Hello, homesteaders! 💜 I am ending the cycle of enriching landlords when my lease is up at the end of May. I'm 37 and tired of the city and suburbs.
I'll be living out of my car and saving up to purchase property. I've been daydreaming and scrolling landwatch for years.
All I want is a couple acres in the forest that I can lightly develop, slowly, for my own homesteading purposes. I would consider Northern Arizona, the parts of California that touch Arizona, and Colorado.
But I'm having a hard time navigating where I'm able to use land in the ways I need to.
At first, I would move on to the land and continue to live out of my car. I will keep my eyes peeled for trailers or RVs. Eventually, I want to build small structures (think yurt, sheds, concrete domes).
I just need a primary structure to sleep and cook in and a space to garden. Eventually, I want to expand and have a place to process honey products, a greenhouse, an outdoor kitchen area, a solar shower, composting toilet. I will haul my water, get a small solar setup, etc. I'm even totally fine with the idea of getting on with lantern and candlelight at night.
How do I find land where this is allowed? I'm not sure how to tell the difference between land where I need to purchase a custom home through some developer, or where I need to get expensive permits, etc.
I am capable of living very simply and grew up on a ranch so hard work is no problem. I have lived out of sheds on other people's property before. I love hammock camping and car camping. I'm also very handy and do woodworking and have built small structures before.
How do I find land I can just buy outright, in cash, and develop it as I see fit?
I work full-time, remotely. Hot spot for wifi seems just fine and I would get satellite internet if need be. I also don't mind driving into town when I need to for connectivity, even if it's daily.
I don't have a network of people who want to live like I do. But I'm hoping to develop one once I find a place to land.
Any pointers in the right direction will be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance for any thoughts and suggestions. Happy homesteading!
PS: My brother is a baby prospector and I would consider a mining claim. I don't have any kids, so I don't need to think about leaving it to anyone, at least not now, but, ideally, I would own the property outright.
I'm finding it hard to get the basic knowledge I need to go out and start evaluating places to buy land. I've been browsing landwatch and landandfarm.com
for a while but feel inadequately knowledgeable to make any moves as of yet. I know the tiniest bit now about zoning, and amenities like power, water, and sanitation. I don't really know where to start, there seem to be infinite variables. The one helpful bit, however, is I know generally what I'm after, that is:
-Warm place with little to no snow in the Southwest US. The bulk of my searching has been in Arizona, though not opposed to NM, TX, NV, OR.
-I'd like to be in a rural area 45 minutes max outside of a decent sized city, maybe 10k+ population.
-Want to be certain its legal to build a cement foundation and shelter for a fifth wheel RV in which I will live.
-This wouldn't be a dealbreaker if other needs were met but down the road I'd like to have a few egg laying chickens.
I know this is a massive undertaking and I just want to do all my due diligence and get things right the first time. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
In specific I've been looking in Arizona and I see a ton of lots for sale where the person has bought the lot for generally around $1500, then turns around the next day or two and lists the lot for sale for $3000 even though going rate is closer to $4k to $5k. I know this because I've been pulling the recorder records trying to figure out how they are acquiring them.
Thing is, most of these people are across the country and stay in their ads "I've never seen the property, sold as-is", so they aren't getting them on courthouse steps. But I watch auction.com, hubzu, bid4assets, etc and I can't find any record of them being sold there either. Nor can I find any record of them ever being listed anywhere online at all. I've also checked the back records for the county tax sales and these lots are not being liquidated there either.
Are they just like going directly to banks and asking for bulk lots? They are never really listed through realtor.com, mostly just through Craigslist and other sites like LandWatch and similar, though some do state they are realtors in different states sometimes.
Okay, firstly there seems to be 2 big streams of though on how we should go about doing this. The first is to create a floating community, either a barge or by connecting shipping containers. The second is to buy a plot of land somewhere. Before getting into details, I'd like to estimate that there would be at least 100 members of entlantis, as there are 1252 subscribers to this channel, and likely many more readers who don't subscribe. Now, the first big proposal was shipping containers all put together, either chained together and floating or put on some sort of boat hull. By the blueprints submitted, it looked like each person might get 1.5 containers to themselves, 2 for an individual, 3 for a couple or family, so ya approx. 1.5 per person. Now, the closest estimate we could get for the price of one shipping container is 2000$, and that's likely a lowball, but we'll take it for now. with 150 containers approximately, as well as those dedicated to power, farming, pot growing, ktichens, medical, and common areas, we are up to likely 200 containers for entlantis, and 2000 each. Now that's a lot of money, and persoanlly i don't have thousands of dollars to contribute, I could pitch a couple hundred, but not a couple thousand, and I suspect the case is similar for most of us (based on self-inflicted stereotypes). That's 400 000$ to be exact, for only 100 people. WOW. And that's just the containers. We still need to make the liveable, likely a few more hundred per container, on top of gardening, electrical and gardening supplies. Well now thats up to 500k total, for just 100 people. And then after the money's dealt with, there's still the danger of sinking, capsizing, storms, people going overboard and giant sharks (okay that last one is a stretch). Furthermore, we won't be able to farm animals, as it will be too space-limited, and the smell will be horrible after only a few weeks, which means no meat, likely for the rest of our lives, and personally, I've grown quite fond of bacon and hamburgers, especially while stoned. There's also the issue of an incredibly cramped lifestyle, with almost no privacy, and no possible way rolling a joint and going for a midnight stroll in the grass.
