Buying Bugout Property On The Cheap

by David Morris on July 19, 2012

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you this week by Jeff Anderson’s “Collapse Survival Secrets.” If you haven’t yet, I want to strongly suggest that you check it out. He’s slashed the price on it this week and is including “Flash Mob Survival” as a free bonus. With the sheer volume of flash mobs that have been happening, including flash mobs of 40, 200, and 300! people THIS WEEK, this is incredibly timely and valuable information. To find out more, go to

It’s Survival Diva here with a few tips a real estate broker won’t necessarily share. Many of us have dreams of buying property or a cabin but if you haven’t been able to afford your dream property, take heart! There may be factors you are unaware of that could make it possible sooner rather than later.

Get Your Land For Free!

Yes, you heard right! Places like Beatrice, Nebraska; Curtis, Nebraska; Marne, Iowa; and rural land dotted throughout Kansas are being offered for free in an attempt to infuse sagging populations. If you are not shy of open spaces with few amenities, and you are willing to pre-qualify for a home loan, or build a home within a certain time-frame, it’s time to do an Internet search to see what’s available.

It’s likely this trend will continue as small towns seek to draw new blood. So, what’s the catch? They want families with school age children. With each new student, these struggling communities receive increased revenue from the government for schools. They also stand to increase their coffers with property and income tax revenues. This brings up the obvious observation that you’d be moving into an area that values money from the government, and is willing to put up with the strings that are included.

The Value should be in the Property, Not the Improvement

If you have your heart set on a specific location, and a modern day run at open plains doesn’t pique your interest, there are great deals on both developed and undeveloped properties out there these days, provided you keep one simple rule in mind.

When purchasing property; it’s safest to have the larger portion of investment tied to the property, rather than in the improvement. Historically, acreage does not have a tendency to “crash” as does brick and mortar. When friends or family ask for advice about purchasing a home in the city or a suburb in today’s market, I advise against it. There is a good chance the market will continue to adjust lower than current levels. (David details a couple reasons why the real estate market is likely to correct another 40% in this article: said that, investing in land where you can raise farm animals and grow a garden is not the same as buying a McMansion. Property that allows you to provide for the future is more of a lifestyle choice and it offers the ability to survive whatever the economy has in mind for us in the future.

Where to Find the Best Deals on Rural Property

For Sale by Owner properties are often more affordable, provided the seller lowers the price of their property by the 6%-7% normally paid to a real estate agent. Just make sure that you do your homework when dealing with a For Sale by Owner, so the savings you realize by leaving out a professional won’t come back to bite you later on (more on this later).

Lease Purchase is on the increase and for those concerned over where the market is headed, this approach is safest. Typically, you will pay the normal first month’s payment, last month’s payment, and deposit as you would with a rental, and a portion of the monthly “rent” goes towards your down payment. The benefit of a lease-purchase is that you can live the lifestyle you choose, but should the market take a nose-dive, the price can be renegotiated before purchase. Have a professional look over the paperwork of a lease purchase before committing to it.

Raw Land is an option for a handyman who has the skills to build their own cabin or for those who plan to have their dwelling professionally built. While living in Alaska, it was common to meet homesteaders who dug basements and lived there while they built up cash and carry. Others started with a garage or small barn and utilized the space as home base while they built their home as money became available. Straw bale, adobe and cob are building methods for a do-it-yourselfer that can save an incredible amount of money.

One of the biggest upfront costs and risks of buying raw land is drilling a well. It helps to have a perk test done on the property-this is normally provided by the seller-but my advice is to request the owner pay to have the well dug and roll the costs back into the property sales contract. It takes out the guesswork.

Mortgages have never been available on raw, unimproved land, as mortgage lenders attach the improvement (home or cabin), rather than the land, should a borrower default. Before the recent real estate crash, owners often held out for a cash sale on raw land, but those days are long gone, leaving sellers open to owner-carry contracts. When negotiating the interest rate on a loan, keep in mind that the interest rate you pay the seller will be far better than what the banks are paying for interest accrued on monies sitting idly in an account. There is always room for negotiation!

(David’s note: From personal and consulting experience, there are some strange happenings in the market right now that make it MUCH less expensive to buy existing homes/buildings on land rather than buying land, doing site work, drilling a well, handling septic, power/phone tie in, (if applicable) building your house, and building other structures. When I say MUCH less, I mean that I’ve seen it half to ⅓ as expensive to buy land with existing site work, buildings, and infrastructure compared to buying raw land and building.)

Owner-Carry loans are not the same as lease purchase. They are a binding sales contracts agreed by the buyer and seller at a specific interest rate for a specified period of time. As the buyer of a property, the interest rate on an owner-carry contract can be written off at income tax time.

It’s possible to find screaming deals on Owner-Carry loans, but go into this type of real estate loan with your eyes wide open. Most of the time, you will be dealing with an honest owner who simply needs to get out from under a property. Rural settings come with greater difficulties in regard to a mortgage loan and sometimes lead to sub-prime loans, but as mortgage lenders grow increasingly weary of what they deem as risk, these types of loans have all but dried up. Sellers aware of this are moving towards the owner-carry loan when they own the property outright.

As with any business deal, there is the potential for predatory practices involving real estate that may have you headed for court. If a seller asks for interest rates that steadily climb over time, or request a balloon payment, beware! There will be more on this later under Avoiding Pitfalls.

Multi-Family Homes now make up a sizeable portion of home sales over the past few years. Groups of families have banded together to help one-another through this shaky time, and I for one applaud them. Gardening and homesteading chores may be shared, and by pooling resources, financial solvency is much more likely.

