3 Practical Answers on How to Get Started Homesteading

how to get started homesteadingWe spent a good three years or so looking for the right piece of land for our forever homestead. Many of the listings we came across led us to our current town, but they simply weren't what we wanted. Some were too expensive, others had major issues such as rot and fire damage, while one was so far gone the frame had separated from the foundation so badly it let in the rain and snow. Terrible. What we did during this time was teach ourselves how to get started homesteading, where we were not only looking at the house, but the land potential as well.

Some of those early listings had potential. There was this gorgeous yellow house, near to where we live now, that sat nicely on a sloping piece of land that bottomed out with a 3-horse barn and paddock. The slope was terraced and ready for planting. The kitchen, however, was what really turned us on. Open concept, easily the biggest room in a house full of big rooms and well applianced with a baking wood stove and a top of the line gas range. But, it was out of our price range.

We're happy as all get out now, but back then, it hurt that we didn't land that yellow house on the hill. It was the first we brought the kids along to hear their input. We all loved it. So, we took the lessons we learned from all of those good and bad listings and put them into a master list of needs, wants and likes. With this, we could make practical decisions on how to get started homesteading, knowing what we were looking for.

How to Get Started Homesteading

how to get started homesteadingSo, how to get started homesteading. Though the basics are the same, it is going to be a completely different process for everyone. Therefore, let's focus on what we did and maybe that can help you with your search and purchase.

Like I said, we broke down our options into three categories. 'Needs,' meaning they were essential, such as acreage, town ordinances and school district. 'Wants' covered items that would be helpful or ideal, such as lakefront property, existing outbuildings and type of power supply. Lastly, 'likes,' were those things that would be pleasant to have but weren't deal breakers, such as fully-applianced or good neighbors.

Our Homesteading Needs:

  • Appropriate Homestead Land Acreage
  • Livestock-Friendly Town Ordinance
  • Top Tier School District
  • Excellent Water
  • 3 Bed, 3 Bath, Large Kitchen

Our Homesteading Wants:

  • 50+ Feet Private Lakefront
  • Out Buildings for Wood Shop, Barn, Garage
  • Established Off Grid Power System
  • Large Gardening Area
  • Small Lawn
  • Access to Surrounding Woods
  • Wood Heat

Our Homesteading Likes:

  • Appliances Included
  • Great Neighbors
  • Within 1 Hour of Major Urban Area
  • Finished Family Room / Office
how to get started homesteadingOur advice to you is make a similar list, first thing. You can definitely add to it as you learn more about how to get started homesteading and your preferences, but having something written down will not only help you visualize goals, but also be a solid reference for your real estate agent should you use one. 

As a side note, if your agent knows what you're looking for but keeps trying to show you something else, find another agent. Life is too short to hire someone that shows you only what they want to sell, not what you want to buy.

Choosing Your Homestead Land

homestead land
Our list adjusted itself as we moved along through our search for property until we decided on an unlikely yet ideal piece of land. One acre, on a lake, 80+feet of private shoreline, smack dab center in the woods. 

Those early real estate agents we were working with were stymied with our requests and real downers, telling us we simply wouldn't find something like that in our price range. Our solution, we decided that choosing homestead land was something a bit more personal than using a commissioned sales agent to do it for us. 

Two years or so into the search, Wendie happened to strike up a friendship with our mailman from our old downtown office. He was a talker, and spent a good time sharing his plans for a retirement that was coming up soon. One day, he mentioned that he was thinking of selling his house but didn't like real estate agents. 

Wendie being the genius that she is asked some more questions and the next week we visited to scope out the land. It was exactly what we wanted. A fair price was offered and accepted with a handshake and we contracted a title agent to seal the deal. The training wheels of our urban homesteading experiment were coming off and we were headed to the big time.

Your homestead land isn't something you should settle on as being just alright. There are countless opportunities out there for finding exactly what what you need and want as long you put in the time to search for it. It may mean looking outside of your current area, but if that is something that will work for you, then take the leap. To help, we've put together a good key word list for your internet search:
  • Homestead Land for Sale
  • Small farm Homestead Land for Sale
  • Real Estate Farms
  • Self Sufficient Homestead Land Real Estate
  • Agents that Specialize in Homestead Land
  • Rural Real Estate Agency Homestead Land
  • Country Homestead Land Property for Sale
  • Homestead Land Available 
These are a solid starting list that will zero-in your search returns. By reviewing the details of each listing that populates you will gain a better grasp of what to pay attention to when choosing where to start your homesteading adventure.

Our Urban Homesteading Lessons

urban homesteading
Buying our new homestead wasn't something we jumped into lightly. We wanted to pay cash and leave the mortgage vultures far behind. We came in debt-free by paying off the trucks, student loans and our credit cards, vowing never to go back to a credit-based existence. We produce what we can, create income for what we need and learn with every opportunity that presents itself. Those urban homesteading lessons with our square-foot garden and small hen flock were just the beginning.

Budgeting was of course nothing new for us. We owned (mortgaged) our own home, went grocery shopping weekly, signed kids up for camp and swim team and used credit cards responsibly. Our urban homesteading budget was much like millions of other household budgets. When we made the move and paid off all of our debt, however, the money dynamics changed. We were looking at a great deal less overhead as well as an increased attention to our retirement needs.

urban homesteading
If you asked us five years ago if we could be what we are now, we might not have been able to answer. Working at home for ourselves lets us spend a great more time with the kids and their extra-curricular interests. We can plan annual vacations and not stress about how we'll pay for it. The only vacation-related concern is finding a homestead sitter for the garden and livestock. 

We can plan for a new truck every five years or so if we need it, again, paying in cash. Before, something like 80% of our income went to bills and creditors. Now, we only have a cable bill, our cell phone bill, our internet bill and taxes. Our combined urban homesteading lessons let us do this. It took time, but was well worth the effort.

Homesteading for Beginners Blog Resources

homesteading for beginners blogSome of the best learning opportunities discovered during our urban homesteading days were the excellent homesteading for beginners blog resources found on the internet. We connected with many like-minded families who were living the life we had been aiming for. 

They too wanted to separate from the rat race of city living and endless cycle of debt. They wanted a safe environment and positive community to raise their children in. They wanted and achieved what we soon would realize, a better life for themselves and their families.

When we wanted to know how to get started homesteading, these communities opened their arms and welcomed us as family. If you are interested in building your own library of homesteading for beginner blog resources, you could do worse than starting by clicking the link below:

Other Blogs We Love

We truly enjoy connecting with you all and sharing homesteading adventures from our little off the grid spread in New Hampshire. We would love to hear from you! Whether it's your preferences for homestead land or advice on how to get started homesteading, please join the conversation below!