I was asked in another, thread if I would put together some of my ideas and experiences concerning rural property.
A few years ago, my wife and I began looking for 5 acres or so of country property. The idea was to continue to live in the city, maintain the cash flow and work to clear and make improvements on the land as time allowed.
We found a nice piece of land that suits our needs then negotiated a contract for deed sale. This is an attractive way to buy and sell rural real estate in tough times. Also, it's great for buyers in inflationary times. As long as you get a title search and title insurance, you should be able to muddle through just fine without paying the fees of a realtor. There's plenty of information available. The folks at the courthouse will help you if you ask nicely.
We are unbelievably fortunate to live in a county that has no building codes. We've been able to build in stages from a permanent camp site to cabin to fully featured house. You will probably have to deal with building codes, but they still allow a certain leeway. Also, depending on your local laws and regs, small buildings usually 10'x15' are exempt from code. I've known folks to artfully design several small structures and join them in such a way as to beat the code. I don't advocate building sub-standard or unsafe housing. I over-build and get a tad carried away with safety issues. I just don't like the government dictating how I'll spend my resources.
If this is a subject that strikes a chord, please chime in below. I encourage questions and will share oodles of resources I've collected over the past 40 years.