Having a High Time, Living the (Off) Grid Life

Dated: 11/30/2019

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How to Live a Good Life Off the Grid

The current state of the world is enough to make you want to run into the woods and never return to society or life as you once knew it.  For many, the idea of living “off the grid” is less of an escape and more of a dream scenario. A lifestyle that is 100% dependent on self-resiliency can seem like a daunting mission, but after learning how to live without outside intervention, you begin reverting back to the basics of human nature.  You start to appreciate a small home because it gives you the shelter you need when the weather gets rough. You begin to see the beauty in something as simple as a small fire providing warmth when the winter chill comes. You value the breeze that helps muffle the heat—and works to move the water, that moves the wheel, that provides the power, that lights the life.  You praise the land because it provides the soil that enriches the growth that feeds the hunger. You notice that everything in life is connected. When you begin to connect the dots, you start to see how simply we can live off the complexity of nature.  Northern Arizona may be one of the best places on Earth to move if your goal is to get off the grid.  Our agents at Better Homes and Gardens Bloomtree are here to help you find the best piece of land to suit those self-sufficient needs.  We are ready to take on any challenge, and many of our realtors even specialize helping buyers establish a homestead or off-the-grid lifestyle.  

Factors to Consider Before Buying…

  • Climate:  What do you need out of the climate in order to attain your off-grid lifestyle?  Do you need weather that is good year-round? Are four seasons a necessary part of your growing year?  Would 2 obvious seasons work better? Do you prefer cool evening and hot days? Ask yourself what best suits your needs.  Are you farming? Fermenting? How will the climate effect your overall goals?  
  • WaterNo matter what you will need access to a renewable, clean, and dependable water source.  It’s literally the most important lifeline we have. This is crucial when thinking about the land you’re buying.  Desert land is cheap, but there’s a reason for that. The mountainous land of Northern Arizona is much more fitting for an off-grid lifestyle because there are plenty of fresh water sources to rely on. 
  • Laws:  There’s an irony in the laws you have to pertain to in order to release yourself from the governmental hold.  In order to go off grid, you have to dive into a bit of bureaucracy to ensure all your off-grid activity is legal.  Finding a location that doesn’t enforce code is usually your best bet—luckily Arizona is pretty good for that!
  • Zoning:  Finding land that is zoned specifically for agricultural use is a major benefit when shooting for an off-grid life. You will have lower taxes and less input from the city or country, depending on where you’re zoned.  There’s a chance the property you fall in love with will not be zoned as an agricultural site. The good news is you can usually petition the city or county to have your property rezoned, so long as you can provide good reasoning.

When Buying and Building…

Our agents are equipped with answers to many of your burning questions—like all the things you’ll need to consider before building, and what to avoid during the process.   Have you ever thought about the placement of your home?  Our specialized agents have! Experts argue the alignment of your home is vital when it comes to heating and cooling.  An eastern/western axis will help with insulation more than just a south facing roof for solar panels. Having an east/west axis will help naturally heat and cool your home by ten degrees—warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  This is crucial when running your entire heating and cooling system from a renewable source.   On the flip side to that, our agents can steer you in the right direction when it comes to what to avoid when building too.  For instance, did you know you should avoid any and all electric heating loads? From base board heaters to water heaters, and electric dryers to heating tape, having electrical heating loads in your home can use up more energy than what your generator or panels will allow for.  Also, air conditioning. It may sound like torture to not have centralized air in the Arizona sun, but when building a home and taking the right precautions, you can reduce the need for one altogether.  

Once You’re Set Up…

Once you have your homestead built up and ready to go, there are plenty of great ways to ensure you keep your off-grid goals intact.  

  • Collecting drinking water cuts out the need for a city or county water source.  Rainwater can be collected from your roof. Arizona may be full of deserts, but in the northern areas it produces enough rain to provide for a whole family.  With a quality filtration system and access to quality fresh water, you’ll never have the need pay for water again!
  • Getting a quality back-up generator is of the utmost importance.  Look for a generator capable of Automatic Generator Start (AGS) or, at the very least, an electric start.  
  • It’s likely you’ve already converted to LED lighting, but if not, this is the best time to step into the newest phase of the lighting world.  Energy-efficient lights, like LEDs or compact fluorescent, will cut down on the amount of energy needing to be put out by our energy panels.  Thus, your lighting will last longer without a generator having to kick in. They cost a bit more up front, but the savings and lifespan you get in return is priceless.

So, when the time has come that you’ve had enough of depending on the world around you, shoot one of our specialized agents an email with your details—perhaps they can help you find the property and structure of your dreams.  Maybe they’ll help guide you into an entirely new lifestyle that’s not only great for the environment, but for the self too. When you let go of dependency, you find a reliance on yourself you never thought possible. Let our agents help you find you.  

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