Looking Back One Year After Buying Our Prepper Property

After living with our house hunting decision for a year, we look back on what we have learned and would do differently.

One year ago, we left our home near the city and moved into our rural prepper property. Last week, I wrote about the lessons learned moving from the exurbs to the middle of nowhere. Today, I will discuss things we wish we had done differently regarding our property search, which is detailed here.

More Pasture

My biggest regret is that we do not have more pasture. We cannot raise goats or even pigs unless I were to fence part of the mountain. Having already installed fencing on a mild grade, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to fence steep terrain.

While I like to think of our land as our “homestead,” the terrain constraints limit our homesteading capacity to small livestock. It may also limit the amount of land we can use to grow food in a grid-down situation.

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Lesson Learned from One Year of Rural Living

One year in, we would move from the city to the mountains again. If you are looking to go rural, maybe you can benefit from our experiences.

We moved into our prepper property full time about one year ago. For new readers and to recap for old ones, here are the specifics: We moved from about 2 acres in the exurbs where we had a large home to a smaller house on almost 20 forested acres on the side of a mountain. There are multiple streams on the property and the drinking water is from a gravity-fed spring. We have a septic system. A wood stove and a fireplace insert heat the house. It is located up a dirt road so steep UPS, Fedex and the USPS won’t deliver here.

My wife and I agree that it has been a good move even if it got off to a slow start because of COVID-19 restrictions. But the first yer has had some lessons. Here are a few things we learned:

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We Know we Made the Right Decision when we Left the City

We’ve owned our Prepper Property for more than a year and lived in it full time for about six months. Talk about getting out while the getting was good!

The other evening, my wife and I went out to dinner at a local brewery and restaurant. (I say local, but it was actually about a 50-minute drive from our house.) We sat on their deck, enjoying the sunshine and cool evening air while waited for our food. There was a view of mountains in two directions. Below us, families ate outdoors at tables under blue umbrellas, a kid played with his plastic truck along the sidewalk, and a bunch of young guys drank beer and played cornhole.

The last time I ate outside in a large city, we were bothered by panhandlers who practice urban extortion and won’t leave you alone until you pay them off. There was none of that here. We have plenty of poor people in the Appalachians, but I have yet to see a pan handler or a homeless person camped out on the corner or sleeping on a bench.

Unlike dining out in the last city we lived in, we didn’t have to wait for a table or book reservations weeks ahead of time.

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Crazy Real Estate Market Caused by People Fleeing Cities

After a recent renaissance in which cities where THE place to be, people are now fleeing large, urban areas and are desperate to buy rural property.

After my recent visit to help clean it out, our retreat went on the market. (For those of you who are new to the blog, a quick recap: Our retreat is an old family property that has not been well maintained but is in a good rural location. We no longer need a retreat as we moved to our permanent prepper property in 2020.)

One day after the listing, we had an offer, just below our asking price. The next day, we got a second offer at our asking price. By the third day, there was a bidding war, and we ended up settling at about 10 percent above the asking price. A nice premium!

Coordinating approval of the offers took some time because what I refer to as “our retreat” is owned by multiple parties and I am only one of three on the selling side. Ever try to coordinate something among three people? It’s not any easier when they are all related.

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Looks Like More Preppers are Moving to our Mountain

Apparently we are not the only folks who think this is a good area for prepping. Far from the cities and off the beaten track, it is attracting other preppers

We met some neighbors who recently purchased land about half a mile down the mountain from us.  They were quite excited about their plans to put in a bridge, improve their driveway, build a log cabin, get a couple of milk cows, and go “off grid.”  They were also quite upfront about being preppers and not wanting to able to self-sufficient.

As a prepper, I am always happy to have other preppers in the neighborhood.  First, it means they should be able to sustain themselves in post-SHTF situation.  The more people in the area that have the ability to provide for themselves, the better.

Second, they may be someone we can barter with.  Third, hopefully they have useful skills, and fourth, they might be willing to support a mutual aid agreement or neighborhood defense force since anyone coming up the road will have to get past them before they get to us.

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Prepper Diary November 5: Our House Sells Quickly

It took months of cleaning, painting, repairing, and getting new carpet in the basement, but our house sold within days of listing.

As I said in the November 1 post, there was immediate interest when we listed our house.  We had five showings within two days and one or two per day since.  After a short bidding war, we accepted an offer for our house that was above our asking price. I did not believe it was that hot seller’s market until I saw it first hand. People are highly motivated to move out of the city.

