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We want to buy our homestead to love!!

 
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York
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Hi everyone!

We’ve been looking for a place to start our homestead and there are properties we see that we like; but I’m not even sure where to start. My gut is pushing me to post here.

We’re flexible with location, which is actually what’s been making this so difficult. After many months of searching online, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri stand out, mostly because of low property prices and property taxes.  We’re willing to look at any property that is from Arkansas/Missouri and Eastward in a growing zone 5-7 area (my sweet spot is a bit warmer then zone 5 though). I want a little warmer then I have now.  Because… FIGS!

We’re looking for preferably a started homestead, but just a house on AT LEAST 20 acres of land will work also. My intention is to put 20% down and have a conventional loan so unconventional houses are a consideration and the house wouldn’t have to be perfect.

We don’t know much about these areas and are planning a road trip in the next month or so to see some of them, and can set up any viewings.

 *The closer to turnkey wishlist the more we can pay for the property*
                                 MAX home price of 200,000
                                             
               WISHLIST
At least 20 acres preferably more (30+)
we can hunt on the property
no restrictions on farm animals
a livable structure on the property with at least one bathroom.(2 Bed 1Bath ideal)
property at least half wooded, more for a smaller property with some hardwoods
utilities
working, potable well
south facing, sloping land
spring/three season creek/pond
wood burning heat
outbuilding(s)
fruit trees/edibles/gardens  
metal roofing
dishwasher(not very permie, I know, but I dream of one, if only just for canning jars)

Of course we’d love started gardens full of hulgelkultur beds and food forests all on contour, but most people aren’t giving that up, at least not for a price we could afford. However, it’s hard to even know if a house has a garden or at least been taken care of in a respectful, natural way. Everyone I know in the real estate market loves chemicals and doesn’t give a fig about….well…figs!!

I just want to find the person who has to move on from a piece of land they’ve loved and cared for. Maybe built some garden beds, planted some trees and worn walking paths in the woods.

It’s always been my dream to have a farm and for the past several years we’ve been scrimping, saving, and living a continuously more sustainable lifestyle. Right now we live in town on about 2/3 acre and I want more property to plant ALL THE GROWIES!!!

My husband is usually supportive of my “crazy” ideas, because I’m the “Head Gardener” and “Chicken Tender” around here, but he refuses to chuck it all and go build a wofati. He’s insistent on at least a livable house with utilities.

We’ve had the very good fortune to be able to gain experience in the meantime. We had a piece of family land that is technically half ours and we spent all our spare time there.

We purchased a sawmill and my husband milled and built all the poultry houses, a couple of sheds, garden stakes and trellises, and plenty of chicken accessories!!   I have daily free ranging egg layers and for the last few years raised pastured meat chickens and turkeys. (I soooo love raising turkeys with their personalities!!)

We installed a 100’x40’ fenced, no dig garden where the old homestead garden used to be. We carved out a silvopasture for pasturing our poultry. We planted asparagus, strawberries, fruit trees and so many other perennials in our beginning food forest. I encouraged and multiplied all the useful plants I found on the property.

I cook seasonally from scratch. We eat fresh and preserve what I grow in my gardens. I make all my own tomato products and don’t buy anymore spinach (I sub in nettles, chard or malabar most of the year)(I use a lot of “spinach”). We raise or hunt and process almost all of our meat.

Our plan was to always build a house on the property or rehab the old farmhouse which dates back to before the Revolutionary War. But the rug was recently pulled out from under us on that one. Anyway, without getting into someone else’s business, the only way for us to keep some of the property was to go through some pretty big hoops and we would’t be able to keep any part of the property that we had improved on.

We then started to really look at that decision. It became very clear that it didn’t make sense to be sentimental and go through all the money we had saved to get a: not ideal, no access, no utilities, no well, piece of land that we would have to pay a MINIMUM of $500 a MONTH in ONLY property taxes!! Forever!! Forget about it after we built a house on it. Lovely NY.
 
So, *sigh* we are looking. We are looking for OUR piece of land that won’t be taken away from us. We thought we had already started, but that’s ok, we’ll start over. And I’m chomping at the bit!

We won’t be doing meat birds this year and will soon have to get rid of my chickens (no chickens in town). I have turned my entire backyard into growing beds, so I’m still growing! I also tried overwintering a little fig I got this time last year, using a nice microclimate and some heat sinks. Wish me luck, no signs of life yet.

