Homesteading in Tennessee

Homesteading in Tennessee: Everything You Need to Know

Nadia Tamara Homesteading, Laws 3 Comments


Homesteading in Tennessee

Tennessee is popularly known as The Volunteer State. While the nickname was earned during the War of 1812, Tennesseans maintain the title for being some of the friendliest and most welcoming people around.

This state is a great place to start a homestead because the government encourages it, the cost of living is low, it’s home to amazing music, and it offers its residents a high quality of life in general.

There is a growing homesteading population here, probably because of the favorable laws and climate.


What is Tennessee's homesteading law?


Tennessee’s homestead law serves to protect the heritage of family land during difficult economic times.

Under the homestead protection, a resident of Tennessee does not have to give up their entire property to creditors if they are facing economic hardships. The home that is being vouched for as a homestead must be the primary residence of the owner’s immediate family, whether that is the owner itself, their spouse, or one of their dependents.

Those struggling to maintain their homestead financially can seek a Rural Homesteading Land Grant. Legal Beagle explains what this grant is, how it can be used, and how to get one.


Does Tennessee have a homesteading exemption?


Yes, it does! The homestead exemption can be found in the Tennessee Code Annotated § 26-2-301.

Section (a) of the homestead exemption states that: “An individual, whether a head of family or not, shall be entitled to a homestead exemption upon real property which is owned by the individual and used by the individual or the individual's spouse or dependent, as a principal place of residence. The aggregate value of such homestead exemption shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000); provided, individuals who jointly own and use real property as their principal place of residence shall be entitled to homestead exemptions, the aggregate value of which exemptions combined shall not exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500), which shall be divided equally among them in the event the homestead exemptions are claimed in the same proceeding; provided, if only one (1) of the joint owners of real property used as their principal place of residence is involved in the proceeding wherein homestead exemption is claimed, then the individual's homestead exemption shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000).”

This chart gives a great comparison of what Tennessee’s exemptions offer versus other states.

A homestead exemption is granted as an ‘automatic benefit’ in Tennessee. This means that homeowners don’t have to file a homestead claim at all. If you need to file for bankruptcy, you can claim the homestead exemption.


PROS and CONS of Homesteading in Tennessee


Benefits


  • The climate is mild, but you still get to experience all four seasons.

  • It’s a beautiful state boasting incredible landscapes and National Parks.

  • The cost of living is fairly low- it’s about 10% less than the national average.

  • Most cities offer quality healthcare.

  • The people are friendly and welcoming.

  • There is fertile land for farming, especially in the western and middle regions.

  • Water is not an issue most of the time. You could say Tennessee is practically drought-free.

  • The Great Appalachian Homesteading Conference is held in TN every year. It’s a great educational experience as well as a way to meet people in your area with similar goals.

Disadvantages


  • Tennessee is not immune to natural disasters. In fact, earthquakes, flooding, and tornadoes are somewhat common and expected.

Tennessee is a beautiful state, and in terms of homesteading, it has a lot to offer!


Homesteading in Tennessee

Is Tennessee the right state for you?


While I can’t answer this question for you, there are many factors that can influence your decision.

Here I highlight 22 requirements that are huge considerations for many people that are looking for a state to settle down and homestead in.


Make it or Break it requirements


1. Weather


In Tennessee, you will experience all four seasons. For the most part, you can expect warm summers and mild winters, although some areas get a little bit more extreme in the summer because of the humidity. Winters are cold but not too extreme; snow doesn’t usually stick around for more than a few days.

The coldest month is January with the lowest average temperature of about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest months are July and August with the highest average temperature of 90 degrees.

If you’re interested in a specific city, the US Climate Data’s website analyzes the average climate per municipality in Tennessee.

Click here to see a graph of Nashville’s yearly average daylight hours, sunshine hours, and a plethora of other climate-related information.


2. Annual Average Precipitation


Tennessee’s average annual precipitation is 53 inches.

The US Climate Data website offers insight into the annual precipitation details for every city.  

March is the wettest month, while September and October are the driest months (the dry season is fall).

With respect to water, regardless of how it comes (in liquid or frozen form), the eastern region receives more precipitation than the rest of the state. This map will give you a better idea. 


3. Natural Disasters


Tennessee has experienced major natural disasters in the past and undoubtedly it will continue to experience more in the future. The major disasters are tornadoes, earthquakes, and tropical storms.

