Modern Homesteading and How You Can
Find YOUR Land Too!
So you may be wondering, what the heck IS a homestead in the first place?
In the recent years, living on your own land and being self sustaining has been a growing trend, especially as the world becomes more and more unstable.
While the growing consumerism is really taking a strong-hold of Americans today, there's a sizable population which simply say "forget it!, I'd rather enjoy peace, living at or below my means, and just be left alone".
This is likely those people who want to learn more about the TRUE definition of a homestead, so here's how it is officially: a house, especially a farmhouse, and outbuilding.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Homestead LAND is simply the spot where one settles down and the BUILDS a home, farmhouse, an outbuilding, or all three.
OKAY, SO WHAT IS HOMESTEADING THEN?
The simple answer would be according to a source like dictionary.com, its "any dwelling with its land and building where a family makes its home". Nowadays, what most refer to as "homesteading" is people trying to go out there and be self-sustained, getting back to human roots.
You'll often hear the terms "Going Off-Grid" and "Homestead" close together. Today more than ever before, it's a growing trend. There's actual BENEFITS to homesteading!
True Benefits of Homesteading
When it comes to having homestead land and actually homesteading, there’s a few main benefits which we think you’ll benefit from.
But first, let’s mention very briefly the Homestead Act 1862, which was introduced by Abraham Lincoln to encourage migration towards the West-Cost.
Provided was 160-acres of public land, and anyone who applies could qualify by paying a small application fee and completing five years of continued residence before receiving FULL ownership of the land.
Today, there are states in the union which offer incentives with either free land or highly discounted land if one moves there, establishes residence, or builds a business. Some popular states which offer these programs are: Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, Alaska, Arizona, and a few other states.
Remember, this things are subject to change at any moment so do a bit of digging based on your location or where you are wanting to live.
- Property Taxes: Often, proper homesteading land or property can be exempt the first $25,000 to $75,000 of assessed value from ALL property taxes.
- Forced Sale Immunity: Now more than ever before, creditors are going after all personal property to satisfy owed debt. The homestead exemption will protect you from being forced to sell your property to satisfy any creditors.
- Surviving Spouse Advantages: Some states have will have laws which will protect the surviving spouses by guaranteeing the homestead rights. If your husband or wife dies, you will still retain the homesteading rights your late husband or wife had. Do keep in mind your monthly mortgage payments must STILL be made in this situation, regardless of who is the surviving spouse.
- Greater-Peace In Your Life: This benefit may be subjective, but when you are homesteading you are moving away from societies fatal grip. Healthier living, better sleep, going back towards the roots of human civilization!
Okay, so you read the benefits and it all sounds good to you. The next thing you really should consider is the actual location of the homestead.
States and municipalities offer incentives for good reasons.
This often is way to grow their local population.
When natural migration to those areas proves fruitless, some places offer homesteading opportunities, such as free or discounted land. Location can be a blessing and a curse, depending on what kind of lifestyle you plan to have.
Picking a Location, It Matters
Let’s say for instance, we pick a place like Lincoln, Kansas. A small town with less than 3,000 people there, they NEED more individuals to move there.
Does weather matter to you?
Lincoln, Kansas has hot summers and snowy winters. Spring and Fall however, have great weather!
Is being MILES away from major stores important to you?
Lincoln has basic stores close enough even if you are just a few miles outside the town, but there are no BIG stores such as Walmart, BestBuy, Costco, HomeDepot etc. Going to THOSE places, you’ll need to travel.
Is anything in your life going to be affected by the state laws?
If you enjoy smoking marijuana (for example), Kansas marks it as illegal. Another one is, it is illegal to ride an animal down the street in Kansas (say a horse for instance).
Will you be able to fulfill the requirements set by the county to qualify for your homestead?
You’ll need to look into their official website at www.lincolnks.org/housing.
These set of questions or even a totally different set of questions may be your criteria for picking a place to homestead. With this being said, let’s dive into all states that are MOST POPULAR for setting up a homestead.
Here's Top 13 States To Find A Good Homestead
Not all states are created equal when it comes to` homesteading. But you already knew that, here's the list of 12 best states for homesteading (in no particular order).
There’s no denying that Oregon is a beautiful state. The land is fertile and suited for a wide variety of crops, orchards and livestock. You shouldn’t have ANY issues producing enough food for yourself and your livestock.
Land prices tend to be on the more expensive side, but there are no sales tax in the entire state.
This has to be one of the most beautiful states in the USA. Mount Rainer just 59 miles outside of Seattle. Big Cities are few, and a majority of the state is farmland divided by valleys and mountains. If you plan on gardening, it can be done here with NO problem.
There is a $125,000 maximum exemption for homestead properties. This protects any property with a maximum of the previous mentioned number, from being seized by creditors (excluding mortgage holders she as banks).
For some homesteaders, the most important aspect of it all is finding cheap land. Arizona has plenty of it. Aside from being one of the most affordable states to live in, growing crops won’t be as fruitful due to the dry and arid landscape in the big portion of the state.
The landscape changes when you go NORTH to forrest and small to medium sized mountains. Heading SOUTH, you’ll encounter dry arid mountains with plenty of cactuses and dry vegetation.
The state is very friendly to homesteaders, especially towards the Flagstaff area and places outside of Phoenix and Tucson.
It goes without saying, Alaska is BEAUTIFUL. It is a huge state and most of it is simply uninhabited, for good reason. Mountains, Forrests, creeks, lakes and tough to navigate terrain make it a unique place on this list.
Most populated areas are isolated, and getting around usually requires a plane or boat.
