Off-grid living is becoming more popular every day and the self-sufficient lifestyle is appealing to more people. Finding property where you can live your dream can be challenging, but well-worth the effort.
Location, location, location
To be completely off-grid, you will likely have to get far away from any city. In many states, even counties have laws regarding living off-grid, such as having to own a minimum number of acres to build or requiring a well and septic tank. Some remote locations still require you to tie in to the electric grid, even if you have alternative power. Most of the places that allow you to freely build what you want are rather remote, so if you want to be reasonably close to civilization, you may have a bit harder time finding a place.
Access to Water
Clean water is an absolute necessity. Hauling water from a nearby clean river or stream may be fine with you, but it's back-breaking, time-consuming and doesn't always work out well in emergency situations. Ideally, you want to be able to fill a tank easily so you can have backup water. Being able to drill a well is ideal, but if the ground is solid rock, that isn't going to be a cheap proposition.
The next best alternative is to find a piece of land with a good natural spring or an area with enough rainfall so you can supplement with rain barrels or a cistern. You also need to check into any water rights, easements or access issues you may run into, such as taking water upstream from someone who uses it for their livestock. If you enjoy peace and quiet, you may not want to be on a body of water that has a lot of motorboat activity.
The two main ways that you will use to supply power are wind and sun. When looking for property, search through meteorological and climate reports for the area to determine if there is enough of either to provide the electricity you need. If one source is insufficient, see if there is enough of the other to supplement. For example, if a location is cloudy but windy in the winter but is still and sunny in the summer, you will need both methods of power generation to get through the year. If you can't afford both, then you need to look for a place that has an abundance of one or the other.
Buying property for living off-grid gives you a lot to think about. Access to water, electricity and proximity to services you need are just the tip of the iceberg. Take your time, do your homework up front and find a real estate agent like Liv Nantucket who is familiar with the requirements for off-grid living in their area.