Building an Off Grid Home. What are the Major Concerns?

More and more people these days are thinking about living off the grid. If you are one of those, you have do doubt spent some time day dreaming about having the perfect piece of property with a cabin in the middle of the forest. Other than finding land to purchase for the homestead, perhaps the next biggest decision is what type of off grid home to build. There are a number of things that will effect this decision. Consequently, before reaching for your tools or your wallet, consider the following factors before building your off grid home.  


Important Considerations Before Building an Off Grid Home   


If you have  plenty of money available, then perhaps your options for building an off grid home are limitless.  Paying cash for something may not be a problem. This is of course the best way to make sure you have limited debt or you stay completely out of debt.  However, the average person cannot pay cash for a home. Therefore, housing may require some type of financing. 


This is a big factor to consider.  Many people have “roughed it” for a period of time while building their permanent off grid home. As long as roughing it is a relatively short-term situation, most people can tolerate almost anything. But, you also have to consider your long-term living situation. Ultimately if you are planning on living off grid long-term, you will be much happier by taking the time and effort to establish a decent and comfortable standard of living.  Consequently, keeping your end goal in mind is just as important as having a roof over your head. 


This varies greatly and will require some homework. Due diligence dictates that you check into any building restrictions before buying your land. Those restrictions, if any, makes a difference in what you can put on your property. It is also wise to check into the legality of living on your property while building. Many places will still allow you to build a small structure to live in while building your primary residence. However, many counties also prohibit this altogether.  Additionally, some states make it completely illegal to even have an off grid home.



This is a major factor when deciding what type of off grid home to build. Property access makes the difference in whether or not a drilling rig or concrete truck can reach your building site. If there is limited access, you may have to pay for road improvements.  Limited access may also require hauling in building materials little by little. This means a full-scale DIY home.  On the other hand, easy access means that contractors may be able to do things for you if you do not have such skills. The type of access may also affect any estimates for building projects.  


If your off grid home is only going to be used on weekends or holidays, it is much easier to deal with a smaller place.  If you are going to live in it full-time, you do not need a mansion but you do need adequate space.  The size of your off grid home will also make a significant difference in building costs. It may also make a huge difference in your happiness on a day-to-day basis if you are in a climate with prolonged winters AND you are living with someone else. Tiny homes seem to be popular but living in one long-term is another story altogether.   


The availability of water makes a difference in what you can accomplish on your homestead. It may in fact make the difference in whether or not you can live there full time. If you have to haul water, then you may decide to build a smaller off grid home and limit the size of your operation especially when it comes to livestock and gardening. 


Prior to building your off grid home you should assess your building site for power options.  Not all sites are suitable for solar or wind. If you have great sun exposure and the ability to install a larger solar array, then building a larger home may be a lot easier.  Limited power options will limit the size of your home. 


There is no doubt that doing things yourself is by far the most economical way to live off the grid. Many people, myself included, are able to build a small cabin or off grid home with no problem. However, planning and building a 2000 square foot house is a different story altogether. If you have limited carpentry skills, then a prefab home or a kit home may be the way to go. Another option may be to have someone “dry in” a structure so that you can finish the interior. It all depends on what you are comfortable with doing.  


If you are simply in need of a roof over your head, then you may consider quickly building something that is cheap and efficient. Then you can take your time when building your permanent off grid home. If you can afford to live in another place while developing your property, this makes everything much more convenient.


As you can see, there are a number of things to think about prior to even building an off grid home. Due diligence and doing your homework will save you a lot of time and money. 

For additional reading, continue on with one of these articles:

Having an Off Grid Home: Five Realistic Options

Living Off the Grid: Four Realistic Options


Go off grid and live well, 


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