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Buying Land and Living Off the Grid

buying land and living off the grid

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Published date:

June 14, 2017

Last updated date:

June 14, 2017

By Manny Manriquez

By Jeanne Roberts Photo courtesy of Homestead Crossing Inc. Spring is finally here, bringing warmer temperatures, renewed enthusiasm, and a commitment to work harder than ever to make a down payment on that four-acre plot along Henson Creek in Colorado. This is your “dream” home, that slice of retirement you have worked most of your life to obtain. Prices being what they are, you have more than enough for the down payment, but you may not be able to build new – what the construction industry calls “stick-built”. Your other option is manufactured housing, or even modular. Manufactured housing retains it edge as utterly affordable and instantly available. Modular housing, which utilizes the same build environment as a manufactured home (i.e., factory rather than onsite), takes up to eight weeks. This is still 12 weeks sooner than the fastest residential construction company in the area, no matter where you plan to put up your house, and you, the future owner, even get to help design your own home. While your modular home is being built, the contractor will be onsite, installing the foundation and utility connections. This includes a well and a septic system, if needed. According to our favorite modular homebuilding guru, these homes – which  rival stick-built in quality but manufactured in affordability – are selling like hotcakes in Florida and around the Gulf, specifically Texas. When your modular is ready, the crew arrives with a crane, and the house is set on the foundation, usually within 24 hours. After that, the crew provides finishing touches inside, and adds a deck, a porch, and a garage or breezeway – all to your specifications, with gables, dormers, and other unique features, and for about 10 percent less than a stick-built home. There is one thing your modular contractor can’t do. He (or she) can’t help you put up solar panels. Not on the roof, and not as a standing array on a cleared plot of ground near your home. Because the city (or municipality, or county) you “built” your modular home in doesn’t allow solar panels. Or residential wind turbines like the Bergey 10-kilowatt wind turbine. In fact, the best you will ever be able to do is sneak a few solar thermal (hot water) panels onto your site in a relatively sheltered spot. Which sort of the defeats the purpose, since solar panels need to be out in the open, getting every last photon of sunlight. All because you forgot to check with that city, municipality, or county where you land is located – land you would not have bought if you had known the regulations. The International Property Maintenance Code is still being used by cities throughout the United States and Canada. While it stands, it holds that even if you have power and running water from your own resources, you can still be fined (or even evicted) from your home if you insist on staying off the grid. As homesteading and survivalist mentalities become more and more popular, electricity, water, sewer, and natural gas utilities are challenging off-grid’s thoroughly disruptive technology – not because it is dangerous or ugly, but simply because no one is making any money from it. Like this article?  Please feel free to share or post a link on your site:

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