Selecting Retreat Properties–Pros and Cons of Buying Remote and Off Grid

I recently had a consulting client that hired me to do a search on his behalf for a rural retreat property in southwestern Oregon. In the early stages of the search, he asked about the pros and cons of buying undeveloped “off grid” properties that do not have utility power poles nearby. This summarizes my reply:

From the standpoint of setting up a rural, self-sufficient retreat, an off-grid parcel is actually advantageous, for two reasons:

1.) They are generally more remote and away from natural “lines of drift” and hence are far less likely to be in the path of the Golden Horde.

2.) Off-grid properties sell at up to a 30% discount versus comparable properties that have grid power. On a large acreage, this savings is often enough to pay for installing a photovoltaic power system

The downsides:

1.) Off-grid properties tend to be at higher elevation, since it is just the “way out in the hills” properties that don’t have power poles nearby. Most of the low river valleys have long hence had grid power. There are a few exception that I’ve encountered

2.) The property is unlikely to have line of sight to neighboring residences. That can raise the risk of burglary if your retreat house is left unoccupied for extended periods of time.

3.) There is remote (30+ minute drive to the nearest town), and then there is very remote–a one hour+ drive to the nearest town, part of which might be on either US Forest Service road or a road that you have to maintain yourself. This could isolate you from commerce and social interaction especially in an era of fuel scarcity.