Tornadoes: Even though Tennessee is not located within tornado alley, it is still known for having sporadic tornadoes. Typically they’re not severe but you should be prepared for it nonetheless. The state averages 31 tornadoes per year, with Middle Tennessee being the most vulnerable area.  

Earthquakes: Earthquakes occur in the far western and far eastern portion of the state. The New Madrid fault line runs along Western Tennessee where the magnitude of earthquakes are expected to be strong and devastating. The East Tennessee Seismic Zone is known for having more frequent seismic activity but the magnitude of earthquakes there average to about 2, so they’re less of a worry. Earthquake Track provides updated information on the most recent earthquakes in Tennessee.

Tropical Storms: Once hurricanes make landfall, they begin to weaken in strength while producing a lot more rain. By the time a hurricane coming from the Gulf of Mexico reaches Tennessee, it’s generally reclassified as a tropical storm because of its decrease in wind speed. Tropical storms can cause extensive damage because they’re accompanied by severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, and large hail. For many parts of the state, this results in flash flooding. Tennesseans should be prepared for tropical storms during the hurricane season (June through November).

The National Weather Service has dedicated a page to outlining past weather events and storm surveys. This page is current and has information of the major storms dating back to the late 1800s.


4. Terrain


Tennessee has a very diverse topography. The state is generally sub-divided into 7 landform regions.

Beginning in the far east, along the border with North Carolina, you will find the Unaka/ Great Smoky Mountains which is part of the Blue Ridge mountain range. This area is steep and rugged, therefore not ideal for farming. It has beautiful forests and streams which provide entertainment for outdoor enthusiasts.

The land between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau is the Great Valley of East Tennessee- also known as Valley and Ridge. It’s literally comprised of ridges and valleys. This territory is mainly used for farming.

The Cumberland Plateau is located in Eastern Tennessee. The terrain is steep and made up of compacted layers of sandstone, making it perfect for coal production but not for homesteading.

Nashville Basin, also known as the Central Basin, is a low-lying area completely surrounded by the Highland Rim. The Nashville Basin boasts fertile stream valleys although the terrain itself is not flat by any measure.

The Highland Rim has a very diverse terrain- there are parts with rolling hills, parts that are flat, and others that are very rugged.

The Gulf Coastal Plain is completely flat. You can tell by looking at the roads on a map because they’re so straight. The flat terrain is very convenient for both farming and homesteading.

Finally, we have the Alluvial Plain, also known as the Mississippi River Flood Plain. This is the land on the far western end that shares a border with Arkansas. The elevation is lower than the rest of Tennessee. As the name suggests, much of this area is prone to flooding due to the river overflowing, as well as landslides and mud. Some areas have been cleared and protected for farming but it’s not the ideal terrain for a homestead.


5. Soil Quality


Healthy and fertile soil are necessary for growing anything in your garden. The US Department of Agriculture provides some information on the soil health of Tennessee and videos highlighting farmer success stories from many different counties.

If you're familiar with soil types, I recommend you download and revise this highly detailed soil map of Tennessee, created by the US Department of Agriculture. It gives incredible insight into the types of soils that are found in each county.

In some areas, Tennessee has clay soil that is fertile for growing fruits and vegetables, while in others the clay is heavy and rocky making it difficult for farming. In most circumstances, the soil will need to be tilled and mixed with organic materials such as manure and compost. If the ground is too hard for tilling, building a raised bed is perhaps the next best option.

To avoid wasting too much time on gardening by “trial and error”, you should consult a local garden center for advice on the best practices in the area you’re planning to homestead in.

Another great opportunity would be to get involved with the Master Gardener Program through the University of Tennessee, where you learn the basics of horticulture, soil science, botany, and entomology. This course will give you the knowledge for a successful garden in your homestead. You can find a program in your county here.

This brief article mentions five essential soil facts for a successful garden in TN.


6. Growing Season


Due to its temperate climate, Tennessee has a long growing season. Depending on the types of plants you want to grow (warm-weather versus cold-weather crops) your plating time will slightly vary.

Dave’s Garden is an online tool that gives you an idea of how many days a city’s growing season will be. If you’re looking into several different areas, you can easily make a comparison of when to expect the first and last freeze. 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac created a crop-specific planting calendar for all the places in Tennessee. 

The University of Tennessee published this resource with tips on how to plan your garden and prepare your plants.


7. Access To Water


Tennessee has plenty of water to go around, especially in the eastern part of the state.

A complete guide to the water laws and regulations (including riparian and groundwater rights) can be found here.

