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What to look for in 2-10 acres?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by AimZeroed, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. AimZeroed


    Sep 29, 2005
    I'm expecting my first child in June in thinking long term. My wife and I work in a city in Texas and rent. In the next year or two we want to buy land in the country but have a limited budget. We are thinking of buying land in the country and still renting in the city where our jobs are. Any ideas on what to look for? I'm thinking water access but worry about flood plains and contamination (This is Texas and Oil industry country afterall). I like forest but need a large garden as partial subsistence. And how far in hours drive time from the city should it be for bug out. Our idea is that is that the city is not bug-in ideal. Any help is appreciated.
  2. racerford


    Apr 22, 2003
    DFW area
    Water is the key. Near Houston it may not be deep. Make sure you water, and hopefully mineral rights (this may make the land more expensive). Make sure you can drill a well, reasonably unrestricted. Some areas have controlled aquifers. Make sure the well water in the area is potable or be prepared to spend the money for the equipment to make it so. Where I live there are 3 aquifers at different levels 2 have levels of dissolved salts that are too high for humans but not too high for cattle, it is too high for a number of plants.

    Check the soil type. There maps of the major soils in the area. Deep clay exists a lot around Houston. It does not make the best base for a house foundation and requires certain construction techniques. However, they do make ponds easier to keep filled without resorting to liners.

    Sandy soils (also near Houston) have different issues. Ponds will need liners, well unless they are water table, in which case the water table determines the depth of the water in the pond.

    Former famland tends to be flatter and less trees to move. It may mean the soil is good or depleted. Of course if it is in a large lot development, sometimes the developer will scrape and sell the good soil and you are left with crap. If you are just building a house no problem. If you are trying to subsistence farm it matters,, because you will have to rebuild the soil. That takes time or money or both.

    Are there sources of natural or enviroment threats? Is there a refinery next door or close to the coast?

    Lots of things to consider.

  3. barbedwiresmile

    barbedwiresmile Unreconstructed

    Feb 3, 2008
    Water access is a given. How much woodland vs pasture depends on what your plans are in terms of livestock, horses, etc. You'll want enough hardwood to be self-sufficient in fuel but enough pasture to suit your prep needs.

    More important for a small piece of land is to get a feel for the area and the neighbors. Do neighboring properties have barns, fencing, livestock? Is the area zoned ag and, if so, what is the nearest R-80 or similar zoning. What you want to make sure of is that you won't experience a rezoning campaign down the road. Find out how far the nearest suburbs are and how far the nearest 'x-urbs' are - these are the pretend-rural "estates" where former city dwellers want the feel of rural without the reality. It's only a matter of time before they will start complaining. Then they will start buying up land nearer to you and a campaign for rezoning is right around the corner.

    Like-minded neighbors who keep livestock and have deep roots in the area will help insulate yourself from this type of thing. But it's hard to escape once a rural area is broken down into 10 acre or less parcels. These problems have slowed down since the housing bust but not gone away. The developers will be back. And heirs will sell out.

    Regarding renting in the city and keeping this as a kind of rural retreat, bear in mind how you could get there in the midst of a true emergency. I would urge you to rethink your strategy and deal with the commute to work. It will be worth it in the long term. Also note that you will want to keep things in your country house/cabin/whatever. Mostly empty homes are targets for break-ins and you may loose valuable items and gear that you store there. You'll also have a harder time keeping up with routine maintenance and it will be difficult or impossible to keep livestock if you're not there. (*ETA: this also brings up the whole "bug out" strategy that S&P'ers know I fundamentally question. Of course YMMV but I urge anyone to rethink the "bug out" as a viable strategy.)

    Overall a broad question, so I gave you some broad things to think about. Good luck and come back with specific questions once you start looking.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  4. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.
    If you intend to build a house on this land you'll have to get it tested for a septic tank. Also, as had been said in the other threads, a well for water is a must since you'll probably be too far out for city water. Also make sure it's not low land that's prone to flooding.
  5. Cali-Glock

    Cali-Glock Mountain Man

    Feb 11, 2002
    California Sierra Mnts
    It depends on what you want. When I was looking here were some of my criteria;

    1) min 5 acres
    2) not right off of major routes out of cities
    3) more than a day's walk away from a major city
    4) water on site
    5) wooded
    6) where I could shoot on my own property
  6. Beyond what others have said... I like to look at a few things - normal prevailing winds and what is upwind. I wouldn't want to be downwind of a chemical plant or a pig farm out or other. Having a hill is good for a few things - backstop for target practice, burrowing in a bunker/storm shelter, and if oriented correction - alternate energy (solar/wind), etc.
  7. Based on what I know now.. what you are looking for in 2-10 acres is..

