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almost ready for some land..what comes first?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 14
Location: north bend, WA
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so my hubby and i are in our early 40's, after a life of utter poverty....we have clawed our way to decent jobs...and all our bills and things paid off...

so what is first when we finally get that piece of land? (lets assume obviously a well, and a house are taken care of because we can do those things if nothing else)

basically, we are done with scraping by....done.....we will be busting ass to pay off the piece of land we find ASAP.......we want to of course make a living....but we are of course, as many other poor people....kinda tired of getting our hopes up and are just kinda done..... so as long as we can make it on our own piece of paid off land....thats all we need.

so what comes first? do we put in chickens and a huge garden? is there any special place that people use to find great land deals? do you go straight for hugelculture? since there will probably be a lot of brush clean up? or cows first to get some manure going?

basically we have been active medieval re creationists for so long, we can do it all...house building....soap making, cheese making, i make salves and tinctures, we are capable of doing it all..we just need a place to start.

also being near seattle, ugh the prices for land here.....i dont want to spend the rest of my life being a slave to pay off this land.....maybe we will have to go elsewhere?
 
Posts: 37
Location: Ontario, Canada
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It depends. There, I'm now a permaculture expert! Really, though, it does. I don't know what you should start with on your land, and I'm sure others with more experience will be along to help, but you don't have to wait to get started.

I'm hoping to get some land later this year. Price and climate are prime considerations to the point that I'm considering a big move, like 1100 miles or a huge move to another continent. Moving will be tough because I'd be leaving my daughter behind, but she'll be in college and I don't know where she'll end up, so I've got to do what's right for me. By moving to a place that has land 1/10th the cost, I'll be able to stretch my dollar much further. It's a personal decision, but definitely one to consider.

What I've been doing for the last 3 years is basically practice for my future. I started gardening and learning about what it takes to do that well, I've had chickens for the last 3 years and now have quail and rabbits too. I've been vermicomposting and composting and learned to butcher my chickens and quail and, sadly, soon my bunnies. If you want animals, you should get some now if you can as taking care of any animal will greatly shorten your learning curve on other animals. It's also a lot less intimidating to start with chickens than with a cow and less expensive if some die. If you can't start with them now, start small when you do get your land. You'll have enough on your plate with chickens or ducks when you start and you can add others when you get the first ones figured out. Even in an apartment, you can keep coturnix quail if you're willing to change the litter frequently. Hens aren't that loud and you can keep 4 or 5 in a 2x2' cage. The eggs are incredible.

If you can, start gardening if you haven't already. If you can't where you are, try to find some community garden space. This will be my third year and it should be a lot better than my last two.

As for your land, while it's nice to think of building your own home, and it may be something that you have to do to afford it, you're usually much better off buying something that has a structure that's at least livable. That way you can focus on getting started on the long-term land issues and either make improvements as you go or give you a place to live while you build something else. If you can't find or afford land with a house, a trailer or even tent trailer can get you started, especially if you can build a simple pole barn structure with a roof for rain and winter. You'll have enough on your plate to deal with without also trying to build a house to start.

Good luck and congratulations on getting this far.
 
steward
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Location: Missoula, MT
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Hi Afira, I added this thread to our homestead forum and found several other similar threads there. I am only linking them here, I didn't take the time to read them.

City dweller starting point
Am I ready to make the leap?
Newbie preparing to homestead
newbie with tons of resources - where to start
just getting started
what to do first - starting a new farmstead / homestead
future homesteaders needing help

Perhaps there are some good nuggets in those threads!

Best of luck!

 
pollinator
Posts: 1130
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I'm no expert and am in no position to tell you what steps to take, but I can relate how hubby and I did our transition to homesteading and what I would do differently if we did it again.