Mortgage loans for group ownership are fairly simple to do with a Tenancy In Common-but be aware that not all states allow them. When seeking such a loan, it is best to refer to an attorney to address issues as to how taxes and property improvements will be divided. It is also important to agree on inheritance issues should a member pass away.

(David’s note: I strongly discourage co-ownership of properties. Just like 50+% of marriages end in divorce, your group will probably change over time. A MUCH cleaner arrangement is to have a single owner who leases property to tenants or create a condo/townhome type arrangement where you have a combination of individually owned property and common property. A single owner arrangement will give one person control over who moves in as time moves forward and a condo arrangement may lead to an owner selling to someone against the will of the rest of the group.)

Thinking Outside the Box may lead to interesting alternatives. If you have a pioneering spirit, what about pulling a 5th Wheel on to an undeveloped property and living in it while you build your home? By selling the 5th wheel once your structure is complete, you stand to recoup the money spent on your temporary shelter. Many have done this with great financial results!

(David’s note: having been a lifetime RV’er, ranging from Class A to Class C and bumper pull to 5th wheel, you need to do an accurate and realistic initial analysis to have any hope of coming out ahead buying and selling an RV. You should expect to pay no more than 65%-70% of retail for a new RV/trailer and you should expect the price to be 50% of retail within 12 months of purchase.

If you buy used, you NEED to make painfully low offers with the understanding that the sellers you’re talking to are going to feel like they’re being sucker punched. Rest assured that the sellers will probably have received incredibly low offers from dealers already. You just need to be polite but resolute with them…show them Black Book values if you can get your hands on one…and let them know that it hurts you to only be able to offer them as much as you are, but that that’s all the market will allow.

That being said, we LOVE RV living and spend 1-3 months per year in ours. There are definite preparedness sacrifices/tweaks that you need to make, but there are some significant advantages to living in a small space as well. I wouldn’t dream of trying to “bug out” in an RV and they are definitely low security, but we love being able to travel with our kids, dogs, food, and some gear.

There’s also an opportunity for vetrans to go and do overseas security contract work for a year or go up to Canada and work on their pipelines/in their oil fields, live like a pauper for 12 months so you can save all your money, and buy something for cash at the end of the year.)

Manufactured Homes have always been a financing challenge, and have been hit hard with the current real estate downswing. Where once sub-prime loans were available for manufactured homes, they are now difficult to find as mortgage lenders grow increasingly squeamish to risk.

For the most part, manufactured homes are located in rural settings due to building codes that disallow them in many towns, cities and some suburbs; therefore great deals can be had on them in today’s market. Sellers who have paid off their mortgages and need to sell have turned to owner financing and in some cases the asking price may be pennies on the dollar.

Before you search, however, be aware that manufactured homes older than June15, 1976, were not eligible for financing even during the real estate boom and certainly will not be in the future. The problem is poor snow loads built into roof structures and issues with poor insulation. Even for those who can afford to pay cash, keep in mind, should you decide to sell your property later on, you may have a difficult time finding someone willing to hand over a chunk of cash.

Other concerns to watch for are manufactured homes that have been moved more than once or a singlewide. A manufactured home that has been moved from, say, a park to a property is disqualified from a mortgage loan. The problem that surrounds a singlewide is their history of depreciation, of which lenders are only too aware. Loans on singlewide manufactured homes are difficult to find, and when found, always come with a high interest rate.

The exception to the rule is purchasing a property that comes with a give-away trailer or manufactured home-usually dilapidated or older than June 15, 1976. This strategy works well for anyone interested in building a home or cabin that needs a roof over their head in the meantime. Be aware that once you’re through building your home, it costs upwards of $1,000 or more to move a trailer or manufactured home from the property, depending on roads and the distance involved.

(David’s note: I’ve bought nice doublewides for $1,200 and doublewides on land for $10,000. Because of the desirability of stick built homes, you can get incredible deals on manufactured homes. That being said, don’t look at them as an “investment” unless you plan on buying them cheap for cash and selling them on owner-carry notes. I have several friends who have done this out of their IRAs…basically, buying a doublewide on land for $10-$15k cash and immediately selling it owner financed for $30,000 at 12% interest with 10% down. On paper, you double to triple your money immediately and you have 50% or more of your cash back in your account within 12 months!  If you do this a few times outside of your IRA, you can buy your own place for cash fairly quickly.)

Avoiding Pitfalls

Earnest Money Agreements include rights of refusal should the property not pass a home inspection or title search. Be certain to include other contingencies such as loan approval. In a case where you must sell an existing home, the earnest money agreement should include a clause stating if you are not able to sell your home within the time frame you and the seller agree on (typically 60 – 90days), your earnest money deposit is reimbursed in full.

Owners cannot be expected to watch out for your interest and they are not held to the standards of professional real estate agents. Always watch out for your interest! The amount of an earnest money down payment is negotiable, and many times, a deposit of $1,000 is sufficient to prove your interest, but no more.

Seek a Professional if you are unclear about an owner finance, lease purchases, or lease option property agreement, because once you’ve signed, it becomes a legally binding contract.

Title Insurance is relatively inexpensive for the protection it offers a buyer and should be part of a sales agreement, even when it isn’t mandatory to a sales contract. Title insurance protects you against builders liens, property tax & income tax liens, building code issues (like discovering the shed that came with the property is built partially on your neighbors land and must be moved) and it will verify that the seller is the legal owner of the property with the right to enter into the sales contract. They also check that your property in not on a floodplain, something to be avoided, as not only is your property at greater risk, floodplain insurance is usually ten times the expense of a normal homeowner’s policy.

