When we set out to buy property, it was overwhelming. How on Earth do we choose the right property that we are going to live on for the rest of our lives? How will we know we found the right one? There are so many things to think about and consider.
I told my husband when we first thought buying property might become a reality that I wanted a bathtub, a view, and a fireplace. Now, those are not helpful things in choosing a property. But that is what I knew I wanted.
So we started really thinking about what we wanted on property. I read a thousand blogs (I don’t even think that is an exaggeration) and watched so many YouTube videos. We also called around to the county building department. AND, we talked to people who lived here in town and the surrounding areas.
One of my friends lives on 100 acres. When she moved onto her property, she didn’t have water or electricity or a house. I spent a lot of time talking to her about her experience when she first moved onto her property. She didn’t have a shower or a real toilet for more than year. I sat down and really started thinking about not having a shower or a real toilet. Is this something that I could live with? Ehhh. I’m not so sure.
Of course, another major consideration is money. What can we afford to do when? Our ultimate goal is to be 100% off grid. However we can’t put out the money for solar energy or a generator right off the bat. It is a very difficult process to try to prioritize your needs. We looked at many properties before we finally settled on ours. Here are our top considerations:
Our number one concern was water. We live in the high desert of Colorado. Water can be expensive to have trucked in, and we weren’t sure we could afford a large cistern system right away. Drilling our own well was out of cost question. So, we wanted to find a property that already had water. We looked at several different properties. Ultimately, our property has a well. That fits our needs. We had the well tested prior to purchasing the property. It is a good well.
#2: County/City regulations
No lie. We spent hundreds of hours researching the cities and counties near our home to find out which had the cheapest and easiest building regulations. Unfortunately, because of our other desires, we ended up in a county that is a little more expensive and restrictive than we would have liked. We really made a compromise on this one. So, this was definitely our #2 consideration, but we ended up not getting what we wanted. My advice to you is to really research the county codes and the building permit cost. These are things that can really change the timeline and cost of your project and even the project itself. For us, we are going to end up spending more than $12,000 in permitting costs which is way more than we wanted to spend.
#3: The Road
We live in Colorado. The weather is not always perfect. We get snow, sleet, hail, rain. Accessing the property has to be a concern. More than that, I wanted to know if I could get off the property in the winter or would I always be snowed in? Then, we only have one four-wheel drive car. So, if the road is a dirt road, it has to be a well maintained dirt road. Considering the weather, your car, and the road conditions is really important. We found a property we loved, but the road was too rough, and we would have never been able to use the road for our needs.
#4: The commute
We definitely considered this. My husband says the commute shouldn’t matter. But the truth is that it matters a lot to me. We looked at properties that were about 45 minutes away, but our children still attend school in town and I have a job here. Our property we settled on is a brisk 17 minutes away. That is much more manageable. In order to get this commute, we had to compromise on some other issues.
#5: Other amenities
We eventually want to be off grid, but it isn’t financially feasible on the front end. We want to have access to electricity and to the internet. So we were willing to compromise on this point, but we didn’t have to.