3 Steps to Find and Choose the Best Location and Land for Living Off-Grid

Avoid The Pitfalls Of Off-Grid Landshopping

Here’s Our 3 Step Process to Find and Choose the Best Location and Land for Living Off-Grid

Cheap-Off-Grid-Land 2

Living off-grid is a dream for many people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, reduce their environmental impact, and enjoy a simpler and more self-reliant lifestyle. But let’s save the hills and valleys for your land and not the process of finding it.

off the grid property buying tips

When we first began our off-grid journey we had little idea where to start and less places to research. There were so few websites or information hubs online dedicated to helping folks navigate the off grid lifestyle. In fact we stumbled our way through most if not the entire process. But we did it. And the reason we started our off grid adventures has an interesting and unique story of its own that you can read about in our About Us Section. But no matter your reason(s) for going off grid we’re here to try and help make that transition a little more manageable and hopefully a lot more fun!

First things are first for a reason. Before you can start building your off-grid home, you need to find and choose the best location and land for your needs, preferences, and of course budget. Shopping for land to build your future home is an exciting time but one where you need to consider things very carefully. There are many factors to consider and challenges to overcome so that your entire off grid journey is as smooth as possible. Several years ago, we posted about our journey of finding our perfect off grid land for our particular home.

off grid property aerial view

In this blog post, we will guide you through a simple 3-step process of finding and choosing the best location and land for living off-grid, and share some tips and resources to help you along the way.

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Step 1: Define Your Goals and Criteria

The first step in finding and choosing the best location and land for living off-grid is to define your goals and criteria.

buying land-for-living-off-the-grid

What are you looking for in an off-grid location and the type of land? Do you have priorities and preferences that will direct your decision? How about specific deal-breakers and compromises? Here’s some of the factors you may want to consider that can help guide you through these questions:

Climate and Weather

  • What kind of climate and weather do you prefer or can tolerate?
  • How will the climate and weather affect your energy, water, and food needs and sources?
  • How will you cope with extreme weather events, such as storms, floods, droughts, fires, or snow?

The Off Grid Cabin Solar System Winter

Accessibility and Infrastructure

  • How easy or difficult is it to access the location and land by road, air, or water?
  • How far is it from the nearest town, city, or services?
  • How reliable or available are the existing infrastructure, such as electricity, water, sewage, phone, or internet?
  • How much will it cost to install or maintain your own off-grid systems?

Below: The only way to first access our property was to blaze a trail by hand down to our build site.

The Trail to the Off Grid Cabin with Steve Barnes

Below: Hauling everything by hand or on a folding trailer.


Legal and Regulatory

  • What are the legal and regulatory requirements and restrictions for living off-grid in the location and land?
  • How easy or difficult is it to obtain the necessary permits, licenses, or approvals?
  • How much will it cost to comply with the laws and regulations?
  • How friendly or hostile are the authorities and neighbors to off-grid living?


Size and Price

  • How big or small is the location and land?
  • How much does it cost to buy or rent?
  • How much will it cost to maintain or improve?
  • How much can you afford to spend on the location and land?

off grid large land

Features and Resources

  • Elevation and slope: How high or low is the location and land? How flat or steep is the terrain? How will the elevation and slope affect your views, exposure, drainage, erosion, or construction?
  • Soil and vegetation: How fertile or barren is the soil? How diverse or sparse is the vegetation? How will the soil and vegetation affect your gardening, farming, or landscaping?
  • Water and wildlife: How abundant or scarce is the water? How clean or polluted is the water? How diverse or dangerous is the wildlife? How will the water and wildlife affect your off-grid living?


You may want to make a list of your goals and criteria, and rank them by importance or preference. You may also want to set a range or threshold for each factor, and decide what you are willing to compromise or sacrifice for others. This will help you narrow down your options and make informed decisions.

Step 2: Research and Explore Your Options

The second step in finding and choosing the best location and land for living off-grid is to research and explore your options.

There are many ways to find and learn about potential locations for living off-grid, both online and offline. Your area may have a real estate website that allows you to filter properties by lot size, cost, and whether there is an exiting structure on the property. It may also provide satellite imagery of the property including the property boundary lines.

Here are some ideas:

Online Methods

  • Use online platforms, such as [LandWatch], [Land and Farm], or [Off Grid World], or to search and browse for available locations and lands for sale or rent. Here in nova Scotia we used an online real estate website called [View Point] to sift through available land in our area of interest. 
  • Use online tools, such as [Google Maps], [Google Earth], or [Climate Data], to view and analyze the features and resources of the locations and lands.
  • Use online forums, blogs, or social media, such as [Reddit], [Small Cabin Forum], [Facebook] pages/communities/groups, and [The Off Grid Cabin] post comments, to connect and communicate with other off-grid enthusiasts, experts, or owners, and ask for their advice, opinions, or recommendations.

You can see below how we used the satellite imagery on View Point to locate our land boundaries help us to blaze the trail to our cabin build site.

Below is BEFORE we cut the path to our build site.


Below is AFTER our road was blazed and the gravel laid down.


Offline Methods

  • Use word-of-mouth, newspapers, magazines, or flyers to find and learn about potential locations and lands for living off-grid.
  • Visit and explore the locations and lands in person, and see and experience them for yourself.
  • Talk with local people, such as the owners, sellers, agents, neighbors, or authorities, and get their insights, feedback, or suggestions.

You may want to use a combination of online and offline methods to research and explore your options, and compare and contrast them based on your goals and criteria. You may also want to keep a record of your findings. Use a spreadsheet, a map, or a notebook to visualize them.

Step 3: Evaluate and Select Your Choice

The third and final step in finding and choosing the best location and land for living off-grid is to evaluate and select your choice.

After you have researched and explored your options, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each option, and decide which one is the best fit for your goals and criteria.

Check list off grid

Some of the questions you may want to ask yourself are:

  • How does the option meet or exceed your goals and criteria? How does it fall short or fail to meet your goals and criteria?
  • How does the option compare or contrast with other options? What are the advantages or disadvantages of the option over other options?
  • How does the option align or conflict with your values, beliefs, or vision? How does it support or challenge your lifestyle, identity, or purpose?
  • How does the option make you feel? How confident or uncertain are you about the option? How excited or anxious are you about the option?

You may want to use a scoring system or a pros and cons list to evaluate your choice. You may also want to consult or involve other people, such as your family, friends, or experts to get their input/feedback. We walked the first properties we “thought” were perfect for us but upon closer inspection found them too swampy, flat and densely forested for our liking. It’s good to get out there and test/trial your choices and see how they feels under your boots.

The Off Grid Cabin Land Day 1

Once you have evaluated and selected your choice, you need to take action and secure your location. You may need to negotiate and finalize the terms and conditions of the purchase or rental agreement. Then sign the contract and pay a deposit/fee. You’ll need to obtain and complete the necessary paperwork and documentation, such as the title deed, the survey, the zoning, the permits, and/or the insurance. If you’re moving off grid full time then you will have to consider planning the move and the transition, such as packing, transporting, or storing your belongings, or notifying or updating your contacts or accounts.

It’s a satisfying moment when your land purchase agreement is accepted. A true whirlwind of emotions. Then, the fun really begins. Securing your off grid land is a big step and just the beginning of an exciting journey.

Congratulations, you have found and chosen the best location and land for living off-grid! 

Curious to find out how a simple clerical error got us our off grid land at half price?

You can read about that story here.

How We Saved Money Buying Off Grid Land The Off Grid Cabin


Finding and choosing the best location and land for living off-grid is a crucial and challenging step in your off-grid journey but one that can bring you so much joy.

Remember to define your goals and criteria, research and explore your options, and evaluate and select your choice. By following the three steps we’ve pointed out, you can make the process much more enjoyable. Best of all choose the best location and land for your off-grid needs. You never know when you’ll stumble upon that perfectly affordable piece of land that meets all your criteria. We hope this blog post has been helpful and informative for you, and we wish you all the best in your off-grid adventure!

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