Just wanted to say a quick hello and introduce myself to the forum.
I am a new member - directed here on a search for homestead forums for those in BC, Canada.
I am early thirties, single male, with cool dog, somewhere on my journey to land owning and homesteading. I currently own/service a mortgage on a fancy new cookie cutter home in small town Alberta, Canada. At the end of the (last) summer I took a huge step (for me) and came clean to my family and friends that the cravings for a real life just wouldn't go away. Luckily for me; all was met with acceptance and encouragement.
I have a bit of experience in the horticultural side of things so, hopefully I can be a useful member of the forum right away. I've got a few questions though so if you guys would be so kind to offer some experience/ opinions/ thoughts it would be appreciated.
I have two big questions so far and both somewhat different from each other. First off - my interest is to buy in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. I know I've picked a sought after area so will save you guys the tears over pricing, but isn't the name of the game for real estate 'location, location, location'? Anyways I am currently looking at two different pieces of property and they would both hold drastically different finance options (one is in foreclosure).
For those who have been faced with the decision of spending every cent they have to own land; mortgage free OR to not blow your whole wad and be left with a small land loan. Which did you chose, why and was the decision right (for you)? I will be faced with a few more years of work, either way - so in no way do I think I can show up with no money and be ok or show up with some money to just throw at problems and think I'll be ok. Both will have their own set of circumstances and I understand that.
Secondly for others who have bought in any mountain region - what was the ratio of flat/benched land vs. sloped land (say over 20 degrees) that you were looking for, accepted or think is reasonable? Hilly land is just part and parcel with where I would like to be, I know not all will understand but some will understand the call of the mountains and get it.
Thanks very much for your time and good luck to everyone else out there!
So, I'm the don't spend it all at once type because of unforseen circumstances and it takes money to make money. When we bought our house we found all sorts of repairs we had to do and things we would need to buy to get the garden going. They end up paying for themselves in a year or two, but required up front capital. Not to mention, there's the learning curve and oops fund I have to pay for too sometimes. All and all I try to leave just enough cushion and invest the rest. I even calculated out the cost and potential return on my investments and started by going to the ones with highest rate of return (unless necessary) that way my funds would recuperate the fastest for the next project. So, first was the garden 6mo turn around, and continually reinvest that. Then, there's climate management (which we are working on now) and, paying off the mortgage, slowly while maintaining a cushion and movement towards our goals. This are broken into specific things, so lettuce has a real high turn around, but curb not so much, so we started with lettuce and waited to run into corn (which we did).
Land selection is tougher for many people, you need to have in your head (and written down) your perfect parcel, then you want the what is acceptable parcel.
Keep in mind that land with more than 20% grade will perform best when terraced over swales and berms, anything under that grade will do nicely with swales and berms.
We have part of a mountain, flatish on the ridge and steepening down both south face and north face.
We have swales and berms going in from the ridge down both slopes until they get to about 15% grade, where we are doing terraces on down.
The most important thing to know is that doing the earth works first makes all the rest go not only faster but also easier.
Thanks for the reply, I do plan to do most of my tree removing and land clearing 1 season before I spend any extended amounts of time on it trying to get it going. Thanks for the tips on the slope as well, it just comes with the territory I guess.
I agree with those who advise observing the land for a period as much as a year before making permanent decisions about it. Also to make a permaculture design before making permanent changes to the land. I wish we could have done this, we would have avoided some major mistakes.
Hubby and I opted to spend everything in getting the best piece of land, then working for two more years to amass as much cash as we could before moving to the land. It worked for us and we were happy with our decision. After having been under a mortgage cloud our entire lives, it was exhilarating to know that our land was debt free. It made working our butts off for two years, while being ultra frugal at the same time, not only bearable but actually enjoyable.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
That's almost exactly what we did, Su, except we bought a crappy piece of land because we liked the location. Big mistake, but oh well, here we are! We bought the land for cash and then moved two years later.
Thanks for the replies! Su and Tyler, I was secretly hoping someone would say that. My plan was to continue working full time hours for at least two probably three more years before I made the permanent transition with maybe one full summer in there doing land work.
I am very interested in the freedom that comes along with homesteading and adding no mortgage to that mix would just put me in heaven. That being said, did you guys find it hard to save money over those years leading into the transition or like Su mentioned above was it much easier with the plan now tangible?
