Many of the available lands offered through a real estate agent are over priced and over-rated to bring the best possible price it can fetch. Whenever something is sold on commission basis it becomes a sellers market. View many suitable sites before you buy.
I once viewed an old homestead a few years ago whereby the Realtor stated in the ad that it had a ‘lot of potential’.
What was really meant is that it needed a lot of work and I commented that it had more potential in the front end of the blade on a bulldozer. The house was beyond repair and all the buildings were falling over.
The land may have been usable but it was also over-priced at a time when local farmers were giving up.
Talk To Local Farmers or Homesteaders
Local farmers know the area better than anyone else and will be able to point you to someone that may have a plot of land suitable for you to purchase and you might be able to strike a bargain if they know you intend to homestead.
Purchase Land With Amenities
Land that already has water, septic and electricity may prove to be a goldmine in the view of rapidly rising costs of materials and labor. Even if you choose to go solar/wind you may still want the backup electricity because of it’s clean operation compared to gas, diesel or propane generators and the maintenance that is often required.
Keep It Small
Purchasing large plots of land may be cheaper than smaller acreages under 5-10 acres. However, 40-120 acres is sufficient for most homesteaders because the larger sections would require modernized machinery to work the land. One family should be able to buy 40 -80 acres including a wood lot if available and will still have plenty of land to grow crops and grains for all the livestock they would ever need on a small scale basis.
Considering the cost and upkeep of machinery you may choose to buy your grain or hay. Look for farmers who stay away from chemical fertilizers and insecticides.
Build Small, Start Small
Too many people build mansions to live in that they can ill afford. You may wish to build a 20×20 log cabin to start out and expand as your family and/or finances grow.
Have a few livestock the first year and slowly expand with cash on hand as the years progress. Find out what works for you and keep managable.
*Remember: There is a balance between homesteading, your needs, your desires, and you do not want to create a ton of work for yourself. If you take on too much you will get discouraged and may end up losing it all due to financial pressure or stress.
Buy Older Farm Equipment
Modernization and the need for bigger and faster equipment puts the homesteader at an advantage for retired farm equipment sought at low prices. One small tractor or a team of horses will able to pull small equipment and little expense or maintenance would be needed. The bonus is that one stays away from lenders and interest rates.
Many people are returning to using draft animals such as horses and mules to pull smaller horse drawn equipment. In some cases they get a neighbor to plow with a tractor, and then they culivate, seed and harvest with horse drawn machines.
Some Amish people have developed horse drawn equipment that uses a small briggs and Stratton engine to turn the swather, or move the blade that cuts, or spread manure. The intial out lay of cash may be higher than with used equipment but wil be suited for the job.