When buying a homestead property, consider where the house is situated, additional structures, water sources, and land usability. Determine your homestead goals ahead of time to figure out how the land can work best for you.
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We recently purchased our homestead property in 2022. The first consideration was if the property was zoned for how we intended to use it. Check out this article on understanding your property zoning. Check to make sure you are allowed to have livestock if that is your desire. I also highly suggest coming up with a 5 or 10 year plan. Getting an idea of what you want your homestead property to do for you will help you envision how things will work as you are walking potential property options. There are several other aspects to consider before buying a homestead property. The most important consideration is the lay of the land.
Consider the Lay of the Land when Buying a Homestead Property
When I talk about the lay of the land, I’m referring to what the different aspects of the property are. Things like where the house is situated, what kind of additional structures (fencing, buildings, etc.) are there, if there is a water source, and the usability of the land like if it is woods, farmland, hills, etc. All of these aspects will play a part in how you can use the land and set up your homestead.
If the house is situated at the front of the property, are you okay with the proximity to the road? If the house is situated at the back of the property, are you okay with the majority of your homestead operations taking place in your front yard?
With livestock potentially on the property, consider where they will be in proximity to the house. Yes, there are measures you can take to reduce odors from animals, but animals are just smelly creatures. Additionally, they can be loud when mooing, squawking, crowing, etc. If you plan on having free range chickens, consider how close they will be to the road, your garden, your driveway/patio, etc.
Additional buildings on a homestead property can be extremely valuable. If you are planning on keeping livestock, consider what type of structures you will need to house them. Chickens will need a chicken coop. Animals on pasture will need somewhere to get out of the weather. Every animal needs access to fresh water 24/7. These are all things you will have to purchase/build if they are not already on site. Make sure they are included in your budget or future spending plan.
Fencing is absolutely crucial to homestead life. If neighbors live nearby or you have a busy road close to where your animals will be, fencing is the difference between life and death for those animals. Fencing that is already present can be a huge blessing and save you a large chunk of money and time when getting started.
One of our biggest sellers when buying a homestead property was if there was a well on the property. The house and barns have water supplied by a well, which means we do not pay for the water we use. This is such a blessing when it comes to watering our animals.
We also have a pond. The pond is great for our personal use for swimming and fishing. However, my garden is situated behind the pond and we ended up using a battery operated pump to pump pond water out and water the garden. It worked perfectly but I must note our garden sits in a fairly wet part of the yard and I only needed to water maybe 6 or 7 times last summer. Once again, a huge blessing to utilize a free source of water.
Consider how you will use water and how much water you will need on your property. If possible identify the wettest season in your area and check out the property during that season. We purchased our property in early spring which is the wettest time of year for us in Ohio. We were able to see how the water moved through the property, where it sat and pooled, and what issues it might cause for our future homestead plans.
Usability of the Land
The usability of the land is probably higher on the list than house situation, structures, and water. I say this because if your entire property is a rocky mountain side, it is going to be very difficult to grow a garden or pasture field for grazing. Make sure you walk the entire property before purchasing land. Understand what portion of your land is usable and how much would have to be done to make imperfect land into usable homestead acreage.
How Many Acres is Enough for Homesteading
The acreage you need is dependent on what you want to do with your homestead. If you want to grow a garden for the purpose of growing and preserving food for a year for your family, you will need a fairly large garden. If you plan on having grass-fed cattle for beef, you will need a large pasture area. Free range chickens have different space requirements than chickens kept in a coop and run. If you plan on growing food to sell at farmers markets, you will need more space than if you only plan to grow food for your family.
Our property is about 13 acres. We have approximately 6 acres of grass/pond/house/buildings, and then about 7 acres of farm field that we are turning into pasture field for grazing beef cattle. Our garden is in the back corner of the yard and is about 4800 sqft this year. It will easily grow a year’s supply of several different crops including tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, beans, squash, herbs, cabbage, etc. One acre in front of our house is being turned into an orchard. The other side of the front yard will be an additional 1 acre pasture area for running meat birds in chicken tractors, and potentially beef cattle. The back corner of the yard is for feeder pigs, approximately a 1300 sqft area. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how much space you might need when buying a homestead property.
More Information about Buying a Homestead Property
I hope this gives you a good starting point to consider when purchasing your homestead property. I highly suggest making a plan and laying out your homestead goals. Don’t rush into buying something that will not be able to provide you with the opportunity to create your homestead dreams. On the other hand, no property is going to be perfect. Make your list of must-haves, “nice-to-have”, and deal breakers. Knowing that in advance will help make the process easier.
My last piece of advice is to trust that what’s meant to be, will be. Our property went in and out of contract 4 separate times with other buyers before we purchased it. We truly believe this property was made for us and just waiting for us to be ready to buy. In the crazy markets of the last few years, buying property has been challenging. Have faith and trust that if it’s meant to be, it will be!
If you are still waiting for your homestead property, check out my first post about Homesteading without a Homestead. I shared about my experiences learning homesteading skills before owning a property.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into Life at Metzger Acres!