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Finding Land in Maine for Homesteading

 
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Hi all,

I am in the process of looking for land to start a homestead in southern Maine, but I have become overwhelmed with the complexity of deciding on an area and finding a place. Does anyone have any recommendations on counties/towns that are 1) on the cheaper side of land prices 2) don't have many restrictions or laws in place that will make it difficult to set up and unconventional way of life 3) have a strong agricultural/homesteading community?

Any help or tips you can provide would be wildly appreciated as I feel a little in-over-my-head with this.

Thanks.
 
garden master
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Welcome to Permies Timmy!

I don't know the area myself, but is Thorndike far enough south for you? Take a look at this place for sale by a fellow Permie.
 
Timmy Clark
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Welcome to Permies Timmy!

I don't know the area myself, but is Thorndike far enough south for you? Take a look at this place for sale by a fellow Permie.




Hey Thanks! Sadly I still have a while until I have the means to make the big move (almost done with my degree!) but this is a great tip if it's still around in the future. Thanks again!
 
master pollinator
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I appreciate the helpful redirect to my homestead selling post Joylynn, that was very nice of you.

We have had quite a bit of interest, with the most promising being someone who has antique cars and wants to store them in the barn (a total of 8 car storage in there). That is okay, and obviously we have no say in what people do with our property once they own it, but we secretly hope a homesteader steps up just so that it is used more for what it was designed for.

I know that sounds horrible, and there certainly is nothing wrong with the barn protecting old cars, but Katie and I are really excited to see what a homesteader would do with the place. Maybe put in the orchard we never got around to putting in? Maybe use one of the stalls for a family milk cow like what I grew up with? Maybe making a much bigger garden? Maybe renting out one of the big spare bedrooms to an intern at MOFGA so that someone knew will get real-homestead experience, and even more gets done around the place?

Again, there is nothing wrong with storing antique cars, but as we focus on areas of our farm, it would be nice to see someone really benefit from what has already been accomplished, and really take the place to the next level.

He, he, he...shameless plug: I am good friends with a guy that grows apple trees for Fedco. He is only a few miles away and has a few peach trees already growing here!
 
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Become familiar with the USDA Soil Map, study the different types of soil on available land including nearby farms

Haunt Landwatch and Zillow to see what is available

Consider agricultural tax exemptions and how they work in your target state. While raw land may be the optimum objective, buying a property with an existing structure such as septic and well can represent considerable savings, even if the structure needs replacing. Land with an Ag exemption can represent a considerable savings in property taxes on otherwise valuable, productive land.

Use Google Earth to study the terrain of any prospective, measure distance and areas. Use Google maps to map travel distances to necessary infrastructure such as stores, hospitals, schools, fire stations, potential markets to inform your decision.

Consider once you have decided on an area to work with a realtor familiar with the area. Can be a good source for information regarding areas that otherwise would be hidden and can help navigate local laws and regulations involved in buying land. Unfamiliar w/ Maine rules, but often a broker can be hired for a nominal sum (like 1 $) and profit when the land is purchased. Realtors knowledgeable on and specializing in land can be hard to find, but I suspect they exist in Maine.

Once you have narrowed your search to a specific area start studying the history of the area, natural disasters, 100 year floods, watersheds, crime, etc. to help inform your decision. If the town has online records of meetings on zoning, etc., can be invaluable.

That is just a few ideas off the top.






 
Timmy Clark
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James Whitelaw wrote:Become familiar with the USDA Soil Map, study the different types of soil on available land including nearby farms

Haunt Landwatch and Zillow to see what is available

Consider agricultural tax exemptions and how they work in your target state. While raw land may be the optimum objective, buying a property with an existing structure such as septic and well can represent considerable savings, even if the structure needs replacing. Land with an Ag exemption can represent a considerable savings in property taxes on otherwise valuable, productive land.

Use Google Earth to study the terrain of any prospective, measure distance and areas. Use Google maps to map travel distances to necessary infrastructure such as stores, hospitals, schools, fire stations, potential markets to inform your decision.

Consider once you have decided on an area to work with a realtor familiar with the area. Can be a good source for information regarding areas that otherwise would be hidden and can help navigate local laws and regulations involved in buying land. Unfamiliar w/ Maine rules, but often a broker can be hired for a nominal sum (like 1 $) and profit when the land is purchased. Realtors knowledgeable on and specializing in land can be hard to find, but I suspect they exist in Maine.

Once you have narrowed your search to a specific area start studying the history of the area, natural disasters, 100 year floods, watersheds, crime, etc. to help inform your decision. If the town has online records of meetings on zoning, etc., can be invaluable.

