gift
PIP Magazine - Issue 19: Ideas and Inspiration for a Positive Future
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
stewards:
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Tina Wolf
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • thomas rubino

Venting frustration and hopelessness in land search

 
Posts: 26
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nathan MacAilpin wrote:Hey man, I too get it. I’m ahead now but it wasn’t easy. I started out with 13 k, bought a junk mobile home and renovated it. Lived in it 4 years, sold it bought 2 acres and another mobile. Bout to sell and buy a bigger property.
I learned to build community and relationships; couldn’t do it without that. My brother is in a similar situation like you, but worse. He has debilitating health issues, lives in his car, and makes bad money decisions. He’s 26 years old. Trying to get an apartment, and struggling along. But his heart is in the right place, and he is always striving to do better. No friends except me and my community I’ve introduced him to.
I think you deliberate thing by trying to connect with people on here. Folks have suggested an intentional  community, and I think that’s the idea, although I personally wouldnt choose that.
I’d suggest becoming a truck driver, or getting yourself a motorhome camper, and driving to an area that embraces the rural  lifestyle, get a job, live in the camper, build a community of people. Get invested in that community, make connections, get to know people. Doors open up.



I've heard new England can be a real hard place to making connections, I've been told there's a polite coldness as part of the culture there by a buddy I used to know. New jersey everyone kinds keeps their distance, friendly but not friendly, but I've heard you guys have that cranked up double. How did you manage to meet folks? What were some of the biggest challenges you had integrating with folks? (Not integrating as getting to know folks but integrating as in getting in their actual friend circles).

Really sorry about your brother, I can relate to his struggle on a very personal level. Car life isn't easy, especially in the cold season. And everyone and their brother tries to "help" you by calling the cops to give you a warm place to sleep, so you are always stressed about who may notice your presence. Make sure he has blankets, and that he can keep showered, staying clean was one of the hardest parts when I was in that situation but I couldn't talk about it much and it was hard to find good openings to get washed up. Everyone suggests gym memberships but it can end up being a matter of time before folks catch to what you are doing depending how bad of shape you end up in.

You are right, trailer living is probably the best idea, I don't believe I'd need a whole lot of trailer space. And thankfully I drive a small truck so it should not be too difficult to get a lightweight trailer to store my books, put a bed, pisser and shower of some sort inside that won't overload the truck.

I've been going to church regularly and have met a few nice folks, tried joining a local seed swap/gardening club but that dissolved lol. But in the end you are completely correct, in a suburban to urban area I guess I won't be able to connect with people so well since my goals and motives in life are very radically different, maybe this is why after 4 years here I haven't made much a network?
 
Robert Tiller
Posts: 26
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ted Abbey wrote:Sorry to hear about your predicament, and the resulting frustration. One thing you may want to consider is caretaking other people’s property, or room and board situations on farms and ranches. As rural populations age out, there is an ever increasing need for help. I have done this at several places, in different states, over the last decade. Read my thread below for a little bit about my current situation, where I will have spent the last 5 years as of this coming Thanksgiving Day.

https://permies.com/t/192087/Desert-Southwest-opportunity-person#1674715

Feel free the message me with any questions, and keep your head up.. it’s always darkest before the dawn!



What prevents me or anyone else for that matter from becoming an indentured servant of sorts in that situation?

Maybe a better way to phrase it is, how did you avoid becoming an indentured servant?
 
Robert Tiller
Posts: 26
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lielubelle Rios wrote:The more “high quality” the land the more expensive it is. I wouldn’t diss shrubland. My neighbor is in her 60’s and runs a sheep ranch on 80 acres, with a huge garden, an orchard. There’s something called a USDA microloan you should check into.

what's the location? I know goats can eat just about anything, sheep are also fairly ravenous. How many sheep?

What level of arid to desert is the cutoff in your perspective?
 
Robert Tiller
Posts: 26
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Bernard wrote:I didn't get a chance to read all the replies, so apologies if this is repeated information. Have you looked into property management gigs? Or ranch hand jobs? I know of a few people who live 'rent free' (part of their payment is housing) while maintaining a plot of land for someone; ie weeding, prepping irrigation, animal husbandry, etc.. One person I worked with has now lived on the land they maintain for 10 years, and as well as the house they live in, have 5 acres of land to work with how they wish. I believe they have paperwork drawn up for the inevitable transfer of ownership to maintain their home and parcel. Good way to develop skills, learn mistakes, and build a foundation of knowledge to the land you eventually purchase as your dream parcel.

Definitely look into all codes, state and local prior to purchase. We purchased land withing the Williamson Act. So we have strict guidelines of how we can develop our property. Not impossible to do what we have in mind, but has to be done in a methodical and painstakingly long way.

I got tied into a bad "rent free work" gig not going to get too detailed in public (maybe I'll talk about it in PMs if I trust you a lot), but there's definitely risks that can seriously hurt the rentor in this situation. Normally at a job you are employed and it is a separate aspect of your life, aka you have the decision to leave, you have the ability to stand up to the boss, and you have the option of privacy. In these live in situations your boss is your tenant and essentially owns you. You have no options and no consent as to what happens if the landowner decides they want extra. Its not a fair playing field and I've seen and lived through the less positive aspects of this.

This doesn't fully apply to what you refer to though, I wasn't renting with the expectation of inheritance, just as sort of an "extra family member". If there was a permanent legal arrangement that the ownership has to be transferred after the passing of the Landowner, it is a more fair playing field, that means you have similar standing as an actual blood relative and nor some grafted branch waiting to be shed off.
 
Posts: 487
43
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are wise to focus on these details. I understand the desire to own your property, but options exist. I am currently caretaking two properties, and both owners are open to ideas and collaborative projects. Good folks that can be trusted, and solid in politics and philosophies. This is in Nye County, Nevada.. just outside of Death Valley, in the aptly named Oasis Valley. Send me a message if you want to know more.
 
Posts: 82
29
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You might want to consider Christmas Valley, OR. I went there myself in search of a homestead place and know quite a bit about it. I spent about 1-2 weeks visiting there talking to locals and exploring the area.

You can get a piece of land there for $2000 to $10,000. I even know some people there who financed a piece of land in that price range, if I remember right their payment was around $200 a month with very little down. There are options like this on Craigslist and Zillow right now.

Lake County technically has building codes but they don't seem to enforce them. There are unpermitted RV's and tiny homes everywhere, driving around the highway you'll see more obviously unpermitted dwellings than those which appear to be permitted. How long it will be like this I can't tell you for sure. When I talked to the locals, I learned that Lake County recently hired a code enforcement officer. But if they do start enforcing codes, your neat and tidy off grid home won't be the first they come after. There are some really dumpy properties there full of trashed RV's, abandoned mobile homes, even burned out mobiles, etc. and they'll have a lot of other people to go after before they maybe even think about knocking on your door. Locals also tell me that code enforcement will be much more strict along the major highways, and if you buy property that's hidden from the highways they're more likely leave you alone.

There are certain unavoidable risks when you simply choose to ignore the building codes because they don't seem to be enforced. I can't promise they'll leave you alone forever. But you will definitely have "safety in numbers" in an area like this where off grid dwellings are very common. I know you said you want a "legal dwelling". Well, we all prefer to not have to worry about code enforcement, and to be able to get insurance and all that, but you might have to compromise somewhere.

There will be challenges. This area is a desert. Winters are cold, down to the 20's or colder. There is constant wind. If you disturb the soil, you'll be eating dust, but otherwise the place isn't really a dust bowl. Like most deserts the soil is alkaline which will limit what plants you can grow.

Water will be a consideration.  There are no rivers or creeks, the water just drains down into lakes instead. If you're lucky you might even find land with a natural lake on it already, there's your water source. I wouldn't drink any surface water in the area. If you have to drill a well it won't need to be deep as there is a good water table, but that will still cost you some money. You can also fill up water containers at the Water District in the town, for 5 cents a gallon on the honor system. You can legally irrigate 1 acre per homestead/house using well water.

Your firewood options are limited. There are a few Junipers here and there. No public lands real close that I'm aware of. Whatever gets harvested takes them a long time to grow back in the desert. Sagebrush wood burns really fast and won't last long. You'll definitely need a truck to drive to the mountains if you're serious about harvesting firewood.

Christmas Valley is a small town with a gas station, dollar general, some small expensive grocery options, some local stores selling car parts, hardware and agricultural supplies.

Ultimately I haven't moved there... yet. I'm in a worse financial position than you and have some other options to look into for now. But maybe for your situation it might work out. I would also be happy to answer any questions you or anyone else might have about homesteading in the area.

Robert Tiller wrote:I don't know if this is the best place to put this but I just need ideas to help me escape this bind before it is too late. I need a few acres of land that could be built on legally in the future as my finances develop.

I'm 23 and live on my own, I moved out of a bad family situation at the age of 18, was homeless but for now rent a room. I've saved around 10,000 dollars, I have no debt but don't really have credit either. I occasionally see chunks of land float around within the price range but there's always something critically wrong with it such as it being wetlands, landlocked, illegal to build on, contaminated or various other nightmarish things I could never fix in my financial situation. I understand that anything I could afford is guaranteed to be very low quality, almost completely non arable desert, that would bring very limited payout in terms of homesteading (For something like that at least a greenhouse is an option) but I will take whatever I can realistically get. I have watched all those land websites (landwatch zillow etc) and it has been very fruitless. I tried calling logging and mining companies to see if they ever sell off land after they strip it and all told me no or give per acre prices (and minimum quantities to buy) so high it is impossible.

I don't know how long I'll be able to maintain my current rent situation, I rent a room and part of a greenhouse on a farm but the relationship with me and the home owners are extremely strained. And I'm starting to suffer serious burnout and fatigue from the stress and working too many hours, I really don't know how long I can take it.

 
pollinator
Posts: 521
Location: Ban Mak Ya Thailand Zone 11-12
203
forest garden fish plumbing chicken pig
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a very successful (now 59) bad starter, bad friends, drugs, unemployment etc etc and with 23 I was just in the middle of the sh*t...
My breakthrough came with 34 years of age...  

One reason:
With 23 it will be almost impossible to jump into the real money jobs, but as soon you are in any job try to stay at least 1-2 years and then out of this job apply for better ones.
(I preferred always to get people that were still in work but felt undervalued.)
For most employers you are in the "Greenhand" age and the only way is that you tell them that you are in a job but would like changing for the better (only this time of course, you will be glad to get the job and stay longer).

Even here in cheap Thailand a "rai" good farmland away from big cities (1600 sqm or 0.395 acre) is about 1,000$ and above, if it has a proper land deed.
So for my 6.6 acre I threw in 50,000$

Hence the fact that, 10,000 $ is a toothpick in a bonfire..
Make a good plan and push yourself harder, then with around 35 your dream will come through.
And with 35 years of age is nothing lost...

Sorry, no bad feelings but this is reality..

 
Posts: 11
4
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A couple of thoughts on your comments and ideas.

The reality is real estate cost money. You are shopping for a commodity you do not have enough money for.

You have some money making industrious ideas, you could try studying them and the industry, get a job in them, learn the trade and learn the industry then you will know what it takes to make it work. How much land, out buildings, water, labor. People will invest in real legit business that have a real legit plan. Study business proposals. I have know people that did this and have heard of a good number of stories of success doing this.

Another potential angle. You do have enough money for land in many parts of the world. From Mexico to the bottom of South America 10k would by a decent spread of raw land in many areas. 10K would also support a year or more of rural living in these countries to see where would be a good place to live on the land. These places usually do not have much of an economy so many people leave for part of the year and make money elsewhere. You have US citizenship you have what it takes to do that.

Robert Tiller wrote:I am on my own and would be stuck back on the streets as a filthy bum if I cant pay the debts for some reason.



Someone mentioned “self fulfilling proficiency” this sounds like one to me. Not a very good one. I have been without money or a place to live before, all it takes is a gallon or two of water and small amount of soap to stay clean. You have earned and saved money on your own I don't think you will turn into a "bum" in one lost deal.
 
pollinator
Posts: 427
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
332
trees
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I bought 10 acres 3 miles from the closest town, riverside, good land. Scandinavia.
If you move here, you will be eligible for free government health care within 6 months and a pretty decent society all in all.
 
pollinator
Posts: 201
Location: zone 5b
76
7
kids forest garden books wofati rocket stoves homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’ve seen at least two others mention trucking… I got my CDL at the ripe age of 50, debt free. Started at Swift and went through their 3 week Academy (cost can be either ~$6,000 or a one year commitment.) I stayed the one year, and only made about $45-50k that first year then switched to another company driving for closer to $90k yearly.

Both jobs were OTR/over the road, and a sacrifice as I have a wife and young kids I like to spend time with… but, they also came with a tractor with a double bunk sleeper. You can make a bit more if you are willing to team drive, but there are few whom I would trust enough to do that on a long term basis. My 23 year old son does it and says he brings home about $1,500/week with one year experience.

So, starting off, probably ~$1,000/week with a free apartment, a one year commitment means no money out of pocket, and you have to buy your own food. You can make even more when the market is hot like last year, and you are lease purchase… a bit riskier as repairs and fuel are on you. It worked well last year, taking home $4-5k/week on average, but I just switched back to company driver as the market sucks right now.

Swift Transportation is a large training company, and they usually do give a break to those with non violent felonies. It’s not working the land, and it isn’t hard work physically (mainly you have to be responsible about resting during breaks, being alert and pulling over when tired/crummy road conditions.) if my son could get his CDL at 22, you can do it too!

I like the option mentioned about going to the Bootcamp program, as I’ve been to Wheaton Labs, and wish that would have been an option for me back in 1993 when getting out of the military, at 23 years old. Now, at 53 and married with kids, options are more limited in some ways!

Best of luck to you though, and let us know how your journey goes. We’ve heard a rant or two on here before… heh!
 
Posts: 93
Location: Nuevo Mexico, Alta California, New York, Andalucia
7
forest garden trees greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the 80s I came across a book, sorry can't recall title or author but shouldn't be hard to find, looking at various economic criteria to rate & map each county across the USA as to development & population trends & showing a clear trend/ pattern rendering a third concentric tier around many cities as good opportunities.  More recently the emptying out of many interior towns & counties has led to offers of free properties for homestead re-settlers.  Generally however, the price of much land & property has crossed the invisible line of no longer being able to pay for itself based on what one can sustainably produce/ earn from it, the amount of agricultural land divided by population is around the threshold of what a family needs for sustenance, & there appears to be a ruthless competition between more for those who have & enough for those who don't.  We are privileged & lucky to have a couple of modest dryland homesteads & a stake in a marginal temperate forest, but my own long pursuit of land continues primarily through finding an opening in or creating a community which has collaborative interests, powers, & resilience.
 
pollinator
Posts: 316
113
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll agree with Kaarina and others who suggested expanding your search to other countries. There's a lot more to the world than the US of A...

Also, some of the factors you mentioned as making it difficult to find useable land simply do not exist in, for example, Scandinavia. I'm thinking mainly about the "landlocked" issue. I actually had to think a bit before understanding what it meant...

In Scandinavia (at least Norway, Sweden and I believe Finland) we have something known in Swedish as "allemansrätt". I'm not quite sure how to translate it properly, but maybe "public right of way" gets close. Very simply it means that any land that isn't someone's garden, a field with crops growing, or certain other exceptions, is open to the public. You can walk there, pick berries and mushrooms, and certain other non-destructive activities, regardless of who owns it, without running the risk of being charged with "trespassing".

Of course, there are still rules and regulations, some of which can definitely be a pain in the neck, but I think that if you widened your search it might feel a bit less hopeless.
 
master steward
Posts: 6194
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2133
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Leif,

It is worth noting that Swift has a good reputation for hiring people with disabilities.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1371
Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
410
2
hugelkultur dog forest garden solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would look into county auctions of land in property tax default. In Del Norte County California, the minimum bid is 1% the assessed value. We saw a great nearby 40acre property (lots of water, ponds, native regrowth forest) w multiple buildings (likely needing tons of work) go for 2k an acre after multiple bids. No guarantees, and nothing will be simple, but its a place to look. Best of luck, and again I think you are way ahead of the curve for your age.
 
Posts: 1
Location: West Michigan
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Robert Tiller wrote:I don't know if this is the best place to put this but I just need ideas to help me escape this bind before it is too late. I need a few acres of land that could be built on legally in the future as my finances develop.

I'm 23 and live on my own, I moved out of a bad family situation at the age of 18, was homeless but for now rent a room. I've saved around 10,000 dollars, I have no debt but don't really have credit either. I occasionally see chunks of land float around within the price range but there's always something critically wrong with it such as it being wetlands, landlocked, illegal to build on, contaminated or various other nightmarish things I could never fix in my financial situation. I understand that anything I could afford is guaranteed to be very low quality, almost completely non arable desert, that would bring very limited payout in terms of homesteading (For something like that at least a greenhouse is an option) but I will take whatever I can realistically get. I have watched all those land websites (landwatch zillow etc) and it has been very fruitless. I tried calling logging and mining companies to see if they ever sell off land after they strip it and all told me no or give per acre prices (and minimum quantities to buy) so high it is impossible.

I don't know how long I'll be able to maintain my current rent situation, I rent a room and part of a greenhouse on a farm but the relationship with me and the home owners are extremely strained. And I'm starting to suffer serious burnout and fatigue from the stress and working too many hours, I really don't know how long I can take it.



Hey, Robert.  First things first: you are in a good situation already.  It wasn't til I was 26 that I learned to be serious about saving and my biggest problem for now is finding the time to look at good land I can afford.  I got on coolworks 4 years ago (give it a google, it's just a classifieds/job board) and found a job that included room and board in Wyoming.   All I had to do was cook for about 50-60 people/day and that let me save 12,000 per six month season every year.  I recommend cooking for smaller ranches but if you can get decent pay with room and board covered, go for it.  Whatever the pay-to-cost ratio is, go with what nets you more savings.  Cash will be important in the next couple of years (puttin' on my real estate speculation hat).

A word of advice about saving hardcore: housing, food, and transportation are everyone's biggest expenses.  They often seem impossible to reduce or eliminate but there are options.  And while you save for (potentially) a couple years, keep in mind why you save.  Keep reading and planning for your land.  Connect with people who like similar stuff.  The light at the end prevents burnout.
 
John F Dean
master steward
Posts: 6194
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2133
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Matt,

Indeed, I was 32 before I could buy acreage.
 
Patrik Schumann
Posts: 93
Location: Nuevo Mexico, Alta California, New York, Andalucia
7
forest garden trees greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For obvious reasons this may not be attractive, but there has been a significant amount of degraded agricultural land continually created the past several decades.  So much so that each state regularly passes its data to the national government & on to international agencies which have been promoting remediation programs over recent years.  

I myself have been looking via land listings, tax auctions, & state ag agencies however there seems to be no discernable marketplace.  Probably because nobody wishes to sell below the value that land might retain for other uses.  The rapid rise of regenerative agriculture & appearance of related investment approaches might change things quickly.  Lately I've been focusing on property offerings in wildfire-burned areas.  Nothing quite beats being on the ground, getting to know a place & its people, looking & asking around.  In the meantime, it's always worth augmenting the knowledge, skills, and experience one will likely need for most kinds of landworks.  
 
Posts: 1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Where are you at now? My partner and I are 29 and DYING to get out of suburbia and homestead. I work remotely and he is a truck driver. He’s a local driver because we have kids but OTR drivers make very good money. I know of a few people who have moved to Italy to have the life they want - homesteading and healthy (er) culture. It’s so hard to find affordable land while working so much and paying too much for rent. We live in FL and it’s too hot for us but we’re originally from NJ (we wanted to leave the south Jersey Atlantic City area). We’re looking for red states too - TN is becoming the cliche place to go for country living, I’ve looked into WV. Can the $10k be a down deposit for a mortgage or just looking to pay cash, all in? Maybe buy a small patch, build some tiny homes or yurts, rent out VRBO, make enough money to buy more land and/or sell first investment. It’s difficult, difficult economy is forcing us to think VERY outside the box for both income possibilities and finding land.
 
You save more money with a clothesline than dozens of light bulb purchases. Tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic