Wanna Go Homesteady? Part 1

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Duck Eggs!

Finding Our Homestead

 

So many people are interested in the homesteading lifestyle, they’re everywhere! Urbanites, suburbanites, apartment and condo dwellers, 20 somethings and old timers too…from all walks of life there are folks who want to move out to the country and eat a lot of peaches. In other words, they all want to go homesteady!

 

I was in the same shoes not too long ago. We felt like we were stuck in the suburban world (not that it’s all bad) with no way to buy some land and start our homesteading journey. I grew up on a small ‘farmette,’ and that is how I want to spend the rest of my life too. But land costs money, lots of money, and we didn’t think we’d ever get the chance to buy up our little slice of heaven.

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This is the back of our new home. It’s a small ranch that needed a lot of work when we moved in, but it is zoned agricultural! So I can have animals and my big garden. Please disregard the state of my garden. I was busy last fall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Then the housing crash happened. It was a bad time to be a homeowner. The equity in our 2 story Colonial home in suburbia went sour. Sigh. I felt rather despondent about our prospects of moving to a rural agricultural place with a little barn and pasture for chickens and cattle and goats. Oh my! I had my heart set on a 5 – 10 acre property with a 4 bedroom home and an attached garage. But those were way out of our price range.

 

There are a lot of great things about living in a subdivision and you can do an awful lot on a suburban lot. In my quest for more self sufficiency, I turned most of our property into a garden and orchard and raised meat rabbits. We lived in a great neighborhood and had a lot of nice neighbors. But I really wanted chickens and a bigger garden. I already had the growing, canning, freezing, dehydrating and preparingย  and butchering part going on. But the rabbits weren’t exactly allowed as livestock and I wanted to have a little more freedom to homestead.

So we had been hoping to sell and find a rural place, but then our property value went down. Would we even be able to sell? Places were sitting on the market for a long time and the price kept dropping. But because the value of all property in our area declined, we started to think about our situation in a new light. Even though we couldn’t sell our home for what we thought it was worth, no one else could either. That meant that some of the rural properties we were interested in might actually be in our price range. My husband’s job was stable and we could afford a bit more toward our mortgage. We have been pretty frugal and had good credit. The time seemed right. We started getting our home ready, put it on the market, and began our search.

Even though it seemed like we were in a good position to buy, we had to compromise a great deal on what we could afford. We ended up downsizing the dream, and purchased a home that is smaller than our previous house, with less land than we wanted. But it fits our needs, and we aren’t house poor. We found a buyer for our old house because we negotiated on the price.

 

Everything worked out because we sat down and re-evaluated what we needed to be happy. We needed a large sunny area for a vegetable garden and fruit trees, a property zoned for livestock (chickens are not allowed in town around here), and a home with 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. The barn and extra acreage for larger livestock was not a necessity, so we compromised. There were some really interesting decor choices and outdated everything in the house, which turned a lot of potential buyers off, but we can see past those things. There were also quite a few repairs needed, and we can handle that a little at a time. But it is structurally sound.ย  If we had remained set on what we ‘had’ to have, we would have missed out on our homesteading dream. You really have to want this lifestyle and be willing to make those compromises.

 

Would this work for everyone? No! Does it mean that you can find a suitable home in your budget? Not necessarily. But if you are willing to live with a smaller home, fix it up, live more frugally, and/or make concessions on the decor and style of home you purchase, you might be able to do what we did. Unfortunately there are still a lot of homeowners facing foreclosure and the prices haven’t rebounded. So there may still be a bargain in your price range. Whatever you do, don’t take out a mortgage that puts you at risk of defaulting. That is not a sustainable way of life. Check into the property codes to see if you can have livestock. Have a home inspection done. Get friends who are knowledgeable about home repairs to come with you to look at properties. Make your offer contingent on a satisfactory inspection to cover your assets. Make sure you have a buyer for your old house. Never put yourself at risk of paying 2 mortgages.

 

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My new veggie garden…planted in 2012.

 

If you can’t afford it, or the repairs are too expensive…don’t buy it! You are much better off staying where you are and making the best of it. The next post in this series will deal with just that, making the best of your current situation. Stay tuned for the next edition of “Wanna Go Homesteady?”

Have you recently moved to a homestead? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Lisa Lombardo
Hi! Iโ€™m Lisa Lynnโ€ฆmodern homesteader and creator of The Self Sufficient HomeAcre. Follow my adventures in self reliance, preparedness, homesteading, and getting back to the basics.


