How to pick the right land for an off grid home

Prepper's Will - How to pick the right land for an off grid homeOur ancestors didn’t need much to survive and with a good piece of land and a little backwoods knowhow they managed to have a fulfilling life. Today, picking the right piece of land for an off grid home is not so easy and there are many things we should consider before making this step.

Having an off grid home is a desire for many and the reasons to own such propriety vary from person to person. Some prefer to have a bug out location that will improve their survivability rate while others prefer to have a safe heaven, a place where they don’t have to face the current “rotten” society.

Owning land in the middle of nowhere, or somewhere isolated enough, will ensure you have a safe destination to evacuate to in an emergency. It will provide the ideal place to build a new life, one that is not chained to the modern technology. Having an off grid home will serve as a rally point for your family to reunite or a place to set up your underground bunker.

Selecting a great rural location for your off grid home begins by determining the distance you think you will be able to travel when an unpleasant event will occur. You could start by drawing an arc on a map with the distance you seem fit. Your search will shortly begin after that.

Determining land ownership for your future off grid home

You must know by now that all real estate has an owner. It may be owned by someone or owned by the government. The propriety you will find in private ownership will tend to be urbanized in some form. It can be a cabin in the woods with 20 miles from a paved road. However, property owned by governmental agencies (such as utility district, city, county or state government) will most likely be rural. You might think that just because the propriety is owned by the government it cannot be purchased or leased, but that’s not the case. Today, you can even obtain a leasehold interest in a state and federal property, even in a national or state forest; you just need to do your homework.

If you go for the real rural proprieties for your future off grid home, you must know that most of these proprieties are located in unincorporated areas. This means they are outside of a city’s jurisdiction and therefore only subject to development rules of the county or state. The county building and rural development rules tend to be much less restrictive than those of an urbanized environment.

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If you found a perfect piece of land for your future off grid home, it is time to determine the ownership of the land. You can use your smartphone or a geodetic map, to determine the exact longitude and latitude of the property. If the propriety has an actual address, it’s even easier. You will need to present one of the two (or both) to your local title insurance company. This is a required step because title insurance companies have access to the historical ownership data of every property in this country. Basically, you can even check on proprieties in other states from your local title insurance company since they have nationwide data search capabilities. They have records dating back hundreds of years and they even have photos for some of the proprieties. You will need to pay a fee to get all this info, but you will end up with what is of interest for you: name and contact information for the property owner, existing taxes, recorded easements, guaranteed access rights and more importantly water rights.

Make sure you have the right to access the property and build on it your off grid home as you desire. You will also need to check if anyone else has any rights (underground pipe easements and rights to access adjacent properties) on your property before you acquire it.

Building regulation for your off-grid home

The zoning of the governmental jurisdiction dictates the ability to build on a property. The rural properties you are after will most likely be governed by a county or parish, depending on the location you’ve selected. The zoning and development standards for the property you desire can be found online in most cases, by contacting the governmental jurisdiction. You will find out about the minimum parcel size, maximum building height and other important regulations. You will also discover if you need permits for tree removal, stream alteration, habitat modification and other actions that may impact your ability to build. It is better to know about all of this, even if later on it won’t matter or you chose to ignore them. One thing you need to keep in mind is that the mineral or hydrocarbon rights of most of the rural properties have been acquired from previous owners by large oil or mining companies. This means that even if they can access the resources from afar, if they have easements on your property, they can come and repair the buried facilities.

Related reading: Housing for off-grid living

Since water is the essence of life, you need to make sure you have permanent running water or a lake nearby. If not, a well is the second option, but for this to work you need to make sure you have the right to drill a new well. This is why water rights of any property need to be taken into account before picking the land for your future off grid home. You also need to know that drilling a well is not easy and the cost varies greatly due to soils and geographical conditions.

Off-grid home and homesteading

Our forefathers promoted expansion and agricultural development through the Homesteading Act and free federal government land used to be given away to those who built this great country. This popular style of acquiring free ownership of rural property is no longer a viable alternative in today’s modern world due to changes in the laws. However, Alaska still offers a form of homesteading to promote recreational cabin development. This could be a good alternative for your off-grid home or bug-out location.

TLW_banner1An easy start

Going off the grid is not easy and food will become one of your major concerns. You will have your off grid home built, but you will also need to take care of the land. Farming will be your main option and in order to get an easy start you can access an agricultural and farming assistance program that offers tax breaks and financial incentives. You will be required to substantially farm the land in order to achieve any meaningful tax break or development grant. Make sure you check your state’s farmer assistance program to find out how to obtain financial resources and other benefits.

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A good off grid home needs a good location

Most searches for off grid land or bug out locations starts online and usually, it will produce hundreds of available results. You will find mostly publically know properties, but you can also find excess state or federal property for sale, lease and in some cases for trading. The government will often auction off excess land, including military bunkers or missile silos. You might not have the kind of money to turn a missile silo into a perfect bug out location or off-grid home, but you can always check the govsales.gov website. Who knows, maybe you will find something of interest in your local area. A lease of private or government land is the cheapest, quickest and easiest way of obtaining use of a piece of land as long as you follow their rules.

If you want to build an off grid home or bug out location, you should acquire the land under the radar, away from the online frame and you should first check with a title insurance company. It will probably help you maintain the maximum security in your new off grid life.

 

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3 thoughts on “How to pick the right land for an off grid home

  1. Good information! We purchased land with a small cabin last year in TN. We planted a bunch of Leyland Cypress trees for additional privacy. Those things become monsters before you know it! The best part about the property…no sort of codes or regulations. That’s one thing that is great about MANY of the counties in TN!

    (Added you as a resource link on our site).

  2. Bought 80 acres in South MO Ozarks hollers myself.
    ZERO CODES. Don’t you Love it!
    Looking for parties to create small ‘community’ of like minded preppers.
    Smaller acreages to be partitioned and available.
    An existing home needing perhaps $10K rehabbing.

  3. This is some good information to keep in mind when searching for land. It can be hard to know what comes along with all of that but this is a pretty good guide! Thanks for sharing.

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