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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Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Ranked Hottest Emerging Housing Market

I’ve been to Coeur d’Alene and wasn’t impressed. But then, cities don’t impress me. My advice: Skip the intermediate steps and move rural.

This article in the Wall Street Journal that names Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as the hottest emerging housing market in the U.S., beating places like Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C. That amuses me.

Why? Because when we were looking for prepper property in Idaho and Montana a couple years ago, we visited Coeur d’Alene. From our perspective, it had several negatives, including its size. When we drove to the airport in Spokane, it was clear that Coeur d’Alene and Spokane are merging into one giant super city. It was a big solid block of surburnaism, and I expect it has gotten worse since then.

The city also had the cookie-cutter sameness that many large cities exhibit: The same chain stores. All the familiar chain restaurants. The shopping centers along the highway all look the same as every other shopping center in every other city. When we drove south on 95 and into Coeur d’Alene, we might as well have been driving into a city on Long Island or New Jersey. OK, so the downtown is nicer and the people are friendlier, but the area is now being flooded with Californians, so how long can that last?

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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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Survival Diary February 24: We Make a Trip to the City

We made our first big shopping trip to the city in two months and it drove home the difference between living in big cities, small cities and rural areas.

Today was our first trip to Sam’s Club in two months.  Since we were going to the city, we also went to Target, a bookstore, Home Depot, and had lunch at Chik-fil-A. 

Since the city is on the other side of a mountain range and takes more than an hour to get there, it was a very full day.  We left at 9 a.m. and didn’t get back until after 4 p.m.  Then we had to unload, unpack and put away all the food. 

We used the trip to Sam’s to stock up for everyday meals and to add some food to our long term-storage.  Canned good are very much in stock at the Sam’s Club we visited.  They had a very robust selection of dry goods as well.  They had excellent sales on pasta, some of which was 60 cents a pound when you bought a six-pack.  That’s a remarkable price when you consider that pasta is often a dollar a pound on sale and anywhere from $1.20 to 1.50 for a box.  We bought 12 pounds of pasta and added six jars of spaghetti sauce.

We bought other tomato products as well, including tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Don’t overdo it with these products because canned tomatoes tend to have a shorter life in cans than they do in jars.  I have had more cans of tomato products on my shelf leak through than all other products combined.  This is a good argument for canning your own tomato products using Ball canning jars.

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The Best Way Preppers Should Spend their Stimulus Check

As Congress creeps closer to yet another stimulus bill, Preppers may be in for a windfall. Here are our suggestions on how to spend it.

Yesterday, I suggested you use the coming (temporary) period of exuberance and excitement after the COVID-19 nightmare draws to a close to prep. Below are some suggestions in greater detail, but because we’ve talked about food and water before, we’re going to start with the bigger preps and work backwards:

Get Out of the Cities

I think the biggest priority for any serious prepper should be to move out of an urban or suburban location and to a rural one. I’m not talking “vacation country” where people go to spend two weeks a year, but hardcore country where just about everyone owns a chainsaw, a rifle and pickup truck.

Your stimulus check won’t buy your new property, but it can cover the travel and other expenses related to a property search.

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What’s Best for You: Urban Prepping vs Country Prepping

Urban prepping is not only possible, its where many preppers start out, but should it be the final destination on your prepper journey?

When I started prepping, I was an urban prepper.  I lived on the sixth floor of an apartment building in New York City – about as urban as you can get. 

More than 25 years later, our prepper property is outside a small village on a dead-end road, halfway up a mountain.

There have been four other houses in between the apartment and the prepper property, each one more rural and less urban than the one before.  While I have been a prepper cities and in suburbs, and believe it is far better than being unprepared, it is far from ideal. 

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How to Develop a Gravity-Fed Spring Water System Like Ours

Our gravity-fed water system gives us free, clean water even when the power is out or in a post-SHTF situation.

I’ve mentioned that our new prepper property has a gravity-fed water supply is that it provides water even when the electricity is out.  Here’s the promised article on how it works.

Most rural properties, including the last two I have lived in, use wells for their water.  When the power goes out, the pump doesn’t work unless you have solar or a generator.  With gravity-fed water, we get full-power, high-quality, clean drinking water from a system that requires no electricity and uses no pressure tank or other moving parts that can wear our or break.

We can do this because our prepper property on about 20 acres on the side of a mountain and by getting water from a source uphill from the house, it can be delivered to the home via gravity.

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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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