If you haven't followed my journey, you might not know that I'm looking for land to purchase to start a homestead that will eventually be off the grid as much as possible. 

You can follow the complete series by clicking this link.

How I'm Looking For Land

The state where I will eventually buy land has to meet several main criteria, such as, within the plant hardiness zones 6 & 7, have between 40 and 50 inches of precipitation per year, the topography needs to have some elevation, have fairly low tax rates, and as regulation free as possible.

Right now I'd prefer the east coast but the lower mid-west or pacific northwest isn't completely out of the question either. 

My primary research has lead me to nine states that have regions that meet the climate criteria. 

In the last article I wrote where I'm looking for land, the post covered taxes, and below the list of nine primary states are ordered lowest taxes first.

Tax Ranking of the 9 States

The list below orders the nine states by when the average tax payer pays off their annual tax debt.

This is called the Tax Freedom day. The numbers after the state is their national overall tax ranking based on this Tax Freedom Day. Click the link for more information on tax freedom day.

  • Tennessee - 2nd
  • West Virginia - 8th
  • Kentucky - 8th
  • Arkansas - 12th
  • Missouri - 12th
  • Idaho - 16th
  • North Carolina 19th
  • Oregon 37th
  • Washington 40th

What this list represents is a ranking of states where I want to look for property by the lowest overall average tax burden.

After Some Thought

Letting the information sink into my head, as well as thinking about my preference to stay closer to my family on the east coast, I decided to concentrate my efforts on these four states.

  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • Kentucky
  • West Virginia

These states have land with topography and climate that meet my criteria, are closer to my family, and have some of the lowest tax burdens in the country.

Even though the tax freedom day has North Carolina in the middle of the pack, preliminary research shows that some counties do have reasonable tax rates. 

I'll go over each state and discuss why I chose it in their own post, but here's a preview of the research.

Overlaying plant hardiness zones, topography, and precipitation data over state maps showed me which counties in each of the four states meet my criteria. Those counties where added to a spreadsheet.

I found a website that calculates the average property tax for each county (I know it can vary by township) these data were also added to the spreadsheet. I then choose all of counties that have a property tax rate of less than 0.6%. 

Now I have a list of counties for each of the four states that are warmer than plant hardiness zone 5, receive between 38 and 52 inches of precipitation, are at least hilly (preferably big hills), and have a property tax of less than 0.6%.

Putting My Numbers to the Research

Since the state income tax, property taxes, and sales tax varies between each state it's important to figure out what that means for a persons lifestyle.

Depending on income, spending habits, and possible property value the total tax bill might be different than what the tax freedom day suggests for each state.

So I put some arbitrary but reasonable (for me) estimated numbers into the spreadsheet to see what the tax cost might be. I gave myself an estimated income, how much money I might spend a year building a homestead, and a property value of $80,000 (it will be less to start since it won't have a house on it). 

To figure property taxes for each state I took the average of the counties I've choose. Below is the data. 


North Carolina

West Virginia



Tax Rate





Sales Tax





Property Tax





Income Tax on $30k





Sales Tax on $20k





Property Tax on $80k Assessment





Total Tax





As you can see Tennessee has the lowest total tax burden. 

BUT, note that Tennessee doesn't have state income tax on wages, but they do tax dividends and other types of money distributions. So care and more research needs to be done on what exactly Tennessee taxes.

Of course, if I wasn't building a homestead the sales tax would be much lower too. 

Looking for Land

I'll be looking for land in Tennessee first as well as North Carolina, but only because I will be going to Asheville at the end of April, so I'll take a day on the way back to look for land on my trip down and back.

I want to see the land and get a "feel" of the towns and the people. Even though the climate, topography, and costs are important, if the social atmosphere doesn't fit me, then what's the sense of moving there?

In the next few posts, I'll show you the counties that where I'll be looking for land. 

Maybe you can help me?

If you have experience looking for cheap land by not through Realtors, I'd be interested in talking with you.

Also, if your friends might know of someone, or can help me look for some land, please share this post with them by using the social media buttons below.

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About the Author T.Marsh

Hi, my name is Todd. My View From the Woods documents my journey of gardening, growing microgreens, preserving food, searching for a homestead, and hiking with my new Springer Spaniel, Caden.

Follow me on Instagram at @myviewfromthewoods

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