Tips for Locating and Buying Land

Inexpensive land is available for homesteading if you just look in the right places, each state's Bureau of Land Management is a great place to start.

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Inexpensive land is available for homesteading if you just look in the right places, each state's Bureau of Land Management is a great place to start.


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The first question that comes to mind is, "Is any free land available?" The answer is "Yes". . . with some qualifications.

Several countries have free or very lost cost land for homesteading but the acreage is often undesirable for varied reasons. The land in the southwestern United States lacks water, for instance, while some on the western coast of British Columbia may have too much rainfall for your taste.

There is free land available in Canada but much is located in cold regions with roads that are few and far between. Still, a few places look especially promising: If you have a knowledge of boats, you may be interested in the islands off the coast of British Columbia. Kootenai River and the western coast of British Columbia also appear promising for settlement.

Every province of Canada, for that matter, has a number of areas that might appeal to you . . . as do some of our own western states. For more information, write the Bureau of Land Management offices at the following addresses:

Alaska: 222 W. 7th Avenue #13 Anchorage, Alaska 99513.  Phone: (907)-271-5960. 

Arizona: One North Central Avenue, Suite 800 Phoenix, Arizona 85004. Phone: (602)-417-9200. 

California 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1623 Sacramento, CA  95825. Phone (916) 978-4400. 

Colorado: 2850 Youngfield St. Lakewood, Colorado 80215. Phone: (303)-239-3600. 

Idaho: 1387 S. Vinnell Way Boise, Idaho 83709. Phone: (208)-373-4000.

Montana, The Dakotas: 5001 Southgate Drive Billings, MT 59101. Phone: (406)-896-5000.

Nevada: 1340 Financial Blvd. Reno, NV 89502. Phone: (775)-861-6400.

New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas: 301 Dinosaur Trail Santa Fe, NM 87508. Phone: (505) 954-2000.

Oregon, Washington:  333 S.W. 1st Avenue Portland, OR 97204. Phone: (503)-808-6001.

Utah: P.O. Box 45155 Salt Lake City, Utah 84145. Phone: (801) 539-4001.

Wyoming: 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, WY 82009. Phone: (307)-775-6256.

There are advantages to buying land. You may even save money in the long run if you consider the cost of putting in the roads, houses, barns and wells that are usually found on settled farm land which is for sale.

Some of the things to take into account when buying land are size, location, climate, price, farmable acreage, water access, roads and neighbors.

In buying my farm I first consulted United Farm Agency, 612 W 47th, Kansas City, Mo. 64112. I requested their free catalog and used it to locate the nearest area of the country where land was reasonably priced. This happened to be north-central Pennsylvania and almost the entire state of West Virginia.

By the way, there is no free land in West Virginia but much inexpensive acreage is available. The Market Bulletin, Department of Agriculture, Charleston, West Virginia lists land and other items for sale in the state.

With my search narrowed to two states, a visit to the public library told me that the southwestern section of West Virginia had the warmest climate and a trip to the state did the rest. People in small grocery stores and local gas stations knew most of the land for sale in their area.

Our rugged old truck helped get me to the back roads where land was one fifth the price of acreage on the main highways. After a week of looking, I found a 93 acre farm with a nice log house for $2,700. A local lawyer checked the deed for a small fee, I bought the land through him and, soon, we shall set up housekeeping and homesteading.

6/12/2015 4:49:22 PM

Lawrence, this article is written very well. It is great to see you discuss land in various USA states. One of the biggest question I had after reading this article is where do I buy land for cheap? Not just somewhat cheap- like $10,000 but really cheap- like less than $1,000. So is the site I finally found after lots of research. I found them by doing an internet search and ended up getting a great deal. In addition, your article puts things into a better perspective.