One of the huge benefits of homesteading in this state is the right to use rainwater for personal use. This legislation was passed in 2016 under SB 2417 / HB 1850. As a homesteader, you should definitely invest in rain catchment systems.

Drilling a well or having one on the property is another option many homesteaders take advantage of, but it’s definitely something you have to plan and budget for. You have to be licensed by the state to drill a well


8. Possible Restrictions / Legal Considerations


  • Laws on the ownership of livestock and other animals:
    The laws on animals and animal husbandry can be found in the Tenn. Code Ann. § 44. I contacted the TN Department of Agriculture for answers on specific regulations about owning livestock. Although they weren’t able to give me a clear answer, they pointed me to a great resource. If you have any questions regarding what animals are legal to own in your area (or any other animal-related question), contact the UT Extension Service in your area. Not only will they be able to answer County-specific questions and concerns, but they will also teach you good farming practices.

  • Zoning laws:
    The power of a municipality to establish and enforce zoning laws are granted in the Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-7-201. Every municipality will have its own laws pertaining to what you can and can’t do with your land, up to what percentage of your lot can be occupied, and for what purpose. To find land use and zoning information for a specific municipality, Google the name of the city followed by “Tennessee Zoning Law”.

    If your heart is set on a piece of land, make sure to review the restrictions on it prior to purchasing the property. At the local County courthouse, you should be able to pull any documents associated with the land and find the restrictions outlined there.

  • HOAs and CC&Rs:
    Homeowners Associations establish Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions in their neighborhoods. Some people are okay with an association that tells them what they can and can’t do with their property, but I’m willing to bet that most homesteaders already have a unique vision for their future abode. If the home or property you’re interested in is part of an HOA, revise their CC&Rs before purchasing it. With your goals in mind, be sure that the regulations don’t get in the way of your plans. If they do, look elsewhere.

  • Reservation of Rights:
    Before buying property, be aware of any “Reservation of Rights” in a deed.

  • Living in an RV / tent:
    Many people envision themselves buying a portion of land and living in their RV while the construction of the home is taking place. Although it sounds ideal, it’s not legal in most places. Look into CC&Rs and local laws before you decide to make this decision. Every county has its own “temporary housing” laws. Get any information you need at the County courthouse. Regulations can vary from county to county.

9. Building Codes


Building your dream homestead may get complicated if the town you live in requires you to pull permits before you even begin. There are many places throughout Tennessee with loose building codes- you just have to look for them. This doesn’t mean that you should build your home out of code, but the process will be quicker for those who don’t have the government interfering.

There are, however, two permits that are required statewide: a septic tank and electric permit. If you’re not planning on using a composting toilet, you will need to get a septic tank permit from the state. If you want your electricity to be provided by a public utility, you will also need to get a permit because the electric pole will need to be installed and inspected (unless the property already has one on-site).

For the most part, the closer you are to a populated city, the more codes you’ll be up against. Rural towns have much more leniency.

Places that are advertised with “No restrictions” oftentimes mean that you can pretty much do whatever you want with the land.


10. Tax Considerations


As a homeowner you can expect to have to pay for property taxes. Luckily, the taxes in the Volunteer State are much lower than the rest of the United States. Tennessee stands at 14th place on a 2019 assessment of states ranked by real-estate property taxes.

Tennessee does not have income taxes on wages but has a high sales tax of 9.25% or more on everything. Some people will travel to a bordering state where the taxes are significantly lower (at least for major purchases).


11. Distance To Town


Finding properties for sale in the rural areas of Tennessee is possible. How close or far to town you want to be is up to you, considering that there are pros and cons for homesteaders choosing to live in both urban and remote areas.

Being closer to urban areas gives you quick access to a community, hospitals, a larger variety of job opportunities, etc. On the other hand, living in rural areas gives you the ability to build your home with fewer restrictions, freedom in privacy, and perhaps a more laid back lifestyle.

Google maps and Google earth are two great resources for seeing how rural, or not, a town is. Although it might not be 100% accurate to date, it’s good enough to give you an idea without having to make a trip specifically for that.

If you end up building your homestead far from town, think of alternative methods of transportation (other than your car) in case of emergencies.


12. Internet Access


Without a doubt, the internet has become a huge part of our life that we use for communication, work, shopping, and other resources. Even though some people can live completely offline, there are major advantages to staying connected. Homesteading can have many challenges and finding an online community to support you and guide you through those difficult stages can become somewhat of a lifeline for you. If you find a home in a rural area, I recommend you make sure that you will be able to have access to the internet.

