Finding and Buying a Homestead: Q & A Session

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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.

Finding and Buying a Homestead

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?


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      1. Thank you for your answer. We will keep that in mind while searching for our homestead in Oregon.
        Love your blog.


        1. In Oregon don’t forget gems as well, even stuff like thunder eggs have value if you were to find them in any quantity.

  1. Merissa, I really love that you are addressing concerns of others following the path to rural living! 🙂
    It’s a journey we had a desire for since our wedding (25 years ago),
    we worked toward for 9 years until we were able to purchase rural property, and an ongoing project/way of life in the 16 years since then.

    Just a quick thought~
    I work for Cooperative Extension in my state.
    Not every state CE offers water testing.
    Mine offers soil testing free for actual farms (commercial operations) and fee based testing for home gardens and lawns.
    But not water testing.

    The Cooperative Extension office was the first place I visited in my new community- to get my kids involved in 4-H and find out about what sorts of things are offered (soil and crop testing, free or small fee educational programs, etc.)

    One thing many rural CEs have in common: people from the city with no farm background moving in and then coming to ask: “I’ve bought a 10 acre plantation. So what grows well here that I can plant and make a living on?” 😉
    People really do this.

    Do your research before you move.
    Farmers struggle- farmers who’ve been doing it their whole lives with generations of farmers in their family before them.

    Don’t rely on farming to be your sole source of income, or even *A* source of income for a long time if you have no experience.
    Start with feeding your own family then graduate to selling to others.

    After 16 years, we are still working toward commercial sales- mostly because we took the first 10 years to experiment a little here and there and see what does grow well in our area and what works best with our lifestyle.
    And even then we both work off the farm 40+ hours a week and come home and work on the farm 20 more.
    Back in the day hubby worked off farm while I home schooled, gardened and raised chickens and goats on farm so it wasn’t always that way, nor will it always be- but we have to earn the privilege of just working on the farm by raising a diversity of farm products, creating a market for our products and ensuring we can deliver top quality products- and earn enough to pay our bills with the sales.
    We hope one of us will be able to “retire” to just farming in about 6 years.
    It’s all a grand adventure with absolutely no guarantees, but we’d rather risk our investment in ourselves than in anything else. 🙂