Don’t let that deter you, especially if you want to develop a homestead there. First of all, the state offers its citizens an incentive to live there (varies year by year) of around $1000-$2000, depending on the current value of their oil reserves. Second of all, Alaska offers exemptions of up to $72,900 from creditors for single or married couple using the homestead as a PRIMARY residence.
If you want to get away from everything, Alaska is how its done!
Montana is truly a paradise in every aspect of the word. Beautiful scenery, majestic wildlife, not much population, and excellent recreational activities (just to name a few). This state is homestead friendly, and is even offering an exemption of up to $250,000 in home value against creditor claims.
And how about this, God forbid a death of the household head happens, the surviving spouse is entitled to a homestead allowance of $20,000.
This state has straight borders, but rugged mountains giving it majestic beauty. From the flat plains of the east, to the snow-packed mountains in the center and west, your can pick any landscape that suits your needs.
While their water regulations are stringent, surely you’ll find your way to combat that, especially considering all the other advantages of living in this state.
Colorado is known for being an eco friendly state, as well as being homesteader friendly. The Homestead Exemption offers up to $75,000 in protection against most creditors.
Many of todays mid-western states are in need of population growth. Their BIG cities are taking up population, resulting in BIG declines in human population in small towns. Kansas is one of those states.
There is a LOT of open space to do anything you desire. People are friendly, and land is typically much cheaper than you’d find it elsewhere.
When it comes to homesteading exemptions, Kansas sits in a unique spot. With no real dollar figure as a limit, they state that you can protect up to one acre of real property if you live within city limits or up to 160 acres of farmland.
Beautiful Appalachian mountains, fertile valleys, great beaches… Virginia marks all the spots for a good homesteaders state. Since the colonization and establishment of the United States, Virginia was known to be a FARMING friendly place. Tobacco, Apples, Cotton and many other crops grow wild.
While the land may be priced at a premium and there’s a strong military presence across the state… Virginia Homestead Exemption allows an exemption of up to $5,000 of a persons home or other property covered under the exemption law.
Having one-third of the BEST farmland in the USA, Iowa is heavily dependent on staple crops such as corn, oats and soybean.
A few towns throughout Iowa have taken-up programs such as “Free Land” for people willing to move there and build a home. This may be an enticing offer, but it will vary from case to case.
According to the state laws, you can protect your homestead from creditors if your property is less than 40 acres in size (in rural areas) and less than 1/2 acres in size (in urban areas).
Much like Iowa and Kansas, Nebraska is a farm friendly state which welcomes anyone willing to cultivate the great fertile soil. Their four seasons
Small towns like Curtis, Nebraska are great examples of communities that are in need of more people. Living right outside of this town can give you the comfort of being away from most people, while still having some convenience that are within just 10 to 15 miles.
Property prices in Nebraska in most areas on the most expensive side, but not unreasonable by any stretch.
Being known as the “Quartz Crystal Capital” of the world, Arkansas has simple land layout with flat and hilly terrain. Living off-grid is a common activity because of this states history and very affordable land.
Farmland is found all throughout the state, so cultivating your own garden and raising livestock won’t be an issue. The state allows for a principal resident to exempt no more than $2,500 in the value of his or her property. Within city, town, or village with improvement may NOT exceed 1 acre. Of course anywhere outside the city, you can have a homestead of up to 160 acres.
This state suffers the same fate as Arizona when it comes to cultivation of farmland. Dry landscape and sweltering heat makes it quite challenging… however, there are still some parts of the state that aren’t too bad when it comes to farming.
You have a tax friendly state that is ALSO protecting your homesteads equity of up to $550,000 from general creditor claims.
Affordable land and homestead friendly laws make it a friendly state to start your search for the lot of your dreams!
The last state on this list is Idaho, famous for its potatoes. Scenic view of mountains, beautiful lakes for fishing, and plenty of land available that is apart from most people in MILES from every direction.
Friendly faces and a good sense of community is what makes Idaho an excellent place to consider. Idaho imposes a $100,000 limit on your homestead as protection against most general creditors, this is fairy generous considering its fair land values at the moment.
Where To Find Homestead Land for SALE?
Buying homestead land isn't too difficult, online marketplaces such as Zillow, Trulia, Loopnet, Redfin and some other ones. Craigslist can be another good source to scan for local homestead land for sale. If you'd like to get more information, find a real estate agent that will help you find something.
Finding FREE Homestead Land
You might of heard that some places in the United States are giving away free land. Typically these are the places where their population is on the decline and they are in desperate demand to get people to move in. Special incentives are initiated to invite people who are willing to move.
Go onto Google and type in “Free Homestead Land Alabama”… “Free Homestead Land Idaho” etc.
You will find an official website from some kind of small town and there, you’ll be able to fill out an application.
It is a bit more complicated than that, as there are no directories for such type of offers. Not every state will be clearly show you this type of program just from Google.
Doing a bit of digging locally, maybe call a Real Estate agent in the area you are interested in, to see if they know any information about such type of offers.
You can probably assume there's going to be a CATCH with these places. Here's the most common requirements presented to the public with FREE or DISCOUNTED homestead land:
- NOT free but highly discounted for a limited time: These type of offers are very straight forward, as they do cost money but much less than you'd find most places.
- FREE land if you build your home there and live for at least 5 years: Some places just need families to relocate and live there at least 5 years. Typically after the 5 year period, your land is handed over to you as YOURS.
- FREE land if you come and setup a business: Some towns are lacking businesses, courageous entrepreneurs are in NEED and are REWARDED with free land to live on.
Those are the most common type of incentives places will offer to relocate to their area.
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My name is Ray. I’m a survivalist, an off-grid fanatic, and a proud married man to a beautiful woman. This website was started to be an educational resource for learning everything there is to getting off the grid and being self sufficient. Contact me if you’d like to connect, right here.