3/2/2015 8:23:00 PM

I want to get one property as in one land fit my need including land road access, water, and put down $150 and easements, mineral rights, to protecting down payments. and be certain beyond the shadow a doubt that permanent, legal, transferable access is specified in deed. I want to make interest off the land even if it don't sell so I can make a profit. I want the land to be in California. call Erin Morgan at 206-471-1603

4/2/2012 11:32:47 PM

the article is 40 years old. there is no longer any homesteading land in BC, the govt ended that in the seventies because people were getting too powerful, and there were not enough slaves for the mills. So land here now is basically very expensive, except small acreages with little or no topsoil in the far middle west, past hazelton area. I saw a 5 acre parcel fo 20,000. New Brunswick was much cheaper, larger acreages, with better soil, on the east coast. But if you are in the west it's hard to move that far. I am available to talk about land to interested people, I have been searching for land for most of my life, homesteading with payments always fails.

alex povolotski
4/2/2012 8:18:45 PM

There is no such thing as free land. Even if a town ceases it and then resells at an auction, you still have to win the said auction and then pay all the property taxes due. The only reason I see municipalities giving away land is to collect more taxes as a result of it. They don't make money off vacant land, you know :-)

trey davis
3/15/2011 11:33:26 PM

My name is Trey Davis, i am 21 me and my brother are looking to find some land to live off we want to be self sufficint so land that is very remote is fine if anyone has any ideas or knows of any way to get cheap land or better yet free land please let me know. any help would be greatly appriciated my email is

12/2/2010 6:09:32 PM

Mary_1 - There is free land available. There is a slideshow on the CNBC website listing 7 towns where land is free. There is no Federal Government land available, but some states or counties are making land available in order to boost their local economy. The CNBC link is

mary _1
1/12/2010 4:12:46 PM

There are no free homesteading land to be had in the united states according to the Bureau of Land Mangement, that ended several years ago. I like others was looking for the free land mentioned in this article, but found out it isn't true there is land for nothing I believe there is land that u can buy but nothing is free.

nigel donnelly
8/7/2009 10:36:49 AM

hi after reading your article iam interested,i started looking for crown land but as an individual you dont qualify. i am looking for land to build a home from the resources it provides.and to go and obtain an of grid self sufficent living envoirnment. eventually to learn and teach others to do the same. ontario would be my first choice ,then bc. this sounds way to good to be true and there has to be a catch where money is involved at some level,noone does anything for free,so i would be impressed if it actually comes to reality thankyou nigel.

11/30/2007 6:48:03 PM

Stone: the Addresses are in the "Image Gallery". Click the picture- they are there. However, I'm guessing it is greatly outdated - the website should give you better, more up-to-date information. OUTRAGED: I don't know where you get the idea that Mother Earth News is attempting to pass this article off as "an up to date article". If you investigate this website some more, you will see that Mother Earth News has been kind enough to provide, for free, most if not all of their articles going back to the 70's. They also place a disclaimer: "All articles in this Archive are reprinted just as they were originally published; the publication date is shown in the URL address at the top of the page." at the bottom of the article, in bold print. Please do not make such generous people look bad.

8/2/2007 6:35:09 PM

I am outraged that you try and pass off this article as an up to date article! Sure, you posted the 1970 date above the article where most people don't even connect the two (article & date), but you should have spelled out in the article itself how old it was (1970!)! Beware everyone; things may have changed since 1970! I hope there are changes made to this publication concerning reprints and the date of the article being spelled out in out in it!!!!

5/30/2007 3:30:01 PM

Would you please help me find some free or inexpensive land in the Kaootenays. I am a single mother, mature mid life with 2 adult children and animals. I need some help finding and getting back to the land. regards Katie

4/4/2007 10:26:41 PM

after reading this artical i was interrested in the land u said was in b.c canada. im having a hard time finding anything. maybe im not looking at the right sites. any suggested sites that could help me in my search would help thanks.

3/31/2007 2:05:12 PM

The article on this page ( is missing information that it says it is giving... namely, it says "For more information, write the Bureau of Land Management offices at the following addresses:" and then does not provide the information. This is probably just an oversight or slip, but it would be nice to have that information in the page, would you please correct and if possible, advise me by email of the correction made so I can get it?