Have you made the decision to get off the energy-water grid and stake out a homestead of your own, perhaps far away from the big city? If so, you are not alone. Every year, thousands of people decide to do their own thing by purchasing (or leasing) a piece of property, making arrangements to supply their own water and power, and living there indefinitely. If homesteading is in your future, consider the following tasks as part of the necessary preparation. Planning is essential, and the more of it you do now, the more seamless will be the transition to an off-grid lifestyle. Here's a short review of how to get started.
Identify a Property
It is difficult to do much else until after you decide where you will be living. Don't fall into the trap of assuming you'll need to purchase a huge piece of land. Most homesteaders own less than a half-acre, and many choose to lease rather than own the land they'll be living on. However, after getting the location squared away, it will be much easier to plan on how to supply electricity and water, because most of those arrangements depend on local laws and regulations. Even if you intend to use solar systems, some localities offer financial incentives, and some don't. So, as is the case with traditional house hunting, location is everything.
Get an Insurance Life Settlement
Major lifestyle transitions call for serious financial planning. One excellent source of backup capital you can use to pay for the property, energy-generation devices, water sourcing, and everything else is an insurance life settlement. For example, if you own a term policy and want to sell it for cash, start out by reviewing a simple guide on how to complete the transaction quickly and easily. And remember, after you get your settlement money, the buyer pays the additional premiums on the policy, so you'll never have to worry about that responsibility again.
Decide On Your Energy Source
Do not assume you will have to create and supply all your own energy. Being off-grid simply means you are going green in all aspects when it comes to your energy usage but won't be part of the local utility company's system. There are several options, including geothermal power, propane, solar systems, or a combination of techniques combined with purchasing electricity from a cooperative or independent provider.
Find Out About Water Sources
Compared to the rather limited strategies for supplying your own energy, there are dozens of ways to deal with your water needs. Some first-timers simply live on a rationing system and buy water in bulk from a local supplier. Others tap into local well systems or pay a nearby well service to hook them up. Try to estimate how much water you use each month to get an idea of which methods will be most suitable for your new home.
Make an Annual Budget
Do not expect to make perfectly accurate predictions but try to come up with a realistic budget for the first year of homesteading. Even on categories where you're way off, you'll learn from mistakes and the second year will be that much easier. Also, don't assume homesteading is cheaper than living on the grid. Depending on how you supply power and water, it could be more costly.
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