Property Search

So, my wife and I have started looking for new digs. In today’s market, deals are there to be had, that’s for sure. But the downside is, if you’re a current homeowner like me and still owe money on your current house, you’re looking at getting nowhere near what the property should be worth. Plus, we have a limited budget, at least until I finally hit Powerball.

One property we looked at over the weekend was pretty decent. It had about 3.5 acres of land, with farm land all around. Good sized house, with a full basement and two decks. A two car attached garage and a large outbuilding. This outbuilding had room for several cars, though part of it was actually set up with horse stables. They had also started building a small apartment above. But, there were enough downsides for us to definitively pass on it.

1) It was located just off a major highway.

2) Not enough land.

3) The driveway is actually shared with the folks who live just behind the house. Could be good or bad, depending on the neighbors.

4) The house had been added on to at least twice, based on what we saw in the basement. Any time you add on to a house, you risk problems with the construction.

With our budget, we don’t hold any illusions that we can afford our dream property — 50+ acres with a pond or year round stream, mostly wooded but with several acres cleared for a house site, gardens, and greenhouses. But, we do have a few things on our list that we consider to be “must haves.”

–Full basement, poured cement or block. No evidence of water leaking in anywhere.

–Minimum 3-5 acres. More is better, of course.

–A house in “turn the key and live” condition. I don’t want to have to spend thousands of dollars and hours fixing things before the house is livable.

–4+ bedrooms. With three kids, who are only going to get bigger, I’d like for each of them to have their own room.

–Room for a home office. Currently, we have a small bedroom we’re using for an office/library.

–2+ full baths. With five people living together, this is rapidly becoming an issue.

–Legally able to have chickens, goats, and other homesteading critters.

With regards to location, we’re sort of torn on the issue. We like being close enough to civilization that shopping and such aren’t a huge ordeal. Right now, my wife commutes about five minutes to work. Given we’ve had car trouble several times in the last few years, this has been a huge benefit. Also, we love our current neighbors. But, it would really be nice to look out my window and not see another house within a stone’s throw.

We’re not really looking to leave the area altogether. Let’s face it, the job market isn’t exactly booming right now. So, we’re not looking to pull up stakes and hope for the best somewhere else. We both have jobs we like and while like anyone else we’d like to have more earned income, we’re doing ok on that score.

We’re fortunate in that we don’t need to move immediately. We can take our time and find the right place for us, rather than a place that is just ok for now.

Realistically, what would you be looking for in a new house and property?

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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