If you hear the word “homesteading,” do you think of living in the country, off the grid, growing your own food? It’s a bit of a stereotype! While it is true for some homesteaders, it’s certainly not for all.
Well, think of it as a continuum of activities focused on cost-savings, environmentally-conscious living, and food production and preservation. The fundamental tenets of homesteading are sustainable living and self-reliance. There are urban homesteaders as well as those who live on large acreages. Some make their homes near big cities - Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, for example - while others live miles away from their nearest neighbor!
Homesteading is a lifestyle, and each homesteader chooses the self-reliant activities that work for them. Some maintain their own food sources with gardens and livestock. Others focus on energy sources by living off the grid or installing solar panels. For most homesteaders, Internet access is a priority!
From a real estate point of view, “homestead property” is more a state of mind rather than a strict set of property parameters. In North Carolina law, a “homestead exemption” law may lower your property tax and protect a portion of your property from creditors in case of bankruptcy or other financial hardship.
There are strict guidelines regarding who is eligible for a homestead exemption, usually along the lines of age, income, disability status, veteran status, and occupancy.
The protection against your property being seized by a creditor is subject to some exemptions, so it’s not guaranteed. It’s probably best to consult an NC attorney for clarification.
In general, when looking at property for homesteading, check out planned development reports for the area, research soil quality and water sources, zoning, and make sure there's a solid road to access the property. Don’t forget Internet availability!
If you think of a homesteading lifestyle as focused on sustainable living practices, you can start living as a homesteader no matter where your house is located. Many urban homesteaders “start small” with these sustainable living practices.
There are federal and state rebates (via Duke Energy) for NC residents installing solar panels in their homes. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 allows for renewable energy tax credits for fuel cells, geothermal heat pumps, and small wind turbines, with guidelines similar to those for solar energy systems.
Rainwater collection or rainwater harvesting means collecting the run-off from a roof into downspouts and storage units. A collection system can be as simple as funneling water into a rain barrel or as elaborate as storing enough rainwater in large tanks to meet the demands of the entire household.
Homeowners without room for outdoor gardens also grow herbs indoors, sometimes devoting entire walls to the effort.
A root cellar or a simple cold storage area can be created in homes with basements. Pickling and canning/preserving fruits and vegetables is another common practice for homesteaders, and basements provide excellent storage.
Urban homesteaders without their own yards may also participate in community gardens or co-ops to grow fresh vegetables in their own space.
Homesteaders sometimes choose to homeschool their children. In some areas with homeschool groups, students get together with other families for social activities to supplement the home education.
Many homesteaders who start making candles and soap for personal use can create secondary businesses, selling to others. Fresh fruits and vegetables from their own gardens can also supplement income.
If you’re interested in learning more about homesteading, this website is an excellent place to start: Thrifty Homesteader.
North Carolina is considered one of the top US states for maintaining a homesteading lifestyle. Our climate and geography are well-suited for farming and raising livestock. Most homesteaders choose places in the Piedmont and western North Carolina, although we have available property in the Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham area, too.
Although the average temperatures in the mid and western areas of the state are not as warm as coastal regions, they are still mild and conducive to a long growing season. And, of course, no pesky hurricanes!
Several existing homesteading communities in the state offer new homesteaders the opportunity to plug into existing resources and experience.
Current government regulations - building codes, zoning, and guidelines on landscaping and animal keeping - must be considered when choosing a homestead location. Homesteaders selling eggs and livestock may also need to consider food safety guidelines. Most livestock can only be raised on properties above a particular acreage overall; a rule-of-thumb of one to two acres per cow is a best practice.
So the answer to “what is homesteading” turns out to be more a state of mind than a single cut-and-dried definition. The good news is that there are properties within our Triangle area where you can create your own homestead. Then, you can choose as many activities along the continuum as you have room or energy for.
If you’re interested in finding or purchasing property with acreage in the Triangle area, we’d love to help. See the listings below or click this link to see available large lots in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill.
Price Improvements!11.3+- Acres Mini Farm! 577' road front, cleared & wooded, also 2.7+-Acres portion at back of land that is part of much larger pond owned by adjoining...
12.82 +- acres Mini Farm on the Corner! Possible to subdivide from 25.18+- Acres prior to settlement. Build your dream home with room for hobby farm , Horses, grow your v...
This 12.3 acre farm with a house for $289,000, is part of a draft division of 8600 Siler City Glendon Rd (plats 4360, 71247, 4362) into 4 lots (1 Farm, 2 House,  and [...
Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2022 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .