Living off the grid is becoming increasingly popular, the price for off grid land is slowly increasing every year and many people just want to buy a piece of land before it becomes unaffordable. The good news is that with some research you can get a decent sized off grid land that is actually suitable for off grid living.
To buy off grid land and property you have to walk the property line several times, and identify everything you want to get removed, either use this when bargaining or have the items removed at the seller’s expense. Most importantly make sure that the seller is actually the owner of the property, you can easily do this if you check the tax records for the land.
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Way too many people buy a piece of land just because it’s cheap and they think that any land is good for off grid living, which often backfires. Not all off grid land or properties are the same, although with some work and a couple of permits you can turn the entire property to function off the grid but this can take a lot of money and time. There are a lot of small, even insignificant things for which you should definitely watch out when buying off grid land.
Failing to do so will only make living off the grid either completely impossible or fairly difficult, especially from a legal stand of point. If you want to know which states are the best for off grid living then check out my recent article Best states for off grid living ( 1-50 Best to Worst ).
Walk The Entire Off Grid Property Line
It is extremely important to walk the entire off grid property line before you take the jump. Note down everything that you would want to remove from the property, the bigger the property is the more junk it will have in random locations. You can either use this as a bargaining chip to lower the price for the property or get rid of them at the expense of the seller. If you see a structure and you want it removed then definitely ask the seller to remove it.
Demolition costs of a home or structure tend to be rather expensive, especially if the location is hard to access. If you have the possibility to walk the property line several times then do so after rain and during winter as well. If you walk the property line after rain then you will easily see the areas where water tends to pool, this is especially important if you want to grow your own food.
Have Water Access To The Off Grid Property
Make sure that you have water access to the off grid property, even if the plot of land is right next to a river or creek it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the rights to it. Sometimes even a narrow strip of land belonging to somebody else can stop you from accessing the river. If it is a small creek and it is passing through your land then you will most likely be able to use it without any issues. If you want to know the legality of collecting rainwater in your state then check out my recent article Collecting rainwater illegal? ( Laws in all 50 States ).
Off Grid Land Evaluation
When you are looking at the tax records to find out if the seller is actually the owner of the land, you can actually see how much the land is evaluated. If the price of the land is similar to the evaluation from the tax records then in most cases the price is far. However, if the evaluation from the tax records and the asking price has a massive difference then the seller is asking for too much, this can be used as a bargaining chip.
Off Grid Land Deeds
There are a couple of different types of deeds when it comes to buying off grid land, warranty deed, special warranty deed, quitclaim deed, bargain and sale deed, and grant deed. When buying off grid land you are most likely to get either a warranty deed or a special warranty deed. You will have to ask your real estate agent to clarify these deeds for you, as they can get somewhat complicated.
Have Access To The Off Grid Land
It is extremely important that you have access to the off grid land, in the best-case scenario the road should not go through anyone else’s property. If you do not know who owns the access to the property then make sure to find out before purchasing. In case the road is owned by somebody else then you have to make sure that you will be granted access to it. Consult with several real estate agents in your area as they will definitely know the ins and outs of the area.
Off Grid Land Zoning
If you are looking to buy off grid land then you will have to look at the zoning. The bigger the plot of land is the more zonings it can have, some parts might be mixed use, some agricultural, and some will be suitable for building. It is vital that you find where you can actually build and where is this location on the plot of land. Oftentimes sellers will sell 100 acres and only a couple of the acres are actually suitable for building, and it’s kind of important where these zones are before you buy the land.
How Far Is The Off Grid Property Form A City
Off grid properties that tend to be far away from civilization will be a lot cheaper than the ones that are close to a city. Off grid properties that are closer to the city are somewhat more expensive but they can be cheaper when it comes to getting supplies and having access to a local hospital. If you buy an off grid property in the middle of nowhere then you will get the solitude but if anything serious happens then help can be several hours away.
Find The Closest Fire Hydrant To The Off Grid Property
There are some off grid properties that have a fire hydrant but for the most part, the vast majority of off grid properties do not have one. Living off the grid can be dangerous and if something catches on fire the last thing you want is for the firefighters to not be able to extinguish the fire as there is no nearby fire hydrant. The good news is that you can actually call up the local fire department and ask them to dig a pond on your land, in return you will allow them to use this water in case of an emergency.
Use A Real Estate Agent When Buying Off Grid Land
If you have been looking to buy off grid land then you might have noticed that there are a lot of offers from land or property owners. While at first glance buying a piece of property from the owner might seem cheaper but it can be extremely dangerous if you do not use a real estate agent. There are a lot of off grid land listings, and a lot of them look legit, but if you buy one without proper diligence you might find yourself spending a lot of money on a plot of land that you do not actually own, as the seller never had the rights to sell it in the first place.
The easiest way to check if a plot of land or a property is owned by somebody, in this case the seller, is to check the local tax records. If you want to do owner financing then this usually means that you will need to make a relatively large deposit. After which you make the deposits over a set period of time and you will get the deed after the loan has been paid off. But if the company or the person selling the property didn’t actually own the property or the land then you just wasted all that money, even in court it will be hard to get this money back.
Think About How Will You Get Mail On The Off Grid Land
This is usually the last thing on people’s minds when buying an off grid property. However, in most cases, you will have to drive to the local post office to get your mail. If you are waiting for some very important mails then you might end up driving to the post office every day. In this case, my personal recommendation is to be friendly with your local post office workers and ask them to call you if you get mail.
Trees On The Off Grid Land
People tend to look at trees on their off grid land in two ways, they will either need to get rid of them to maximize growing food or use them for their shade. If you want to grow your own food then you need to use an area that gets full sun, and if trees are blocking these areas then they need to go. Solar panels function at best if placed in full sun locations, even partial shade for a couple of hours will limit how much power they can generate significantly.
Buy Off Grid Land Without HOA
HOA’s can be problematic even in the best case scenario, but when it comes to off grid land you have to avoid them like the plague. Even if you buy a plot of land in the middle of nowhere you might still find that there are some restrictions or HOA rules which will make living off the grid either very hard or impossible. If the piece of land is part of an HOA then you will have to ask them if you can build a tiny home, harvest water, set up solar panels, and so on.
Even if they say it’s fine, I would still avoid buying the land, HOA’s will change their mind if they don’t like something or if they want to make money off of you. So if there is HOA you will be the owner of the land, but you will have to ask permission from the HOA, it won’t end well.
- If this is the first time you are buying an off grid property then make sure to hire a real estate agent that is specialized in off grid properties.
- Use the local tax records to find out who the actual owner of the land is, and you can also see at how much the land is evaluated by the tax office.
- Find out the different zonings for the plot of land before committing to a purchase.