Set up an Escrow Account so that payments you make each month have a third party involved proving payments were made and should a dispute arise, you have proof of payment. Escrow payments can usually be set up to pay homeowner’s insurance and property tax each month, which avoids the annual surprise when the full bill comes due.

Home Inspections should always be performed, even when you are paying cash or the financing is owner finance-especially when it is owner financing. It’s doubtful an owner would offer you a checklist of everything wrong with a home. To find out the substructure of your new cabin is termite-ridden or the foundation is on the verge of collapse after a purchase means untold headaches and legal battles down the road. Should a problem be revealed during a home inspection that may be repaired yourself, this is a perfect opportunity to take the amount of repair and labor off of the sales price. With hard work, you’ll be able to build instant equity in your new property.

Don’t Overpay especially in a market that hovers up and down and plummets without warning. Offering 10%-20% less on a property helps protect your investment. This is not a case of taking advantage of the seller, but rather cushioning your investment against the threat of market decline.

(David’s note:  As a rule of thumb, if a deal isn’t “too good to be true” and if people aren’t saying, “there must be something wrong with it for them to sell at that price,” don’t fool yourself into thinking you got a deal.  If you are willing to pay over market price or market price, that’s fine…but if you want a deal, be prepared to kiss a LOT of pigs and make sure you get a screaming deal.  In a soft market with increasingly difficult mortgage underwriting, expect that you’ll need to price a house at 20-30% under market value to get it sold quickly with conventional financing, if necessary.)

Request the owner of the property pay for an appraisal, to ensure you pay no more than a property is worth. If you can’t get owner agreement, you may pay for the appraisal yourself. However, if money is tight, there is another way to determine market value of a property through title companies. Most have programs they can run in your specific area to help you determine value. Assessment departments in the area may also be able to help. When all else fails, you can approach a real estate agent and trade their expertise for a modest gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.

Credit Rating Doesn’t Always Compute with owner finance, and it’s not uncommon for the transaction to be done without a credit check. For many, short-term financial hiccups led to dings in credit rating, but in this case, the seller is more concerned with the down payment made to their property. The larger the down payment, the less likely it is that you will default on the loan. Buyer default returns ownership to the seller. Any improvements made to the property, monthly payments, and down payments are kept by the seller, leaving the original owner free to resell the property. For this reason, it is wise to negotiate a cushion of time before the default process takes effect, which can be written into the sales contract should you lose a job or suffer a temporary setback.

Balloon Payments can be a death keel to a property owner when they come due! For instance, should you agree to a balloon payment 5 years from the original property sale agreement, you must either secure a loan or pay cash to the owner by the date agreed upon. Considering rural home loans are getting harder to find, and there is no way of knowing what the state of the market will be at that 5-year mark, you stand the chance of losing the property if you are unable to find a loan or produce cash. This would put you in default and any improvements, payments and down payment is retained by the seller, leaving them free to resell the property.

Don’t Agree to Sliding Interest Rates as many times they are a “hook” to reel in buyers. It is easy to get distracted by that “perfect” property and ignore the ramifications of a sliding interest rate that steadily climbs. This practice makes it easy to pay the property payments at the beginning of the contract, but may force you to refinance soon after, or lose the property.

Grand fathered” Properties are properties built before new building codes and thus excused from new regulations until changes are made. Therefore, should you find that jewel of a cabin overlooking the lake as perfect once a second story is added, better look before you leap! Should you attempt to do an addition on a grand fathered property, you may find that your jewel of a cabin just became a noose around your neck.

David’s closing remarks:

You might wonder why a site with “Urban” in it’s name is covering buying land…here’s why. The point of creating the course was to give people a roadmap to increase their survivability, regardless of where reality placed them when disaster happens. Whether it’s in the sticks or in the middle of downtown Detroit, the SIP course lays out how to increase your chances of surviving in place when relocating to a better position isn’t an option.  In a catastrophic disaster situation that happens suddenly, the window of opportunity for bugging out is SO short that you’d better be prepared to “bloom where you’re planted” (aka…SurviveInPlace).

That being said, many people are hungrily trying to figure out how to cushion themselves from the risks of terrorist attacks, tax and economic fluctuations, and increasing food prices and are trying to strategically relocate to more rural places before a sudden catastrophic disaster hits in the hopes that they’ll be more resilient to these risks.

In addition, many people are, like John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, sick of fighting the system and are strategically relocating to more rural areas to change gears and become more self-sufficient.

In short, I was excited that Barbara wanted to talk about this because most, if not all urban preppers would like to either get “some more land” or out-and-out move to the country. A big chunk of my audience will remain tied to urban areas…to be close to a VA hospital, for other medical needs, to earn a living, or because of family. Despite all of the overly discussed shortcomings of urban areas, they’re still the best or only answer for many families.

