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.

Yamaha-Grizzly-550

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?

man-shaking-hands-with-man-background_

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?

Off-grid-land-with-lake

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.

Trail_Blazing_From_Hidden_Lane

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

The_Off_Grid_Cabin_build_site_access_trail

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