5 Tips Before You Buy Remote Property

rainbowHindsight is always 20/20 vision.  When you’re evaluating a property for your remote off grid home, foresight is the best. Don’t make that big commitment by signing on the dotted line before you consider this short list.  Eyes wide open is the best way to move forward in a predictable way.  [whew! I can't believe I got so many cliches in the previous sentences. :) ]

In our recent email poll, Joe Schmidt asked, “Do you have stories or articles about your home and property construction?”  Well lets move that direction with purchasing a remote property. Anyway, here’s the list I have so far:

  1. Is there a good source of water?

    This is probably the first and foremost consideration if you ever to make a full time move here in the future.  Having a reliable source of water is a strong plus.  If you need a well then its best to check with other property owners who have one and a local driller BEFORE you buy.  There may be a drilling moratorium or other restrictions.  If there is a source of running water on the property, investigate what water rights come with the property deed.
    [In our case, there was already a 370' foot well. ]

    In the early years here on the mountain we had a hearty neighbor who hauled his own water 25 gallons at a time for 7 or 8 years.   He also stayed in a walled tent a couple of winters.  This guy was the exception to the water and many other rules!

  2. What restrictions come attached to the property?

    You want a remote property, and I’m guessing that part of the equation is freedom.  Make sure you understand fully any covenants, or community bylaws that could hinder your plans.  Are you able to build 2 homes or subdivide the property?  Are there any noise regulations or other laws that would prevent you from having chickens, or other livestock you wish to raise?
    [In our case, few restrictions with private property surrounded by National Forrest. ]

  3. Are there any easements that you might not like?

    Finding out far into the purchase procedure that the county has a 50′ easement through your property could be a source of stress.  Check and make sure you are comfortable with what is recorded against the property.
    [In our case, an abandoned easement for a non existent community water system.]

  4. How is your ‘southern exposure’?

    Good property for off grid living really benefits from flat areas with good exposure to the south.  Solar power, hot water, and good thermal design of buildings ALL take advantage of the south exposure to the sun.  (If you live ‘down under’ the equator then north facing is whats desired.)
    [In our case, yes two flat-ish areas facing south.]

  5. Is there good access?

    Is the road you use to get there maintained by the county or state?  Or is it unmaintained, and you’re on your own.  This aspect is very important to consider because it will hinder your future work there part time or full time.  There are definite expenses associated with a challenging driveway or access roads.  Inquire further to see what conditions are like during different seasons.

    [ In our case, this is a big one and affects us in many ways.  Its also part that keeps the property 'remote'.  Take a couple minutes to read our Driveway Adventures to see what happens around here. ]

We enjoy living off grid mostly, just don’t ask me at certain times in the middle of a “challenge”.  What other considerations for the property purchase is missing from the list?  Help us make this a complete list to better serve you!  Leave your comments!

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5 Responses to 5 Tips Before You Buy Remote Property
  1. Eric
    December 31, 2011 | 9:39 pm

    Also make sure there is no restrictions on needing a water source or septic. where I live you have to have a well or city water source and a septic. You can’t bring in water or take out/dump/compost your non-potable water. And you can not use open source water (creek/river/pond). They will throw you out and bulldoze if you don’t fix it in the required time frame. Basically that want your money and if there is no HOUSE the taxes are much lower. Living in a camper or small shed or barn is ok as long as you have a well and septic they can charge full price taxes. But you can not build a 5000 sq ft house and live there (at least full time) with out water and sewage. Northeast Indiana!

  2. Rod
    December 14, 2012 | 8:40 pm

    I want to live in a modified shipping container, in NM, but feel stuck not knowing where I am allowed to do it.

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