While shopping for the perfect prepper retreat, do not be tempted by scenic soil, as the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep. Looking down at your feet frequently will serve you a lot better when touring land. While picturesque sunsets are wonderful, if the land is unable to grow crops and is prone to flooding, the family will go hungry during a long-term disaster.
A little knowledge will go a long way as you enter the homesteading search process. When the dream of owning an off the grid property of the prefect prepper retreat becomes fiscally feasible, do not rush or become overwhelmed by the process and make a decision which could hamper the survival of your family.
Real estate agents specializing in rural land sales are common, but agents trained in survival real estate consultation are not. Practical Preppers owner Scott Hunt’s new book is a great source for prepper retreat information, as is James Wesley Rawle’s website and the American Redoubt movement. If contracting with a professional off the grid living or self-reliance expert is not in the cards, do your homework and research before ever even thinking about signing on the dotted line at the end of a purchase contract.
Prepper Retreat Buying Tips
- Make a list of the land attributes you will need to successfully live off the grid, raise livestock, grow crops, and maintain a secure perimeter before meeting with a real estate agent or browsing property online. The list of wants and needs should include input from everyone in the family or mutual assistance groups. Talk to a farmer or a rancher if you are new to homesteading. The educational tips garnered could help prevent making a very expensive and potentially fiscally crippling mistake.
- Online property browsing also gives you the chance to thoroughly research and compare similar properties in your price range. Print off the listing sheets, property record cards from the county auditor website, and then contact the local courthouse for a low-cost plat map and deed copies. Do not assume that mineral rights are included unless specifically stated. Some of the most popular and expansive online real estate websites are Survival Realty, Trulia, and Land Watch. Trulia allows searches for specific types of real property, such as farms and ranches. Land Watch does allow listings for any type of home, but is most known for its rural properties on large acre tracts. Survival Realty is owned and operated by off the grid living experts and specific land attributes must be present before an agent or home owner can list a property on the website. The search features on both websites, as well as top rated online real estate land venues, are simple to navigate and narrow down the listings to your area and specifications. Until the power grid fails, searching for real estate has never been easier. Browse thousands of homes, farms, ranches, and vacant large acreage tracts from the comfort of your own home. It costs you nothing and in the end, may save you from making a huge mistake when overcome by the beauty of a picturesque piece of land that will not suit all of your self-reliance needs
- Off the grid, homesteading, or prepper retreat properties should encompass 5 acres at the very least. The home and immediate area around the dwelling, barn, and storage buildings will take up about 1 acre of the land. In order to grow enough crops and raise enough livestock to be a sustainable homestead, a minimum of 4 acres must remain. Ideally, at least 10 to 20 acres is recommended for a self-sufficient farm or ranch.
- The property, unless it possesses massive acres (100 or more) should not border any major roads or highways for security and safety reasons. The infamous marauding hordes will be far more likely to stumble across your garden, pasture filled with livestock, and all the preparedness stores you purchased or made, if you live near a major roadway. If the real estate agent warns you that the property is a few miles past the last paved road and has a “hidden driveway” you are on the right track.
- Land suitable for an off the grid existence or to be used one day as a prepper retreat, should also have an independent water source. A creek, spring, lake, pond, or river on or running adjacent to the land is ideal. If no such water source exists and the property fits all the other requirements for sustainability, hire an expert to discover whether or not the property is suitable for a well. Talk to neighbors, they are always a wealth of information. If they have a well that has functioned properly for decades, drilling for one on your potential new home will also likely be successful.
- A heating system which would still function if the power grid failed, or to use immediately if going off grid, is also a top requirement for all properties toured. Heating with wood, a propane tank, or a gas furnace are common in rural areas. Remember the basic rule of prepping, two is one and one is none. A backup heating source is strongly advised. If faced with a long-term disaster or teotwawki, buying additional propane will not be an option. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, recent and proposed EPA guidelines governing wood stoves may soon make purchasing a suitable heating device extremely difficult. Review the new rules and do extensive research about the output of wood stoves if you are unfamiliar with heating in this manner. Talk to someone who has heated in this manner to estimate how much wood you will need annually. Mature trees on the property will defray the cost of having wood delivered and provide an emergency source of fuel when such deliveries may no longer exist. Solar heating is also an option in many locations. The hilly nature of the property and southern exposure should be reviewed thoroughly if planning on heating primarily or solely with solar power. Water heating systems are becoming more commonplace and should also be researched as a possible heating or backup heating source for the retreat.
- The disposal of waste on both a daily an emergency basis should also be placed at the top of the priority list. The property should either already possess a septic system or have the capability of having one installed. Composting commodes are also an option for the removal of human waste. Allowing waste to leak into the ground or the water supply can cause illness to both livestock and the family or members of the mutual assistance group.
[Image Via: Survival Realty]