Move to a Different State Just for Homesteading?

Move to a Different State Just for Homesteading?

You may find that your current state is not conducive to building a homestead. This is because some states make it easier for you to acquire a plot of land, and the state’s laws will determine whether you can achieve the goals you have in mind. If harnessing solar power is something that you are interested in, then you must do your research on the federal solar tax credit, as it will allow you to deduct 26% of the amount required to install a solar energy system on your homestead from your federal taxes. In addition, some states may offer additional tax reductions or other incentives to nudge you toward going solar so that you can save a lot of money. Therefore, doing thorough research on which states provide this would be beneficial.

In some states, it may be illegal to go completely “off the grid” and sever your dependence on public utilities. This may not be a concern if you desire a backyard homestead, but it becomes important information if going 100% off the grid is one of your primary homestead lifestyle goals. Some states may allow for you to be off the grid, but you may be liable to pay extra fees for being able to have that in your home. Nevada is a state that abides by this, and solar users end up paying three times more than non-solar users (Vuković, 2020). Doing your research will allow you to make an informed decision on this.

All 50 states allow rainwater collection due to the newness of the practice. Yet, suppose you utilize your harvested water indoors for flushing and other services. In that case, you may stumble upon plumbing issues for “undrinkable or unusable water,” which may require you to dye the water another color or install a disinfecting system. This makes the process expensive. People have claimed that Colorado and Utah have laws against rainwater collection. This is not entirely true; they have hefty restrictions regarding indoor use. Alternatively, states like Georgia provide a tax exemption of roughly $2500 for anyone who abides by rainwater harvesting systems. The state of Texas offers tax breaks for communities and people who install rainwater systems. Santa Fe, New Mexico takes this a step further and makes it a requirement for aspiring residents to install these collection systems.

A particular area’s climate and natural resources will also determine whether you will succeed with your homestead. Nevada and Arizona are usually placed at the top of the list of best homesteading states due to the affordability of the land. However, cheap things do come at a cost. The dryness in these areas makes it difficult for crops to grow, so it is hard to live off the land. Similarly, extremely cold states only provide minimal time when the soil is fertile. This is where the USDA hardiness zone map comes into effect, providing a list of the zones that may be best for your needs. Zones 6a through 8b is known to be the best for homesteading. Zone 6 examples are West Virginia, Ohio, and Kansas; zone 8 examples are parts of Texas, Louisiana, and western coast of Oregon.

Schooling may be another factor to consider when choosing a homestead. It would be best if you considered that you will likely live in a remote area with no schools nearby. You will want to understand the state’s homeschooling laws. States like Oklahoma and Texas have no regulations, while New York and Pennsylvania have tight restrictions.

Where to Start

A homestead typically requires land, which is one of the biggest excuses people make when the conversation regarding becoming more self-sufficient comes up. However, there are no requirements for a homestead, and often, a tinier one is better for a beginner to manage, especially with land plots that are one acre or less. This space is sufficient for a family to reside and grow their food and adapt or make personal items. This is achieved by prioritizing food sources that don’t take up too much space. For example, with a third of an acre, instead of having large livestock, the family could opt for raising rabbits and chickens. This could allow room for a garden, a chicken coop, beehives, a firepit, fruit trees, and the main house. When starting a homestead, you can design it how you want and what is best for your family. Following are 3 examples of what a homestead could look like depending on the size of land you have. Keep in mind these are just examples and the more land you have the more options you can have if that is the goal for your family.

Adequate planning can lead to effective use of the plot. The common misconception is that a large block of land is required to have a successful homestead, which is usually a result of misunderstanding what a homestead is. The true marker of resourcefulness is being able to do a lot with a little. At the same time, having a larger rural-based homestead is also incredibly valuable if you want to live a more remote and off-grid lifestyle. Transitioning to a larger land plot will allow you to raise livestock and grow various products. The investment will be greater, but so will the rewards of your labor.


Although it is a remarkable pursuit, building a homestead is not cheap. The initial start-up costs may be loftier than you can imagine. It is not only a residence but also a place that generates sustenance, and all these sectors require serious investment. The good thing about a homestead is that whatever you buy today will end up paying for itself in the long term, taking the notion of investment to a whole new level. It does help to purchase the big- ticket items with money from savings all in one go and then slowly make other purchases over time.

The position you start from will determine how much you will spend on your homestead. We will use three families that come from 3 different situation to help understand how to do the process of where you might be. Family A already has the land and a house; family C has the land and no house, and family B has neither, placing them at very different starting points. These families will be introduced more later in the book. Moreover, the size and location of the homestead will also determine how much you will need to spend. Therefore, it is impossible to determine how much you will need since everybody starts from different points and not everyone wants the same things on their homesteads.

The first step is to create a budget for your family if you have not already done so. If you don’t have a budget and in debt, I would advise you to get the “Dave Ramsey: The Total Money Makeover” book off amazon to help guide you to get debt paid off and a budget going before starting a homestead. If you’re choosing to do a homestead to help with your budget. This book will help but do your homestead on a small scale and try to do things as cheap and easy as possible and not go into more debt. If you have the cash, then get what you need if not than save cash for it. As your budget gets better than you can replace items with better quality items. For example, going to Dollar Tree to get your seeds, gloves, pots and so forth. But as your expenses and debt go down you can upgrade to better quality items from stores like Home Depot or a good online gardening website to get your seeds, raised beds and so forth. You need to make a report that contains your source or various sources of income, monthly and annual expenses, and savings information. You will want to differentiate between your flexible and fixed expenses to get a clear picture of where you have leeway to be more flexible. Once you have a record of all your expenses, join them together and deduct your expenses from your income to see how much you have left. Note: budgeting is something you should be doing at least once a month or even every time you get paid so that you know you’re on track with paying off debt and your savings. This can be done with pen and paper or if your computer savvy on an excel spreadsheet. Ideally, there will be money that you can use to pay off debt or save up for items for your homestead, which will help you start your homestead with a clean slate. This is the best way to go about venturing into any project. People tend to avoid the long saving process because they want things now and believe taking out a loan can get them there faster. However, you end up paying far more for your debt in the long run, and if the aim is to be self- sufficient, then it is best to do everything in your power to start debt free. You may need to forgo some of the luxuries of today for a long time, but it will pay off in the end.

The second step will be to create a plan for your homestead. This will involve goal setting and listing all your priorities. When you begin the project, you will be able to focus on the things that need to be completed first. Ideally, your plan will focus on the bigger picture, encompassing a 5–10-year plan. Once you are done with that and begin purchasing what is required, be prepared for the unexpected. Homesteading is a lifelong project, and there will be times when things don’t go according to plan, as with any project you undertake. Therefore, it is always best to have a fund that accounts for the unexpected. This ensures you stay prepared, calm, and, most importantly, far from loans and creditors. An emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of money for unexpected payments is a safe range.

Another tip is to engage in research continuously. This will help you stay on top of the game for the best possible investment required for your vision. For example, researching purchase costs, feeding costs, vet visits, and housing arrangements are crucial if you are keen to raise livestock on your homestead. This is a long-term project, and with every new year comes new prices. Take this into account. If you are just starting out your budgeting journey and paying off debt doing this research could help you stay motivated to your goals.

Most importantly, do your best to live within your means. The budget is not a suggestion guide; it’s meant to be adhered to for you to live the best way possible. It is tempting in our consumerist culture to constantly purchase things you don’t need, but you must try your best to avoid this behavior. Every dollar counts. Only spend on things you can afford and be realistic about how much you can invest into your homestead. The key is to remain debt-free at all costs so that you may enjoy your homestead.

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