That’s a positive side effect of COVID-19.  Another is that it is now accepted practice to do all the signatures related to an offer and sale online via DocuSign or a similar app.  That made it easy to accept the offer from a remote location.  I doubt we will even need to go to the closing.

Assuming the level of post-election day violence remains low, we’ll be heading back soon to meet with moving companies and obtain estimates for our move.  Then, a few days later, we’ll bring another load of gear back up here.  We’ll be making a round trip every week until we officially move. If we stay on track, moving day will be before Christmas.

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Prepper Diary November 1: Bugging Out and on Being Charitable

Our old house is for sale so we’re bugging out to the mountains. Moving has encouraged us to downsize and minimize.

It took longer than I expected to get the repairs made, the painting finished, the drone photography shot, the video produced, and the appraisal done, but our house is officially on the market.

Happily, it appraised for more than I expected and the photography looks even better than the ol’ house ever did.  (I guess those stagers and designers know what they are doing.) Now we have to wait and see what it actually sells for, which may help determine if we can go solar next year. 

There are already showings scheduled, so we are loading up the truck, sticking the cat in the carrier, and bugging out to our prepper property for the pre-Election Day bug out.  We’ve left the realtor the alarm code and the keys, and we’ll let her handle everything on the showing end.

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Prepper Diary October 6: It’s Been a Week of Chores

Never a dull day at Pete’s Place as we’ve got chores to do and repairs to make as we get ready to move to our prepper property.

We enjoyed a “test burn,” using the wood stove for the first time on a chilly evening at Pete’s Prepper Property.  Happy to report the flue drew very well.  I am used to a wood stove with a glass door, and never realized what an advantage actually being able to see the flames is until I had to monitor the fire in a stove with solid doors.  I also missed the thermometer we usually have stuck to the pipe, but one is on its way to us after an online purchase.

We haven’t tested the upstairs stove, but the basement stove caused the upstairs temp to raise two degrees in just a few hours, even as outdoor temps fell into the 40s.  I expect when it is burning all day and all night it will provide even more warmth than that.

I think we are going to burn through the two cords of wood pretty quick, so I may buy a third.  Also, on our next trip, I plan to bring up my chain saws, maul, wedges and associated wood-cutting equipment, just in case I have to harvest some wood myself.  (There are enough deadfalls in the woods that I can find seasoned wood ready to burn.) I have resisted moving these up the mountain in case we get a hurricane at home and needed to cut our way out due to fallen trees, but I think the chances of a hurricane affecting the Mid-Atlantic states is low now.  I will also bring a nice home-made saw horse that holds logs so you can cut them into wood stove length. We need to empty more stuff out the garage in any case.

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Prepper Diary October 2: How to Build Your Food Storage Over Time

We have buckets of long-term storage food. We have cans of dehydrated food. But we didn’t build up this supply overnight. Live the prepper life and you can build up your supplies as well.

We just brought our fourth trailer full of long-term storage food and survival gear to our new prepper property, and it drove home how much prepping-related stuff we have. 

So far, we’ve moved one 4’x8’ U-Haul cargo trailer, two 6’x12’ U-Haul cargo trailers, and an 8’x12′ flatbed trailer, although the latter was mostly loaded with furniture.  Thanks to my friend Karl and his Ford F-250, we do have a bed, dressers, a sofa and some other furnishings at the house now, which is nice if we need to stay there before the move is fully completed.

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September 7 Prepper Diary: We Celebrate Labor Day with Chores and Gun Fire

We take an extra long weekend getaway to do chores at our prepper property, but we take time for some fun as well.

We drove out to our new prepper property mid-week for an extended Labor Day Weekend.  In addition to bringing a pick-up-truck bed full of gear, we opened a post office box in the village closest to our new prepper property.  We can now start changing our mailing address.  With our new address and local phone number in hand, we also visited a local bank and opened accounts there. 

After we officially move, we’ll worry about switching over our driver’s licenses and concealed carry permits.


We are still in the clean-up, fix-up, and prepare mode, but we now have a bed so we no longer have to sleep on an inflatable mattress.  This trip, we brought up bedside tables because you don’t realize how convenient they are until you have to go without one.  We even brought a small sofa.  This means we have somewhere to eat, somewhere to sleep, and something more comfortable than a camp chair to sit on.

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