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Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!
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Ok folks, I am looking for answers to the below question for a book that I am just getting ready to publish. The book is basically done and edited but the publisher and I wanted to expand some of the lead in information. By getting other opinions we can get away from a one sided opion. there will be two other questions following this one.

Choosing the right homestead? ie what do you consider the most / least important factors.

Please note that any answers to this post may or may not appear in print, minus your name and info of course. It will not appear in print verbatim as we are more looking for data to compile.

Thank you.
 

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Wouldn't it depend a lot on what you hope to accomplish homesteading? I'd "like" 700 acres in Nova Scotia, but to do what we hope to, (and do in large part) the over taxed, and over regulated 70 acres I have here in Ontario suit the goal better. So I guess the most important consideration is that the area you choose suits your goals.
 

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Our most important consideration aside from location, was a good, reliable source of water. It has a deep well, 2 ponds, & a spring-fed creek. It was also important to have several acres of cleared land for pasture, so we didn't have to do a lot of clearing.
 

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i pay most attention to what is growing on the land, and how much real privacy it has. i feel like daniel boone who said if he could hear a neighbor's dog bark, they were too close.
 

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An independent supply of water. Spring. Everything else is optional!
 
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I can tell you what my wife and I looked for, others will naturally differ.

#1- No matter what, our mortgage payments could not be so large that we'd be in real danger of losing our home if either my wife or I lost our job. We bought less than that the bank said we could have as a result of that.

#2 - It had to feel safe. We came here to raise a family so I did not want to be in a position where I felt like I had to worry every time my children were out of my immediate sight. If the neighborhood didn't feel right I struck it off no matter what the other qualities were like.

#3 - It had to be reasonably close to work. We put a thirty mile limit (one way) on how far out we'd look so that we wouldn't have to spend long hours on the road. Another way to look at it would be a limit on commute time. Some routes into town take longer than others, but this kind of thing changes over time.

#4 - It had to have a site built home - no mobile homes. We were living in a mobile home at the time and were prejudiced against them though sometimes it's about the only real choice you have.

#5 - There had to be sufficient acreage that I could put in fruit trees, a large garden, and have enough left over for at least poultry and a decent yard. In practical effect we were looking at land between two and twenty acres.

#6 - The zoning had to be acceptable. I might have eventually settled for "rural residential" but I really wanted "agricultural" or "rural residential/agricultural." No deed restrictions, no covenants, no home owners associations, no county or city busybodies minding my business for me.

#7 - No really close neighbors. Can't put a linear distance on that as lay of the land, trees, and so on have a lot to do with how near one perceives the neighbors to be. At DunHagan our nearest neighbor's house is about eighty or ninety so yards away on the other side of a band of trees where we cannot directly see one another. I can see two other neighbor's barns or outbuildings from the house, but they're all two hundred or more yards away. Near enough that if all hell broke loose they might hear it, but far enough away that we all have some privacy.

#8 - The lay of the land, soil, trees, etc, had to be such that I could pursue my agricultural interests. I gave a bit on this one in terms of soil fertility to get the rest of the above, but it's nothing that several years effort cannot amend in time.

#9 - There had to be at least one outbuilding suitable for storing stuff in. Like many other homesteaders I'm a packrat. Everything cannot - and some should not - be kept in the house. I may have budged on this one if the other factors were good, but building construction is not one of my strong points, I don't take pleasure in it, and it would have forced me to take time away from those pursuits that I do enjoy and that needed doing.

That about sums up the decision criteria my wife and I used.

.....Alan.
 
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