Some people wonder why it is necessary to buy property for a bug out site.
These people figure that when disaster strikes, they and others will simply squat on any land that happens to be available. This is a recipe for disaster because any surviving government forces will look to round up anyone that doesn’t have a place to live, while those who own land and can protect it will take action to keep strangers off the land. Have a look at the refugee crisis gripping Syria and other places in the world to see what happens when people do not own land they can go to in a time of need.
If you are able to afford some land for a bug out location, it is important to be wary of problems that can come up during the purchasing process. Here are the main problems that you may encounter as well as how to uncover them. Depending on the severity of the problem, the money you have available, and your interest in the property, it may or may not be better to simply look elsewhere.
Step 1: Always Have a Master Plan
Think of the master plan for your bug out location as being something like a recipe. Unless you know what the ingredients are, it will be very hard to gather the correct items, let alone assemble them into good tasting food.
When it comes to purchasing land for a bug out location, it is very important to have answers to the following questions so that you have the best possible chance of finding the best property for your needs. Without answers to these questions, you could wind up with property that is almost useless to you because you got sold on a sales pitch.
- What kind of emergencies do you want to be able to survive through at the bug out location?
- What kind of shelters will you need for yourself, family, livestock, and stockpiles?
- How will you manage security, and will it be possible given the zoning codes for the property and surrounding areas?
- Will the property be easy to get to during an emergency? Remember, locating far off the grid may sound nice until you have to go several miles or more without a vehicle under difficult circumstances. Getting to your bug out location should be a major consideration when evaluating property.
- What kind of equipment and training will you need in order to survive at the location without any help from others?
- Are there zoning regulations that prevent you from doing all you need in this capacity? If so, can you investigate and initiate a successful recall of politicians that will not get rid of those laws? How well do you feel you can interact with others in the area to achieve these goals?
- What are the weather and geological patterns in the area? Carefully review earthquake maps as well as weather trends so that you do not wind up in an area where all your hard work will be ruined by a natural disaster.
Step 2: Searching for Property
Once you know where you want to go, the next step will be to choose a Realtor. Some people reading this may immediately say “what about Ebay, or FSOB (For Sale By Owner) on one or more web forums. Unless you have a lot of experience and time on your hands, what looks like a good deal on the surface may leave you with endless problems.
Here are just a few things that can happen when you don’t have a trustworthy Realtor (always check potential Realtors via the BBB to see both their rating and current complaints) to help you find good property:
- You may end up with property that has hidden back taxes, liens, or other financial encumbrances attached to it. Usually, a Realtor will evaluate all of these things before putting property on the market.
- There may be inaccurate or disputed boundaries for the property. When you do speak to a Realtor, ask for a survey that is no more than 5 years old. The last thing you will want is a situation where older survey methods generated inaccurate results, and then have to fight the matter out with your new neighbors. Remember, your bug out location is supposed to be a place of safety, not a place where your neighbors become your enemies over a property line issue.
- You may miss out on vital information about the surrounding area. A Realtor usually has a lot of good information about zoning laws that may make the land unsuitable for home power generation or other things that are important to your long term plans.
- The Realtor should also know the location of any landfills, dumps, medical waste processing plants, power generating plants, factories, and anything else that may pollute the water, soil, and air that you will be relying on during a crisis. Do not forget to verify what the Realtor tells you by doing your own research and also driving through the area.
- Do not forget to ask the Realtor about past and recent flood patterns, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and any other natural disaster that may affect the land. Depending on where and how you build structures on the land, some weather problems may or may not be a deal breaker. Just be aware that all areas have one problem or more in this category.
- Unsavory sellers may ask you to pay for the land in cash or other hard-to-trace methods. No matter how tempted you may be, never pay for land in cash. This is one time when you will want to be able to trace the payment so that you can prove the amount and who it went to.
- It is also best to avoid paying through mobile apps or other online platforms that claim you will have a higher degree of privacy. To take ownership of the property, the deed must be registered in your name and filed with the local clerk. There is absolutely not point to trying to hide the transaction. Always choose a bank with a physical address that is FDIC insured. A cashier’s check is usually the best way to pay for land if you are buying outright. If you are getting a mortgage, have a lawyer look at any private contract you may make with the buyer. When going through a bank, make sure you are dealing with a creditable institution.
- A good Realtor will be more than willing to wait for a full title search before closing on the property. Remember, the land owner can still use the land as collateral for loans or accrue liens while the property is on the market. Without an immediate title search, you won’t know for sure.
Here are some other important things to consider:
- Never be in a hurry to buy land. The more a Realtor or other person tries to push you to make a decision, the faster you should walk away.
- Never make any payments on the land such as a deposit fee to hold the land. Always check out the land seller’s background and his/her claims about the land.
- Before buying any land, get it inspected by a neutral third party. Never do your land inspection alone. Bring a well trusted land inspector with you that knows what to look for.
- To avoid land fraud, request to see an official plot map, the county/ state title information, property tax, and parcel information. When checking this information be sure the name on the title is the same as the seller’s, and that the survey matches the listing. If the seller’s documentation is incomplete or inaccurate, walk away because it might be a scam.
- Look for duplicate listings with multiple Realtors, on FSOB sites, or other locations. Without a question, if you see different names tied to the same property, it could be a scam.
- Be wary of sellers and real estate agents that are difficult to get a hold of or do not return calls within 1 business day. Don’t even waste your time calling a Realtor back if they don’t respond to an initial inquiry on the same day.
- Be choosy about sellers and Realtors that only want to do business by email. Even though these documents are written materials, a phone call is a better place to pick up on dodgy answers or vague information.
- You may also encounter a property that seems incredibly cheap compared to what you are getting. Look deeper, and keep looking until you find the problem. When surrounding land is going for much higher prices, there has to be a reason why the land you are looking at is cheaper than expected.
Land is a timeless asset that is heavily regulated and watched over. Nevertheless, the market for suitable bug out property is filled with frauds and scammers. Making use of a Realtor and lawyer can help you avoid a number of problems, however you will still need to do a good bit more work to get the best property for your needs.