I think I have a problem.
I have a wee bit of an obsession with scrolling through real estate ads online. It’s a bad bad thing mostly because we have about 5 more years until we’re actually ready to start looking at buying our property and building our big homestead. We’ve got a plan to be debt free (all except student loans cause those buggers are HUGE) and selling our current house.
Sigh….5 years is a long time though.
Ok, really it’s not but I am super impatient
all the time sometimes and I want it now. But if I can’t have it, I can still research. It’s one of my favorite things to do, which is probably why I loved college so much.
I love spending time researching earth covered homes, it’s quickly becoming a passion of ours. We love the eco-friendly aspect of it, and the budget friendly aspect (seriously have you seen heating costs in Michigan), as well as the just plain cool factor.
I love researching tips and tricks for buying the right piece of land. I love knowing what we want to raise and how much space we need to make it happen. One of our favorite conversations is imagining the layout of our mythical homestead.
I love being a geek and reading real estate and insurance articles and following the market as mortgage rates go up and down.
So since I am not in a place to buy a homestead right now, I am going to share some of my information with you on what you need to consider when buying your first homestead.
Obviously any time you buy a house you have to get it inspected. But when buying a homestead you are going to want to go above and beyond the ordinary. Obviously this only counts if you are buying a homestead with a home and buildings already on it. But you should look for an inspector who has experience in farms or commercial property as well as residential.
Have someone who knows the community, the zoning laws, the regulatory red-tape you’re going to encounter as you start your homestead. It’s amazing how much zoning can completely change from area to area and you absolutely can not make assumptions.
Do you plan to sell or process any of your animals on site? Make sure it’s already legal in that zoning area or that the area would be amendable, you’ll save yourself a lot of money and hassle.
Do you want to have a farm stand or sell at the farmers market? Make sure you are buying in an area that can support those goals.
Overall, make sure you know as much information as possible about the property you want to buy, and the area you’re buying in.
This is an interesting tidbit I have picked up through my love of the local extension office. Most state colleges/universities that have agriculture backgrounds (here in Michigan it is Michigan State University GO Spartans) offer extension offices in every county or area.
These offices are a veritable wealth of information. From canning classes, Master Gardener programs, and more they can give you so much information, and/or point you in the right direction for just about everything you could ever want to know about growing food in your county.
A service that many of them offer is soil/property inspections. If you plan to use your property for growing food then it is important to know what kind of soil quality you’ve got. Whether that beautiful pond or creek is safe for your animals to drink from. If you’ve got any invasive species that are threatening to overtake your land.
Homeowners insurance is one of those joys we all have to deal with, but when you’re buying a homestead you’ve really got to take into consideration a lot of extra stuff. So before you plunk down your hard earned money I would recommend seeing if your insurance guy (or gal) could come out with you and see if anything jumps out to them.
Don’t have an insurance guy who can come out with you…find a new insurance guy 😉 or see if they have anyone they would recommend going out with you. There is nothing worse than finding your dream property and then finding out that the insurance costs are going to be too prohibitive after the fact. So nip that problem in the bud and cover your bases.
I hope these tips helped you think of some things that maybe you hadn’t considered. Buying a homestead is a dream come true for many of us, so it’s incredibly important to stay grounded and realistic. Don’t make any rash decisions, bring unbiased people with you (my mom was great for that when I was buying my house) and take your time finding the right property.
Can’t wait to someday share our personal real estate journey with you when we go out to find our own rural homestead. Until then, let me live vicariously through you, please!!! Share your own stories and tips in the comments below so we can all learn together.