Tennessee is the 25th most connected state with only 15% of the population being underserved. This means that 85% of Tennesseans have access to two or more internet providers. You can find detailed information on internet coverage per city right here.


13. Population Density


Tennessee is the 20th most densely populated state in the entire country, according to the World Population Review. For a complete review and statistics on the population of Tennessee, you can visit this website.

While Memphis and Nashville have more than 600,000 residents, you can rest assured that the remained of the state is significantly less populated. You can find the 2019 population statistics of every city in Tennessee right here.


14. Job Opportunities


You need money to keep your homestead going strong. Sometimes a couple will choose one person to get a job while the other one devotes their time to the building and maintenance of their homestead.

In doing research for this blog I found that there are many jobs available throughout Tennessee, but the majority of them are in urban places- clearly, that’s where the demand is highest. Nashville is a booming city with plenty of job opportunities.

Jobs in remote areas will be much harder to come by. If you’re planning to live in the countryside, you have to plan for alternative sources of income, whether that’s an online job, or something near the town you move to. If you’re hunting for additional work, recommend securing a job before moving to Tennessee.


15. Community


Building a community of like-minded individuals is an important consideration when starting a homestead, especially if you don’t have much knowledge of the area nor experience in living off-the-grid. Not only does Tennessee have a growing off-grid, homesteading, and permaculture community, but the people themselves are friendly and welcoming.

The sole factor of having kind and helpful neighbors makes Tennessee an ideal place for new homesteaders to establish their roots. 

Through my research, I have found many forums and Facebook community groups where people share ideas and advice on homesteading practices.

If you’re looking to homestead in Middle Tennessee, this is the Facebook group for you! If you’re planning a homestead in Eastern Tennessee, you can join this Facebook community. I didn’t find a group specific to Western Tennessee but I’m sure there’s a lot of overlap in resources if you join any of the other two groups.


16. Raising A Family


Tennessee is a family-friendly state.

In a 2019 report, WalletHub ranked Tennessee as 37th best state for families. Among many considerations, the study looked at the overall health and safety of children, the education system, the graduation rate, the average family income, and the number of activities or sport centers available for families. You can view their complete report here.

To take it one step further, NerdWallet ranked 99 cities in Tennessee with regard to the best place for young couples to raise a family. They looked at the quality of education, the affordability of the city, and the potential for population growth. You can find their report here.


17. Vaccination Regulations


Tennessee Law requires that all children be immunized prior to attending daycare or school grades K through 12.

The law allows children to be exempt from being vaccinated if the reason is medical or religious. If the reason is medical, a physician or nurse needs to specify which vaccine the child is exempt from, but all other vaccines will be required. If the reason is religious, the parent or guardian must write and sign a statement to the school authorities explaining why the child has not been vaccinated.

You can read more about Tennessee’s vaccine requirements, laws, and exemptions on the National Vaccine Information Center’s website.


18. Homeschooling Regulations


Many homesteaders choose to homeschool their children because of personal choices or the lack of access to public schools in their town.

Tennessee has moderate regulations regarding homeschooling children. To learn about your homeschooling rights and how to start, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA)’s website has great information.

An alternative to homeschooling is Connections Academy which allows children in grades K-12 to enroll in public school online for free.


19. Foraging Opportunities


Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture prohibits foraging and gathering in State Forests.

In other places, however, the TN Department of Environment and Conservation allows people to collect reasonable amounts of natural products (foraging) for personal use only. Any edible plant you gather cannot be sold commercially. For those who want to forage in national forests, a permit is required. Defacement of natural resources is prohibited.

Not only does foraging cut the cost of buying groceries, but it’s also an incredible educational opportunity for the whole family. Learning to identify edible plants and preserve them for future use is a skill I believe every person should acquire.

If you’re new to foraging, I recommend joining the iNaturalist app. This is an online community where people share photos and their observations about living organisms in order to help others identify plants and learn about nature. 

If you’re looking for urban places to forage, check out Falling Fruit. This website shows an interactive map with several “pins” each indicating where edible plants can be found. A description of the plant is usually available. You can record your own findings if you sign up for an account.


20. Hunting / Fishing Laws


Residents and non-residents of Tennessee are allowed to hunt if they possess a valid license. The only exception is for landowners (as well as their spouse, children, and resident grandchildren) who hunt in said landowner’s property.

Tennessee’s Wildlife Resources Agency website has all the information you need regarding hunting, such as how to obtain a license, the game quota, hunter education classes, and much more.

You can find information on hunting license fees right here.

