Homesteading has been a common practice being used by most people. According to Merriam-Webster, Homestead means a piece of government land that a person could acquire by living on it and farming it when the western part of the U.S. was being settled. In addition, it is a home and the land around it. In a more legal definition, Homestead is a tract of land acquired from U.S. public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract.
Homesteading is quite important and there is a need to make sure that your land is safe. Furthermore, the assurance of your rights to the land in relation to the regulations of your state. But, there is one question that continues to boggle the minds of land owners. Can they still get free land from the government?
What is Homesteading?
The answer to that question will be discussed later on. Before moving on to the more technical part, let us first talk about the nature of homesteading. What is homesteading?
As Wikipedia defines it, “homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale”.
Basically, homesteading is the act of being self-sufficient. It is utilizing your land to provide and meet the needs of yourself and your family. Homesteading can be made in to a lot of things as what Wikipedia informed us above. It is a practical means of survival, if we must say.
Homesteading allows you to create your own lifestyle. You can be in-charge of what you bring in to your house and your body. It is also a security from all the commercialized products that are now becoming more harmful by the minute.
There is no definite picture as to what homesteading should look like. Then again, you create your own lifestyle, with your own pace and perception of it. As long as you are being self-sustaining through utilizing the resources around you, that could be homesteading.
There is a common misconception that you need acres of land to do homesteading. As a matter of fact, that is definitely untrue. You could have a small lot of land and still nurture and develop it to create something useful.
How is Homesteading Important?
By how we defined homesteading, as a means of self-sustaining practice, it is indeed important.
Nowadays, there is no certainty that what we use or consume are 100% pure and safe. Especially considering that our generation today has become more advanced and technical. The discovery of new technologies and products, and the intention of achieving convenience in a little to no cost, has become the priority of most manufacturers of different line of businesses. For that reason, the products being made are no longer considered safe.
For example, apples are considered perfect when they are shiny. However, it takes extra effort and attention to achieve such results. So, what takes into place is that they use candle wax to rub on the apples for it to shine. Basically, they just plant or buy apples with no quality check mostly and apply the wax to make it seem perfect. This type of act is not only done with apples alone. But, a number of products is already following this untrue act.
Homesteading became the perfect remedy because of these kinds of situations. With homesteading you can guarantee yourself with freshness, pureness and safety. You can nurture and take care of the land. At the same time, while being sure of the things that you use for your products. You no longer need to worry of certain chemicals or substances that could harm the human health. For the reason that homesteading gives you full control as to what to use and produce. Furthermore, you can monitor the progress of whatever it is you are developing and ensure its optimum quality.
What it Means to Get Free Land?
Given all of these, you might want to consider homesteading too. But, the main component of homesteading is having the land under your name and care. Surprisingly, looking for such a land has become difficult in this day and age. The government has had distributed free lands to homesteading aspirants. But, is the government still offering free lands?
A place where land is free is considered fairly difficult to find. Unfortunately, it is a matter of coincidence and pure luck to be able to acquire free land. Usually, free lands are being offered to communities where growth is needed and urgent. These communities are normally not that advanced. People who plan to move in to these places may experience a sudden shift in lifestyle. The feeling of convenience is hard to achieve in these places. In order to put things in to picture, mostly these places do not have gas stations, hospitals, stores and other means of convenience.
On the other hand, this just means that you will no longer pay property or state income taxes.
Moving to a place where free land is offered may not be for everyone. First off, most of the sites that offer free land are in small communities that need growth. There may not be much going on in these communities, and you will need to be comfortable living in such an environment. You will most likely be living in a place without a gas station or other conveniences. However, this also means you will not need to pay property or state income taxes, and you will most likely be in the middle of nature.
Can we Still get Free Land from the Government?
It is sad to say that there are no longer free lands made available for homesteaders. The federal program that allows free distribution of land for homesteading purposes has been removed. Basically, all available lands that are owned by the government are being marketed at a reasonable value.
The U.S federal government used to offer such benefits. But now, they no longer offer free land anymore. Moreover, there are only a number of states left who offer free land. This includes Iowa, Kansas, Alaska and Michigan. However, each state requires different requirements in order to be eligible for such program. If you meet the requirements, you are considered to avail their free offered land.
How did this Take Place?
Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLMPA), the federal government took over ownership of public lands and abolished all remaining traces of the often-amended Homestead Act of 1862.
