People contemplating the possibility of escaping the rat race, returning to a simpler, more natural lifestyle, or concerned about the political climate and global threats, might be seriously considering an off-grid lifestyle. Before they look for land that will allow them to jump into a safe, sustainable and self-sufficient future, however, it’s important to consider exactly what they will require in order to make off-grid living a viable option.
Have Clearly Defined Goals
Specific needs will depend on ultimate goals. Planning for post-Armageddon survival involves different parameters from simply seeking peace and self-sufficiency. Are you looking for seclusion or defensibility? Do you want to grow your own food and keep a few chickens, or would you prefer rugged terrain that is conducive to hunting, trapping and fishing, with a small garden plot near the house? Do you want an acre or two in a community of like-minded neighbors of a minimum of 50 acres with a stream running through it?
Before contacting a real estate agent, buyers should be sure to have a well-defined list of their requirements, along with a secondary “wish list.” Chances are the view won’t be the primary concern, but the price may be. To prevent any misunderstanding, buyers should communicate any concerns to their real estate agent. Know that a search for the perfect tract of land may take a good deal of time and some serious legwork.
Know the Ancillary Costs
Buying raw land means that people must consider not only the cost of the land itself and it’s financing, but also figure the total cost of planned improvements into their budget. Living off the grid can entail spending large sums for sanitary waste or septic systems, power generation (solar, wind or hydroelectric), and road clearances, in addition to housing and/or garage or barn construction.
It can be wise to talk to others in the prepper community or to people who have already made the transition to off-grid living to get some “expert” advice.
Think About Possibilities and Probabilities
There are a few basics, however, that should be at the top of a buyer’s “Need to Know” list. Consider the following :
- How Much Land is Enough?
- Is there surface water — pond, spring or stream — or will a well be required?
- Is the land suitable for agricultural use; for animals, crops or both?
- How accessible is the Land? On the other hand, are there naturals impediments to traffic and against strangers?
- What is the terrain; will there be a risk of erosion, mudslides, wildfires, floods. What about drought, wild animals, poisonous plants. What is surrounding land used for? Is there a danger of toxic fumes or other health hazards?
- What kind of sustainable power is feasible?
- Are there existing land restrictions that will impact any plans for building and living off-grid?
Look to the Future
No matter what their budget, any person’s reasons for wanting to move off the grid, and their long-term expectations, there are valid reasons to consider growth patterns and projections for the locale they have in mind. Growing populations will create suburbs in coming decades out of land that currently seems far away from the urban core.
Finally, the best advice is to buy as much land as you can to assure that you are able to maintain the level of privacy that your future lifestyle demands.
Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land was written by:
Gary Ashton REALTOR®
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
210 12th Ave South, Suite 201
Nashville, TN, 37203