Author Topic: Really Remote Living  (Read 1991 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Really Remote Living
« on: March 31, 2018, 10:08:12 AM »
I recently took a vacation and found some really beautiful places... but they were really remote.  >2hrs from civilization sort of thing.

There is TONS of land in this area - and darn near no development and beautiful.  I would love to own a home with really nice views in one of these remote locations.  It seems to me that land should be really cheap.  It will be expensive to build probably due to remote location and delivery costs, but is also a one-time expense. 

Does anyone have any experience with this?  How do you find the land to purchase?  Probably a lot of cattle land out where I'm thinking - would a rancher be willing to sell a portion of his land?  How do you get water rights to drill a well?  Seems that solar or wind would be the best power solution with a battery backup system for ~48 hour power.  How about phone communication?  I'll be less worried about internet, although I might still need it for WFH arrangements.  How did you get the materials out to build?  Propane for heat?  Was it difficult to sell when the time came?

I'm just trying to explore options for retirement.  We've thought of a few things we'd like and places we'd like to live when we hit retirement.  Just trying to see how reasonable some of them would be. 

Timeline is about 10 years out for FI - not sure if we'll RE or not.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2018, 10:18:16 AM »
Is there really anyplace so remote that real estate agents donít exist?

Iíd not count on ranchland being cheap, though.


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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 10:25:07 AM »
Rural living that remote is a drastically different lifestyle. Property maintenance can get very expensive and itís a lot of work. Is that something that attracts you?

Even though Iím very into homesteading, even if/when we move out of the city, I donít think Iíd ever want to be that remote though I know a lot of folks in various homesteading groups online who are 2-3 hours from the nearest grocery store. They go in to town once every month or two and supply almost all of their own needs off their land, which is a full time job in and of itself.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 11:29:44 AM »
We're pretty remote here at the DDR, though not as far out as some in our very large, very rural county. The answers to your questions depend on the state and county where you are looking. I always recommend Finding and Buying your Place in the Country by the Schers for anyone considering rural property.

Water is the most important thing to assess. We got lucky on a piece of land that had a well but nothing else. Check well logs (in WA, Dept. of Ecology has these) to get an idea of likely depth and output. Water rights in the western US are a very hot topic and very valuable if they are surface water rights.

Maintenance costs are a very real expense, especially for snow removal and road repair. We are looking at spending about 12k on a tractor this year because our neighbors are leaving and we will be in charge of plowing when they do!

The rewards are pretty awesome. We can see one house from our house. We have all sorts of wildlife. We have trails for hiking and snowshoeing so we don't have to drive for outdoor activity if we don't want to.

Did we pay more for construction? Certainly we spent more than what the assessor has it valued at, but we have exactly the small, passive solar, off grid house we wanted. We spent years looking, so by the time we found this place we knew it was the one we wanted. We didn't build for another 5 years, which helped us refine our plan and site the house perfectly.


  • Bristles
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 03:21:56 PM »
Solitude and remote living can be wonderful -- until they aren't. If you live somewhere like that, you have to drive a long way for everything. You can plan around grocery store visits (and UPS goes pretty much everywhere) but what about doctor's appointments? The dentist? Getting a part to make a repair? Visiting relatives and friends (they won't want to come see you because -- it's so far!) The older you get, the bigger a concern this becomes.

My husband and I are introverts who love doing things just the two of us and don't mind living 'out' -- but I still wouldn't want to be so far from everything for the inconvenience factor. We compromised by choosing a rural property that is 45 minutes from a good-sized town. We're two hours from a big city.

Are there other houses in the area? Someone built them, so chances are you'll find contractors and sub-contractors.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 08:26:18 PM »
I'm no stranger to hard work.  I'm not too concerned about that - especially in retirement.  I have also lived a little ways out of town (~1/2 hour) for about 1/3 of my life, so I'm no stranger to weekly/monthly trips to town.  Although we've always lived in small communities where we could get gas or basic groceries as needed.  So there will be some new challenges.

My grandfather built his own house outside of Prescott AZ about 30 years or so ago now.  Everyone has found his little piece of heaven, but not until after he built his house on his small mountain overlooking everyone else!  Hahaha!  I've always been infatuated with his home and lifestyle my entire life.  Maybe I should give him a call.

I will admit that DW doesn't do so well with staying home... it would be harder on her than me, but I think she's warming up to it as she gets older.

@Dusty Dog Ranch - Thanks for the book recommendation - I put it on hold at my library and read some of it on Amazon.  I think this will answer many of my questions.
@Cranky - I would suspect that some of the places I've seen there aren't many realtors, but perhaps I'm wrong.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2018, 09:39:15 PM »
My main concern would be resell value. Also, there's definitely a diminishing returns consideration the farther out you go. If you can't hear or see civilization an hour away from a big city, what's the point in going farther?

I'd only want to go super remote if I was already very wealthy and had lots of time and energy, because I'd definitely not want to feel stuck in that lifestyle. The largest costs I'd think are opportunity costs - so much of your time goes into upkeep and being self-sufficient that there's not much time for anything else. And there's no denying it's an inefficient use of your time...we've already figured out as humans how to efficiently take care of the "mundane" things that remote living requires you to effectively recreate. But obviously it's rewarding or no one would do it. Again, I just would do everything possible to not be trapped into that lifestyle. You may really love it for a long time but it would be crazy not to have a good exit plan as well.


  • Bristles
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2018, 09:51:52 PM »
So what to you mean by civilization? We live 25 mins from town, of about 120k. 2 hours to a big metro area/city. But I would not say we are super remote. We drive into town, 5-7 days each week and only to a big city maybe 5-6 times a year.

Some of our considerations when moving here were distance to a hospital (30 mins), fire station 6 mi,) and fire hydrant ( 1.4 mi,).


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2018, 06:29:54 AM »
I would be so terrified of breaking my legs and never being found.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2018, 07:11:24 AM »
There's all sorts of different definitions of "remote" living, with each having its own pros and cons.

I grew up in "remote" areas of the Virginia Mountains, especially before more development got closer.  I was about eight miles from the Appalachian Trail as a bird would fly, although getting anywhere took time because the roads aren't straight.  Water wasn't an issue because of wells and septic.  30 minutes to a town of 60,000 people, an hour to a town of 100,000+. 

Here were some random pains in the ass I remember growing up:

- 30 minutes to the closest crappy grocery store for the first 10 years, that got cut to 15 when development was closer.  I still appreciate "I need X", leaving the house, coming back with X in 10 minutes total living half a mile from a shopping center.

- We were the last house on the power line, which means when there was an ice storm or bad tropical storms that made it inland, it could be a week or more without power.

- We were at least part of a through-road, so when those bad storms came down, everyone just grabbed their chain-saw and cut their way out.  Started slow but a larger pack of families/trucks/chain saws would be cutting as we got further down the road.

- Still to this day no access to high speed internet

- The bus routes sucked growing up and I was the third person picked up.

- The neighbors were hit and miss, some you liked and it was a sense of community, others were a pain in the ass.  One had a couple of dogs that ran in a pack and terrorized our animals when we first moved.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Really Remote Living
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2018, 10:20:08 AM »
Consider the effects of aging as well. At some point your reflexes/strength/overall health/cognitive abilities WILL decline. Yes, you can eat well and exercise to try to delay the process, but old age will get you eventually, and that's assuming you have no injuries or genetic conditions that can cause havoc with your life. Living far away from people, social services, etc isn't the smartest choice when you need assistance with something.