I’ve been reading so much amazing information here and love the community. I wish I had looked into permies way sooner. I supported the BWB kickstarter, but never really explored the forums. I could have so many pep badges, but I don’t have the supporting pics of the process. I’m going to document this year!!

I would appreciate any feedback. Please PM me or reply below, Thanks permies folks!!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1795
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Have you used any of the Real Estate search engines?
 
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Good luck with all that.

Property prices in Missouri have skyrocketed recently, especially the ones with some land.

You'll want to ask lots of questions about any property you're interested in. If there is a creek or river near it, you may be required to buy flood insurance forever, and it ain't cheap. Also beware of adverse possession issues. Some people don't play nice. If I were you, I'd ask a variety of people about the close neighbors of a property before I committed to it.

If you find an appealing property, jump right in there, because they get snapped up really fast. In some places, there are bidding wars where the actual purchase price is thousands more than the asking price.

In spite of all that stuff, I wouldn't want to live anywhere besides Missouri. The people are friendly, we have lots of rights still, and there are a lot of people that like permie type stuff. I love what our Missouri government has done and is doing.

If I were going to have to start all over in Missouri, my first choice would be to move down around the Ozark region. It seems that the land there is cheaper than other areas.

Good luck!
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 1795
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Perhaps draw up a list like these and start planning around them
Make a list of characteristics you must have;
- road access
- soil suitable for growing if required.
- ability to create a driveway if not established now.
- fencing if needed
- water supply, rainfall catchment or well or stream.
- No smells from nearby
- flood free
- No issue with chemicals
- Pests, IE rabbits etc
- South facing land
Then another with 'real nice' characteristics you can live without.
-view
- shedding or dwelling
- garden infrastructure
- farming infrastructure
- good neighbours
- access to electricity
- Bird life etc


Remember a "dream" property is actually a 'dream' only, buy smething that you can wok with.
 
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Hi, it’s lovely that you’re into homesteading. I’m looking to buy or rent (or get for free) a homestead too. If you know of somewhere, please let me know.
 
Jennifer Pomykaj
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York
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M James wrote:Good luck with all that.

Property prices in Missouri have skyrocketed recently, especially the ones with some land.

You'll want to ask lots of questions about any property you're interested in. If there is a creek or river near it, you may be required to buy flood insurance forever, and it ain't cheap. Also beware of adverse possession issues. Some people don't play nice. If I were you, I'd ask a variety of people about the close neighbors of a property before I committed to it.

If you find an appealing property, jump right in there, because they get snapped up really fast. In some places, there are bidding wars where the actual purchase price is thousands more than the asking price.

In spite of all that stuff, I wouldn't want to live anywhere besides Missouri. The people are friendly, we have lots of rights still, and there are a lot of people that like permie type stuff. I love what our Missouri government has done and is doing.

If I were going to have to start all over in Missouri, my first choice would be to move down around the Ozark region. It seems that the land there is cheaper than other areas.

Good luck!





Thanks so much for the advice. I feel like I'm on a whirlwind. I go in circles trying to figure out what we're going to do. I like the Missouri area, but then I think it's too far from NY. My husband and I are both around 50yrs young so we not only have children, but also parents, and A GRANDCHILD!! in NY. Do I go that far out?

I appreciate your opinion of the area. My husband was aware of adverse possession, but I wasn't thinking about that.

I'd love to know anyone's advice on a good agent in the Missouri, Kentucky, or West Virginia areas.  




 
gardener
Posts: 2850
Location: southern Illinois.
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In dealing with agents, I have had to make it very clear in advance that the first property they show me that doesn’t match my description will also be the last .... even if it does mean a wasted trip.   I once clearly told an agent what I wanted .... house, trees, land, etc.  She took me to a clear cut piece of land, no house, AND a chemical spill on it.  She assured me that the owner owner was legally obligated to clean up the spill, and I could sue him if he didn’t.
 
Jennifer Pomykaj
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York
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John C Daley wrote:Perhaps draw up a list like these and start planning around them
Make a list of characteristics you must have;
- road access
- soil suitable for growing if required.
- ability to create a driveway if not established now.
- fencing if needed
- water supply, rainfall catchment or well or stream.
- No smells from nearby
- flood free
- No issue with chemicals
- Pests, IE rabbits etc
- South facing land
Then another with 'real nice' characteristics you can live without.
-view
- shedding or dwelling
- garden infrastructure
- farming infrastructure
- good neighbours
- access to electricity
- Bird life etc


Remember a "dream" property is actually a 'dream' only, buy smething that you can wok with.




Thanks John,

We have been scouring the real estate listings for a while.