The Tennessee Hunting App gives you a lot of resources to make your hunt planning easier. The app includes maps and hunt zones of all the places you can and can’t hunt throughout Tennessee.

As far as fishing goes, residents and non-residents also need a valid license. The exception is for children under the age of 13, and landowners (as well as their spouse, children, and resident grandchildren) who fish in said landowner’s farmland. The other exception is Free Fishing Day, which is held on the Saturday of the first full week every June.

If you have questions about the laws on off-road vehicles, you can find some answers here.


21. Gun Laws


Tennessee is considered a gun-friendly state…if you’re a law-abiding citizen, that is!

Tennessee’s Gun and Weapon law can be found in Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1351. In May 2019, a new law was signed which enhances the requirements for a permit. This version of the law is effective UNTIL January 1, 2020. As of January 1, 2020, the new law will take effect. You can find the updated version here: Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1351.

The bottom line is that you need to obtain a permit for concealed carry and open carry. With the enhanced handgun carry permit, there will be more training required prior to obtaining the permit. The Handgun Law PDF explains the current law in detail.


22. Crime Rate


There’s a lot of debate on whether Tennessee’s crime rate is increasing or decreasing. I think both are true, depending on the city. The more a population grows in a specific city, the more likely that crime will increase in that place.

Human sex trafficking is the second-highest rising crime in Tennessee. If you have young children, I urge you to do your homework to find a peaceful and safe city or town for them to grow up in.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has made a resource available to the public which shows the increase and decrease of crime based on the jurisdiction and year. You can find that resource here.

The TBI also offers a map where you can find data about sex offenders per zip code.

You can find a report on Tennessee’s safest cities here.


Homesteading in Tennessee

Which area of Tennessee is best for homesteading?


Tennessee is a very diverse state. I can’t tell you which area is the best but I can highlight some places based on the testimonials of locals who have shared in the discussions of forums and community groups.

The Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-201 divides Tennessee into three Grand Divisions: the eastern, middle, and western.


Eastern Tennessee


The eastern grand division, as is outlined in the Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-202, encompasses 33 counties. Eastern Tennessee is comprised of the Cumberland Plateau, the Blue Ridge mountains (within its state limits) and the land in between.

Tennessee is divided into two time zones. The Eastern portion is in the Eastern Time Zone.


PROS:

  • The unemployment rate is low in the east.

  • There’s a Facebook community group page where homesteaders in Eastern Tennessee share their tips, advice, and resources.

CONS:

  • The terrain is hilly and might be difficult to grow crops in because the ground is mostly made up of hard clay- raised beds might be your solution though!

  • I read through countless discussions online and homesteaders from eastern Tennessee had one main thing in common to say- there’s a big drug problem. I’m sure that not all of the communities in the east are drug-infested, but it’s something to think about before moving your family to a new city.

POPULAR AREAS:

  • Knoxville in Knox County: The growing season in this area lasts about 220 days.

  • Chattanooga in Hamilton County: The land near the Tennessee River is not only beautiful but affordable when compared to other parts of Tennessee. Many people have wonderful things to say about Chattanooga. They have a nice downtown, a cool vibe, and tourism.

  • Copperhill in Polk County: It’s an old copper mine town. It has beautiful rivers, creeks, trails, water sports, and a community of people who enjoy the outdoors. Here you should be able to find a lot of employment opportunities. There are many off-grid families in this town.

  • Pikeville in Bledsoe County: This is a small town with unbelievable scenery, forests, and fields. It’s a town with a low crime rate, like-minded people, and reasonably priced land.

  • Cumberland Plateau: The Cumberland Plateau serves as a barrier between the east and west because this area is up to 900 ft higher in elevation than the surrounding cities. The communities surrounding the upper Cumberlands are said to be great for those with homesteading mindsets. The land in the nearby towns sell at reasonable prices. There are great education centers as well as low taxes.

Middle Tennessee


The middle grand division, as is outlined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-203, encompasses 41 counties. Middle Tennessee is the center section of the state that includes the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the western part of the Cumberland Plateau.

Middle Tennessee is in the Central Time Zone.


PROS:

  • The terrain has fertile farmland, especially west of Nashville where there are fewer rocks.

  • The homesteading population is growing near the Nashville area. A like-minded community is super important!

  • There's a great community of homesteaders in Middle Tennessee. You can connect with them here.

CONS:

  • Many people find it difficult to find good farm and barn help in this region, although perhaps it’s difficult throughout all of Tennessee…but not impossible!

