Female Rancher

The original settlers of America have been called many things, such as pioneers and explorers. A more accurate representation would be to call them homesteaders. Homesteading is the practice of settling down on a piece of land, a homestead, with your residence and sometimes other things like a farm, barns, livestock, water sources, and so forth. This is far removed from the busy city lifestyle, and so homesteading still strikes a beautiful melodic chord with many. Is homesteading right for you? Read on for some questions to ask and things to consider before you decide if you want to do it.

Do You Want to Build or Buy?

This is perhaps your most important initial concern. Do you want to buy a plot of land and build things yourself? Or would you rather find a residence already built, with all the other odds and ends you want, and just pay a ticket price for a move-in-ready property? Each has its pros and cons, of course, and things to consider here would be your budget, the time you have to build, your level of expertise, and the condition of the land and/or property. Other factors to consider are the laws and potential zoning restrictions of building yourself. Consulting with someone can help. The important thing is that you carefully weigh this decision to decide if you want to build or buy something already built.

Determine How Much Land You Will Need

You also have to consider livestock and associated structures, if you’re planning on farming and raising livestock. This means you’re going to need enough land to provide food and a comfortable environment for your animals. Not only that, but you must also consider what the animals will drink and where this water goes, and also keep in mind your growth potential. If you have goats, cows, and pigs, do you plan on practicing animal husbandry to breed more? If so, look ahead so that you purchase enough land now. When it comes to livestock and associated structures, you should figure out how much land you need to build and how much is left for livestock to graze. So always consider livestock and associated structures, like barns and chicken coops. Mobile chicken coops in particular need extra space.

Consider the Laws

Different states are going to have different laws for different types of homesteads. They’ll have different taxes too. Things can be quite complicated in this arena. For example, you’ll have to work around laws that deal with your water rights, your building permits, and which kind of animals you can raise. Make sure you can farm what you want to farm and build what you want to build before you get started or you could find yourself in big trouble. Property lines with fences, zoning restrictions with barns and housing, and accessing water from a state-controlled area are all things you should consider when planning on homesteading.

Consider the Area

Homesteading is certainly not only about farming livestock. You may want to farm produce, either to sell commercially or for personal consumption. Therefore you need to consider the area in which you’re planning on settling down. Are there trees obstructing the sun for your growth? If so, can you get the rights to cut them down? How’s the soil there? Is it fertile and aerated and good for farming? Run some samples and consult with professionals to ensure that seed will take. The same also extends to anything you plan to do there. Even if you’re just wishing to raise children here, you want to ensure the area is good for your family.

What’s Your Future Purpose?

Really take time to consider why you’re homesteading. Beyond farming or just living a quieter life removed from towns and cities, what do you want going forward? Are you starting a farm that you might give over to your children to run? Do you just want a home in a peaceful place your kids will inherit when they’re older? By fleshing out your future plans, this will help you in selecting your area, your farming choices, how much you need, what you don’t need, and everything else that goes into homesteading. You have to enter with a clearly defined plan. So don’t think about when everything’s built—think about when your children are grown, thirty years or more down the road.

How’s Your Access?

We mentioned the laws earlier that may restrict some access to water and power, so you want to think about the sort of access you will have to essentials. Homesteaders don’t need bridges and buildings and shopping malls; they live simpler, rustic lives. However, they still need water and electricity and plumbing, unless they truly plan on roughing it like their ancestors did many hundreds of years ago. So make sure you do have access to sewer lines. And if you’re not going to be on any municipality’s water, make sure you have access to creeks and streams and that you have legal rights to them. You’re moving away from a busy society, but not from everyday essentials.

Can You Afford it All?

The question to end all questions: Can you afford this? If you’re taking out a loan and hope to repay it over time with your farming, then you will definitely need to ensure you keep these factors in mind so that you have everything you absolutely need. You may have a great piece of land, but it could be out of your price range, and thus you have to wait. Affordability is a huge concern here, especially for those who are going to devote their lives to homesteading practices like farming.

 

It can be quite the undertaking to think about everything that goes into homesteading. There are tons of decisions you must weigh and lots of details to figure out. Homesteading is a life-changing decision, so make sure you’re properly prepared to do it.

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