One of the biggest concerns for natural builders is finding affordable land for their homestead or sustainable home. Rural land is often the best solution not only because it’s less expensive than urban land, but also because there are usually fewer building codes. With few or no building codes, it’s possible to build at 1/10th the cost of building in cities if you use recycled materials like pallets and barn wood, and local natural materials such as earth, stone and wood poles.
I found an old CNBC article about free land in the US. Unfortunately, most of the links and specific land offers are no longer valid. However, the main point of the article is still true. There are rural communities in financial distress that are eager to attract new people and new jobs, and these places are offering land for free or dirt cheap.
Since the CNBC article wasn’t very helpful, I typed in the name of a state and the words Free Land in my favorite search engine to see what would turn up. Here are some of the results I found after a few minutes:
As usual, buyer beware. Do your research. There are reasons why the land is so cheap. For one, you’re often required to build a certain size house to their standards within one year. There are probably few if any jobs, and local services will likely be limited. As well, there may be land restrictions on animals, etc.
But don’t be deterred by the limitations. I’ve always believed ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’. If you’re determined to build your dream sustainable home on inexpensive or free rural property then be persistent. It took us a long time to find our homestead. There are countless thousands of small towns across the US that are hoping to increase their population. The land may not be totally free, but it’s often very affordable.
And remember, there are always options. I found this suggestion by commenter NativePrairieWolf on YouTube:
“Better way to go is do what I did, buy an old farmhouse outside a small rural town of 1,800 people in the Midwest on some cheap land and live there. My 2 bedroom, full basement, 1,000 sq ft house built in 1930 on 1/2 acre of farmland, with trees. It is surrounded by 30 acres of hayfields outside town and was $7,900 in 1998. It was in move-in condition and had gas heat, but of course needed work. I pay under $175/year for taxes. I get city water, sewer, and weekly garbage pickup for about $21 a month.” Land like this might make a great place to park a mobile tiny house. Another option is to buy an old cheap house outside of town and build your sustainable home on the same land. Some people classify these buildings as ‘outbuildings’ to circumvent codes and taxes. You can save a lot of money if the land already has electric, septic, roads, fences, etc.