With that, what are your thoughts on strategically relocating to a location with land? Any thoughts or experience with land patents or mining claims? How about creative ways to make the transition from urban living to more rural living? Share your thoughts by commenting below:

And, if you haven’t yet, I want to strongly suggest that you check out Jeff Anderson’s “Collapse Survival Secrets.” He’s slashed the price on it this week and is including “Flash Mob Survival” as a free bonus. With the sheer volume of flash mobs that have been happening, including flash mobs of 40, 200, and 300! people THIS WEEK, this is incredibly timely and valuable information. To find out more, go to 

God Bless & Stay Safe,

Survival Diva and David Morris

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

-1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ralph Gregorio
July 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

You made some good points and other points I don’t agree with. First some tips. I have bought many pieces of land at tax sales. Usually they have been raw land and I’ve bought them so cheap it was easy to turn around and flip them for a good profit. Tax sales in some states that hold them may have restrictions on the sale so do your due diligence in the states you are interested in.
Mobile homes, after 1976, either single wide or preferrably double wide on their own land make excellent investments if they are in good shape. I’ve bought a few very cheap and then rented them out. They also make a good second home especially if it is on more then a few acres of land. I’ve picked up a few from foreclosure sales. Most will need some work as the previous owner will trash the place but as long as the structure is in good shape, a little TLC and labor is all it takes for a place and saves you a few dollars. Many people frown upon mobile homes but don’t, you can get a decent home for a decent price.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Thank you for the heads-up on Tax Sales. A few years before the Real Estate crash, I was a mortgage lending officer and worked almost exclusively with manufactured home loans– mostly because they took longer to find affordable rates and were harder to get approved. My co-workers always put stacks of manufactured home loans on my desk ( :

I agree, there’s nothing wrong with them at all, except they tend to get dinged with stricter loan generation rules every time there’s a down turn in the market. Here in North Idaho, you can get screaming deals on manufactured homes. Not sure if it’s that way across the country. Being careful to get a great deal (like your mention of a Tax Sale) should help with re-sale on down the road.


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:31 am

I have a 2 Bed,1 bath mobile,on a mountain,12 miles from a decent size town that I rented and they destroyed 2 times. It’s a 1978,14 X 70. I have over $35,000 in improvements in it. Knotty Pine walls,all new carpet,linoleum, has wood stove and 4 acres of land. The deer & elk have taken all the fences down in 4 pastures. Has Loafing shed,big storage shed,and larage wood shed. I have to sell it due to my health. This is a beautiful peice of property,but I won’t rent it again. It has a new well,(used 2 yrs by 1 person’)views,lots of trees (probably over 100 could be cut down’) My blood,sweat & tears have been put into it. But it’s time to let it go. I would offer owner finacing to the right party at a decent interest rate, I just don’t want to be screwed over again. I can no longer take care of the mowing etc,(which is like twice a year to keep in shape.)I know the right person out there would love it. I was directed by my visions 30 yrs ago to find it for survival
reasons’ If interested ,answer this plea. Thanks


Vote -1 Vote +1Phil
July 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Hi Higthpockets-
Info on your property?


Vote -1 Vote +1wolfrem68
July 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

Totally agree we need a bug out location. I have two locations in areas outside critical blast zones and other critical areas. One in West Texas. Must sell due to family and health. More info at [email protected].


Vote -1 Vote +1Dr. Prepper
July 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

David & Diva,
Great article as always! As usual though, I totally disagree with David on the RV as a bugout vehicle. Regular visitors to this site know I am compiling a book about this subject tentatively titled ” THE RV Preppers Bible”. I am about 1/3 completed and am working hard to get it finished ASAP. It will be available on Amazon for .99cents for the first ten days…$9.99 after that…about 300 pages estimated…hope you will check it out.
Another great, as stated above, option on getting some bugout land is to buy on contract or land lease {NO CREDIT CHECK required….mostly}. I have myself tried this and it works very well…make sure to get professional consultation if you have NO experience. You can get a nice bugout location with little or no money down…The seller/lessor is happy….money coming in during these trying times….Your happy…you have your bugout location without the hassle of a bank or a huge downpayment…YAY! WIN-WIN .


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
July 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I’m looking forward to the book, but I think our disagreement on using an RV as a bugout vehicle may be based on different terminology. While I see (and have used) RVs as strategic relocation vehicles, in a situation where speed and manuverability is at a premium, RVs aren’t the way to go. In a situation where law has broken down, RVs look like a big cookie jar. In a situation where fuel is at a premium and you have a long way to go and/or dificulty carrying extra fuel, RVs will limit how far you can go.

That being said, if you can plan your exit in such a way that you can get to your goal before things get too backed up or too crazy, then RVs are a great tool.


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:38 am

Dr Pepper’ I’ve had my camper stocked and ready to bug out for 2 yrs. I take the food out in winter to avoid damage to freezing, otherwise it’s all set to survive. It’s very comforting to know all I have to do is hook my truck up to it and boogie,not towards town, but to the boonies.(I already live pretty much in the boonies,but may want to get further out’).Most people now days have a camper (on their truck or a pull type’) It’s a great way to be prepared to leave in a hurrry’


Vote -1 Vote +1AppyHorsey
July 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Hey, is there any way you can give me a “heads up” when the book is available on Amazon for .99¢?? I’d LOVE to get a copy of it. I currently have 2 RV’s out here, neither are being used, but I’m “wanting” to get at least one of them up and “ready” for a bug out vehicle. I’m hoping your book will be a big help towards doing that.

PLEASE, Email me when it’s on Amazon at

[email protected]

Thanks a bunch.


