Your first homestead…it is an exciting prospect. But, are you really ready to buy your first homestead? Are you ready to move from backyard or urban farmer to the country? How can you know for sure? I know, personally, that for many of us backyard farming is too limiting. Our family has known that for about 2 years, but we are patiently waiting for the right opportunity. But I am so glad we haven’t jumped into something right away; it would have ultimately been the wrong choice for us. Over these last 2 years I’ve learned the questions to ask and the things to consider before buying your first homestead.
I hope they help you make a decision before you make the leap from city to country…or somewhere in between.
Here are questions and things you should consider before starting your rural property search!
Buying Your First Homestead – Questions to Ask Yourself
Question #1 – What is your motivation?
Before you move out of the burbs and onto a rural property homestead, you need to know WHY you’re doing it.
- Do you simply need more garden space?
- You want goats or other livestock that is restricted in your area or by your lack of acreage?
- Are you just wanting to move because the homestead movement is so popular and you can’t blog without 100 acres?
Don’t get ahead of yourself – you can do a lot as a backyard homesteader. See What to Do While You Wait on Your Dream Homestead.
Know your motivation.
Question #2 – What are your goals?
So you know your motivation for moving to your first homestead. What are you goals?
- Is this going to be something that provides food for you, your family, your extended family?
- Is this going to be a business?
- If it is going to be a business, what will you sell from your homestead?
- Where will you sell your goods, vegetables, etc? What sort of licensing will you need?
Question #3 – How much land do you need?
Before you sign any papers on that first homestead you need to make sure it is going to be enough land to meet your above goals.
- So how much land do you need now?
- What about the future?
- Are you going to out-grow this place or is it going to be too much in a few years when the kids have moved on?
I am constantly amazed by my friend’s place, which is only 1.25 acres. She and her husband have plentiful gardens, amazing citrus trees, chickens, ducks, goats, 2 pigs and a lamb. She feels perfectly content on her hobby farm; and can’t imagine needing more for just to the 2 of them.
But if you plan to raise a grass-fed dairy cow, you’re going to need a lot more space than that.
Question #4 – Are you financially ready?
Before you go out looking for your first homestead you need to ask yourself some financial questions:
- How’s our credit?
- Do we have a down payment saved?
- How much debt are we willing to take on for this?
- Do we have a budget in place that allows for unforeseen expenses that a rural property could have?
Question #5 – Do you really need to go rural?
You might be surprised that right on the outskirts of large cities there are still some small farmsteads to be found. They can be more expensive because you get the best of both worlds (farm life in the city). But they are worth looking into if you really don’t want to be 30, 40 or 60 minutes away from “civilization”.
Buying Your First Homestead – Other Things to Consider
- Weather – is it the same as what you are used to? If you’re relocating you may have to learn how to garden all over again!
- Wildlife – are you prepared to deal with wildlife coming after your livestock, garden and maybe you (depending on location)?
- Water Sources -Is it connected to the city? Do you have a well? Or are you going to have to haul water in? Make sure you have any well water tested first!
- How’s the Soil? Has this property worn out? Depleted? Do you have a plan to replenish the soil? But you’d be surprised the poisons that can be in a rural property’s dirt. I’d suggest having several areas tested.
- Fencing – is the property fenced? Do you want it fenced? This is a costly investment.
- What about out buildings? Does it have a shed? Barn? Work room? Or are you doing to have to build it.
- The House – how old is it? How much repair does it need and are you capable of doing it yourself? Do you have the budget for repairs and renovations?
- Your realtor – Work with a realtor that understands rural property.
- Know Your Community! If you’re considering a move out of your general area it would be a VERY good idea to spend some time in the community you’re considering. Get to know the people. How well will you and your family fit in?
- How far are doctors and hospitals? In an emergency do you have 911 service to your property? How far will you have to drive if something happens? Definitely something to think about and determine your real comfort level. No matter what, if you’re living on a homestead you better have some basic first aid skills.
- Undeveloped Land – If you’re considering getting land that has never been lived on or not for some time there is a whole lot more to consider. Check out Mother Earth New’s article on buying land!