    More acres. We have a dozen, wooded, with water. But given a chance to do it again, I would get more dirt. I know NO ONE who doesn't feel the same.
  8. NDCent

    NDCent Socially Inept

    Mar 19, 2010
    Check the codes for your area. In Missouri you can cost yourself a bunch of money, or possibly even not be able to install a rural septic system, if you don't have at least 3.1 acres.
  9. RED64CJ5


    Jul 7, 2003
    Lots of things to consider..

    Proximity to major cities. I'd say 100+ miles is good. My opinion.

    Proximity to rail lines. You don't want toxic waste railroading through your backyard.

    Proximity to industry/commercial areas. Even in rural settings, you need to watch this.

    Proximity to small rural/municipal airports. I want to be close, but not too close. 15-25 miles. Bigger airports I want 50+ miles away.

    The neighbor situation. Very important. Hard to describe in words how much you need to consider in this department...And not just current neighbors, look at the future situation.

    Personally I wouldn't go for anything less than ten acres in Texas. Less than ten puts you into some special requirements, such as needing a permit to install a septic system.
  10. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Water and wood,seclusion and the ability ta produce your own food.For my family we'd need at least 20.We have 4 right now that produces more than we can eat.Our garden last year was :faint:.

    Soil samples are important,get you dirt checked,and follow the advise given.It was $85 for a test here.Area can equate ta distance and give viable b/ups on you own land.'08.
  11. Dexters


    May 3, 2004
    Do you have the following?
    Written budget - income & expense - projected out for 10 years? Did you include child care costs?
    Are you going to send the child to a public or private school?
    Tracked your actual expenses?
    Have an emergency fund set up? If so, how many months of expenses does it cover?

    Are you planning to buy a home and have you included that cost in your budget?

    Are you currently debt free?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  12. lonewolf01


    Feb 12, 2003
    Good thread. I would like to get some land too but money is a factor. Maybe 5 acres but look for room to buy more from large farms nearby. Questions like where do streams orginate from? Areas to plant a garden? Hidden from general public? Keep a trailer on the property?
  13. 45reloader

    45reloader Live Free

    Feb 18, 2009
    PA South East
    Look into your rights to build a pond, might help open up your options.
  14. tower59


    Feb 24, 2007
    A few years ago I convinced my wife to get a few acres for exactly the purposes you describe. The land was pretty nice, but at 50 minutes' drive each way, I couldn't get out there but maybe two weekends a month. Totally, completely inadequate.

    If you really intend on living on the land at some point, the way to go is to live there full time. That way you avoid the problems of theft and vandalism associated with absentee ownership. More importantly, you have to be there to get stuff done. And there is plenty of stuff to do. More than you can imagine.

    Finally, to echo what others have said, make sure you can get a well, and shoot for as much land as you can afford. Good luck!!!
  15. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

    Mar 11, 2008
    on my list of things to look for in a future land purchase.
    flowing water. want to try and do a micro hydro setup.
  16. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    First question is, what do you do for a living? Or should I say do you have a job that you will always have, or is there a chance of getting laid off, transfered..... If there is, buying land and setting it up for S&P might not be the best move.

    Property you live on is an expense, not an asset. If you can get someone else to pay your rent on the property, it then becomes an asset.

    Property that is setup for S&P doesn't sell well. Unless you just happen upon the right person at the right time..... Because S&P people think they can do it better than the last guy for less money than the last guy wanted.

    Not that we have that out of the way.
    I want property. If I get setup so I will not be moving for the rest of my life..... 50 acres minimum. Assuming we don't have a plague, people will move to where I am and with 50 acres, it can still be zoned country and I can shoot and hunt on it. Ability to setup a pond. Ability to set up a well. Prefer to be attached to city water, as I understand how it is treated, but want the well as backup, watering plants,...... Sewage is interesting, I have heard that city sewage is cheaper than a septic system in the long run, but.....septic has it's place.

    I don't believe in living in the city and staying in the country. When you are away, someone will mess with your stuff if you are not there at least every day. So it isn't a matter of distance from the city as much as how long are you willing to drive to work. 1 hour drive time sucks, but it may be a decent split cost wise and ....

    I would look into what you want to grow and make sure you can grow it. As I understand it, you can not grow apple trees where they have grown cotton. I don't know about the other crops.

    I like trees. I am too old to plant seedlings and watch them grow over the next 50 years. I am not sure how I will solve this issue, but I want some mid growth forest/trees. I do not want total old growth. I don't want to cut trees to plant the garden.
  17. Dexters


    May 3, 2004
    I think the OP is a troll.
  18. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Why is that?.'08. :dunno:
  19. Dexters


    May 3, 2004
    Starts a thread 5 days ago and never comes back.

    Other things but, I don't want to improve his trolling technique.
  20. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    Troll or not, it is a question many of us have thought about.

    A place in the country is on my wish list, but.....