Vote -1 Vote +1janice
July 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

My daughter purchased 3 acres with an old farmhouse 8 months ago and i can see alot of hard work ahead.One good thing about it is there is a room under the garage that few people notice.we’re setting it up with food storage and bunk beds.That said my question-one which has been nagging at me is what happens when it hits the fan and you have to survive without an income-what about the payments-will we end up having to bug out involuntaraly-janice


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Your question is valid…what to do when owing on a mortgage? Then there are property taxes (we never actually own our homes or cars because of taxes/tabs). The mortgage owing issue is impossible to answer because we don’t know what the future holds. If a nation-wide disaster happens NO ONE, other than those who have paid off mortgages, are likely to be in the clear. The property taxes are another concern–unless your location allows advanced property tax payments–and hang on to that receipt!
I believe if a disaster is widespread, it isn’t likely banks will rush to take back a property. When they sit empty, looting is likely to occur. I’d read that banks weren’t foreclosing as quickly as they could in some cities where crime is up because of the possibility of looting. In the case of owner-finance, when the property becomes an advantage for them, an owner-finance–especially when the owner is nearby– might pose a problem. The best approach, in my opinion, is to sock money aside and pay it off ASAP. For me, that money would be in the form of silver rounds or possibly gold, so if banks get caught up in the EU crash, it’ll hold its value. I personally wouldn’t pay in installments, but would save until the entire amount is available, otherwise you’ll still be owing and the property can be foreclosed on.


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:41 am

Janice” If things get bad enough you have to bug out,I doubt the banks or loan Co.s will be in operation. Just be sure to save all your paperwork (receipts for payments,mortgage info etc. If the s–t ever ends,you’ll want to prove it was yours’


Vote -1 Vote +1Donna H
July 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I bought my bugout and living place with a doublewide mobile home and garage back in 2001 for an excellent price and still good mortage rate.(6 3/4%)on 4 acres in a forest. I hear now no national bank will finance them as I tried to get a lower rate a couple years ago. What threw me is that it didn’t look like a manufactured home. It had been rebuilt from fire damage with everything replaced like a stick built home–pine paneling and drywall, new windows with grills inside the panes, replaced studs and insulation, spruce siding, set on a block and concrete foundation that would be impossible to move due to being fused as one unit, not two.

I noticed more people are buying campers to put on land, keeping on the wheels so the property taxes don’t go up, adding insulation for the cold winters and living in them year round. Maybe due to the poor economy, I even see they are adding wood camp stoves inside when the wood is plentiful around here. In Mn, outhouses are still allowed as long as they are contained, and people get their water from a free artesian well not far from me. They buy “tent garages” to store their cars, mowers, tools, etc.

Taxes up here are dirt cheap in the woods. Without a building or septic field, 4 acres was $65 a year and taxes havent gone up much, in fact they have gone down to nearly what they were back in 2001.Older Single wide Mobile homes are given away here, just pay for taking it away.

I looked at every possible location to move to–avoiding tornado alley so I didn’t need a basement, avoiding hurricane paths, staying away from big cities, a place with a growing season with plenty of woods for a wood stove, wild food for foraging, fishing/hunting, sparce population, cheap land, and plenty of fresh water, not far from hospital (12 miles) I ended up here in northern Mn.God’s land of sky blue water. Sounds like a Hamm’s commercial, doesn’t it?


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:45 am

Yes, does remind me of a Hamm’s commercial’ Lived there for a few months many moons ago’ Fishing was the best’Lots of my family lived there,lots of history there from them all’


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Your place sounds wonderful! It looks like you landed where you were meant to ( :


Vote -1 Vote +1Jade
July 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

All “Manufactured Homes” are not created equal..
I had a home built to my specs. in a factory and built in two pieces and hauled to the site on semi trailers. It was a typical “stick built” home. once on the basement it was better than a “site built” home and cost less money. There is no way to tell that it was built in a factory. I sold it in 2008 at a fair price and the buyer had no problems getting a loan.. I disclosed that it was a factory built home and the taxes are 20% less than a site built home. As with everything else, check it out thoroughly before you hand over the money… Know what you are buying.


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:46 am

Good Advice’ For any home you buy’


Vote -1 Vote +1kaytee
July 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Warning– plan on a lot of “waiting” when buying remote properties, even if you and the seller are in accord with the sale. It’s not a quick, “done deal” if you need any sort of financing.

I’m in the process (?) of selling some rural land, and have people willing to buy (they’ve been renting it for several years), and I can confirm that, yes, it is difficult to get loans, RE agents and appraisers for such land. We finally were able to get on a WAITING LIST for an appraiser– 4 months wait now– who’s the only one around willing to go out to do the appraisal. He was the same one who did the probate appraisal ten years ago, so I know he does a thorough job. We won’t be needing a home inspection (which is separate from the appraisal when used), because this will be an “owner carried note” sale, the buyers are living there now and have maintained it, and we will be going through a title company, instead of a mortgage company/bank, to get all the other “paperwork” taken care of.


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:51 am

Title Companies can complete the sale where I live, I won’t deal with Real Estate agents or Lawyers to draw up the papers, A title co. can do the same thing and it’s much cheaper.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Your experience is an eye-opener. I would have thought appraisers would go the extra mile considering the state of the economy. Thank you for the heads up!