That is just a few ideas off the top.









This was very helpful thank you!
 
Travis Johnson
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Maine is kind of tough because it is pretty diverse.

Anything south of Augusta is known as East Massachussetts for a a reason; the building restrictions are immense, the cost of land is high, and farms are frowned upon. The area however does have many lucrative jobs.

The islands are very territorial; you might be accepted, and you might not, and naturally the cost is extremely high to live there in terms of land cost, regulations, and just ferry service to and from the islands.

The central part of Maine is not too bad. Most towns here do not have building codes, the land is decently priced, but higher then other places I will soon get too. The soil is good here, so farming is a mainstay and accepted as a whole. Jobs are not too bad, but are not overly abundant, or lucrative. Small farms are readily accepted here, but at the same time, the area is saturated too. A new farm will NOT be allowed in any of the many farmers markets for instance because there are just too many farmer markets and small farms.

As you go downeast, it gets kind of sketchy. Washington county is very poor and so the land prices are really good, but the soil is rock, and there are no jobs. None...zilch, Na-Da. The real problem is drugs. You really cannot do much there with a house because it will be squatted on, have the copper pipes and wiring ripped out, unless you live there constantly full-time. It is a beautiful area nonetheless.

In the heart of Maine, like Dexter, Milo and LaGrange...watch out; even the police hate that area and will not do anything so drugs run rampant. You can buy cheap houses, and I mean cheap; $15,000-30,000 for a HOUSE...no joke, no zero's misplaced...but again, squatters and thieves rule. There are no jobs, so living there full time can be tough.

As you go way up North the people get better, but there are no jobs. It literally is dying out. You can buy large acreage for very little money because the elderly population is dying, and the young have left for jobs elsewhere. They have good soil, but other then logging and potato farming, there is not much to sustain people...and it is a four hour ride down to Bangor. Worse yet, it is cold, -42 degrees below zero (F) and not uncommon to have snow in May or June.


The northwest of the state is uninhabitable, simple because it is 12 million acres of paper company land. There is no services or anything, and even the roads are private.

Mid-westernish like Farmington and such, has limited jobs, but good soil, decently priced land, but some drug issues. It really is a town by town basis on what might work, and what might not in that area.



 
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It took me four years to find my land in North western Maine near the White mountain national forest. I got owner financed which kept the banks out of it. I only have 7 years left to pay on it. I have 129 acres and no chance of development around me. I use humanure toilets and solar power totally off grid. I have been creating my permaculture space of love for 8 years. Love my slice of paradise. I recommend finding south facing slopes and land with good water. We have lots of springs and streams and super pure water. I am a mile from a paved road. Make sure your neighbors don't spray glyphosate because it will contaminate your gardens and poison your food.
Good luck!!

 
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Location: Cache Valley, Northern Utah (zone 6a, 4,900 elevation)
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For years, I've wished there was a centralized place where Permie-Folks could search and discuss properties for sale, as well as list Permaculture Properties.
It's sad when I see gorgeous, low- or reasonably-priced real estate listings with natural buildings, solar, rainwater catchment, perennial plantings, etc and think of "regular" homebuyers undoing all our hard work!  

So I've launched The Permaculture Properties Project a padlet of properties of interest to permies. (I am not a real estate agent. This is a not-for-profit project).
It covers the US at this point and is divided into columns for 5 regions.  

See link here: https://padlet.com/jmwallacephd/ppp

Anyone can post properties of interest. Just double click and add video, PDF, link, description, comments etc. (moderator will approve).
If someone tours a property, they can share helpful comments or insights about the site.

Another benefit is that permies can see the different prices of real estate across varying regions.
There are some very AWESOME properties in MAINE on the board right now!
Properties highlighted in RED = UNDER $50K, PURPLE = UNDER $100K.
Use keyword search to find items of interest, like "off-grid" or "solar" or "cross-fenced."
Share your feedback so we can grow and improve this resource!
 
Jeanne Wallace
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Location: Cache Valley, Northern Utah (zone 6a, 4,900 elevation)
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This listing is on The Permaculture Properties Project right now:
2BD/1BA fixer on 12.3ac. Drilled well, septic, power, pond, garden w/hand-dug well for garden. UNDER $25K

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/53-Kennedy-Ln-Bancroft-ME-04497/125394949_zpid

See more: https://padlet.com/jmwallacephd/ppp
 
permaculture is largely about replacing oil with people. And one tiny ad:
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp
https://permies.com/t/119676/permaculture-projects/Dave-Burton-Boot-Adventures-Wheaton
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