Cabin-living in the Woods: Essentials Things to Consider Before Making the Move
Day by day, it seems like living in the city is just getting worse. The air is still as polluted as ever, roads congested, crime rates growing, and inequality still breeding. And as more developments arise in the metro, real estate prices spike, making homeownership harder to reach.
It isn’t helping as well that there’s a pandemic yet to be eradicated. With cases still rampant in the U.S., public places, in general, have become potentially unsafe. As such, living in the wilderness now sounds a lot more appealing.
It can be a little scary at first, especially if you love watching movies where the serial killer lives in solitude in the woods. But that’s just for the suspense, and chances are the only living beings you’ll meet in the woods are deer and bears.
Now that you’re likely considering it, don’t get too excited yet. Off-grid living, while cheaper and more peaceful, isn’t as easy as you think. So here are the critical pointers you should note before making the move:
- It might be illegal.
In most places throughout the U.S., it is actually illegal to camp on your own land longer than two weeks. To be exempted from this rule, you have to obtain a long-term camping permit from your city, and live in your tent or travel trailer while you build your cabin.
If your city refuses to issue you a camping permit, then you can only camp out for two weeks, then find another dwelling while your cabin is still undone. However, this defeats the purpose of having your own land.
Therefore, before choosing a land to purchase, consider the zoning restrictions that dictate the size of dwellings. Find out the minimum square footage requirement, and whether a cabin is an approved building type by the city or country office. And of course, don’t forget to apply for a permit before building anything.
Once you get permission for your cabin, ensure that the cabin meets international building codes. Otherwise, you’d be violating the law despite having a building permit.
- You’d spend more if you want a bigger lot size and cabin.
Naturally, bigger lands and dwellings cost more. But you can avoid spending too much by choosing the right location.
A good lot size for a cabin is 1–5 acres, and this will cost you around $20,000 to $30,000. To maximize the worth of your budget, choose among the 15 best states to live off-grid. These include Arizona, specifically the northern part, where land is cheaper and the climate comfortable. The only issue there is water; you either have to transport it to your homestead, or buy a land with water underground so you can build a well.
If that’ll be too much work for you, consider the northern part of California. There, water is readily available, and land prices and taxes are low. The more lenient laws and temperate weathers are also an advantage.
Florida is another great state, provided that you have a water source and septic system. Contrary to popular belief, off-grid living is completely legal in Florida. Living there also comes with the benefit of being allowed to use cleaner energy sources, such as solar, wind turbines, and so on. Moreover, you’re free to raise your livestock there.
- There would be no internet.
Since you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s essentially no connectivity, but today’s technology won’t leave you completely disconnected. There are various ways to connect to the internet while you’re camping, living in the woods, or in any remote area.
The satellite internet that is good for camping would be one of your best picks. Its biggest advantage is letting you access the web even in areas that cell towers couldn’t reach. It’ll enable you to download at top speed. Some companies also offer satellite television services.
- There might be some hidden costs.
As with any home, a cabin can also pose hidden or unexpected costs. In Canada, for instance, some insurance companies won’t insure properties that are off the grid.
Some insurance companies also refuse to give coverage for off-grid electricity, because it doesn’t meet their policy’s requirements for an inhabitable property. In addition, some off-grid homes may not be serviced by fire departments. If that happens to be in an area where water is scarce, then a disaster awaits if a fire occurs.
Hence, factor in a potentially costly homeowner’s insurance to your expenses, as well as generator costs, fuel costs, firewood costs, and shipping costs for goods you can only acquire from afar.
- Quality healthcare facilities might be far away.
The nearest one in your location is probably a rural hospital, which has fewer beds and less funding. This will put you at a disadvantage if you need urgent care.
A solution to this is to have your regular supply of medicine delivered to you or to choose a location with a pharmacy nearby. If you take care of your health well, you’re not likely to be hospitalized.
These may sound a little pessimistic, but better be aware of the challenges than face them clueless. After all, you can mitigate them by preparing well, and in turn, have the best quality of life you can ever ask for.