-1 Vote -1 Vote +1Rex
July 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I’m a Realtor in a semi-rural Louisiana….and here are a few things you may want to consider in your purchase:
1) Look at properties that are within an 2 hour or so drive radius of your current location. This will allow you to leave on Friday after work and still get to your property in time to get settled in and get work done before dark (at least with daylight savings time!). And, if the SHTF, that normal two hour or so drive may become a 4 or 5 hour drive as more and more people bug-out. I’d think you’d like to be able to get to your hideout on a tank of gas, and with a normal 2 hour drive time, you could. (Normal drive time for lots of folks who evacuated for Katrina and other hurricanes TRIPPLED or QUADRUPPLED over normal.)
2) In most rural areas, small community banks WILL make loans on raw land. There are also other lenders (think Rural Land Bank) that will make such loans. Downpayments for raw land require generally higher down payments than those properties with housing already in place. Keep in mind, too, that some of these loans require you to occupy the property. Each lender/type of loan can have different requirements. And, yes, there CAN be mobile home financing available….but it’s tough to find. (Some mobile home lenders can combine land financing in with the total purchase cost of the mobile home.)
3) Many owners have an inflated view of the value of their property–even in these times! For Sale By Owners may not necessarily be bargain priced–you’ve got to do your research on pricing!
4) Tax sales can be a good source of properties–but beware that in many states that the owner can redeem sold properties for up to 2 years after a tax sale! Do you really want to hold off on property improvements until you know the owner is truly out of the picture? (This is critical info–DO check your state’s laws on this!) This also includes checking tax requirements on change of use of a property… state has the requirement that if you change the use on a property to residential, or declare it to be your “homestead” for tax purposes, and it was previously agricultural land, YOU as the new owner would be responsible for previous years’ taxes when calculated as a residence.
5) Finally, before you go out on your own on a purchase, and without sounding like a commercial, go to a real estate agent in the area you want to buy. The agent’s goal is to “make a deal” that makes sense, and they have knowledge of the properties available, properties that may be coming up for foreclosure, realistic prices, sources of financing, and pitfalls to watch for on a property or a transaction. (Lots of in’s and out’s with any financing/leasing involving the owner!) Lots of us in the biz see our current conditions, and are preppers, too! And, as YOUR agent, we’re working in YOUR best interests!
Now, back to your regularily-scheduled program…


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Good information. It’s good to know a prepper who is also a real estate agent ( :


Vote -1 Vote +1Higthpockets
July 24, 2012 at 5:59 am

Most Banks in my area will not lend on Mobiles,that’s why I’m trying to do Owner finance’
However, taxes are way cheaper if it is’nt on a permanent foundation. That’s where the banks won’t loan on the property’ There’s a lot to take into consideration when dealing with a Mobile home, Not all of them bad,but to get a loan is almost impossible. Cash talks, but most people can’t do that. I’ve already lowered the price on my property $60,000. No buyers,no one even looking. Real Estate people are’nt trying too hard,cause there’s not much profit on the low priced properties’


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm


Have you tried advertising it as a “getaway” or “off-grid” property? Although most folks won’t admit they’re preppers (who can blame them), many are searching for remote property, and the numbers are increasing every day. Craigslist IS a nightmare because of all the opportunists who come out of the wood-work, but it’s free to advertise there and you can get as wordy and descriptive as you want…letting people know it’s prime off-grid property. Does it have a well? Is there land to grow a decent sized garden? Are small animals like goats and sheep, pigs and chickens allowed in your area? Is there a wood heat stove for winter?–(if your climate zone needs one, that is) and does your location include ranchers or small farms–this is something many savvy preppers look for because they know those ranchers/farmers are prepared to protect their land and their neighbors. If so, seems to me you have what many folks are looking for!


Vote -1 Vote +1goezy007
July 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Thanks Dave good information and I appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts. I live a large metro area but within two hours of a some great low density areas, when I have a vacation house. I look at the land concept from the view of growing up on a farm. I remember all the really hard work; digging post holes to string fence wire. cutting tress up after storms, plowing snow, repairing equipment, building sheds, preparing the land, animals get sick and need care, to just name a few. We had animals & grain. Having land and growing your own veggies, etc make one feel good. I am trying to dissuade someone from that pursuit just suggesting to consider the physical aspect required in that environment and be prepared. I personally would not go back to that life if I have other choices.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hart
July 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm

what about adverse Posession and quiet Title? There are a lot of abandoned properties and homes,is this a feasable answer to aquire land??


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Quiet Title can be checked (aka searched for a cloudy title where the owner may have liens or judgments against them or is not lawfully the owner of a home/cabin/property). If Title Insurance isn’t involved, and it’s discovered the title is clouded, it must be handled through an attorney, or done pro se (you represent yourself in court).

Adverse possession, for readers who aren’t familiar with the term, is taking possession of an abandoned property or land. BUT the rules differ from state to state. In Hawaii adverse possession can only go into effect once a “squatter” has been in continual and open (no sneaking in at night, or living there only in winters when the owner’s away) residence of the abandoned property for 30 years. In Nevada, it’s 5 years. State to state, the rules vary between 5 to 30 years.

The rules of adverse possession, handing over the ownership to a squatter, were put in place to increase the value of a neighborhood (maintained improvements and yard, no graffiti, etc.).

Should an owner show up to his property and find a squatter there during a time of disaster, the outcome might not be civilized if things have convert to Wild West vigilante law…


Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
July 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm

For those speaking out so vociferously against motor homes, or anything else for that matter, no solution is right for everyone. Nobody could possibly do everything suggested on just this site, let alone all the others. Some of the good ideas that are suggested would preclude you from accomplishing other good ideas. The old adage that a good plan now is better than a great plan later certainly applies. Personally, I’d like an armored personnel carrier as a bug out vehicle but that is not going to happen. Having a remote home all set up and stocked is a great option, unless someone else gets there first and waits in ambush for you. Even the strongest plan has a weakness. Thanks for all that point the weaknesses out. It is important that we are all aware that are plans are never perfect. Also know that as our situation changes our choices may change. This does not mean that we were wrong, only that things have changed and other choices are now in our best interest.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

