Buying Land

Land and Politics 2012

Land and Politics 2012

Since the dawn of civilization, land ownership and its use have consumed human thought and driven our politics. In an important political year like 2012, the topic of land ownership is equally vital.

Land is visceral. There is something in us that wants to be in the outdoors, amidst the elements, doing whatever it is that we want to do. Men want to see if the wildness in them can overcome the wildness of wilderness. This testing of our mettle is essential to understanding and appreciating freedom. Once we have a taste of success in overcoming challenges in nature, our spirits are not easily subdued by Emily Post, office hours, congested streets, or politicians.

Land is patriotic. The first two paragraphs in the preamble to the Realtors Code of Ethics impress upon all who read it that Realtors (and real estate agents) have a high calling to help the public make the highest and best use of our most necessary and precious resource: land. “Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.” “Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and patriotic duty to which Realtors should dedicate themselves…”

This patriotic duty is not hyperbole. I believe that when people talk to land agents about rural land, in one sense we are discussing the core of our country. Our nation drew guidance from principles laid out in England’s Magna Carta of 1215. But our nation took the privileges and protections of land ownership that in England were only given to nobility, and extended those rights to all free men on her soils.

The Declaration of Independence enumerates a few of the unalienable rights endowed by our Creator: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. To exercise those rights one needs a place to carry them out. That is where land comes in. In America the free exercise of all our rights, “The American Dream”, is tied to the private ownership of land.

At the present time, many people in our nation are looking at land for a different reason, and they feel walls closing in around our unalienable rights. I personally believe the 2012 election is as essential to maintaining our individual freedoms as those early Continental Congresses were.

Americans are frightened. For weeks I have been having conversations with landowners and business owners that are nervous about the state of our nation. They are not overly concerned about the fluctuations in the stock market or the slow growth of our GDP. The people that I am talking to are concerned about what is going to happen when our country falls apart. These fears are heightened by events such as the recent news that the Department of Homeland Security has placed an order for 1.2 billion rounds of ammunition without giving much explanation.

I know rational, well-respected professionals that are making preparations that seem drastic in many circles, but may be life-saving measures if our country experiences upheaval. I spoke to a local contractor last week that told me a friend of mine constructed a 100 yard escape tunnel from his home. This same contractor also fabricated a metal shutter to place in a second story window to offer protection should the owner need an elevated point of defense.

In the past week I have spoken to dozens of people from many walks of life, from a bus driver in San Francisco to a CPA in Atlanta. These people, not bound by race or religion, all seem to feel that there is something ominous on the horizon and that they need to be preparing for it. They are looking for a place to go, a way to feed themselves, and a method of defense. The details vary a little, but the plot is the same for everyone I have this discussion with.

Personally I am in the process of doing due diligence on a 35 acre homestead for this same reason. I want to get out of town and have a more self-sustained lifestyle. Based on many of the articles I have read combined with my personal preferences, here are a few things I am looking for in my “end of days” getaway or self-sustained property.

  1. Water – I want a property that affords several means of acquiring water. I am only considering properties that have a stream or spring, a well, and a pond site. I do not want to have to rely on a public supply and would like to have several different sources in case there is an issue with one.
  2. Arable land – I need some amount of open, tillable acreage suitable for growing crops and planting fruit trees. An acre of land can suffice in some instances for a small family. But I’m from Alabama, which like Texans, believes that bigger is better.
  3. Away from people – If civilization comes apart at the seams, and people forget civility, then I want to be a comfortable distance from the insanity. People are generally going to do what is easy, and if they have to walk 20 miles down a country road to ransack your house and then carry your goods off, they probably won’t do it: at least initially. I would like to be 15-20 miles from a small town and 60 miles or more from a large city. That way you don’t get a large exodus of people to your front door.

I have other criteria I am using to vet potential properties, but these are my big 3. In addition I am a real estate agent, so I think in terms of my ability to resale the property one day when everything resets. Who knows, we may avert an economic tragedy yet. But I want to be as prepared as possible for all contingencies.

In 2012, I believe wise Americans will turn out and vote for the candidate that promotes and protects personal freedom. In my estimation it also seems like a good idea to prepare for the worst: meaning you need a place to go with your loved ones, a way to feed them, and the means to defend it all.

Land has and always will be essential to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I would welcome readers to share experiences or opinions about this topic.

