true. Many places on there are listed by the owner and, while this is a great thing when it comes to avoiding fees and the added complications that realtors bring, some owners may be, shall we say, slightly less than realistic about their pricing.
Realtor.com has an awesome app for your smartphone, and it was through this that I eventually found our new home. You can set up searches within a set radius of certain locations, with your pricing and required acreage set. I loved this app.
Landandfarm.com is a well-put-together site focussing on rural properties. It’s free to use, has great search options and covers thousands and thousands of both residential and undeveloped farm properties all over the country.
7. Don’t Mud Wrestle With Pigs
My advice to you is, don’t mud wrestle with pigs. I found that trying to negotiate with sellers brought me nothing but frustration, so if you have a specific fixed requirement, such as price or needing an owner finance, if they won’t (or can’t) budge or accommodate over the phone, don’t even bother with a visit. There’s plenty of properties out there worth your time.
Our trade-off for a less than a perfect house was secure hog wire fencing throughout, with cross fencing. Don’t under-estimate the value of this; not only is fencing expensive, it’s time-consuming and hard work to install.
A barn where the animals can be warm and dry from the winter elements is worth its weight in gold!
The inside of the barn was open, but in the end, the lack of stalls turned out to be a blessing as I could customize it how I needed. I kept it cheap by using reclaimed wood and pallets to construct walls and windbreaks.
Large, open pastures with plenty of grass – they had me at “hello”! Added bonus was the spring fed pond, where the animals have fresh water year round. No hauling water here!
Katy Light has a 44-acre homestead in North GA, where she raises goats, rabbits, sheep, and chickens. She is passionate about self-sufficiency, natural ways to live, and fiber. Find her blog at www.poppycreekfarm.com. She can be reached at [email protected]
Need more tips? Here’s One Way Poor People Can Buy Land With No Money from Becky’s Homestead:
Searching for the best homestead farm could be a daunting task but once you’ve found what you’re looking for and start working on it, I’m sure all your efforts will be paid off. Best of luck in your journey to find the perfect farmland for homesteading.
Did you find this helpful and interesting? Let us know what your thoughts are in these simple tips on how to buy property for homesteading in the comments section below.
Looking for the best homestead farm design? Check out here 15 Inspiring Homestead Farm Design Ideas and use your land efficiently!
This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.