The "urban homestead" movement is becoming more popular, as people choose to use their relatively small urban and suburban lots to grow their own food or even raise livestock in a bid for a bit of self-sufficiency. If you would like to try your hand at this, then finding the perfect single family home for your mini-farm is key. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Avoid HOAs
An HOA is a homeowner's association. While there are many benefits to belonging to one, a home in an HOA governed neighborhood may not be the best option if you want to turn your yard over to vegetable growing. Most HOAs will allow you to have small gardens in a back yard, but things like how you landscape visible areas or raising chickens are often dictated by the HOA guideline. Plus, these guidelines can change in the future if the board decides, so a homestead-friendly HOA today may not be as tolerant later.
Tip #2: Know city codes
Local codes should also play a major role in your decision making process. For example, if your city doesn't allow vegetable gardens in front lawn areas, then make sure you choose a home with ample backyard space. Or, if there are no chickens allowed within city limits, but you can have them just outside city limits on the outskirts of town, then you may want to expand your search. Property size may also be a concern, since some cities allow activities like small livestock or beekeeping, but only on properties of a certain size.
Tip #3: Have a plan
You need to have a basic plan for your homestead before you begin looking at single family homes for sale. Include things like how many square feet of vegetable garden you desire, whether fruit trees or shrubs are wanted, and what types of animals you would like to raise. If your goal is to have a ton of vegetable-growing space, for example, and the bulk of the available yard is shaded by neighbors' trees, the house probably won't work with your plan. Homes that have a lot of the basic infrastructure in place, such as sturdy fencing or a nice garden shed, can also save you money and time since you can easily turn these over to your homestead goals. By knowing what you want before you shop, you can weed out homes that seem perfect but have difficult to overcome limitations.
For more help, talk with a real estate agent about your needs.