Choosing a place to homestead is far more challenging than buying a home in an urban area.  First of all, once you choose the general geographic location it will most likely cover a far wider area than any single Realtor will be willing to research.  We worked with a half dozen Realtors, each of them knowledgeable and willing to travel only around a small radius from their own town.  Those that “specialized” in rural properties were the worst of all and rarely returned calls or followed up on properties.  I was routinely surprised at their lack of professionalism and their laissez-faire approach.  Ultimately we did all the work ourselves, then worked with the Realtor who represented the seller of the land and got an attorney to represent us.

There are so many variables to consider when choosing a place for your future homestead, but the most important factors will be proximity to family, urban centers, per acre cost, and possibly work.  In our case, with family spread out, that was not a concern.  We wanted to be as far away as possible from any city, large or small, but with an international airport within a few hours drive.  Our priority was to feel as remote, preferably on a dirt road leading to nowhere, so far from any main road that there would be no reason for cars to be on it unless they belonged to one of our very few neighbors.  We spread out the map, started driving, and took notes.  Areas with a lot of evidence of drilling, logging, or mining were immediately x’d as were areas that were along main roads or had the potential of becoming main roads based on other factors.

This will not and most likely should not be the main criteria for the potential homesteader.  After all, it excludes us from considering the city as a place to sell whatever crafts or crops that might someday help to support our lifestyle.

Yeah, but why East Texas?  I get that a lot.  I have family on both coasts and scattered throughout the mid-west and Texas initially was at or near the bottom of my list of places to live.  First choice would have been Northern Spain, second choice Alaska, but they both pose a whole new set of challenges.  Maybe someday?  I’ll keep dreaming.

Before coming here I had the same stereotypes of Texans as many people do.  I thought they were annoyingly proud Bible-preaching rednecks and not my lot of folks by a long shot.  Still, we had to be within a reasonable commute to hubby’s job in the Gulf of Mexico, so that limited our options considerably since commuting by plane would not fit into our view of suitability, not to mention our budget.  Furthermore, flying commercial airlines in this country has become more maddening than traveling on a Soviet-era bus.

After two tries to live on the Gulf, both times shooed out by 100-year hurricanes, New Orleans for Katrina and Galveston for Ike three years later, I developed a deep fear of the deep south.  It got crossed off the list permanently.

Since coming East Texas I must now admit, I have a whole new respect for the redneck, and actually intend to emulate them myself.  I hope that statement sparks your curiosity enough so that you tune in next time when I’ll tell you why!