This content may not be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, in part or in whole, without written permission of LANDTHINK. Use of this content without permission is a violation of federal copyright law. The articles, posts, comments, opinions and information provided by LANDTHINK are for informational and research purposes only and DOES NOT substitute or coincide with the advice of an attorney, accountant, real estate broker or any other licensed real estate professional. LANDTHINK strongly advises visitors and readers to seek their own professional guidance and advice related to buying, investing in or selling real estate.

About the author

Jonathan Goode

Jonathan is passionate about helping people buy and sell land. He is an associate broker with Southeastern Land Group, LLC (SELG) and is the Responsible Broker for the company in Mississippi. Jonathan is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), working with Southeastern Land Group (AlaLandCo) since 2008, serving Alabama and Mississippi. He is a member of the Alabama and Mississippi chapters of the Realtor’s Land Institute (RLI), and is currently serving as Vice President of the Alabama Chapter. Jonathan specializes in marketing rural properties online, and is a contributor for LANDTHINK.com, writing articles focused on helping people buying and selling rural land.

6 Comments

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  • Great and very timely article!

    In recent weeks, as a mountain land broker, I have noticed prospective buyers using more “prepper” keywords in their description of property they want to find.

    At first, the words were subtle, like “remote” or “end-of-the-road”, etc. This weekend, however, the words have become more direct.

    One buyer said he was looking for an “armageddon” property – a
    “go to” property. Another said “off-the-grid”.

    Beginning today, we are adding a search criteria to our website called
    “off-the-grid”. We will begin tagging and key-wording those properties that most closely match BOL (bug out location) properties.

    We are doing this as a test to determine whether there is a greater than expected interest in the concept discussed in your article.

    I encourage other readers to join in this discussion. We could all benefit from your perceptions on this topic.

  • I am a real estate agent for 22 yrs in central Florida. I have been searching property in the category of prepper property for a year now. My wife an I have gone so far as to drive to Tn to look at possible properties.
    We have a ten acre home staed now 18 miles from our work and a bigger town but are considering a more remote fall back location.

    We are wrestling with the best location to concentrate on as in north Ga/ Al/ / NC. Ga seems the best idea in case of restrictions on travel across state lines.

    Just the discussion of these possible senarios makes me upset with the state of our government and the powers that be but it is what it is and a plan B is in order.

    Please keep me on your mailing list and informed.

    Viva liberty,
    Steve

  • Excellent article that articulates the sentiment I hear from customers almost daily. Argue the politics all you want, but one thing is for sure, when enough people perceive things in a certain manner, it becomes the reality that you have to deal with. I hope we never reach that critical mass, but it looks more likely than not these days.

    I’m fortunate enough to already live in the type place that everyone is looking for, and have always lived close enough to the land to believe I can provide for my family if such times come along. So, personally, I’m somewhat isolated from the thought processes of those who live in suburban situations…other than through my work. The people that I talk with daily perceive what you have described as a coming reality.

  • Great article – couldn’t come at a better time.
    I have been buying/selling/flipping and brokering lots and land since the late 90’s.
    I am experiencing an incredible increase in people looking for parcels of 2 or more acres. They want to build retirement homes in SW Florida and have enough land to have at least a small garden. Many people want 4 or more acres with a pond so they can pretty partially “live” off the land.
    Thanks for writing a great article – I’m going to mention it in my blog for my readers.

  • In Texas we call, what you describe, “Ranchett’s”. There has become an increasing demand for Ranchett’s, but not with fear of Armageddon breathing down our necks.

    More and more folk’s are seeking that little funny farm, Norman Rockwell setting, my wife and I included. We purchased 10 acres on a bluff over looking Nueces Bay, nice view back towards Corpus Christi, Texas. Kind-a like having the Big Bad City in the rear-view mirror.

    Being a Land Broker as well, I am selling 5-10 acre waterfronts, and a variety of other waterfront and waterview sites in this general area as Ranchett’s. I do think this trend will continue and even increase with the Baby-Boomers coming into the retirement landscape.

  • Well, I am stuck in town, without the means to invest in relocating- but I have a prepared plan with provisions in all classes- and we firmly intend to find our way to exactly what you are thinking about here.

    I hope there are enough acres where we end up, to accommodate squatters with good will, honorable intentions and a willingness to cooperate.

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