Prepping and the New Normal home location selection

Prepping and the New Normal home selection

"Location, location, location" is a common mantra in real estate. And it's good advice—except for one thing: Most people have no idea what it really means. Read this before you begin your new normal housing search!

A good location can mean different things to different people, and there are also objective factors that determine a home's value. Depending on your personal needs and preferences, you may not be able to buy a home with all of these factors. And that's OK—after all, a home is much more than just an investment. 

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Prepping and the New Normal home selection

Preppers are individuals who believe that, in the near future, life as they know it will be challenged or changed due to a major event.  Some preppers anticipate a local or regional catastrophe such as an earthquake, hurricane or extreme drought.  Others expect a national or international crisis like a collapse of the financial system or power grid or perhaps a pandemic.

An important aspect of that is “bugging out”…. changing locations to a less volatile, less congested, and potentially safer locale.

Now that hundreds of millions of people have gotten a new taste of how important “home” actually is—as a safe haven, a de facto school, an impromptu remote office, and a forced, familial psychological petri dish—the spaces we live in, and more importantly what we demand of them, stand to look profoundly different in the post-pandemic world. 

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Adjusting the home location factors

Bug-out Location (B.O.L) - One's bug out home can be your primary or secondary house. Most prepping enthusiasts think the event which eventually disrupts life as we know it will not only be survivable but with the proper preparations can offer a chance to thrive.  The goal is to have enough provisions and the right tools on hand to survive without government intervention or support… which may or may not even be available.

If you think cities can’t get out of control in a hurry, consider what happened to Cebu City during the 2020 pandemic and subsequent lock-down. A lot of my friends and family felt trap in their homes as access to resource areas became difficult. Panic kicked in and panic buying took place. In the previous normal, these places can be accessed via car or public transport, in the absence of that the 30 minute away supermarket became a 30-minute to hour and more than 5 kilometer long travel on foot.

It comes down to a few simple questions. Where would you want to be if some life-changing event created chaos? I’m not an expert, but most folks I know would rather ride out the storm on a rural property. Having a place to go that offers solitude, shelter, and resources makes perfect sense.

Centrality - Land is a finite commodity, where you choose to live within a city or town will undoubtedly affect how much you pay for your home. But having a balance of access to resources while also being relatively isolated from the chaos of a city will matter more for people considering the ‘Quarantine-Lockdown’ experience.

You may not be in a city but ensure that your future town have the basic access to your perceived needs: food, tools/equipment, transportation access points and the like.

Neighborhood - The neighborhoods that appeal to you will largely be a matter of personal choice. However, a truly great neighborhood will have a few key factors: accessibility, appearance, amenities, & safety. Your neighborhood may also dictate the size of the house & lot.

The ideal accessibility would be having more than one point of entry. So a house with easy access to roads and/or public transportation will be more desirable than one that is tucked away and can only be accessed by one route.

Neighborhood appearance is subjective. My taste is minimalist and what matters to me is what is inside. A great neighborhood should also include important amenities such as grocery stores, shops, and restaurants. Most people like to frequent places that are convenient. The quality of local schools and the distance from the house are both important factors to consider.

Finally, don't forget about safety. A neighborhood that has a low crime rate and is an inviting and safe place to be outdoors and commune with neighbors is the type of place where most people want to live.

Getting to know your local public servants from the municipal to barangay level is also necessary as how they respond to a crisis will highly affect you as well. We don't want a reactive and backward local government response (ehemm... Cebu City, PH) but a proactive one. Knowing the background and performance of the local government of your chosen area will be a welcome help in times of chaos and crisis. 

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Development - It's not just present amenities that matter, but future ones as well. Plans for schools, hospitals, public transportation, and other commercial or public infrastructure can dramatically improve property values in the area.

Knowing the government programs and projects in the area will help you forecast the future of the area in terms of industries and business development.

Lot Location - You also need to take into consideration where the house is actually located. But this is a long term consideration when you want to sell your home. Something to consider is the lay of the land.

If you are choosing a subdivision, then consider how far are you from the shared water tank? Or should you have your own water tank? If you have found a non-subdivision property then you should also consider various things like access to water and disposing of human waste.

A key feature of a bug out location is available water. Many preppers keep a water purifier on hand, but having good clean potable water can save a lot of time and potential for illness. Getting sick from bad water is one thing, but getting sick at a time when you’re already stressed or worn thin could be deadly.

Know all ingress and egress routes. That could mean watching roads leading in and out from a vantage point, or using technology and installing video surveillance or driveway alarms.

The House  - You could be buying a undeveloped lot or an existing house already on a lot or farm/homestead. You have to consider repairs and updates or should you consider demolition and building from scratch? That highly depends on your budget or your family's budget.

The reason for consideration: A house is a depreciating asset. The lot, on the other hand, will maintain its value (or likely appreciate) relative to the house. So, if you can, choose a bigger, better-shaped or better-situated lot over a nicer house. A less attractive house can always be updated, added on to, or replaced altogether, but the lot can't be changed.

Funding & Planning - You don't have to fund and plan all of this by yourself. Prepping is a community that has been around for a while and you don't have to go at it alone. You can learn from the community's experience and you can also consider opening-up this concept to like minded family or extended family members. Pooling funds for a compound can be a possibility to consider as well.

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A lot has changed in the new normal, amenity spaces will have to encourage more elbow room, and seating will need to be farther apart to encourage natural physical distancing. Some amenities may also become more virtual, like cooking and yoga classes. The pandemic has accelerated some trends that were already happening. But what we all have to realize is that this isn’t going away any time soon. We all have to realize and accept that we are in a new normal now. The pandemic has changed everything.

The life-changing event has already happened, now is the time to decide or at the very least prepare to secure your own rural getaway. Owning a piece of rural bug-out home location can mean serenity, security, simplicity, and safety… whether you buy into the prepper lifestyle or not.

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Prepping and the New Normal home location selection Prepping and the New Normal home location selection Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Sunday, July 12, 2020 Rating: 5

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