How To Prep For … Throwing In The Towel- Part 2, by DR in Tennessee

Yesterday, we began by asking many questions to determine just how prepared and ready you were for a situation when you or your spouse were unable to continue daily or regular responsibilities around the homestead. It is apparent that many preppers are aging and just can’t do the independent prepping and property maintenance and management they had envisioned and begun decades earlier. So, in part one of this article series, we discussed some of what it takes to prepare your property for sale.

Today’s Reality

That brings us to today’s reality. Plan now for a time when the Good Lord calls you up, as unlikely or as remote as that possibility may seem to you now. Plan for the liquidation of your property, because it’s highly unlikely that your heirs will get the full value of what you invested into your retreat property when they sell it at the average per acre price for farmland in your three-county area. No! You’ll not get anything near the outrageous sums that developers paid for 200+ acres of attractive mountainside about six miles from your retreat. But you can get a very fair price and can help your survivors hand off a great off-grid property to another prepper… if you do your research and your homework now.

Think of it like life insurance. When you’re gone, it pays off for your survivors. Planning now pays off because you leave vital information behind that helps your heirs properly value the retreat assets in a manner that reflects the true investment you and your family made over the many years you worked the property.

Key Elements in Preparing to Liquidate

Let’s review some key elements to preparing to liquidate your retreat when you recognize that the “writing is on the wall” because of your health, your spouse’s health, your economic situation, or you just plain ran out of steam for maintaining your property.

Mindset of and Guidebook for First-Time Survival Retreat Buyer

In starting a plan to value your retreat property, it can be very helpful to adopt the mindset of someone who is buying a rural, remote survival retreat for the first time. Let’s say the potential buyer knows only what they heard from friends or learned from some cursory Internet research of prepper sites. They have a dream of getting back to nature, homesteading on some rural land, and living off-grid. So tell your potential buyers about why they will love your turn-key property, in detail, and write it all down. This sounds easy, but it may not be so easy for many folks. Get it done. Tell how your retreat was built to fit your dreams. Write an advertisement for your survival property. It can serve as the bedrock for everything else you commit to the written guidebook that we’ll title: “Running My Retreat for Dummies.”

Inventory the Neat, Unique Stuff

Once you have a comprehensive description of your retreat committed to paper, it’s time to inventory all the neat, unique stuff you built to make your retreat the bullet-proof safe house that it is. Pay particular attention to features that you integrated into your structures and now maybe take for granted. For example, provide specs on the shatter-resistance film you put on your windows and the composition of the walls that you specially designed to resist penetration by various projectiles. Give details of how your root cellar/storm shelter was constructed into that hillside near your cabin. Have you included specifics on that complex water filtration system that you installed and how you mapped the location of all the extra parts, spare filters, et cetera? Don’t forget to explain that the long length of wire stretched between tall trees behind your house is a Ham radio dipole.

What about that hidden room or underground shelter beneath your retreat? A serious buyer will want to know how it was constructed, heated, ventilated and kept water- and rodent-proof. Make note of all your spares – everything from replacement stove pipe to fuses for your solar system disconnects. All the details will be important (at least eventually) to the buyer of a turn-key retreat property. The availability of thorough documentation on all homestead features also serves as “icing on the cake” to attract serious offers when it’s time to liquidate the property.

Regional and Local Area Research

Do some research on your region and your local area, and include statistics for your county. You know very well why you settled in the area you are located in. Tell your buyers about why your location is so good. Write it all down for future use. Don’t forget to note where vital services are: fire protection, sheriff, trauma centers, and how far away your retreat is located from nuclear plants and major metro areas.


Take some good HD photos. Most smart phones have pretty good optics now, so compose good property photos, taken during different seasons and save them to use when it’s time to market your property online. Make sure your heirs know where to find these photo files, either digital or printed copies.

Purchase and Property Documentation

Of course, pull together all the property documentation from your original purchase, and keep it in a secure location. That includes your deed of trust (or other legal proof of ownership), title policy, most recent appraisal, land survey (a real one, not the satellite variety that fast-talkers use), proof of your mortgage note pay-off if you own your property free and clear, property tax statements, et cetera. Smart buyers want solid proof that you own all that you say you own. The closing table is the wrong time to discover that there are unknown liens or “contingencies” to the sale of your property.

The Meeting With Loved Ones

Once you’ve collected documentation, prepared an inventory and operations guidelines, it’s time to have “the meeting”. That would include your loved ones and anyone with a vested interest in your retreat property. Let them know what you’ve done and where to find the secure documentation if and when it is needed. Make multiple copies and keep them secure as well. Don’t forget to update these guidelines and inventories as time goes on; you may have some serious longevity genes and need to make changes as you continue to make improvements to your property. Speaking of forgetting, it may be a good idea to let a trusted individual know where a copy of your retreat documentation is secured, just in case you might get a wee bit forgetful; I’m just sayin’.


One area that survival retreat owners are particularly sensitive to is OPSEC. How do you feel about letting unknown individuals know where your property is and what its unique features are? You’ve probably gone through a lot of trouble and expense to stay low profile in your neighborhood and keep your preps under wraps. Carefully consider which (if any) compromises you may accept in publicly marketing the property. Getting your property on the Realtors Multiple Listing Service sites will probably deliver a significant quantity of inquiries but not necessarily quality candidates. A private listing service that caters to retreat properties, like, can be a viable option to provide you with various degrees of anonymity and contacts from prospective buyers who understand the preparedness retreat mindset. Many retreat owners who value their privacy and anonymity use a “go-between” as a buffer.

They serve as an intermediary between your family and potential buyers. This is an experienced professional (not a real estate agent or broker) specializing in assistance in do-it-yourself retreat property sales and acquisition in the Redoubt areas. A professional can sort out the tire-kickers from the serious candidates, answer basic questions about your retreat, and (most importantly) can pre-qualify potential buyers based on your criteria of financial worthiness before they ever make an appointment to see your property. The third-party can safeguard your identity and the location of your property, while making themselves available to qualified buyers and Realtors on the owner’s behalf. This can be a very practical alternative for owners who prefer to sell the property themselves but are somewhat “rusty” on the buy/sell processes. I cannot overstate the critical importance of this piece of OPSEC in the liquidation planning process.


Granted, it may make you uncomfortable to consider the future sale of your retreat, but think how uncomfortable your heirs may be when they realize how very little they know about the retreat that you built and/or developed over time. Sure, your family members may keep the retreat for a while as a vacation house, but if they are not on site regularly to keep up with routine maintenance, the property quickly devalues and the surroundings (the forest and the critters) will eventually take back your retreat. At that point, your heirs could face selling your retreat to the locals for pennies on the dollar. And that’s not a good deal.

Plan now for the inevitable. Create and maintain good documentation that can be used to guide your heirs in retreat operations and demonstrate the valuable features of your property to a potential buyer. You have prepared for most everything else, right? