My wife and I are very excited to get out of the rat race and start our own homestead! We finally got out of the mortgage trap and have a bit of cash for a land purchase.
We are both mid 30's and have 6 kids (2 who don't live with us from a previous marriage).
Here are some of the requirements we were applying while looking for land:
At least 10 acres to have a bit of a privacy buffer.
Have a southern facing, low slope section.
We enjoy wooded, hilly environments. Not crazy about very flat areas.
Prefer a nice stream on or near the property. Could be used for hydropower.
Couple of acres of wooded section for wood heating?
Low regulation area since we will be using composting toilets, strawbale housing, livestock, solar power, multiple dwellings (future guest house), water collecting, and grey water treatment.
Low humidity. We prefer colder areas over hot.
Avoid swampy areas and flood zones.
Prefer other homesteading neighbors if possible.
Prefer access to cable internet. We could run our own wire on the property. If not, can probably make due with satellite connectivity.
Most family is near WV and PA, but we can make flying arrangements for visits.
Farmer's markets or other natural markets for trade. Could also trade with other neighbors who grow their own.
Doesn't have to be close to a city for jobs, I'm going to attempt to work from home using software skills.
I'm currently leaning towards NH mainly due to my initial interest in the Free State Project and the hope that it would have less regulations going forward. Also that area seems very friendly for locally produced goods. I also like the look of the moss covered granite in the rugged streams and conifers.
We are open to options though since this will hopefully be our permanent home. My wife was leaning towards VT because she has some friends there, but I'm a bit cautious of the extra regulations there. The other area we were interested in were northern Idaho for the ruggedness and beauty and possibly western Montana. I had read some warnings about invasive Canadian Wolf species in that area though.
I grew up in WV area, but haven't been too happy about the government regulations and what is being done to the land with gas drilling and clear cutting.
We're mainly hoping to lean on some experience from other homesteaders based on your areas to see if those areas above are good considerations or there are areas that we are missing.
What areas would you recommend to look at to satisfy the above requirements and others we didn't think of for homesteading? It could be outside of US, we are just not very familiar with other areas.
What do you think about the choices of NH, VT, Northern ID, Western MT? What are some pros/cons of these areas from your experience?
Those were some good threads. Somehow I missed them?
We've been going through each of the counties and towns in NH to check out their restrictions and it has been a slow process. So far, Grafton County is looking promising with the more remote feel, environment, and less restrictions.
Just having a great list of requirements is a huge start! I am impressed!
I have found that most of New England is great to homestead within. We are in Maine, and find the rules and regs here better that in Colorado where we started. But that said, don't let RULES alone force the decision....good land anywhere will make a difference over bad land with no restrictions.
My advice is always the same:
Start small - don't bite off more than you can chew! Even on a bigger property, start in a small area and get that under control.
Start slow - no need to do everything at once. Become experts of a few things then expand.
Start low tech - don't laden or burden yourself with all the fancy gadgets. We farmed 5 acres with a ride on mower and not a tractor. It can be done!
Know your limitations - remember you are a newbie...ask a lot of questions and seek help all the time.
Your top 11 items for looking for land are some useful tips too. As far as the restrictions issue, have you found in your experience even if there are restrictions they aren't enforced?
I am afraid that I may be getting to hung up on the restrictions side and passing up good land because of it. We are just afraid of regulations smacking us down as we try to create our new homestead
I am just a little ahead of you and love to share what I am learning with others just to help folks along.
One HUGE thing we learned (the hard way) is to find out the real boundaries of any place you buy. Pay for a survey - it will save you so much in the long run if there is ever a dispute. Find the pegs...KNOW what you are really buying.