You’ve decided you want to live off-grid. Now what? How do you proceed? How does one get started picking the perfect homestead site? The process can be overwhelming but let’s start logically and take it one step at a time. One of the first questions to address is where do you want to live off-grid?
The following are questions to ask yourself when seeking the perfect off-grid homestead plot. They are in no particular order.
Points to Consider in the Quest to Find the Perfect Homestead Site:
1. Access to employment- Will you need to be close to an existing job or will you need to find a new source of income? If you don’t need to worry about income, access to a job may not be a big consideration as to where you ultimately settle.
2. What dangers do the local area have? Deer with prevalent Lyme Disease, mosquito borne Zika or other?? No place is utopia so delve into what traits the local area has that might be of concern.
3. Are there dangerous animals in the area? You don’t necessarily have to be afraid of but respectful of. Bear? Cougar? Poisonous snakes?
4. Proximity to shopping, resupply and medical care
5. Does the property have clear title with warranty deed?
6. Does the property face south to capture energy for your solar electric array or solar passive heating?
7. Does the neighborhood have “Barky” the neighborhood dog that barks at his shadow or is there Industrial equipment running within ear shot?
8. Is the property surveyed? Lines well marked?- It is inadvisable to build or clear land unless you’re absolutely certain you are working on your own property.
9. If considering wind power-is there a high spot or the potential to clear an area where a turbine and tower can be installed that gives unimpeded wind flow?
10. Is there enough soil for a garden? If not, this isn’t a deal breaker because soil can be scavenged from other areas but if the area is a boulder field, establishing a garden of any size will be difficult maybe even impossible.
11. What is the size of the property and is it large enough for everything you want to do? For example, do you plan to plant an orchard? If you plan to raise animals you’ll need space to build a barn. If you plan to raise goats, sheep or a cow at the very least you’ll need enough area for pasture possibly enough ground for a hay field for winter feed.
12. Are there local ordinances that prohibit wind turbines, farm animals, off-grid set ups, water catchment or ??? that will be a problem?
13. What’s the local mill rate and what are the property taxes? How have taxes risen in the area historically? Are they going up 10%/year? 50% /year?
14. How close are you to a fire station? Be aware some (maybe all?) insurance companies will base their insurance premium on how close you live to the fire station.
15. Does the property have a good supply of firewood? Certainly important if you plan to heat and cook with wood stoves.
16. Does the property have legal right of way? You definitely want to make sure you have full control of how you get to your property.
17. What costs are involved in road building to get into your property? Road building is an expensive proposition so make sure costs to build a driveway or road into your plot are factored in.
18. Does the property have a water source? If you are contemplating water power-is there adequate head and flow?
19. Does the property have a spring that flows year round that might be a water source as well as spring house to keep items refrigerated?
20. Is there potential to dig an in ground root cellar if desired?
21. Access to Utilities – How close are the electric power lines if you wished to homestead, yet remain connected to the grid? How about cable TV, Internet services and telephone? Are you within cell phone range? Will you need a satellite system to access the Internet?
These are some factors to help in assessing a property for your dream homestead location. We’ll start to get specific in our next posts.
Until next time, keep the dream alive! We wish you a great day!
Ron and Johanna
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