Are you looking for the best states for homesteading? Not sure if there are favorable homesteading laws in the states you’re looking into?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll reveal the top states for homesteading and provide essential information to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
We understand that everyone’s preferences and needs are different, so we’ll discuss various factors you should consider, including:
- Homesteading laws
- Property taxes
- Geography and climate
So, let’s dive in and explore the best places to start your off-grid, sustainable lifestyle!
The 5 Best States for Homesteading
Here are the five best states for homesteading that you should consider. Each has its pros and cons, which you should keep in mind before buying any piece of land within them.
Idaho is an excellent state in which to start your homesteading journey thanks to its highly arable and fertile land, many natural resources, and pleasantly-low cost of living.
Idaho’s natural beauty, seen in the rolling hills and mountains, can’t be ignored. You’ll indeed be able to appreciate it after buying the cheap land available in the state.
Idaho also offers lower property taxes, multiple state and local laws exempting taxes, solar installations, and relaxed homeschool regulations if you want to teach your kids yourself.
A few downsides of living in Idaho are the occasional natural disasters, harsh winters, and the high state income tax and state sales tax.
Iowa has some of the best arable land in the continental United States, making it a great candidate for those seeking food self-sufficiency. This is why so many farmers are based in Iowa.
The cost of living in Iowa is also relatively low. This includes low property taxes. Homeschooling laws are also relaxed if you’re looking to homeschool your kids.
If you’re looking into renewable energy and solar power, meanwhile, Iowa has $5,000 local tax rebates, and any purchases for solar installations are exempt from sales tax.
Finally, Iowa offers 100% or unlimited homestead exemption, which reduces the property tax rate the homeowner has to pay by a lot.
Another excellent option for finding land for homesteading is Tennessee, which offers a low cost of living that’s actually 10% below the national average.
It also has a seven-to nine-month growing season with fertile soil, low property costs, and relaxed state laws regarding homeschooling and even rain catchment laws.
Tennessee is also one of the only states to offer homestead exemptions of up to $5,000, protecting families from dealing with creditors with their Rural Homesteading Land Grant.
However, with the four seasons that Tennessee experiences come natural disasters like flooding and tornadoes, as well as higher sales taxes of up to 9.5%.
4. West Virginia
The affordable land, higher-than-average rainfall, suitable agricultural land, moderate climate, and beautiful rolling hills and valleys make purchasing land in West Virginia a great option.
It’s another state with hot summers and cold winters with a lot of rainfall that will help you grow your own food and raise livestock.
With some of the lowest property taxes combined with the lower cost of living, relaxed homestead laws, and cheap land prices, it is a fantastic place to homestead.
However, the hilly nature might not be the best for certain types of livestock, so keep that in mind before making any land-purchasing decision.
Wyoming might be for you if you want to make a homestead with authentic off-grid living and a low population density.
The benefits of living in Wyoming are the inexpensive land prices, relaxed homeschool laws, zero state income tax, relaxed building codes, and a significant amount of hunting opportunities.
However, the short growing season, harsher winters, the illegal nature of rainwater collection, and intense winds make the place unsuitable for some potential homesteaders.
What is Homesteading?
Homesteading was started in the 1860s, as The Homestead Act allowed citizens to stake a claim in public land area and make it their own land with a few conditions.
They needed to improve the land for five years, pay a small registration fee, and the land would be theirs. While this law was repealed in 1976, the homesteading lifestyle lives on.
Nowadays, homesteading is less about frontier living and more about getting into a mindset focused on embracing what you can, making the most of it, and being self-sufficient.
There are a few things that make a homestead. Some involve food independence, off-grid living, homeschooling your kids, and other unique skills depending on your region.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a State for Homesteading
You should consider a few factors when choosing a state for homesteading and as your permanent residence. Here are the most important ones.
- If the Homestead Law of the state has plenty of exemptions
- If the state has a very affordable cost of living
- If the state has low or high property taxes
- If the state has arable soil or land area
- If the state has a long or short growing season
Does the State Matter in Homesteading?
The state you choose matters a lot in homesteading – just the same as the type of agriculture and livestock you plan to raise or the solar panels you want to build.
The laws, population, and geography of the land are essential because they’ll influence how you live and adapt to the place, which is central to the act of homesteading.
Whether you’ll want to live in a place with a high or low-density population will also determine if you need more access to roads, if there’ll be farmer’s markets, and other factors.
You’ll want to research each state you’re considering before buying any piece of land to see if it fits your needs and personal preferences.
Whether your main focus when looking for a piece of land for homesteading is its natural resources, fairly dense population, or access to plenty of farmers’ markets, you’ll surely find the state for you.
While the variety of homesteading options may get quite confusing, remember that you should pick one based on your values and priorities, your needs, and your family’s preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Best States to Homestead in
After learning more about homesteading and the best states to do it in, you might still have other questions related to it. We’ve answered the most common ones in this section.
The top states that offer free land include Kansas, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Try to compare each state regarding taxes and legal protection to see which is better for you.
The states that offer land at the cheapest possible prices are Tennessee, Arkansas, and West Virginia. These states are all good locations to start homesteading in.
This is also called a homestead exemption, a legal means by which landowners can protect the value of their home and avoid property taxes, creditors, or other circumstances arising from the homeowner’s death.