As the world around us gets more and more complicated, there’s a growing fascination with living off-grid. It may seem out of reach and perhaps slightly fanciful, but living off-grid is absolutely doable. You just need the right tools and a little bit of determination. There are a variety of ways that you can make off-grid living work, from doing just the very basics to living in a tiny home with all the amenities. Solar and wind power are there for the taking, and there are ways to set up water and septic tanks that make off-grid living just as convenient as any home in a city. The first thing you’ll need when you start making your off-grid living a reality is a place to live.
Buying raw land – that is, undeveloped land – can be overwhelming, especially if you’re planning to live in a location far away from where you are now. Without the ability to visit parcels for sale, buying land unseen brings all new challenges to the table. Even if you are fortunate enough to be able to see the land for sale, there’s still enough to think about that it’s easy to miss something. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you’re buying raw land for off-grid living:
Do Your Research
As much as we’d like them to be, sellers are not always up-front. Never trust what you are told, especially if you are buying land without being able to see it in person first. Check into county records for any covenants that might be on the land. Covenants are restrictions on land use, such as those that would limit the size of your house to be over a certain square footage, for example. If the land has such a covenant on it, then you could not live in a tiny home. Some covenants restrict water tanks, for example. Know what restrictions might be on the parcel. Some counties and states have zoning or agricultural restrictions even on rural land.
You should also do a title search and make sure that there are no liens on the parcel that you are considering. A title search can also tell you if the seller actually owns the property and can keep you from being the victim of a scam. This is especially important if you have to buy before seeing the land. With a minimum amount of effort, your research can clear up many questions and make both purchasing and using your land later hassle-free.
Check Your Accessibility
Good and fairly cheap land is everywhere, including in places you just can’t get to very easily. In looking for land, you need to make sure that you can legally and safely get to it. While everyone is different and your definition of accessibility may differ from the next person’s, you need to make sure that the land that you are considering works for you. If you need to be able to drive to your plot, then you need a way in; that doesn’t necessarily mean that a road has to exist, but it does mean that you need a way in that is accessible by vehicle and that is a right of way or permission from surrounding landowners to build a path. If you have to use other means to get to your parcel – hiking or snowmobiling, for example – then consider how much you can carry in supplies and how often that you may need to restock.
Another thing to consider is seasonal accessibility. If you plan on living there in the winter, you need to be able to access it through the winter months. If you are planning full-time off-grid living, but your parcel of raw land is high in the mountains and only accessible by four wheel drive in the summer, you may not be able to live there in the winter. While winter is perhaps the biggest seasonal concern, you need to think of wet seasons creating muddy roads as well. Seasonal weather can make off-grid living a challenge, so choose your land accordingly.
Find Remote Land
In general, the more remote the land is, the better it is for off-grid living. While there are always questions concerning accessibility the further remote you go, finding something secluded usually takes care of itself by ruling out zoning restrictions and other county-enforced land use rules. While you may not be thinking of raising livestock, sometimes finding agricultural land will check all the boxes you need in your raw land and you’ll have the option of raising your own livestock, as well. While you always need to check accessibility while looking at more secluded parcels, raw land that is remote is generally cheaper and free of the sort of restrictions that would make off-grid living more difficult.
Ask for Help
Perhaps most important for people who are buying in a location that they can’t always visit, asking someone to scout the land for you will answer most of your questions, including the most important accessibility issues. If you have friends or family in the area, you can ask them to visit the parcel and take pictures. In cases where you may not have people you know, you may be able to hire someone from local listings to take pictures and scout accessibility for you. Talk to other landowners in the area and ask questions; you may find some like-minded people in the area who are more than happy to help you get the raw land you need.
Off-grid living is a big step and one that some people find intimidating, even if they are all in on the idea. Finding the right piece of land is perhaps the biggest step forward you can take in you off-grid living experience. This is, after all, your home and it should absolutely suit you and your needs. Remember to do the research that you need to do and you’ll be able to find the best piece of raw land for you at a good price.