Finding & Purchasing Raw Land
We recently took the plunge and decided to buy a small parcel on the side of a mountain in western North Carolina. As all our readers should know this family already is heavily involved in homesteading. And if you didn’t know that… well… SURPRISE! But now we have decided to slowly move it all to the mountains. There were so many reasons for this decision but the main one was that we love the mountains! It was always a dream to live there. The area we searched has always been our official spot. My husband and I have always wanted to live in the western NC mountains but our life had given him a job opportunity in the Piedmont area that we couldn’t pass up. So we have had to wait for our dream land until now.
There are so many things that go into finding and purchasing raw land. Somethings need to be done in a select order but most things go hand in hand together. The search can get overwhelming and confusing. Most of these ideas are very personal in what we want to do or can do on our own land. Some people are much more adventurous then we are and some are less than. This is our story of our new adventure in the making of Pumpkin Patch Mountain Homestead.
Tip 1 – Take your time.
Our decision and search had taken nearly eight years. This may seem like a lot of time and it definitely was. First off we financially were not ready to buy raw land. I was busy with multiple pregnancies, taking care of babies, purchasing and repairing the home we live in now, car purchases, and the multitude of family crisis’s and mishaps all contributed to the “no extra money” problem. We barely had savings let alone having play money to go on a simple vacation. Like many families, we are a one income family. My hard working husband made okay money to support us but extra large purchases were not in the cards back then.
And yes, I make that sound like a problem but in hindsight, it was actually a blessing. Eight years ago we were beginner homesteaders. A family on their way on becoming more self sufficient. With everything, we started out small and grew our knowledge year after year. If we bought a parcel of land it might of been the wrong land because we didn’t know what we could physically do without practice first. Right now we have one acre in the country. That much land and time gave us a great sense of how much we need to grow our gardens on, how much room we need for chickens and coops, if we want or need ungulate animals, greenhouses, raised beds, meat smokers, garden sheds, woodworking sheds, and the list goes on.
Taking your time will also help reduce the price of some properties. Raw land had started to become less in demand when we started looking. If a piece of land has been on the market for a long time then the sellers may start reducing the price. I can’t tell you how many properties would reduce 5..7…$10,000 in asking price just on the market. That is also on top of putting in an offer, again, another $5,000 lower than asking. Now this doesn’t work for every area so be wise about your real estate market.
Tip 2 – Come up with a maximum purchase price.
My husband and I also knew we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the land. The whole point of this venture was to live and retire debt-free. Our first question we asked ourselves was, do we want to take out a loan for the land purchase? Believe it or not, that question will help you determine your maximum price for the land.
We had a savings going which was pretty good but realized it was going to take us longer to save up for some of the properties we were interested in buying. With a few hours on loan calculators online, we found out real fast that we needed to lower our purchase price. Lowering our maximum price point would help us not paying for long time. For us, our perfect financial spot to be in was to take out a farm land loan and be able to pay off the land within 5 years.
Once our maximum price was figured out, we made great strides to not go beyond that for any piece of land. It was difficult to do sometimes because there were many properties that were absolutely gorgeous and seemed to be a perfect. They made us take a second thought and toss out our max cap. But in the end we did not do that because we knew we would be “retiring” at a much later date than intended.
Tip 3 – Know what you want versus what you need.
I had said earlier that knowing what you want versus what you actually need is a very important point. I would love a piece of property that had everything like a waterfall falling into a large moving river, open pastures with rolling hills in the background, mature fruit and nut orchards planted, and absolutely no neighbors in site. Well that is definitely a pipe dream and concessions are always are being made because we couldn’t afford a piece of property like that. And thus, came up with what we needed.
We needed at least 1/2 acre that was flat for the 550 square foot house and small gardens. Needed land that wasn’t far from civilization but far enough that we couldn’t hear tons of traffic. We needed land that had some hills for the orchards to be planted which will also be home to the goats or sheep. We needed the start of the property to have an easy and cheap way to put in the driveway. So my suggestion to you would be to write down all your wants and then highlight the few that you can’t really live without or is definitely necessary for your life on the homestead.