How to pick the right land for living off the grid – location location location

But first please read my blog on “going off grid income lessons” (  Many (like myself) want to get into the fun stuff like choosing your piece of paradise but before you begin there are a few things you should consider … how to pick the right land for living off the grid?

Can you afford it

Sometimes you have to pull back a bit on what you want, to find what you need and can afford, when i say afford that also includes ongoing costs such as mortgage , rates and other maintenance costs.

Mortgage free ?

Try to clear or keep the mortgage as low as possible.  You may wish to be completely freehold (for peace of mind) or you may wish to keep a small mortgage ticking over.  There are benefits to both, but bear in mind if you need to raise a loan in the future it will be much easier if you have a credit history.

Can you afford to live on it?

What are the ongoing costs, its a good idea to work towards being as self sufficient as possible but keep in mind it’s a lot more hard work than you’d imagine … in fact if you have no experience of working on the land try to imagine getting up at sunrise, working all day and stopping when the sun goes down.  In our country real estate agents love selling lifestyle blocks because they have a high turnover rate due mainly to city folk not understanding what it take to work the land.

Is it well above sea level?

Just something to think about, if you’re planning to pass the land down to your kids and their kids etc…  you may wish to consider future predictions regarding sea levels.  We are about 20 meters above sea level and I’m thinking I probably should have gone a bit higher (hope for the best, plan for the worst).

Who owns the land?

You will need to determine the ownership of the land, how you do this depends on the country and area, best to start with the local real estate agents.  But be warned they are not always forth coming with information, especially if they are selling it.  Some things to think about, who is the property owner, existing taxes, recorded easements, access rights, water rights, historical status of the land or existing buildings, outstanding rates, local bylaws affecting land use or building.

Can it sustain you?

Is the ground good, will it grow great crops, do you have enough land to support you and your family?  Its easy to build and move dirt but it’s a lot more difficult to turn bad dirt into good dirt, so save yourself a lot of time and energy chose your piece of dirt wisely.  If you’re not sure get it tested and ask for advice from someone with knowledge in this area.

Is there water in them there hills?

When it comes to growing things (which is kinda critical if you’re going to be self sufficient) water is like gold. Water is life, it sustains both animals and plants alike.  So think really carefully about this one, do you have a reliable water source, do you get year round water, how far down is the water table.  On the other hand you might have to much water … too much is not as bad as not enough but it also gets a bit tricky trying to grow in a swamp so make sure the ground has good drainage. Our land is on a gentle slope with about 2 foot of rich limey soil on top and half a foot of pumice, so the ground conditions are almost perfect regardless of no rain for a month or 300 mills in a few days.

Is it safe?

If the shit hits the fan so to speak is it far enough away from high population densities so you won’t be overrun.  I know its highly unlikely that supermarkets will run out of food because they just don’t … right!!! … its a bit apocalyptic I know, but again hope for the best plan for the worst 🙂

What are your neighbours like?

Your neighbours are kind of like extended family, you can’t choose your family but you can choose your neighbours 🙂

What’s the community like?

Is the local community friendly and resilient, do they support each other, do they know how to live off the land?  One major advantage of the community we live in is most people know how to grow, hunt and fish … in fact its not unusual to come home and find food in a box at your door that you don’t even know where it came from … that’s what you call community.

Are you going to live on it right now

Maybe your off grid property is more of a holiday home, if that’s the case make sure you stock up on things you will need and store it safely.  Also when you are on site get to know the neighbours and they will keep an eye on things for you.  But remember you have to give to receive.

This is our little piece of paradise

We are currently living on 6 acres in a 12m x 3m portacom with a 12m x 2.4m extension … not bad going for a family of six.  We are planning to build our sustainable tiny home (well … more of a small home really) in the next 3 to 5 years.  I hope this helped you answer the question, how to pick the right land for living off the grid.

our off grid property


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