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Quitting my "cooperate job", going to buy and live off the land!

 
Jay Sharp
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Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time posting.

Here is a bit of background.
I currently live in SW WA and have a 5ac with a new house, mortgage + bills. I have a great job making 6 figures +. Working M-F 40 + hours a week is growing tiring and dealing with the cities and all that carp that comes with it. We are using our current land as training grounds before taking the plunge for my retirement next year. I am 38yr young.

We currently have 4 goats + 3 babies.

20 + laying hens, 6 babies turkeys, 4 ducks, green house and outside plot.

We are starting to look around for land, to see whats around. We are looking around NE WA, Idaho, Montana areas.

Wife has few requirements.
-Electricity
-Water
-Sewer
-apx 1hr to hospital [we have kids and never know whats going to happen]

We do have an RV and plan to live in that until we can build a barn house when we do retire.

We are also hoping to have a small income selling animals or other goods to pay for a small amount of bills. if this does not pan out, then might have to get a pt time job to assist.
I have some options for other work too, like mowing fields, selling items that we make, etc..

Anyone have tips or advice or anything i should be looking at?

Medical is something we are keeping in mind too.
 
Stacie Kim
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Location: Middle Georgia, Zone 8B
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Nice to meet you, Jay! Welcome!

It sounds like you have a plan and have discussed with your wife what are the absolute must-haves for your dream property.

I don't want to sound nosey, but 5 acres sounds lovely to me. Is there any particular reason you want to sell the land/home you're currently living on? Just curious.
 
Leigh Tate
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Welcome to Permies, Jay!

It sounds like you've put some good parameters for your land search. I suppose the other important thing to ask is, what are your lifestyle goals for the land? Are you planning to buy raw land? Sounds like you're willing to camp on it for awhile, so what potential does the land need to offer. Homesite? Ease of installing electricity, well, and septic? Will you take your livestock with you or start afresh later? I'd be thinking of things like cleared and wooded areas, fences, outbuildings, location of garden, orchard, pond, etc. If you have some idea of what you want, I think it will help you assess potential properties.

I hope you'll keep us posted on your progress!
 
Jay Sharp
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Hi and thanks for the reply’s.

One of the main reasons for retirement is because I work so dam much and I am never really home. And when I am home I am so exhausted from work I don’t feel like doing anything much.
After a day or two off I feel energized and ready to get dirty only to find myself going back into the office.
I would rather live free and spend what quality time I have left while my kids are still young.

We are looking for areas with lots of trees. Main reason is that we can mill our own lumber and not pay them outrageous prices. Looking for mostly flat so that we can have options.

We do plan on bringing our live stock with us.

We would like to have power close by but not required. We could go solar or some other means.

Septic and well and power would be a + if it was already there.

Looking for raw land that we can start a farm on and build a quite life together, etc.
 
Jay Sharp
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To add, we were already looking at these options before buying this property, we just didn’t have a good enough plan then. That experience helped us plan for our next journey.

When COVID hit, it really showed the true nature of humans, all the greed and stock piling is completely unnecessary!  

I have a large family of 8 people in our house and seeing the super markets out of stock on food and basic needs really taught us to look at the world a different way. Not to rely on anyone but ourselves!

Good thing we always buy a whole cow and we always had a stock of everything because of our large family and not running to the store every week to stock up.
 
Stacie Kim
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One of the main reasons for retirement is because I work so dam much and I am never really home. And when I am home I am so exhausted from work I don’t feel like doing anything much.
After a day or two off I feel energized and ready to get dirty only to find myself going back into the office.
I would rather live free and spend what quality time I have left while my kids are still young.



Yup. The daily grind gets old after a while. Hubbie recently quit his job partly for the same reason you'd like to--he wants to be there for his kids. Our oldest is grown, married, and moved out of state. She was growing up while Hubbie was in the military. He missed out on a lot. Our two youngest came along close to his military retirement, and he doesn't want to miss out on their childhoods. He also wants to groom them for more entrepreneurial experiences. So a few months ago, given the political climate of his job, he decided enough was enough. Between his military pension, side hustles, and growing a fair bit of our own food, we're piecing it together. As a family.

