The Homestead Act of 1862 promised 60 acres of land to families who stayed on the property for 5 years and farmed it for prosperity. Today, cities and towns are once again resurrecting homestead incentives – but for different reasons.
Instead of trying to populate an area that’s never seen the activity before, it’s now because of the need to populate areas where homeowners and businesses have gone bankrupt and abandoned the location.
In just about every state in America, you can find properties and locations that are being given away for free – as long as a few provisions are met. For example, there might be a requirement that you have a contractor within a certain amount of time to begin building on a lot.
Another incentive is the tax break you get from developing one of these properties. Some cities give a generous 70% tax break for a period of time. Depending on whether it’s a home or commercial development, you might even get a higher tax break.
But not all free property is a good property for homesteading. As a prepper who wants to be self-reliant, you can’t just go into any area and take land and consider it worthy of raising a family on.
You may want to pay for your property instead – if it has good soil, an ample water supply, and is positioned in a way that enables you to have quick access without being readily found by the masses.
Homesteading was officially repealed as a law in 1976, but you can still look for opportunities that specific places are offering for future developments. Cheap land is abundant, too – but the price isn’t the only qualifying feature.
You should prioritize your needs. If it’s farming you want to focus on, then you need to secure land with rich, fertile soil that will yield a high dose of crops to feed your family. If your primary concern is isolation, then you’ll want more land at a cheaper cost.
Land in the South will typically be less expensive than land up North – and the Southern states will have a longer growing season for those of you who want to farm and grow your own crops.
Make sure you understand the tax issues for the property you’re considering purchasing. Every state has different tax requirements, so while the per-acre price might be attractive, it might end up costing more in taxes than another area where the initial price is higher, but taxes remain low.