We definitely need to nail down a must have list and stick to it, that seems to be the key to sorting them all out. The no smells, or chemicals are good ones.

We also have to figure out what we want to do about buying. Buckle up, I'm about to scare you.

Right now, my husband owns the house we're in with a mortgage. He had issues with his past divorce and the house needs a total rehab, so we owe about what the house is worth. However, on paper, the house seems like a good asset.  Also he has a stellar job. If we buy something right now, as a second mortgage we wouldn't have to deal with the problems of a possible short sale and a job change.

Two mortgages...Scary right. I know, that's the problem. Here is why I'm ok with considering this and I'm not that crazy. We have been saving for a while. We've also been living a homesteading life for a couple of years, and as a natural result we have a fraction of the bills of most people around us. We don't have debt. I pay into our savings accounts $830.00 a month right now, and that doesn't include what we pay to the 401k. We also can tighten the budget we do have. I myself have not had a "job" in a few years, but I have my NY RN license. I can go back to work now and when we move I should be able to get a job if need be. My husband is a technician that works on gas station pumps and his job is in high demand everywhere. I hate him working in that industry, but he just says it's his job.

I think in the long run, we'd be better off holding both mortgages for a few months. We'd be able to fix a house up a bit, move our stuff over easier, and deal with the house we're in better. OR am I just insane? TMI?

IDK, but we're not getting any younger. The dream starts to get harder with age. We have it in us to start our food forest again, but for how much longer?

So many things out of my control... I just want to plant things and tend to them.....


 
Posts: 91
Location: Landers, CA
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Jennifer.....regarding you keeping the old house + the new.  Draw up a list. Put all the things in favor of keeping the old, and a con list....will it make you money or will the money come at the cost of not being able to devote time to the new?  Emotions run strong in this kind of situation.....I found lists cut through the clutter and show me the bottom line better.  Calculate time + money spent on the old house - what if something happens and you don't get the price you wanted for it?  If it was me, I'd jettison the old house. I am 75, I've been through a lot of questionable decisions.  Sometimes although I didn't realize it, those questionable  decisions had as a foundation of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Don't underestimate the amount of time and money you will spend on setting up the new place.  I have been a frugal lass in that manner.....But I've spent $200k on my 3 acre property and it still looks like it belongs in the Appalachia's.  Look at what a 2x4x8 costs right now.  And we can expect this situation of rising costs to get a whole lost worse.....common sense. The other thing to consider is that the time you spent on getting the old house ready.....could impact you seriously if things continue to get worse in the U.S.

I think a lot of us have to let go of the way it used to be, and what used to work and face the facts that this situation in America requires going back to the drawing board and revamping thought structure as to how we used to do things and upgrade.  Look at the cost of a good tree now? From a reputable nursery you are talking $50-60 with shipping.  I just paid $58 for a 3 year old specimen white pom.  That's crazy.  My nursery guy in Texas who sells avos, is asking $70 + $40 shipping for one avocado tree.  

On losing all the work you did on the family plot - look at it as a trial run.  Everything I've built on this property I've ended up rebuilding or moving it to some where else on the property, often multiple times. Its amazing how every time you build something, down the road you look at it and say "well, you know" - LOL. Keep us posted on your journey.
 
pioneer
Posts: 112
Location: NW Arkansas
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Once you find that perfect property check with the local police to make sure there aren't any meth labs or meth houses near it. Find out from them who the meth heads are near it (this would be the unemployed darlings who still live with parents, smoke meth and steal you blind).
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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Bottom line is, 'CASH FLOW'.

2 mortgages may not be an issue if you can service them.

You should seriously consider going back to work, its a resource not being used at the moment and could finance the new purchase.

If the technician is away long hours how is the renovation going to occur?
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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What about this ;
9 acres and house
 
Posts: 15
Location: Upstate N.Y.
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Have you looked at other places in NY? You said all your family is there, why not stay in the area but nice somewhat? For reference, we are about 45 min West of Albany. We bought 97 acres of overgrown pasture and woods a couple years ago for 1200/acre and have built a small house on it now. Or taxes total about 250/month between school and county with the house included.

I also bought 20 acres in a more rural area a few years ago in a tax auction. Ended up paying $500/acre. It's all wooded and no house, but on 20 acres the taxes come out to... $600/year. This is just outside the Adirondack park by about a mile and borders state land.

We moved back here to be closer to family, and NY can be expensive if you want to live in a "Nice" neighborhood. On the other hand, if you don't mind rural areas and commuting it can be very affordable.
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