Now that I've said that, lets talk about the other possibility: dryland community. There are 2 sub-options for this: buying and island somewhere, or buying a large piece of land in the middle of nowhere. For the island option, the cheapest I could find was one in Chile for 250k. Then we'd somehow have to get everybody down to Chile, and across a few miles of ocean, which would no doubt run a huge cost. We'd have to bring all of our construction materials by boat, as islands with buildings already on them are in the millions. Frankly, this is not the best idea. **The only thing left is a plot of land in the middle of nowhere, and this is where my proposal begins. *
* Firstly, what would this community be exactly? It would basically be like living permanently at a summer camp from when you were a kid. We would get a couple acres of land, preferably half forested, half meadows, and set up a couple buildings. We would have cabins or longhouses to live in, all placed near to each other, then we would have another building for washrooms/showers for each gender, and finally a mess hall with a kitchen and dining area. We could also build buildings specifically to smoke up and hang out in. If we get the right piece of land, we could have a pond for watersports like canoeing, swimming etc, as well as forests for hiking and mountain biking and the fields for just laying down in an looking up at the stars or playing some soccer or frisbee. We can have campfires every night, or host some stoner comedies in the lounge. If you want some extra-private time, you can take a tent and go find a spot in the forest or on a hill and camp out for a few days. We could grow our weed in the field, right next to our vegetables, and have a barn/farm for animals a loooong way from the living quarters. The only two buildings that would need plumbing would be the showers and the mess hall, and we could draw it from our source of water. We would have septic tanks, and could reuse our waste as biofuel or fertilizer, but that parts optional if it grosses too many people out. There would be electricity provided by solar panels, biofuels, or other renewable energy (if we have a stream or river going through our property, we can set up hydro-electric generators)
Second, where would we set up? My conditions are:
a) warm climate, so that we can grow weed outdoors all year round, and we don't have to worry about including heating systems while building our structures, and that our running water supply doesn't freeze b) strong support for marijuana use/reform by the local culture, as if we set up in the bible belt, we will likely all spend a significant portion of our lives in jail. There are 18 states which have established medical marijuana programs, and several that are seeking to legalize in the 2012 election, so these are the obvious choices.
Together, these point to a few good states (I feel North America is the best, as I'm assuming many of us are already there, and Canada doesn't have a suitable climate despite nation-wide support for marijuana legalization): #1. California, #2. Arizona, #3. Colorado, #4+. Oregon, Nevada, Seattle, Montana
We would want at least a couple acres, as we would need several seperate buildings. Now as to the cost? With a quick 5 minute google search, I found dozens of properties, with the average for a decent sized piece of land going for 15,000. Here's 40 acres in California for 17,000: http://www.landwatch.com/default.aspx?ct=D&pid=224224859&mltmid=23111
That's pretty doable for 100 people, possibly more. Now we would still have to build cabins and such, which would run a few more thousands, but if we were good about using our resources to their fullest extent. There are thousands of possible locations for this, as a 10 second google search will show you.
Now as for the buildings, anything fancy will likely be too expensive for us, and so I believe the best thing to do is motel-style longhouses, where each building would be approximately 10 units long, 2 units deep, and possibly 2 units high, if we have the construction skills to do multilevel buildings. Each person would get their own unit, with electricity and internet access (we are internet-addicted redditors after all). Each unit would only be about 12x12, as they're mainly used for sleeping and browsing reddit. All other activities will be done in the community space, such as watching movies in the lounge area, smoking weed with everyone else all across the land, eating together in the mess hall, and doing our various tasks to keep ourselves self-sustaining.
We would need a source of income to buy various things from the outside world that we cannot produce ourselves, such as clothes, contraceptives, and to occasionally update our technology as it gets out of date, and for that we could grow crops and sell them at farmers' markets or marijuana and sell it legally to medical dispensaries. I think the second option is most feasible, as a medical marijuana crop is significantly more valuable than a bunch of vegetables, and if it becomes legalized then we can sell it ourselves. We would grow it organically, and hopefully we would have some very experience growers and could produce a quality crop that could command a couple thousand per pound, and with decent sized harvests, we could become quite a profitable enterprise, no living in squalor like we would on a barge.
I've already dressed a basis for our political system here: http://www.reddit.com/Entlantis/comments/plldp/politically_speaking_what_philosophy_are_we/c3rqsnb
. But it basically boils down to a utopian communism, where there is no currency in circulation amongst ourselves, everybody is treated perfectly equally and given an equal share of all our food and weed. All the money that we bring in from whatever ways will be used by the community as a whole, and will only be used when dealing with the outside world. Every citizen will have a equal say in all important matters, and everyone who wants to join is welcome to. Every 20 people or so would have the equivalent of an 'RA' from residences at universities, who would make sure everybody is performing their task in a timely manner, but would not have the authority to punish or give commands, which could be only done by the general collective. These groups of 20 people can be made into teams for intramural activities and light-hearted competition against each other, to keep things interesting, but in the end we would all be good friends :D
TL;DR: Permanent summer camp from when you were a kid, except with weed, and lots of it.