Specifically, the FLMPA declared that “the public lands be retained in Federal ownership unless as a result of the land use planning procedure provided in this Act, it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest…”
On the other hand, there are cases wherein you are allowed to have free land property. But, there is an underlining condition above it. You can be able to have free land but only in a limited number of places. These places are small communities that are in need of further development. You must create something that could benefit the community or provide growth to it. Examples would be, creating job opportunities for the locals.
The Other Way Around towards Obtaining Free Land
The internet has all the answers that you need. In this case, you need to find free land. What you need to do is to search for a local, small community that offers such program. But, keep in mind that although the land is technically free, there will be certain demands to follow. These demands or follow-through differs from one state to the other.
Never be fooled by the federal government. There will be times wherein they will seem to have free land available. They will persuade you in to taking advantage of their offer. It may sound promising and worth your while, but be careful and think smart. Homesteading was abolished from the government long before already. Hence, free lands for further development are no longer a part of their program. Which means, if ever they try to offer you something promising, always remember that it will require you to do something in return for them. This will leave you probably in a hole wherein you will find it difficult to get out from. Furthermore, advertisements of free land from federal governments are not to be trusted because these are mostly illegitimate.
In general, when you are trying to look for free land do your research carefully. Study the laws and regulations of that particular community where you want to acquire land. Always know your rights and assure the legitimacy of the process. It is important to be knowledgeable and to be informed regarding the technicalities of such matter. This will provide you with security and shield from scammers or frauds.
The Advantages of Homesteading your Property
A homeowner’s understanding when it comes to homesteading her property most often has to do with the property-tax exemption. Generally, this advantage of homesteading pertains to shielding a portion of a home’s value from property taxes. Often, a typical homesteading advantage is that it’ll exempt the first $25,000 to $75,000 of a home’s assessed value from all property taxes. With a $50,000 homesteading exemption, you’ll only owe property taxes on the home’s remaining assessed value.
Forced Sale Immunity
If you are homesteading, you are secured from the forced closure of your property. For instance, if you applied for a certain loan through financing and for some reason fails to comply with the payment, the company is in no power to confiscate your land or home property. As oppose to before that creditors or other companies have the ability to force buy the clients property. This is to make up with all the debts of that client. But now, through the homestead exception, your land and home is secured from this kinds of transaction. However, such exemption has its limitations unfortunately. The limitations vary from each state. Usually, the homestead exemption does not apply for mortgage foreclosures or defaulted property taxes.
Surviving Spouse Advantages
In the event that your legal partner passes away, the laws regarding homesteading allows you to retain the rights to the property. In California, such homesteading laws are being strictly followed. This homesteading laws protects the surviving spouse’s rights with regards to their rights on the land and home property. As long as the surviving spouse continues to utilize and occupy the property, the surviving spouse retains its rights. The only limitation is that the surviving spouse should still continue with the other payment dues and mortgages to retain his or her homesteading rights.
In order for a person to homestead their home, the place or your property must be your principal residence. Particularly, in the state of California the homestead exemptions are only made effective if the property is legit. Otherwise, it will not be acknowledged and you may not declare homesteading on your property. In addition, certain states apply different laws regarding the same situation. Furthermore, your homestead exemption only lasts until you effectively and legally declare the abandonment of your homestead property. Usually, expiration of homestead exemption only happens if you declare a different home as your new homestead property.
Freedom and Independence
If you try to compare the busy, city life to the life you have when homesteading, you will realize that there is a major difference. In the city life, the environment seems to controlled and every move should follow a certain rule or policy. On the other hand, homesteading gives you the complete opposite. It gives you a sense of freedom and independence.
Yes, the city life promises the best accommodation and convenience we could possibly ask for. It has all the things we need when we need them. However, along with this convenient and somehow almost close to luxurious lifestyle is the endless restrictions from left to right. There are restrictions on the time we spent on the park, the mall, how and when should we park, hitting the gym, taking a dip from the pool and even the volume of our voice when we talk to people is restricted and that is only a few to mention. Yes, it is understandable that these are only to be followed for the peace and order of everything. But, sometimes, these restrictions are just too overwhelming.
Homesteading made it all different. You act on your own terms and on your own pace. No one or nothing can dictate the things that you have to and should do. Nonetheless, homesteading is not as easy as it seems. It takes a serious amount of effort and energy. But then again, you get to be your own boss.
Satisfaction of Living Securely and Responsibly
Homesteading allows you to explore and be creative. You get to play with your ideas and come up with something amazing. Furthermore, you need not to worry anymore by the things that you put in to your tables and house, in general. Especially for the food that you and your family consumes. With homesteading, you already have the ability to provide your household with everything that it needs.
Most importantly, with homesteading you and your family get to learn important skills and values that could benefit you in the long run.