Best of luck to you, Jay. I really hope you find the perfect piece of land. Yes, as a previous poster asked, please keep us posted on your search. You'll find we're all rooting for you! :-)
 
John C Daley
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Have you thought it may be how your doing your job that is the problem?

With 8 in the family, living on bare land, growing food for 8 and building a home will always be a tough gig.
Think about something thats has been started.
Maybe use your good income to start well.

Are there changes at work that can happen?
Reduced hours, better time management?
 
S Bengi
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Is it possible for you to rent out just the house and use the rental income to cover all the mortgage and such.
I would fence out the rented house from the rest of the property.
Maybe plant a better privacy screen around the rest of your 5acres.
Then just live in your RV, maybe even get someone to come and build a cheap 33ft by 48ft barn for $15,000+
You might even be able to have the rental income cover not just your mortgage but also utilities for the barn/RV too.

Do you think that 5acre isn't enough land or would you want more land? How much more land would you like to have?

This is what I would do for a family of 8 on 3acres:
400lbs of dried/roasted nuts from 1/2acre of land
4,000lbs of fruits, 8 honey hive (300lbs of honey) from 1/2 acre of land
4,000lbs of leafy greens from 1/2 acre of land
8,000lbs of root crops/squash/mushroom/herbs/etc on 1/2 acre of land
600gallon of milk + 60lbs of cheese, 3000eggs, 3000lbs of chicken/duck, from 1 acre of land.
600lbs of fish and 600lbs of deer hunted/fished on forest land

You still have quite a bit of land for a CSA or firewood lot.

Now after doing this for say 2 or 3 years at your current location and seeing that it works you can then move out into the country on your acreage.

Barn Floorplan Idea


 
Joel Bercardin
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Jay Sharp wrote:

Anyone have tips or advice or anything i should be looking at?


Jay, you sound like you're getting your feet wet on your current property — congratulations. Also, you certainly sound affluent, and probably have been able to put $$ aside, plus have a property you can sell or rent.

I frequently advise people new to homesteading to read this thread, started by Erik Ven. Erik's conception can make sense if the homesteaders attain a secure level of experience & stability. The various points of view in the thread's multi-person conversation, based on personal experiences in particular circumstances, shines light into important realities. While my own experience led me to respectfully & cordially differ with aspects of the ideas Erik initially put forward, in the long run things often will arrive at the position he was envisaging. https://permies.com/t/62005/don-job

By the way, S Bengi made some notably practical suggestions.  And, always, individuals or families begin with a plan, a dream, a theory — then actual life is your mentor.

Best of luck.
 
S Bengi
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What price range are you considering in total?
What price range per acre are you considering?
How many acres of land are you considering?  
Personally I think that 3 acres is enough if water (rainfall/well/irrigation canal) isn't an issue.
But if you plan on raising cattle and not buy winter hay, then will probably need 10acres of pasture per animal unit (cow), again assuming water isn't an issue.

So to answer your question of what to look for:
1) WATER (we see what is happening with wells in Cali)
2) PERMITS (can you install a well, or build your own house, do yu have to pay 20k for a feasibility study)
3) Proximity to hospitals, school. church, "walmart/gas station", and other city service, so that when your kids leave they can still visit

Why do you want to leave SW WA, where there is enough rain to the well dependent NW, and to somewhere with a shorter growing season?

What do you think of this property:
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/319-Deer-Creek-Dr-Waterville-WA-98858/2069786157_zpid/

 
Arthur Angaran
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Hi, Welcome.  I just have 3 things you might want to consider or think upon before starting.

1) When living in an RV while building, it was rough. Space was limited and sooner or later felt like a jail cell. With 8 in the family there will probably be no personal space. I couldn't imaging living in such tight quarters for 3 months or more.   Why not buy a used Double wide trailer and start there. They could cost the same or less than some RVs. Then you could keep it for workers or friends or you could sell it.  Some people build while living in their current home and then move when the new home is built.

2) Money - yeck tough topic.  When moving I would say it is very important to not have any debt. That includes a new mortgage. Not having a mortgage makes it easier to not need a pt job.  It is also freeing and you can be an example for your family.  Most people do not know but about 80% of divorces happen because of money problems. Since you said you have a new house and a mortgage I assume you do not have much more than 20% equity. Do you have enough to buy land, build a new home and make improvements on the land and still be debt free? If not find a way to increase your income for a year or two and save every penny.

