We have seen the first significant snowfall in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana which from the scuttlebutt around town has sent sellers into a panic, in which they rightly should be. Although some folks around my locale understand the engineered crash of the Dollar, most are still of the opinion that pulling their property off the market and waiting until spring will yield them either a better price (good luck) or a faster sale at that time (maybe so, with a plethora of SurvivalBloggers arriving?). This makes for more detailed work for your agent as they now must search the recently expired, withdrawn and canceled listings in your locale of choice, as much as the active listings for sale to find your retreat.
The other issue is that most sellers, if the property remains on the market into winter, either fail to realize or just don’t want to admit that the value of their property may be drastically reduced very soon and you’ll need to be careful making too low of an offer as not to insult them. Many folks in the country are stubborn enough to walk away from a sale because of their pride, so be careful with low ball offers. It may be better to offer them more than you want to pay than to come back with an addendum lowering the price after the home inspection is done–and you have some ammo for your price drop. If they do not agree then you simply cancel the purchase, get your earnest money back and find another property.
Speaking of other properties the key is to have you back up property ready to write an offer on. And, you must be ready to walk away from your first choice if you don’t get it for your pre-determined price. Do not get emotional about any property unless you are willing to pay the sellers asking price, period! If you can’t walk away from a deal for $1 then your going to get run around with counter offers until your blue in the face.
You’ll need to gather your facts about your primary and secondary retreat choices that you’ll be making offers on. If retreat #1 has the ultimate gravity fed spring water (or a shallow well) and #2 is a very deep well but the most tactically sound property you have ever seen, recall what I said in my WSREMU of 10-26 where I wrote about the importance of prioritizing your retreat characteristics while shopping, the first being water in the acronym W.A.L.L.S. (Water, Access, Location, Light). You can always defend a property, it just may take more resources, but having gravity fed spring water like we do here at the Savage Retreat is like gold. So you’ll need to raise the bar for your #1 choice since the benefits of fresh water 100% of the time even in a grid down situation outweighs the risk of paying a little (or allot) more than you wanted or felt the property was worth. One can always buy a TNW 1919A4 in order to defend a less than tactical retreat than to magically have a gravity fed spring appear on the property!
Another consideration may be that you have narrowed your search down to two properties, one that has a house that backs up to a hillside and is very wooded with no tillable land and just enough room and sun exposure for a small garden that may feed your family if you can everything you grow for the winter. The second is a nice older farmhouse on a nice plot of tillable acreage but it is very exposed to everyone around. Depending upon your idea of when the TSHTF you may consider that having the tillable land for growing barter items and for wider fields of fire and may be more beneficial. In such a case I would look into obtaining a wholesale license to save money, and purchase a mixture of Poplar for higher concealment (which certain varieties can grow up to 8 ft per year and top out at 80 ft) and Evergreens for lower concealment and plant them around the perimeter of the property. Tillable land is more valuable in the long term than tactical land since again, defensibility is merely a matter of resources. This makes getting to know your neighbors as important as the specific property in order to determine who will be a help and who may be a hinder (target) in times of peril, especially if you plan to quietly form a "security cooperative" during peace time that will turn into your outer warning ring when TSHTF.
Forming your "security cooperative" will take time. It will require genuine effort and a warm attitude as the ‘new’ folks are always under the microscope for am minimum of one year in the country. You won’t be able to walk right out and make trusted friends, especially if your a city slicker like I was when I got to my locale. You should do a quick meet and greet during your inspection period and make sure that the banjo dueling neighbors aren’t child molesters as well, or worse tax collectors. Once you have established your cooperative they can serve as a watchful eye on your retreat if it will not be a year round residence for a spell. During times of peril they can serve as your outer warning ring but most likely will not fall back to your retreat. Remember, friends are friends and business is business and your ultimate priority is securing the safety of your family and those in your actual "Group" that will be arriving when the balloon goes up, so unfortunately, it’s merely ‘business’ and they in most cases will serve their purpose. This may sound cold, but it’s reality. Dispense Christian charity and send them on their way. Your children will thank you one day after all returns to normal.
Earlier this year I had a client that asked me to complete a tactical overview on several properties they were considering purchasing. One of the biggest issues was similar to the one above, where the property had required the purchase of several hundred trees in order to close it off from the nosy neighbors prying eyes in order for a an LP/OP to be constructed hidden in plain sight so to speak. My advice was two fold. First, no matter what or where you’ll be doing construction you’ll be better off if you meet with each of your neighbors over a period of a few weeks before construction begins to nonchalantly mention that your having either a wine cellar constructed or the new one I like, a high tech duck or deer blind built. Why? Because as I have said before, either they will see what is going on and actually come onto your property to say "hi" (which you do not want at that time) or they will be part of the construction crew (gravel, concrete, wood supply driver et cetera) and if so they will pay you no mind. I’m sure you’d rather have them talk about you as the "wine connoisseur" than the "survival nut", right? I guess the only issue would be explaining the tunnel from the house to the "duck bind", but I’m sure an answer of "I have more money than brains and I like the convenience of being warm all the way there and back" would be sufficient enough to have them roll their eyes and walk away!
As a noteworthy point, always have a home inspection, even if you do not plan to use it to chop the price down you’ll need to know what your going to fix and improve and the $300 or so you’ll spend will be well worth it. If the deal is so good your going to pay cash and close it quick before the seller realizes what is happening, then fine, worry about the rest later but still have the inspection after closing. The best way to find a good inspector is to have your agent recommend one then get into the yellow pages and call around and look for anyone that used to be in any type of analytical or construction field before arriving at being an inspector. If you are worried about something then hire separate licensed contractors to do the inspections, a plumber, electrician et cetera. Always have the septic tank inspected and pumped before close of escrow, it is standard that it is done here but it may not be elsewhere, so be careful.
On a closing note, if you are planning to relocate someday to the northern Idaho or northwestern Montana area I have information on a secure storage facility for those that want to pre-position supplies here until they can buy or build their retreat, but feel more comfortable having to carry only their BOB’s and a rifle to get here and not a unsecured rented trailer. There are several requirements in order to qualify. Also, I can help you with your retreat shopping as we have finally got Freedom Realty open for business and will be featured on the SurvivalRealty.com site soon along with many approved listings being republished. Thanks for your patience. Please contact me if you are interested in any of these opportunities, via e-mail for more information. God bless, T.S. in N. Idaho