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This post is part 2 of this series. In the first installment, we looked at what real estate agents will recommend and what most people believe makes an ideal property. This time we will consider the aspects of location that will make a property well suited to self-sufficient living.
Location. If you want to be self-sufficient, you will most likely be looking for rural land for several reasons. You will need a larger parcel of land than you will be able to find in town. A huge property is not necessary, but you will need at least a couple of acres and maybe five acres or more depending upon the type and number of animals you wish to keep. Even if you could find a parcel of land large enough in town, the local regulations would prevent you from do many of the things you need to do in order to be more self-sufficient and the property would be priced much higher. This is another great reason to go rural – even much larger properties will be priced lower.
If you are patient in your property search and are willing to live a good distance from town, you can find really cheap property out in the country. The importance of finding a low-cost property cannot be overstated. In order to achieve financial security, you must be mortgage-free. This means that you have to buy a cheap property if you want to get there any time soon.
From the real estate professional’s view, and the consensus of most people, convenience is a very important characteristic of the ideal property. In order to live the self-sufficient lifestyle, you will have to sacrifice a certain degree of convenience. You may be able to find a property that is a short drive from town, but you won’t find one where you can walk to the store or post office. In my opinion, however, the advantages of the rural self-sufficient lifestyle far outweigh these inconveniences.
Location. In addition to large area and small price, the regulations and restrictions are important to consider. The ideal property for supporting a self-sufficient lifestyle will be zoned agricultural or not zoned at all. There should also be no deed restrictions on cutting trees, raising animals, growing food, size of house, and so forth. Ideally, you should have no deed restrictions at all. This will give you the maximum freedom to build your own house, grow your own food, and make money from home.
Unhappy neighbors can use any regulations and restrictions against you. Even in the absence of any such restrictions, many neighbors will complain incessantly about everything you do and make living near them miserable. It is best to find a location where the neighbors are not close or to find like-minded neighbors. If your next door neighbor raises cows, he is not going to complain about your cows. If he is an avid gardener, he probably won’t complain about the smell of that load of manure you dump on your garden. If he is constantly busy in his shop, he won’t complain when you make some noise out in your own shop. In fact, if you seek out a location where the neighbors are all more self-sufficient, they will be much more likely to help out than to complain whenever you are busy doing things which would annoy neighbors in town.
Location. In order to keep the price down, consider buying “low quality” land. What is low quality land? There are many parcels of land out there that have been mined for sand or gravel, are cut-over forest land, or are otherwise unproductive. These things will bring the price down severely, but all can be remediated and made into a great homestead. As long as you have water available and the land is not sloped too steeply, you can overcome just about anything else. You can beat poor soil quality by planting your garden in raised beds and generous, repeated application of compost over time will result in fine pastures. Surface mining excavations can be converted into ponds to water your livestock and provide for farm fishing.
In part one, we found that the conventional view on location is all about convenience and rising prices. Now, for self-sufficiency, the ideal property will probably sacrifice some convenience but will be spacious, have few if any restrictions, helpful neighbors, and will be cheap. This is quite a difference, and requires a totally different mindset during the property search, but will be well worth it when you find the right place.
Have you found a place like this? Do you know a good source for cheap land? How far from town would you live?