One of the most asked questions I see about going off-grid on a low budget has to do with land. Land is expensive. I have seen people tell me they plan on building their tiny house or their tiny earthship, and they’re going to build it out of completely recycled materials, and it’ll cost them a few hundred bucks total, or whatever low cost they manage to work out. But the problem is that they don’t have land they can put it on, and land is far out of their price range.
I’m here to tell you that you can afford it, but it takes a bit of work.
The first thing you need to do is decide what you need. Maybe not exactly what you want, but what you need. Now, if you’re a couple with no kids, as we’ll make the assumption at the moment, you should be able to live quite comfortably on one acre, growing your own food. If you have kids, or if you have a non-traditional family, or are building an intentional community, then scale up accordingly.
Once you have an idea of what you need for land, you can head over to one of my favourite sites, Landwatch.com. (I’m not affiliated with them in any way, just think they’re really useful. There, you enter your search terms. That you’d like land, narrow down to the acreage you need, and sort by pricing and maybe even where you’d like to live.
Here’s where the fun begins. You’re going to find a lot of land there. Find the ones that meet your needs, and read up on everything. And the most important thing to look for when you’re doing this, are the words “owner financing”. The listing should show what the financing options are. They may tell you that the land will cost whatever it costs, and the owner will finance over 24, 36, or 48 months, usually with no interest. The important thing here is that the cost is incredibly low. It’s affordable, and you’ll be able to build your home on it right away. You can do away with rent. If you have to, live in a tent for a few months while you’re building your tiny house. If you can do that, and work a job of some sort at the same time, the cost of living will be minimal. The best part about owner financing is that you can do it even if you have a bad credit rating. As long as you can prove to the owner that you can make your monthly payments (in other words, you have a job), then they’ll usually work with you. If they don’t, find another landowner.
It will definitely be a hardship while you build your home. I won’t lie to you and say it won’t. But, it will give you the chance to get your land, get a house set up, and you’ll have a good start on paying off your land by the time you move in.
The best part about all of this, is that with owner financing, they want you to pay it off quickly. There are no penalties for paying it off sooner. You can always pay it off on the schedule that was set when you purchased it, but you can also make extra payments. If you’ve picked the right property, your monthly payment should be less than a couple of hundred dollars a month, and even a minimum wage job will cover that with a comfortable amount left over. Make your payments and use the extra in your pay to cover setting up your house properly, and then pay off the rest as fast as possible on your land. You are now a landowner.
Head over to Landwatch.com. I promise, land like that is out there, and it’s easier to find than you think.