top of page
Search

The Land Ownership Journey 🌎🌲

Advocating for the diversification of buildings, biomes, and businesses to establish sustainable legacies.

✔ The 3 key aspects to look out for when searching for land, and how to effectively analyze your property with a resilient design approach.

✔  5 Unconventional ways to finance purchasing land.

✔  DIY versus building an integrated team and ways to balance both



I love looking for land. I spend a lot of time scrolling through Zillow, Realtor and LandWatch for fun. I like looking in areas that have communities I align with, or landscapes that I appreciate.


And as exciting as it can be, it can also be overwhelming, and I've encountered roadblocks along the way. Finding the right property for my specific needs could take years, so I've learned to not rush the process.


If you are just starting this journey, I'd love to share with you what I've learned thus far. With an eye for holistic land development, I hope my experiences can guide you to secure your dream property.



1. BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY

To kick things off, I identify generally what communities and places I resonate with. I initially searched for properties with NO FILTER, allowing me to explore properties freely. Even though nailing down a budget is important, I have found it's better to just START looking. Giving myself an understanding of the local market pricing and what's available in that region allows for me to observe local trends.

2. REFINE YOUR FOCUS

Once I can see the ranges of prices and possibilities, I circle back to my criteria and budget. I continue to look broadly at regions.

Some things I like to look out for:


  • Access: Road maintenance & proximity to the desired town

  • Natural Resources: Water, Existing Utilities, Soil type

  • Acreage & Zoning Regulations: Allowed activities, Building usage, setbacks, HOA's

3. GET ORGANIZED

I like to keep an active spreadsheet with these links for easy reference. This spreadsheet includes notes to remind me why I selected a particular property along with some of its pros and cons. It serves as a helpful tool to keep me on track during drivebys or tours when required. Additionally, setting up automatic updates ensures I stay informed about new listings.

P.S. Many of the problems you may see with a property can likely be remedied (like poor soil, limited water, ect). Recognize challenges and make trade-offs that work for you. We need more people like you to regenerate land that has been compromised!


How To Effectively Analyse Land


When narrowing down your choices to a specific property, delve into a more detailed analysis of selected options. During a site tour, pay particular attention to three crucial aspects: Climate, Terrain, and Local Context.

1. CLIMATE


Understanding the microclimates can reveal what potential opportunities or challenges you might run into. Be sure to observe the following:


  • Temperature (seasonal and daily variations, site microclimates)

  • Water (Rainfall, Snowfall, Aquifers, Catchment, Flow direction)

  • Wind (Seasonal Prevailing winds, variations, and extremes)

  • Plant Life / Shading (Density, species, habitats, solar gain)

2. TERRAIN


Conduct a thorough examination of the property's terrain. Look around and be sure to collect data on the following:


  • Topography (slopes, erosion)

  • Soils (clay, sand, rock, soils report)

  • Views (connection to nature, privacy)


A helpful reminder: While building on a slope is feasible, cultivating food on a slope may pose challenges without extensive earthworks.



A NOTE ON LOCAL CONTEXT


Understanding your neighborhood's history and culture is crucial for respecting the region and its existing systems. By expanding your perspective beyond the property itself, you gain valuable insights into the past and future of a given area.


Be sure to look into the following:


  • Vernacular Architecture: Styles and materials of historic buildings in the area

  • Land History: Records on previous use of land

  • Neighbors: Proximity, views, noise

  • Animal Habitats: species, migration paths, and habitats



Unconventional Ways To Purchase Land


Investing in sustainable properties often demands significant upfront capital, leading many to opt for loans despite having available cash. Exploring unconventional financing methods beyond conventional bank loans can be beneficial. Here are five options I've recently been exploring:

1. USDA Loan Programs: Explore USDA loan programs, especially if you plan to build in a rural, non-income-producing area. Various programs, such as the 'single family housing guarantee program,' cater to diverse income categories in local regions.

2. Ag/Farm Credit Programs: Connect with local banks through Farm Credit programs for land and construction loans, potentially securing better deals for larger agricultural lots.

3. Foreclosure/Auction Listings: Explore community auctions, foreclosure, or wholesale sites for unique and cost-effective property listings. Local searching may be necessary, but auctions can offer substantial savings.

4. Private Lending: Reach out to friends and family, sharing your sustainability goals. Pooling funds from multiple investors or seeking private lending can be wise; ensure clarity on terms and conditions through a written contract.

5. Seller Financing: Negotiate with the landowner for a financing arrangement, making payments directly over time. This can be more flexible and involve lower upfront costs compared to dealing with traditional financial institutions.

PRO TIP:

In many local jurisdictions, agriculturally zoned land offers flexibility in building and activities. Additionally, you might find better financing options for agriculturally zoned land.



DIY versus Collaboration


Choosing between DIY and an integrated team for your sustainable home project is a balancing act.

Opting for an integrated team ensures a smoother process, minimizing surprises. Get professionals involved early; even if you don't keep them throughout, even a brief hourly consultancy can provide as valuable insights. DIY home design offers flexibility, but it demands a deep understanding.

Consider bringing in experts as consultants to avoid costly mistakes. These may include planners, contractors, surveyors architects, engineers, designers, landscapers, and sustainability consultants. There are a lot of professionals to learn from along the way!

Striking the right balance means leveraging expertise while retaining control—creating a resilient home from a solid foundation.



Directory Update


Great news— We now have 450+ listings on the NatureAlly directory worldwide!


If you're looking to build a resilient property, this is a great place to get connected to the right professionals in your area.

If you're a professional, and your business meets our criteria, we would love to get you listed. Respond to this email to start a conversation!




Interested in building a resilient property?



P.S. I've been cautious about providing ready-made digital house plans because of the many different bioclimatic factors a given location can have. Yet, I'm thinking of creating compact guest house plans tailored to the four major climates.

My aim is to offer a quick start for those wanting to build small sustainable homes.

Do you think climate-specific home design packages would be beneficial? 

Respond to this email and let me know!

 







 

We are on the precipice of a new era in architecture.  

 

The choices we make greatly shape our future generations. Building sustainably isn't just about being eco-friendly, it's about building a better quality of life today for the generations to come.  It sparks creativity and brings economic and social opportunities to the community at large.

 

I hope the next time you're faced with the decision to build resiliently or not; you choose to craft a legacy of sustainability that'll stand strong for ages to come.


67 views0 comments

Comments


JOURNAL
Screen Shot 2023-10-21 at 7.03.29 PM.png

 CHRISTINA

I love all things natural. I love building places we can call home and in turn be our most authentic selves. 
 

Although I specialize in architecture and interior design, I appreciate all forms of design where form and function are in balance.

My hope is to inspire others to find eco-friendly options valuable and beautiful. 

This is where eco meets elegance... 

HEY THERE!

MY NAME IS

DO YOU DIY?

Get the tools and wisdom you need for your next home design project! 

DIY ECO HOME

Resources

YOU DONT HAVE
TO DO IT ALONE!

NEED AN
EXPERT?

YOU DONT HAVE
TO DO IT ALONE!

Designing a sustainable home is no easy feat. It takes a whole team to get the job done right. Whether you have a project your working on now, or are thinking of developing a holistic property in the future, we've got you covered!
 

  Lets start the conversation!

Until next time, 

Untitled_Artwork.png
bottom of page