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Finding and Buying a Homestead: Q & A Session
Since our first post on Finding and Buying a Homestead, we’ve had a lot of great questions that need to be answered and considered before you purchase that homestead. Thanks to my hubby for helping me answer these. Remember…some of these things may be different depending on where you are looking to buy. Make sure you ask locally…your local county courthouse can be very helpful for pointing you in the right direction.
How do you find out about water rights and what are your rights with them? – Tamra
If your realtor doesn’t know (they really should have that kind of information), you should be able to call your county courthouse and they will be able to tell you if there are any odd restrictions. You will also want to make sure to find about mineral rights.
What are some start up costs to consider? – Stephanie
As I mentioned in Part 1, you need to think about the big things such as a well, a driveway, preparing the grounds, maintenance costs, equipment, building supplies (for fencing, repairs, ect), plants and trees, building outbuildings. Basically think about all the things that you plan to do to your homestead and figure out what you will need to get that done. Just to start and maintain a garden you will need a plow or cultivator, something to pull the plow, fertilizers, fencing, plants, tools, and more.
How big is too big? – Dean
It really depends on your family size and what self sufficiency means to you. Are you planning on just having a small homestead with some goats and a large garden? Or are you going all out and raising everything from cows to wheat for a family of 10? You should be able to do research for any specific area and find out how many acres of land is required for one cow or one goat. In some places you might be able to raise a cow on a single acre while in another area you might need 10 acres per cow.
How do you find out zoning regulations?
Again, if your realtor doesn’t know (many areas might have some kind of covenants and the realtor will have a copy of this), just call your county courthouse and see if there are any special regulations for your area. Ask if there are any restrictions on crops that can be grown, livestock that can be raised, or anything else of that nature.
How do you test water quality, learn about the well, ect?
You can get test kits from a local extension office to be able to collect a sample yourself and send to a testing facility. This test will tell you what contamination (if any) is in the well and if you will need to do something about it. Try and ask the current owners of the property if they have any information about the well. And again, if you can’t find anything, your county courthouse may at least have info on when the well was dug.
What other questions do you have about finding and buying a homestead?