POPULAR AREAS:

  • Highland Rim: This comprises the outer rim of Middle Tennessee.

    • Lawrence County: There’s an “off-grid eco-village” in this county and people with similar mindsets in homesteading and permaculture.

    • Putnam County: The school district in Cookeville is said to be excellent. Although Cookeville has several thousand residents, living just outside the city limits will give you the feeling that you’re in the countryside. It’s the best of both worlds.

    • Fentress County: You’re very close to Kentucky where the sales tax is cheaper, so many people that live in Fentress take advantage to travel there for large purchases.

  • Central Basin: this area is the center portion of this region. The Highland Rim surrounds it with rolling hills, whereas the Central Basin is lower in elevation and much flatter.

    • Rutherford County: This county is located south of Nashville and is fairly rural. The city has grown quite a bit in recent years but there are still a lot of homesteaders in the area. Murfreesboro is a large city with two universities so there may be a lot of potential there for families with children.

Western Tennessee


The western grand division, as is outlined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-204, encompasses 21 counties. Western Tennessee is comprised of the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Western Valley.

Western Tennessee is in the Central Time Zone.


PROS:

  • This region has the lowest elevation in the state.

  • It one of the warmest parts of Tennessee, meaning that the growing season is much longer.

  • The land is said to be cheap.

  • The land is flat, making it easier for farming.

  • Corn, soybeans, and cotton are some of the most popular crops produced in this region.

  • There are lots of springs and creeks.

CONS:

  • The western region is at a higher risk of flooding and overflowing rivers.

  • Humidity is generally higher in this part of the state.

  • Although the land is cheaper than other parts of Tennessee, many locals agree that you get what you pay for. Cheap land might come with extra challenges to make your homestead succeed.

  • Much of Western Tennessee is almost too rural, somewhat underdeveloped and poor.

POPULAR AREAS:

  • Memphis in Shelby County: The growing season is approximately 235 days. The area is said to be much more crime-ridden, perhaps because its population is so high. Collierville might be a better option to look into.

  • Chester County: There are many people living off the grid in Chester County. Just outside of the city you should find properties with no building codes.

  • Henry County: The population is low, the county is zone free and close enough to Kentucky where people travel to for large purchases.

Tips before taking the plunge!


  • Take a few trips to Tennessee before committing to move there. I would encourage you to travel to a couple of cities that you believe you would like to establish your homestead and use that time to meet with some of the locals. Get a feel for the culture of the places you visit. After all, the locals are the most resourceful folks when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of their town.

  • If you’re interested in buying land but don’t know where to start, Land Watch is a great place to look.

  • Lease property for several months prior to purchasing. Building a homestead takes a lot of time and costs a good chunk of money. Wherever you choose to settle down, it has to be a place that you love and see the potential for your homesteading goals to become realized. Leasing a home will give you a good feel for the land by living in it first, and from there you can make a decision with certainty.

  • Solar power is something you should look into since many cities get plenty of sunshine each year.

  • Have a solid 6 months of savings to make the transition less stressful.

  • Learn food preservation skills like canning.

  • Think about how you’re going to plant and harvest your crops if you’re planning to have a large-scale garden. Will you need machinery or expensive equipment? If so, is there a co-op where you can share the equipment with your neighbors for a cheaper cost, rather than having to buy it yourself.

  • Do you have very specific questions about Tennessee? City-Data is an online forum where you can ask anything you want to the residents of any state. I find that people on that site are helpful and resourceful.

There are definitely pros and cons for homesteading in every state. I think it comes down to your goals and personal preferences.

Whichever choice you make, it’s important that you take your time. Homesteading is a challenging lifestyle, but very well worth it. Rushing to buy land, plant crops, raise livestock, and settle down is not ideal. Do things one step at a time. But first, make sure the location feels right.

Tennessee made it to my top 12 US States for homesteading. Find out which other 11 states made the list!

Was this post helpful to you? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!


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Comments 3

  1. always get to know the local people first. this is very important. small towns can be very clannish in that they view outsiders with caution. they are watching you and taking in everything you say. if you don’t have the same views that they have, word will spread very fast. trust me on this. small towns are made up of people who are either related or have known each other for years or their whole lives. they will be very helpful if you approach them with your hat in hand. always remember that they DON,T CARE how you did it back there .don’t offer advice unless asked for. this is VERY important and where most people have trouble fitting in with a small community. always listen and learn…you learn more by listening than by talking! small town folks love it when you ask, just try it and you will learn a lot and make lifelong friends

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