First thing we did was decide was what region we wanted to move to, then go there are check it out intensely. After many false starts, we decided upon our present area, Ka'u district on Hawaii's Big Island. Funny thing, it wasn't anywhere near the top of the list when we started out. Actually, it wasn't on the list at all. But after a trip to see a live volcano before settling down, we accidentally discovered that this region fit all our criteria except for price. But we were able to work around the price issue by appealing directly to land sellers in order to find an affordable price and a private short term loan. By posting messages and talking with every real estate office about wanting to create a homestead, wanting to care for the land and protect it, wanting to dedicate it long term to rural agricultural, we found people willing to sell us nice land. We found a great 10 acres and bought it, only to discover that we would have building issues with the county because we were not family with the adjacent CPR owners (the sellers were not aware of this hurdle when they sold it). Rather than go the long legal fight route, we instantly found a buyer and then another even more wonderful piece of land, where the owner was willing to sell privately at a decent price and hold part of the note. (We delayed moving so that we could keep our mainland jobs and pay off most of the land note.) Wow. I was amazed that these deals can be done. They are out there if you appeal to the landowners. Just broadcast your message and see what develops.

Our land was pretty undeveloped except for a tool shed and a roughed out shelter & water catchment tank. But it was enough to protect us from the weather. If it hadn't been there, then we were planning on erecting a tent cabin to live in. Used RVs are seldom for sale here and are expensive even if junk. I know of people who bought Costco sheds and erected a large tarp roof over top them for protection. The weather is mild enough here for that arrangement to be livable for years while you build your house.

What we concentrated on first was building our house and clearing land. While I believe they were worthy endeavors, I would do things a bit differently if I had to do it over again. It was discouraging not to be having little successes along the way. It was just hard work. So instead I should have do things to reward myself while I was busting my butt. I should have gotten 2-3 chickens so that we could be having our own fresh eggs every morning. I should have planted some veggie plants, even if they were only in 5 gallon buckets. I should have planted fruit trees.

We didn't need jobs right off, which was a major plus considering our chosen location. Jobs are scarce here. Hubby eventually got a job and I developed a network system for trading for food. I should have grown out a few lambs or piglets earlier on for trading purposes. Plus added more hens for eggs. Eggs are great for trading in my area. And grown more extra veggies for selling. But I was too busy concentrating on the house. Looking back, the house could have waited to be finished. I should have developed the farm income/trading system first. But I did it in reverse, so our house is almost finished but my farm income is in the early steps.

I don't regret one iota about taking the plunge. If it hadn't worked out, then I would have just regrouped a tried again. I have seen people here set up nice rural lives even starting out with little cash. Many started as caretakers for absentee owners. Others started out being caregivers to elderly land owners and making arrangements to lease part of the land to build their mobile mini-homes and create gardens, keep livestock. Others started as wooffer type arrangements which morphed into farm managers and land leases. And with all the foreclosures, I've seen where people have gotten the banks to install them as property care tenders, giving them a decent place to live. And once you're living in a location, you have the opportunity to broadcast your interest in acquiring land. Thus you have your toe in the door before a real estate agent when a desirable piece of land becomes available. Since moving here, I've seen dozens and dozens of situations where owners are thinking about selling or leasing and don't want to put it into the hands of a realtor.

Here's wishing you good fortune on your adventure!
 
afira ratliff
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Location: north bend, WA
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Awesome ideas thanks so much. I refuse to try and buy some piece of labd that will make me a slave even longer. We moved yo the PNW cuz we live it here, everythin but the prices, but there must be some way to afford something. Throwing away 1200 a month on rent means in 5 years throwing that instead on our iwn land, we can have it paid off asap. I come from a rural family, so I understand raising all kinds of animals, we just need a start. I have no idea where to advertise our desire for land other than going through a real estate agent. Any ideas there?
 
Posts: 53
Location: Winters, California
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I have no idea where to advertise our desire for land other than going through a real estate agent. Any ideas there?




Same question here! I've heard success stories but I currently have no relationships with any farmers/ranchers/other people with the type of property I want. How can I find them and appeal to them? Just knock on front doors...?
 
gardener
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I'd start by narrowing down your desired location first. Advertising to find a cheap piece of land is hard to do if you're open to a 6 state area. You can do a lot of land hunting on zillow and realtor.com. Realtor lets you select for minimum acreage and gives you satellite views for many of the listings. Realtor.com used to show you the property lines but I don't see them in there any more

Here's how we did it:

When we were looking for a homestead we picked states/regions we liked (WI, WY, CO, MT, ID, UT). I wanted to be within 20 miles of a 5,000 person town (groceries/hardware/etc) so that limited the search to a number spots. Then looking on the web sites I could pretty quickly figure out what it cost to get a stick built house in tolerable condition on 20 acres. In my case I didn't want a sage brush flat or a high mountain subdivision. For my wants and needs I could get a better property, closer to town for much less $$ by staying in WI. That narrowed it down to a few towns so we spent some time driving around them and getting a feel for the areas. That narrowed us down to one city to look near. Then the web searches got really personal and we started to look at where we could bike to town from, where the factories and farms were, etc. At this point, we could've tried to advertise for land if we had thought of it. We found our homestead from the web and used a realtor to see it and buy it.

I found real estate agents to be nearly useless in finding a good property. We had selected 5 to look at that we thought were decent candidates. The agent hadn't found all of those but scheduled visits for them and found some more of her own (so she could add value). Hers had been ones we rejected and when we saw them in person they were just as bad as we thought. So definitely do the searching on your own so you can be sure you're seeing the listings that might appeal to you.

Raw land is a bit trickier. Realtors (at least here) don't understand anything relating to raw land other than deer hunting, trees and tillable acreage. If you can find a realtor that specializes in "recreational" land (typically hunting land) they will likely be your best bet for finding land with the right kind of terrain, water, access, trees, etc. And they might be willing to walk the property with you. If they're wearing boots instead of high heels it's a good sign.

I'd second the notion of buying a property with a house on it already. Even a beat up single wide with power and water is a heck of a lot better than starting in a camper or a tent. In my area it seems like you can get 40 acres with a beat up single wide (with a well, septic and power) for a few 10K's more than the raw land. Having a roof over your head, power, water and septic is a real benefit when you have so many other projects to get off the ground.

We then started with getting a garden in. That gave us instant successes and food that carried through the winter. The permaculture design principles should guide you from there with earthworks, perennial plants/trees, etc that you want to put in the right place.

Here's a few examples of affordable spots with plenty of land in my region. Not that you necessarily want to move to Wisconsin
60 acres - $94,900
17 acres - old farm infrastructure - $54,900
 
gardener
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afira ratliff wrote:Awesome ideas thanks so much. I refuse to try and buy some piece of labd that will make me a slave even longer. We moved yo the PNW cuz we live it here, everythin but the prices, but there must be some way to afford something. Throwing away 1200 a month on rent means in 5 years throwing that instead on our own land, we can have it paid off asap. I come from a rural family, so I understand raising all kinds of animals, we just need a start. I have no idea where to advertise our desire for land other than going through a real estate agent. Any ideas there?



Check to see if your state has a Commissioner of State Lands, One of the jobs of this government office is to sell land that has gone tax delinquent.
In Arkansas (my own example) these lands come up for auction twice a year for each county.
My wife and I spent 5 years reading the sales list and going to walk each piece that sounded like it might work for us, this is important since several pieces we looked at were either swamps, very narrow strips, part of a road, or simply didn't have the features we wanted.
Finally, we found the piece we own now, it had already been through the auction process so all we had to do was make an offer that was within the guidelines of the COSL.
Two months later we had our Limited Warranty Deed in hand and owned our 5+ acres out right. Cost to us for this land was 4,350.00, we had to pay cash per the rules, but now we own it outright.

TIPS, to be successful in this process:
Go look at the land in person, Check with the County Clerk to make sure there are No Liens on the property, determine what the lowest offer is per the instructions given by your COSL, add 100.00 to that figure and place your bid. Be ready to pay the offered amount in cash. You will most likely be paying 1. all back taxes owed, the Assessed Value of the land per the county assessor and any fees that the COSL requires. The up side; you will not be paying anywhere near the market value. (we paid 800.00 per acre for our land when the same type land was going for 5,000 per acre in the same area.)

Once you have received your LWD in the mail, you can leave the property titled under the LWD or you can petition the court to award full Warranty Deed status (usually requires the services of an attorney (solicitor) to get all the T's crossed and i's dotted but can be worth it should you ever need a mortgage for some reason.


 
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