Looking for Land

We are at the very early stages of our future homestead.  Actually, we haven’t even started the homestead yet because we don’t have any land.  Our major project this year is to finally buy some land after spending three years looking.

Last year, we thought we had found the perfect spot and were ready to deal with the banks.  Little did we know how ridiculous it was to get a mortgage for some land.  The rates were so high that we decided to wait until we could pay cash for the property.  We have the highest priority of NOT getting in debt.  Waiting one extra year should save us from that for now.

With our “no debt” goal in mind, we started looking at alternative style houses.  By this I mean house made from natural materials like straw bales or cob.  Houses that can be difficult to getting permits for in some areas.  That made it important for us to make sure we found an area that would allow this sort of building.  We had to broaden our location search and start thinking about moving farther than we planned.  If we are already possibly moving further we better make sure we get something perfect.  We ended up making quite a list of things that we needed out of our land and looking at everywhere in the US to see what met our needs.

Here’s the list:

  • Ease of gaining building permits
  • Hardiness zone (not too hot or too cold)
  • Rainfall (enough to grow a healthy garden)
  • Property prices
  • Ease of homeschooling
  • Types of severe weather (not tornado alley or too close to a flood zone)

I hope we aren’t missing any really important needs, but I think we have everything covered.  I would love to hear if there are any other good thoughts.

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I have done quite a bit of looking for areas with less zoning. One website I found helpful was http://earthship.com/pockets-of-freedom. I’m not sure if you have heard of earthships, but they are fantastic houses. The designer of the earthships has put together this map with “pockets of freedom” where it is apparently easy to get permitting to build alternative style homes. Another good site is http://naturalhomes.org/naturalhomesmap.htm. This is a map of the locations of many natural style homes. I figure that where there is one, another can follow behind more easily. As of right now, we are seriously looking in Southern Michigan. That seems to match my list almost perfectly. Prices don’t seem too bad either. Wish me luck!

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