It took us two long years to get here and it feels like we’re just beginning. We did so many things wrong, and we did a few right. We hope our experience will help you if you are looking for the perfect homestead property for your family.
how we went Looking for our perfect homestead
When we decided to start looking for our perfect homestead, the lifestyle wasn’t entirely unfamiliar. I grew up on a big Ag soybean and rice farm in the Mississippi Delta. We were twenty miles outside of town, so I was exposed to septic tanks, well water, pests, sketchy neighbors, poorly upkept roads, and all the other challenges that characterize rural life. If you haven’t shared these experiences, a helpful starting place for you would be researching all the potential issues you might face living outside of the city limits.
Once my husband and I were both firmly resolved to homesteading, we began getting our current house ready to hit the market. It was in really great shape except for needing some updating and small aesthetic changes. Even so, it still took forever! We found out that any type of construction progress was difficult with six children “helping” So we began thinking creatively.
We decided that our best option was to empty out house of all personal items. Then, move all nonessentials into storage and move our people into my parents one-room shophouse. Finally, we would sell our old house and begin looking for the dream farm. There were a couple concerns: 1. Is a one-room shophouse big enough for 8 people? 2. What if we can’t find a house and get stuck indefinitely? 3. Are space heaters and window units enough to heat and cool the space while we are there? 4. Can we all get along?
We addressed all the potential problems and decided that the benefits far outweighed the risks. Ultimately, in the current real estate market where contingent offers are rarely accepted, it was basically our only option.
Looking back, we are SO glad we did this! Our offer on the farm would never have been accepted if it were contingent. In fact, even without a contingency, we had several offers rejected on other properties… (And those offers were above asking price!)
staying present while looking for the homestead
So while the kids and I
struggled worked on staying present in daily life in a small, primitive space, Brandon stayed at the old house getting it ready to go on the market. He was also maintaining a full time, high demand full time job. So the work on the house was secondary and slow going. I was really hard and eventually we did it. When it listed, our house went under contract in 48 hours for our asking price.
During that time of waiting, (a little over two months) we committed to NOT looking for the homestead. Anything on the current market at that time would be only be gone by the time we were ready to buy. So looking would only add unnecessary pressure and a sense of loss to watch properties come and go. This is one of the major things I think we did right! It helped me especially to cultivate a contented spirit and stay present in daily life with the kids. The task of finding the farm felt HUGE. So we kept going back to the wise words of an old friend, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time.
Once the house was under contract and we were all in one place again, we had a brief period of rest until closing. I had a lot of really caring people send me houses during that time and it was really difficult for me to stick to my resolve and not get attached to certain ones. But ultimately, we ended up waiting until the house was SOLD before beginning phase two: the property search.