I mean..how do you decide WHERE to go?
I know some folks out there consider family first, or jobs they already have, or maybe they just consider a certain area as "home".
Let's toss all sentimentality aside.
Forget the job.
Ignore the feeling of "home" in an area.
Pragmatism and logic must rule when you are looking for land!
I am going to start out with an overview of finding unimproved land, i.e., there is not a house on it. Probably not a well and perhaps no power lines in sight.
First things first:
WATER.A "must have".
If water is inaccessible or unattainable, you are screwed. All your dreams will come to naught. You can't grow a vegetable garden without water. Livestock will increase the need for water exponentially.
Drilling a well is expensive. Drilling a deep well is MORE expensive. You need power to run the pump.The deeper the well, the more power will be needed.
Also, in these days of government intervention in our lives, you have to find land that has water that you, as the land owner, have the rights to. You would think "Hey! MY land, MY water!". Nope...not so fast there...in many states--particularly in the western United States, you have to buy "water shares" to use water from a stream or brook or even a well on your property. In some states, you even have to have a permit to set up a rain barrel for water catchment!
You may want a fast running stream for "micro-hydro" to power your homestead...in some states the rules and regulations are so burdensome it makes such efforts impossible.
Consider your needs for water first and foremost, because without a decent water supply, none of your homesteading efforts will pay off.
LOCAL LAWS, BUILDING CODES, LAND USE LAWS
These are more important than you can imagine. Local or state governments can dictate what you do on your land, what and how you build on your land, what livestock and/or crops you can raise on your land and so forth.
You absolutely must investigate all of this BEFORE you plunk down a hefty sum of cash or sign away your next 30 years on a mortgage!
Even the federal government can rear it's collective ugly head and decide how you can use your land. A nature preservation area within X many miles of your property can rule out some types of livestock.
That eco-friendly off-grid house you were planning may be a "no go" if local laws insist you must be on the power grid, or connected to the local municipal water system, etc.
And for pity's sake, if the realtor tells you that there is a Home Owners Association (HOA) or there are *covenants* on the property---LOOK ELSEWHERE!
Check before you buy!
There is a book called Strategic Relocation. If you can afford it, BUY IT. It is a terrific investment if you are trying to decide where to live.It takes all facets into consideration.
Tomorrow....more on this topic