Browsing for the ideal property to turn into a prepper retreat or bugout location is an exciting step along the journey to self-reliance. Once you have a loan pre-approval letter in your pocket, things suddenly get very real. Finally, it’s time to sign a contract on a piece of land. This is a new and extremely important stage of your life.
Top 10 Real Estate Tips For Your “Prepper Retreat”
It can be extremely easy to fall in love with a beautiful piece of land. This is especially true when walking the property and knowing it’s within your budget range. But give yourself a hard reality check before ever tossing out an offer. All land is not created equal. Simply because the acreage has been used as a homestead or farm does not necessarily mean it can be turned into a fully-functional survival retreat.
While it’s not difficult to find a real estate agent who specializes in the sale or farmland, finding one who is a prepper – or even understands the full needs of a prepper – is extremely rare. You may be without proper real estate professional guidance when grading the available properties for sale, so it’s best to make sure you actually know what’s necessary for the land to provide food, water, and be defensible, before ever stepping foot on any land listing.
Make a list of everything you want in your survival retreat. You’ve probably already done this dozens of times – at least in your head. Separate your needs and wants, write them down, and take your list each time you browse a piece of land. Take notes, take photos, and take another prepper, hunter, angler, security professional, or gardener with you if possible. If that isn’t possible, share your notes, photos, and listing details with them after the tour but BEFORE making an offer on any property.
Top 10 Prepper Retreat Real Estate Tips:
The minimum acreage for a worthy prepper retreat is five acres. This amount of space will leave just enough room around the home and barn to create a modest garden and provide space for small livestock and, hopefully, a small pond or creek and a little wooded area for hunting and trapping. At least 10 to 20 acres is far more ideal, with 50 being extremely good. But, a budget will allow only what the budget will allow. Some homesteaders and preppers have gotten by fine, before a SHTF scenario on one and-a-half to three acres of land. Do not overextend your budget. The land is just one part of the expenses that will be coming your way after purchasing a retreat property.
Unless purchasing a substantial amount of land, in excess of 100 acres, the prepper retreat should not border any high-traffic roads or be within one hour from a city. Ideally, the home should not even be visible from the country dirt road which leads past your survival homestead.
Even if the property has county water line access or a well, that will not likely save you and your family during a long-term disaster. Converting, or having the tools and the ability to convert, the well from an electric to a manual pump helps. However, having a spring-fed pond, or a creek which remains wet year around, is highly recommended. A man-made pond with decent run-off can be built upon the property. If the price is right, and the land meets all other criteria, building a pond could make the parcel a keeper.
4. Defensive Position
The property should contain a significant amount of steep cliff and ravines, rock formations and outcrops, and rugged terrain. Such a parcel of land will prevent vehicles from getting onto the property, deter attackers on foot, and slow down ATV vehicles from getting too close undetected. A home on a hill provides a perfect vantage point for the prepping family or group’s security patrols. If you have to cross a creek which could be dammed up and flooded to get near the home, the property should get an “A+” on the defensive position and location categories.
A flowing creek could be harnessed for hydropower if the home and waterway are within a feasible distance and the elevation is advantageous. Placing the home in an area with a southern exposure the bulk of the day, or at least positioned in a sunny clearing, paves the wave for a solar system. The system can then provide power to the home after a grid failure or other disaster which knocks out the electrical systems for the foreseeable future.
Preppers love redundancy. “Two is one, and one is none,” as my husband always says. A multi-fuel generator is awesome, but eventually, the gas and diesel fuel stockpiles will run dry. Making your own biodiesel fuel and converting a generator to run on it is a superb and potentially life-saving idea. However, even keeping this in mind, the survival retreat should be comprised of 50 percent forest. This allows you plenty of firewood, hunting among mature trees, and ample opportunities to trap wild game as well.
Don’t forget to take into consideration if you’ll be working off the property. The travel distance, both by vehicle and on foot, should be considered before buying a bug out location.
How you might set up a waste disposal system is another important thing to consider when touring the property. Whether you’re buying land for use on an off-grid prepper retreat or for a survival home that’s on the grid now, but preparing not to be during a TEOTWAWKI disaster, sanitation must be considered when purchasing land. Permitting human and livestock waste to leach into the pond or creek will quickly cause it to become contaminated. This spread of germs can be deadly now, but especially after a doomsday scenario comes to pass. A gravity-fed system, complete with composting commodes, is the most off-grid friendly and affordable option – but an old-fashioned and properly positioned outhouse will work as well.
9. Food Production
Crops, as well as medicinal herbs and plants can be grown in a traditional row garden, but can – and should– also be grown near the home in pots, or vertically in barrels, and in a permaculture (food grown in the forest) manner as well. Survivalist Gardener Rick Austin recommends camouflaging your crops. That way, they won’t be detected and stolen by the marauding hordes that will surely comb the countryside after the SHTF. Building at least one root cellar should be near the top of the prepper retreat to do list after a property is purchased.
Raising both large and small livestock is ideal, but the budget will dictate how much land and how many animals can be purchased. Keeping the barn and coop as secluded as the food is strongly encouraged. Allowing the animals to routinely graze in a visible pasture during good times should not occur unless it’s completely unavoidable. Passersby will see them and remember where to find meat when things turn tragic. Do not buy more livestock than can winter themselves over on the hay and grain you have on hand. The only exception is if you can butcher them yourself regardless of access to power.
Have you bought land before? Do you have any tips to share? Leave them in a comments below!
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