What is it like Living Off the Grid - A look at the Pros and Cons

Living off the grid sounds like living on the moon to some people. Especially if city life is what you have been used to your whole life. But for those who like adventure and freedom it can be a liberating experience. With so many small towns and cities there are tons of people doing it, you would be surprised. The way it is today, you will still see people and have the required items needed to live well.


For clarification, this article is written with some experience. I was lucky enough to have some introduction to living off the grid in another country and in the US. Particularly Costa Rica, Hawaii and in the desert. Although this article applies to anywhere, it’s easiest in the United States. So given our main job is buying land, we have quite a bit of remote land on our site and have some experience on how it works in the United States.


First and foremost, we have the technology today to live off the grid with actually amenities. Solar for electricity and hot water, able to build water wells, catchment tanks or get water delivered. You can even get internet through satellite service. Which is soon to be extremely useful and affordable with 5g. For items, most places are driving distance to a town. But Amazon also has a remote service to get you anything you would want in bulk. Never has it been a better time. So lets look at what it’s like and even the pros and cons.


One of the pros of living off the grid are freedom, rarely will you be bothered by law enforcement or rules. You can do what you want with your land, often without restrictions. This means living in mobile homes, modular homes or building whatever you want and as much as you want.


Extremely low property taxes, no mortgage, no electric bill, possibly no water bill and no HOA bills. This land is usually unincorporated, so you avoid darn near every tax except the basics. Also like we sell on LandZero, you can buy acres of land for dirt cheap. Seriously, after all you are basically buying dirt. But for an example, you can have 10 acres for around $8k total with a mountain view. That is free and clear, no large mortgage payments to ever deal with. The land also doesn’t have to be on the moon for this cost. Often with a 20 minute drive you will get to stores to buy supplies and food. Even hit major towns within and hour, with everything like jobs and anything else needed. Most of the times, fishing, hunting and living off crops are complete doable in these areas. It is also not like the face of the moon, it can have nice views and some greenery.


Solar

 

  • Solar
    So like we said, you can have full amenities as well. Say you built a small house with piping and electric build in. Solar is very cheap, easy to install and super efficient. You want to make sure the place offers ample sunlight during the day. If that is true, you can do just about anything you would in the city. Solar can power appliances like indoor lighting, kitchen appliances, TV’s, water heaters and anything else you are used to. It's also best to have a generator, there may be a few days you are not producing solar energy due to weather. 

  • Water
    Drilling a water well can be cheap and is usually billed by the foot down to water. It is best to have a company do this unless you know what you are doing and have the tools. If you don’t have a well, companies are around that can deliver water on a scheduled basis. With this water, you can add filters for drinking it, watering crops and even taking very hot showers.

  • Internet and Phone
    Yes, you can have internet and phone in the middle of nowhere. 5G is on the cusp of making this super effective and fast. In fact, this may happen as soon as 2020 and actually be very affordable. For now, if you are reading this article before then. Satellite is still available if you google the service companies on line. It is a bit pricy and not that fast, but you can use it for just about anything you really need, like email and ordering supplies. Even VOIP to chat with friends and family. Police can be tied to this, but you would be surprised that your cell phone might work in the middle of nowhere in the United States. Communication can also be set up by CB-Radio, this connects to the police, fire department and neighbors.

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  • Gas
    You should always have tanks of gas, not only for you truck (best to have a truck due to roads) but also a generator which you should also have. A trip to the gas station and spending around $300 to $400 will stock you up with a lot of gas tanks. Also for a stove you just get a large propane tank which can often be refilled by request. 

  • Sewer
    Pretty easy, you can dig a hole for an outhouse or install a septic tank for indoor toilets. A lot of people use special toilets, they put in little water and have more of a trap door to flush and cover any smell. It may need some maintenance every once in a blue moon but that is pretty easy to do if it is built correctly.

  • Heating and AC
    Heating yes, several options like propane or a fireplace. AC not as much, you can burn out all your electricity with that. There may be some options I don’t know about but heck, build a small pool or take an outside cold shower.

  • Supplies
    Any place I stayed, I drove to get food and other things. Which was about an hour away or less. Also, I looked into Amazons remote delivery service. Crazy as it sounds if you order in major bulk they will even fly it in next to you and you can pick it up at the nearest small airport. As everyone knows on Amazon you can get anything you want, it also pays to get Amazon prime when you have this system going.



What is it like? It’s pretty darn cool to be honest. Although 100% we don’t recommend this, say you had some beers and wanted to charge around on an ATV at 2am. You can do it just for fun, after all no one is around but don't screw yourself and get hurt. You can also blast music like your throwing a concert at 2am also. There are no city lights, so you have the best view of the stars and complete silence. Away from any freeways or cars going by, it's very peaceful. You can even live in more luxury then you would think. I stayed at a place in the desert in California, it was better then anyplace I have ever owned. We are talking, 4 to 5 star hotel amenities and look to it. Sitting outside in compete silence and having a beer under the stars was surreal to say the least. I never once had an issue with nothing working, the only person I saw was the water delivery guy because they had a tank to fill. Also building restrictions are pretty relaxed so this place looked to be made out of Aircrete and concrete. There was a neighbor a few miles away, she checked in on me and was very friendly. Something a major city would not allow and was done pennies on the dollar by a father and his son, they built this house. Not only that, they made a ton of money on AIRBNB and probably paid less than $200 in property taxes a year. I did the math based on their bookings and they easily made $45k a year.


  • Cons
    I can’t think of many, but maybe I just like living this way. I guess to add something, I couldn’t get a Starbucks coffee in the morning. I couldn’t really go out to get a burger 5 minutes away. Basically instant gratification from nearby things was not attainable. But I could make coffee in the morning and cook anything I wanted. Social interaction was less then the city, if you are a people watcher then it’s probably not for you.


living off the grid

In conclusion, you can build an amazing house and the land with all these amenities for less then $100k. At that point you can probably live off of $500 a month. Pretty cool if you think about it. As we all hope it will never happen, a major government collapse and all the issues that would cause. But if it does, you will survive and be totally set without the complete catastrophe that would happen in the major cites. All because you are off the grid of the city water, power and infrastructure.


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