On the flip side if I didn't spend it all, even the lenders with the best rates are still going to drag me over the coals so they can collect their interest for as long as possible, and I worry that that will be a big drain on the overall feel of freedom I'd like to achieve.
I want to sink or swim on my own accord, not because I still owe someone debt notes!
I don't remember it being difficult once we decided to do it. We had some lucky breaks in our paying work, so that helped. Without the good fortune, we certainly would have had to wait another year or more before moving. We did not do everything for cash, however. We had a house built on a mortgage, which we paid off a few years ago (30 year mortgage refi to 15 years paid off in 7).
I should mention that most of our time and effort after moving to the land was spent working for money to pay the mortgage, and that we kind of flailed around with gardening and animal stuff for years because we were ignorant and didn't have a plan. But you're here on permies so you won't make that mistake! I wish I had had this resource back then...
Thanks for the help, Tyler. I am also on my own for the moment so even though costs may be less I also don't have a partner chipping in either so my plan of two years might be three anyways.
I agree that this site is a huge help! I follow lots of blogs and YT channels but it's hard to get those guys to reply when they have like 975 other comments. I have an ever evolving plan that I have been working on for close to two years now, to have myself both financially and skill wise prepared. Over the last year I have been writing it down in a book I keep. I've changed careers to learn skills, I've sold toys and canceled memberships etc. etc. I also don't want to get a tunnel vision on my dream and end up missing something, I appreciate the help.
Did you do the work of building your own home or did you mortgage and have someone else do it? I have this romantic (maybe silly) idea of dragging my trailer there to live in as I build my own home. Just cutting and drying the wood is a year before its usable so like I mentioned I can keep working in between.
I purchased my piece of land mortgage free. But that resulted from chain of events.
I was saving for a down payment for a house here in Canada. This year when i thought I was ready to make my purchase I went to the bank with the list of places i was interested in to get pre-approved so that it would make it easy to put in an offer. I was basically told my salary was too low to afford my choices myself I need a co-signer, and i would have to close all my credit cards. So not only would they take all my money I would have no credit to fall back on just in case while I paid them basically the majority of my salary. .......OOOOKKKK That rubbed me the wrong way so I changed my plan. Back story: As I kid I watched my dad build our house gradually by adding rooms gradually. Different country as I grew up in Jamaica but I would find a way do the same. So I started looking for land found one i liked went back to the bank they gave me a speel about land being risky and not financing it.....OOOKKKK. That didn't sit well with me.
So I changed my land needs around and made some compromises and my down payment became the cost price lawyer fees ect.
I closed in May this year and although I don't know what the future quite holds I feel i made the best decision for me.
Even though nothing changed and I still pay rent, I just swapped paper money for land I feel so much better.
And although it seems that i am mad at the bank I am really not.... the terms just doesn't suit me and my situation..... It's just how the system is right now.
I did what was comfortable to me and made me able to sleep at night i think is what I am getting at.
I don't know what the future holds but I feel I made the right decision at the time and now and I will enjoy the journey I am now.
We looked for 3 years before finding a hunk of land we liked enough to buy.
In the U.S. State I live in there is a State Land Office that puts up for auction lands that have not had their real estate taxes paid for five years (in effect people that don't pay their taxes for five years forfeit their land ownership).
Once a year the Land office puts on a county by county land auction, if the land isn't bought at this auction you can then make a bid on the parcel you want and if accepted you pay cash for the deed.
Our land was purchased after the land had been at auction and an extra year had passed, this allowed us to make a bid to pay the delinquent taxes plus a little and our bid was accepted, this was 4 years ago.
Our first year of ownership was clearing 7 years of regrowth, as we did this work we found out all the necessary utility work was already in place, electricity, citywater, septic tank, all done, and we found a foundation.
I am very happy you found land you wanted and were able to buy outright, it is very calming to know you and you alone have a space all your own.
Oh wow RedHawk that was super lucky to uncover all that treasure under 7 years of regrowth. It makes me wonder if I have any treasure. Though I doubt it cause the realtor said it was never developed but now I'm curious cause the prior owner only had it 2 years. So next time I visit I will explore and keep my eyes peeled more closely.
Find out at the permit office maybe if the land has a history maybe is a good place to look too.
Ontario has something similar...ontario land tax sales I think it's called. I did look into it but it seemed very scary at the time and needed a lot more research and travel and time than my current job would allow me time for. But there where deffinately some interesting finds there. Now that I am a little wiser and a lot braver I would deffinately try that if I am looking for land again.