Living Offgrid Affordably: Getting Started- Buying land


| 8/15/2011 9:14:24 AM


Tags: buying real estate, surveying, property line agreements, Jeff Chaney,

Jeff with his one kilowatt array If you are still with us after all of the caveats and warnings in our previous article, Before Getting Started, we are ready to begin the homesteading odyssey.

Our journey began in 1997 with a leisurely drive through the countryside. We happened to be in an area where our ancestors had owned land over one hundred years earlier, although this story could unfold anywhere. I looked up and saw a real estate sign on land indicating it was on the market. Not knowing where the property lay exactly, I contacted the broker. The listing price was $39,900. This price seemed incredibly high, so I did not investigate further, forgot all about it, and continued down the busy road of life.

 Approximately one year later, I was in the same area and spotted another real estate sign in a slightly different location. Curious if this was the same property, I inquired as to the details. Sure enough, it was the same parcel, but now priced at $15,000. These developments warranted a closer look.The infamous property 

After obtaining the plat from the county planning commission, I walked the property line boundaries. What an ordeal! This parcel consisted of twelve acres, and part of the trek had to be traversed on hands and knees. I had done this before so I was well prepared, bringing with me a good pair of boots and walking stick.

Having hunted this area as a child with my dad, I learned everything I could about it, including the fact that someone else was interested and had plans to cut a driveway in a certain location. An adjoining landowner also believed he owned this location. The neighbor proceeded to have his land surveyed, which he had not done when purchased. The survey revealed that the property for sale lay differently than anyone had suspected, and he did not own what he thought he did. Always, always insist on a survey before buying land. It is very surprising the number of buyers that do not complete this step. Personally, I insist on knowing, with as much certainty as possible, exactly what I own and where it is located!

While exploring the property, I noticed there were no electricity lines anywhere along the road dissecting this parcel. The tax appraisal card stated that electricity was available. I inquired about this and was informed that, in my county, all property was considered to have electricity available. Historically, this meant power lines at the street. This made absolutely no sense to me, and still doesn’t. A few years later, this county was defined as being part of a metropolitan statistical area. It is by no means rural, only five minutes from main street.




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