Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I don’t make purchasing decisions lightly. I research and price check and monitor reviews, sales, and then I research and mull it over some more.
When we finally decided to purchase some property I immediately began searching the internet for good areas to suit our needs, with enough amenities that we could comfortably live off grid. We consulted our book “Back to Basics“, which has lots of good information about placement, landscape and land features.
- Does the property have water, or the ability to get water? This could mean digging a well, having a natural spring, or year round water sources such as a river going through the property.
- Is there an existing woodlot? There are many definitions of woodlot, but for our purposes a woodlot is a 10 acre stand of trees (preferably hardwood) that can sustain the household in fuel for cooking and heating.
- Gently sloping land is preferred for water catchment, swale development, etc.
- Enough land for a garden capable of sustaining the household and creating enough harvest to sustain the household through winter.
- Pasture for livestock.
Budget was also of great concern to us as we couldn’t afford a new mortgage on an expensive piece of land. This pretty much ruled out anything worth while in California (where we currently live). Since we wouldn’t be moving to our new property right away, we needed something we could drive to in a weekend to work on the property and get it ready for us when we could move. Looking at all the surrounding states with their various land prices and the usability, and livability of the choices we had, we narrowed down our search.
The area we chose has several things going for it.
- It is remote enough as to hopefully avoid urban sprawl for several decades or more.
- It is able to support a well and permits for a well are allowed.
- It has plenty of room for a suitable (10 acre) tree lot.
- Plenty of space for a fruit and nut orchard.
- Nice land for a garden that retains moisture throughout the summer.
- Space for goats and chickens and a stock pond.
- Plenty of room for our chosen structures and other possible outbuildings.
- Most important, we could afford it!
Still, putting down your retirement money on a piece of property that you are hoping to turn into a viable working homestead to support you and your family during your retirement or during tough times is a bit unnerving. I keep reminding myself that my money is better invested in land than sitting in a bank making less than 1 penny each month in “interest”. With the work we are currently doing at home to prepare our minds and spirits for this transition, I am excited for this new chapter in our lives to begin. Waiting 6 years is going to be HARD.