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29 comments on “Wanna Go Homesteady? Part 1

  1. Pingback: Clever Chicks Blog Hop #18 | Hosted by The Chicken Chickยฎ

  2. Pingback: Wanna Go Homesteady? Part 2 – The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

  3. loyda

    We used to live in town with the brand new home and the perfectly mowed yard and a small garden but moved last year to Arkansas (from OR) and are still in town but now on a couple of acres in a fixer upper home. We now have chickens and a very very large garden (our first one here this year) and although the house won’t be where we want it for many years to come I LOVE having the space outside. I am thrilled to be able to have an even larger gardent this year. We have 3 daughters, one still at home but feel really good and blessed that our garden will be able to feed our other 2 daughters families and ours. One day we will have bees when the time is right. Enjoying our life right now !!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Loyda,
      It sounds like you have the best of both worlds! That’s quite a transition, from Oregon to Arkansas. I’m so glad you can have chickens and a large garden in town…wonderful! Keep up the great work and happy homesteading!

      Reply
  4. Connie

    Looks like a wonderful place! We used to live in the country and I still miss it. We have a small lot now but the beautiful Mississippi river in our front yard.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Connie,
      There are so many things you can do with a small lot too! Living so close to the Mississippi must be wonderful! Thanks for commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  5. Angie

    My family and I recently bought an omish home with 19 acres. We lived in a 3800 sq foot home and had done the city living. When we decided to buy the property it was scary how much time and work was ahead but we knew we could do it. 11 months has passed and we have been in the home 7 months. We still have a long way to go but it will be worth it for all of our children and grandchildren ( later to come). We plan on getting cows, have chickens already and a large garden.
    We are doing all of the remodeling and building ourselves for cost reasons. My husband is a carpenter and I have picked up a few things here and there. I would not recommend this to everyone but it has been scary and awesome at the same time for my family.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Angie,
      That is wonderful! I grew up right next to an Amish community and always thought highly of the way they live their lives (apart from the fact that women can’t own property). It’s great that you have been able to move to the country and start the homesteading lifestyle! Best wishes with all of your projects ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  6. Rebecca

    Hi Lisa Lynn, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. It’s inspiring to read of a challenge overcome and genuine happiness found. I love reading your blog and am such a fan-Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday’s Seasonal Celebration! Have a good week:-)Rebecca@ Natural Mothers Network x

    Reply
  7. Bee Girl

    Love this post! We are currently on 1/8 acre (with chickens, bees, veggie gardens and fruit trees) and dreaming of having more property one day. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiration. Sometimes it can all feel so far away and unattainable, but you’re the perfect reminder that it’s all possible with a little patience and perseverance!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks Bee Girl! Sounds like you are doing an awesome job of making the most of what you already have ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s awesome and I commend your efforts! Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  8. Jamie at Prepared to Eat

    I think “needs” on a house are really in the eye of the beholder. When we moved into our country home, my friends poo-pooed it because it only had one bathroom and we are a family of 6. Well, we make it work. Honestly, just a few decades ago people still had to hike outside to use the bathroom!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Jamie,
      ๐Ÿ˜‰ Your family must be pretty patient! That one was more on hubby’s ‘needs’ list, but I will agree that it is great to have the extra bathroom and I don’t want to go back to just 1!

      Reply
  9. Kristi @Let This Mind Be in You

    I love this post because we are a bit behind you guys, and it’s encouraging to read about how you made the transition, the concessions you needed to make, and what you ended up with. I have a feeling that we will probably do something similar. Waiting to read the next installment!

    Thanks for sharing this post on the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest #15!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks Kristi! I hope you find exactly what you want ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can be tough finding the right place, but someday it will reveal itself to you ๐Ÿ™‚ The problem most people have is realizing it is what they need!

      Reply
  10. Laura Zimmerman

    Thanks for this inspiring post! I hope to be there someday. For now I practice, prepare, and dream while living in a subdivision. Looking forward to part 2 ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  11. Julia

    Great story! We are moving next week to a much smaller home (old mobile home actually with a log addition) and access to 60+ acres. It isn’t pasture land.. it’s right on the side of a mountain but by golly we are going homesteady! lol

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That’s awesome Julia! I’m so glad you found a place and can get started on homesteading ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never lived on the side of a mountain…I bet the views are amazing! Best wishes!

      Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          You may need to trim up some trees or remove some that are old or damaged to make space for a garden and pasture. I’ve heard that pigs are very good at clearing out wooded areas. Best wishes!

  12. annie @ montanasolarcreations

    I totally needed to read this post this morning! As we’re searching for a new homestead, it can be really overwhelming at times. It’s reassuring to read that you were able to find a new homestead you love and gives me hope that we’ll find the perfect fit within our price range!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      It can be overwhelming, emotional, and uplifting all at the same time Annie ๐Ÿ™‚ Patience is key…now I can say that ๐Ÿ˜‰ in retrospect! There were times when I really didn’t think it would happen. Make a list of must haves and a list of pros and cons of moving…it helps put the whole thing in perspective! Best wishes and keep us posted on your progress!

      Reply

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