Start A Homestead: 4 Things To Consider

Homesteading is quickly gaining popularity. Eating nutritious and wholesome food motivates some. For others, the events of the last few years have made them really reflect on where their food comes from and they want to be more involved in producing what they eat and having more control of their food supply.  Truly, there are so many different reasons to start a homestead.  Whatever the reason, you may be one of these people. 

Chickens and a small garden are definitely a good start to a homestead.
Chickens and a small garden are definitely a good start to a homestead.

Before you purchase your first homestead from scratch, here are some things to consider:

  1. Master as many skills as you can beforehand; educate yourself on others. When you begin looking at properties, it will help you to know what you need in a property. How much acreage do you need?  Are you needing woods to help feed the goats?  Do you want only pasture to raise cattle or sheep on? Where will the garden go? Where is my water source in relation to my animals? Keep in mind though, no property is perfect. Therefore, knowing more than one way to go about raising livestock or planting crops means being able to see the potential in a property. For example, you see a piece of property.  It doesn’t seem to fit your requirements for keeping sheep because you have only studied one way to keep them.  You have it set in your mind that’s the only way you want to do it, then you may pass up a great piece of property because you didn’t know there were other options.  Look for a property that will meet as many of your needs as possible. Keep in mind, though, that you will evolve as a homesteader and so will your needs. The more information and therefore options you have the better able you will be to choose a property that’s right for you to start a homestead.
  2. Learn as much as you can about the area you will be homesteading. What are the water rights in that area?  What kind of building codes are in the area? What kinds of permits do you need to build (if any)?  Can you build a well here?  Is this property located in a place you could sell things from? Is that something you even want?  Would you rather be more secluded?  What would you trade-off for that seclusion? How far are you from a big city? Are there others in the area that homestead?  Is there no or little internet/phone reception? Consider being far away from medical help as you get older. Think about what you will need as you get older. How receptive are neighbors?  No man is an island and you will need community.  
  3. Plan out what animals you’d like to start with and educate yourself as much as you can about that animal(s). This may seem like a repeat of the point above, but hear me out. When you do get on your homestead, do NOT add every farm animal to your farm at once.  I mean, you can, but I would not recommend it.  If you’ve not grown up on a farm or had any experience, you need to allow yourself space to learn and grow.  Be patient with yourself.  Allow yourself to grow not only in head knowledge but also in some real-life experience before adding more animals to your farm.  You will overwhelm yourself. Animals will get ill and it is never at a convenient time or will happen when there is another crisis ensuing. I know, you have been dreaming and reading and studying, now you have your farm and you will want to run out and do everything all at once. DON’T! You will burn out quickly and you will feel defeated. Take the time to learn and feel confident before adding another animal species to start your homestead.  You won’t regret it. 
  4. Be wise in your finances.  Allow for things to go wrong or need repair. So as you consider your land purchase, maybe you’ll want to add extra to your monthly budget.  Say you are planning on finding a place with a $ 1,000-a-month mortgage.  Unless you have a windfall and can buy outright, figure an $800 a month mortgage and then plan on putting $200 away for unforeseen events. I don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast rule as to how much you’ll need to put up, however, you will need to have an emergency fund to cover the costs of something going wrong.  It happens in life all the time, when you add animals and a other structures to the equation, the need for emergency money multiplies. There is nothing more heartbreaking than having animals you cannot care for or home repairs you aren’t able to make. 

Once you start your homestead, then it becomes a matter of maintaining and affording it. Be sure to look for cost efficient means of adding to your farm. Reuse and repurpose items whenever possible. Check out this link for ideas on how to be frugal on the farm: https://maplewoodhomestead.com/how-to-cut-costs-on-the-homestead/

There are other things to consider when buying a homestead, of course, but I hope this helps you ponder some things you may not have thought about.  We wish you much success. Please come back and check out our other links whenever you have any questions. If they aren’t answered in the blogs, we’d be happy to answer an email from you @ maplewoodhomestead2017@gmail.com. Happy homestead hunting!

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