You’re right. There is no such thing as a perfect plan. Many will want/need to shelter in place in an urban setting. I wrote this post because I had been asked about it by several people and thought…why not write about it. I can tell you from experience, living in the wilderness is tough. I’m in the same boat–can’t have a home in town and a cabin. This summer, I visited family in Alaska who needed help. I sweated bullets, wondering if everything would be intact when I returned. I prayed about it and left because it’s what needed to be done. Either in the sticks or in the city, there is no such thing as a perfect plan…but we can get as close to it as money and time will allow. I believe those on the forum are already WAY ahead because unlike so many, we’re facing the problem and are trying to do whatever it takes to protect our loved ones. I chose a cabin because it was the only solution–there are 23 in the group. It wasn’t possible to cover that in the city on Idaho wages. There are many on the forum who would NOT be better off by investing in property. It’s important to put aside food and preparedness goods. This post was for those who asked and others who may have been thinking about it.


Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
July 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Excellent post, my point was that everyones situation is different. I agree that having your own land is best. I would have mixed emotions about having my family show up in a disaster. If they showed up with their own bedroom, bath, and supplies it would be more comfortable. Used motor homes can be had for a reasonable price. Then pick up a piece of land and when finances allow start on the dwelling. Just as the stash of food does not need to all show up on the same truck neither does your bug out location. The absolute best is a bug in location and that sounds like what you have, if I’m not mistaken.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm

For me the only answer was my own land and it had to be away from town for 2 reasons: I can’t say no to anyone in need. Never have, never will. That is a weakness. It’s good to access our weaknesses and plan ahead for them. Just as I could never turn down anyone who came to the door (who wasn’t flashing a gun, that is), I also know I could never turn down family members. I see those babies in the family and can’t imagine their going hungry just because their parents invested their dollars in furniture when they should’ve been investing in beans, band aids and bullets ( :

I was about to install a wood-burning wood cook stove in town when the light bulb went on. Firing it up meant I’d have plenty of people knocking on the door. They already helped themselves to the blackberries and asparagus in my back yard without asking. So, I moved. I needed to be away because there needed to be enough room for everyone (attic space at my cabin is small, and they’ll be packed in, but it’s shelter). A well was a benefit.

There are days when the coyotes calling in early morning makes living here heaven. There are times, like when a black bear stuck his nose against the sliding glass doors, when living here alone isn’t exactly heaven. But I have a shotgun… I don’t have a restaurant nearby, or movie nights, or family around, so it’s a tradeoff with plenty of 180 mile round-trips for sanity checks.

Living off-off grid gives peace of mind…sort of. But there are forest fires, and a few crack-heads who live locally that brings reality full circle. There is no such thing as a perfect plan. We can only do what we can and leave the rest to a higher power. Besides, I honestly believe there are people all across the U.S. who are where they are for a reason; one that may not be clear now, but will become so on down the road.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm


Sorry this is a week late. Links on Methane Digesters. Your request reminded me I needed to dust off the ol’ blog and get an article posted on this in the next week or so. When it’s up I’ll let you know.

Good overall discussion (post 1997) –

Ram Bux Singh 1972 interview – ignore the 40-yr old byproduct the bull we’re-running-out-of-everything and enjoy his expertise on development of low-cost and simplified digesters designed to convert plant and animal waste into composted fertilizer and methane. . . . “We have designed efficient plants that are small enough for a single village or one farmer to build and we have found ways to construct these gas generators for very little money. We have made the bio-gas plant economical for small farms. . . . With our designs and a relatively minor investment, then, a farmer or small group of people can now construct a self-contained system that will recycle plant and animal waste into high-quality fertilizer anti non-polluting fuel. The fuel can then be used to cook with, to heat the farmhouse and to power machinery. A bio-gas plant can make a farm more self-contained and independent.
. . . fertilizer which comes from a bio-gas plant contains three times more nitrogen than the best compost made through open air digestion . . . But the small bio-gas plant you’ve designed for MOTHER EARTH NEWS , doesn’t have any heating coils or agitators in it. No. They are not necessary in such a little digester . . . Yes. In India, where it is warmer, there is no need to put a water jacket around the main tank and there is no need to wrap a bio-gas plant in insulation. This digester however, has the additional features because it is expressly designed for the colder climate you have here in the northern United States. . . . As I understand it, you’re setting up MOTHER EARTH NEWS digester with a water jacket in which heated water will be circulated to keep the main tank at its optimum temperature of 90-95°F. The design also calls for a heavy duty mud pump—run by a two horsepower electric motor—to force the waste material into the bio-gas plant, to circulate the matter as it ferments there and to push the digested material out of the tank. Well, it’s going to take some energy to heat that water and run the pump. Will the methane generated in the plant be worth it? . . . we should net more than 5,000 cubic feet of methane and much valuable fertilizer from this plant every month. A generator like this one should pay for its initial investment in three years. . . . If the bio-gas plant is properly insulated; it will need this hot water only once every 72 hours. The spent bath water alone is enough to heat the plant.”

Read more:

John Fry –

China – “The Chinese have found that a household with 3 to 7 persons, and perhaps a pig or two, requires a digester of 200- to 425-cubic-foot internal volume, based upon the assumption that each family member uses about ten cubic feet of gas-for cooking and lighting—per day and that the daily yield of fuel from a typical small-scale pit digester is approximately 15% of the volume of the fermenting liquid .”

John Fry dangers –

Some design flaws –

11 great things to do with sewage –


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

This is awesome. Thank you for the links. Will study up!


Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Diva, Thoughts on turning people away.
You know your tendencies, store extra. Considerations: 1) If they won’t work, they don’t eat; 2) be prepared to teach them to produce their own food – creating allies rather than corpses or among those who survive passionate hate-filled enemies.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm


I’ve stored canned goods and Bibles to help others who show up to the cabin…most likely neighbors because this place is so far into the wilderness ( :

Your suggestion about teaching people to grow their own food is an excellent one. Won’t be able to offer shelter to newcomers here–1,000 sq. foot cabin and 23 people (looking into a storage shed or 2 for extra space) But, I CAN give heirloom seed away and family WILL be working as a unit, or they get a one-week camping trip, alone, for an atttude adjustment. I can’t turn down helping others, but I can set rules ( : With your suggestion, extra Heirloom seed is at the top of the buy list.

Have talked to the neighbors who are closest to my cabin. They already live a survival lifestyle and are well armed. Haven’t handed over a laundry list of what I have, but they know I will be having family here if SHTF–from the looks of things, that won’t be an IF, but a when. My brother has met them and they discussed hunting, knife-making, guns, reloading…they got along well.

It’s a fine line…what to share…what not to share. The only thing I’ve offered so far is water when the time comes because I’m the only one with a manual pump, but they’re going to have to pump their own! From what I understand, pumping water from a depth of 260 feet (static is 130 feet) is tough work! The area has a natural spring, but must be accessed on a 4-wheeler off an old logging road from my back “yard”. A 4-wheeler is still on my wish list, but both neighbors have them.

The haters will be dispatched one way or the other. Likely by the small-hold ranchers who live in the area–it’s 5 miles of gravel road and hand-painted street signs to find this cabin. The cabin sits high and offers a 360 degree view of what’s headed this way. Am building a blind this month for lookout, but also have a wrap-around deck. Makes it a challenge for gardening, but terraced gardening is possible. In this area, I’ve heard “rumors” the one-lane bridge to this area may disappear ( :


-1 Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Heirloom seeds are a GREAT but unfortunately a LONG-TERM solution. The balloon might go up when you can’t grow AND harvest that ‘new’ food for almost a year. Besides those, canning, stored, etc., I suggest adding seeds JUST for SPROUTING. Fantastic nutrition and ready to eat mass of greens in a couple of days.

Temporary shelter can be ‘tents’ or tarps in summer. I have a Pastor friend who used to delight – before getting married – in winter camping trips up in Canada. They had a portable heater that made the inside toasty warm in sub-zero temps. If it’s going to be a longer term, you can have them build their shelter using what’s available – trees, dugouts backed into hillsides, etc. It might be prudent to research how to do so in your area – then get tools needed, draw up step-by-step ‘how to’ plans, and a ‘community’ layout. Sanitation WILL be a BIG issue as it can wipe out a group quickly. Another reason for digesters.

On that spring, I have a friend whose summer cabin is on a mountain in SW CO. He solves his water problems by putting a large (500 gal. ??) tank on a light vehicle – maybe one those ATV ‘mules’ – to fill up every couple of weeks from one of the springs. Maybe a trade with your neighbors, you get a tank and they haul in exchange for something (maybe hauling a 2nd load of water to their cistern. For your well, maybe a cistern (preferably uphill/higher to the cabin) and a windmill.

Terraced gardening definitely works – look at the Incas. The Ecology Action demo/teaching mini farm is terraced on a steep (to me :^)) when I took a class there) hillside. Also their methods of composting and gardening maximize production for small areas.


Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm


There is enough room for sleeping right now (large attic space), but it’ll be cramped. Am adding a storage shed ( : Winters where I’m at routinely get below freezing, so will insulate & hang rock for comfort. I have more than 1 years food stored put aside. Heirloom seed will be used for sprouting and gardening–have plenty. With so many children & infants in the group, plans are to shelter in place. If a worst-case senerio happens, some in the group will stay and those who aren’t will take a stand, no matter what the outcome. Windmill is problimatic…this area is made up of people who have VERY little. Would rather not announce my preparedness.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Hodge
July 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Many thanks to everyone. Really useful nuts and bolts stuff in an area about which I knew little or nothing.

Just a couple of Food For Thought items. 1) Traveling under stressful conditions has an awful lot of potential for Bad Things – accident, running out of fuel, impassible routes, ambushes, etc. 2) Who is guarding whatever you set up wherever you’re going? Hopefully responsible, trustworthy family and/or friends. 3) Are you sure it will still be there and/or in a condition useful to you if you aren’t on-site? Possession is likely to be 9/10 of the law if unguarded and you’re only a ‘part-time’ resident. Mel Tappan stressed that a newbie must make him/her-self more valuable to the community for your skills and knowledge than what goods they can confiscate off you.

Everyone MUST have an Evacuation Plan and multiple routes to get to your bug-out location. However, just because you must evacuate does NOT make it a great option. FEMA (and the Red Cross) recommend 3 days of food, water, and supplies. Guess how much a family can usually pack into their vehicle. This is 1960s Mutually Assured Destruction thinking w/out any updates. How do you decide what to take – a bottle of aspirin or a box of ammo? Whenever you evacuate you leave everything behind including the time, money, and hard work you had put into the place you’re leaving. As David reminds you really don’t want to be a Refugee.

Some of us must be near or in a city for work, medical, etc. but if you’re going to spend all of that time, money, and hard work then as permanent a place as you can get is a BIG plus. One option is an apartment close enough to the city for work and a base camp ‘home’ where you ‘live’ and are participating in community activities/concerns.


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