3) Stockpiling.  I don't know how to be polite with this except to say this is not an attack or disparagement on you or your ideas, but something you might want to consider.  I have friends who have food canned and salted and frozen. They have enough for 1-2 years. They need it in case of drought.

My philosophy on going to the store every week is that it is a,  "just in time" way of thinking.   The virus forced food processors and growers to shut down. How many thousands of people will die of starvation because of it? Having a stockpile is critical at times for emergencies, I not talking about end of world stuff. What I'm trying to say is that you should be prepared for at least 3 moths in case of an emergency.  

Anyway Good luck on finding the next perfect place.
 
Jay Sharp
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Hi all and thank you for all the replies. I will try to answer some of the questions [hopefully I don't miss any]

Only 5 will be joining us, our older 2 kids + grandchild have said that they do not want to move with us.

We did live in our RV for 6+ months while looking for our current place. Yeah, it does get a bit cramp, but very doable for the 5 of us.  No issue for us.

Currently our stock pile is greater than 6+ months. - We have always stocked up before any of this stuff happened.

What price range are you considering in total?
-Would like to stick around 50k. We are seeing 20 AC plots in MT for this price.
What price range per acre are you considering?
-thats about 2.5k per ac
-maybe go up to 5k which would be about 5k per ac
How many acres of land are you considering?  
-20 would be nice. Incase my other family members want to join. So we all don't have to be close together. and also area's for growing food for the animals. etc..

We have looked around in WA, but the new "bills" and politics are getting to us. We were really looking into NE part too. we really like that area. We thought maybe moving out far enough, it would effect us. But this is not the case.

It could be possible to rent out our house, but then again we are still responsible for the mortgage . if we don't have a renter, it will not get paid. The whole idea is not to OWE anyone any money

Reducing my hours at work will not happen, its the field I am in. Service engineer, no part time either. ;( At this point in my life i would rather work for myself or my family rather than lining other folks pockets. Actually take a breather and enjoy life. Dont get me wrong, i do like my job and what i do. I now have a different perspective on life now...

To be completely honest, i would like to have a blank canvas and build from starch. Yes, i know it will take time. Then again, i will look back at it and say "look at what we did".

 
S Bengi
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Land: $50k for 10 to 25acres
Water: $10k
Electric: $10k
Septic: $10k
Orchard: $10k Earthworks, biochar, trees
Poultry+Vegetable Garden:  $10k Earthworks, biochar, irrigation, walk behind tractor
Cattle: $10k, animals + pasture + earthworks

House
Roof: $15k
HVAC+Mech Wall: $15K
Kitchen: $10K
Bathroom: $10k
Rest of House: ???

 
Jay Sharp
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Hi and thanks for the price list. Already had something like that going.

Since we have apx 50% equity in our current house, thats where most of the income will come from to start with.
-Land budget will not come from the house income.
-Water, hopefully i can dig my own well. But if not funds will be set aside.
-Elec, depends on where the lines are and what other alternatives we can come up with.
-Will cut out the labor and dig my own hole. Just buy the parts for someone to install and then will hook up my self.

Since i own a tractor, i will be doing all the work my self which will decrease the price for orchards, livestock, etc..

For building a house, trees are a must on the land. I will be buying a saw mill so we can mill our own lumber. Or build a log cabin.

We have to be smart with with monies we will have and cut cost where we can. If i can do most of it myself then why now. Thats one of the main goals of going the homesteading way and living off the land.

To make the move easier we will be using the pod system [did this the last time we moved]. Put all necessary items and have it shipped over to the land, then up pack into a Conex. Sell everything else!
Before we move to the land, we need to have it somewhat livable with power/water/septic, so that will be step 1. hopefully we can find some land this year and start that project. After that is complete then we should be able to make the change. But we have to have atleast that 1st before we move.
Of course a drive way where the pod can make it to. If the pod can make it, then my RV can.

to recap in 6 not so simple steps.
1. Buy land
2/3/4 -  power/water/septic [not in any order]
5. retire.
6. enjoy life.
gift
 
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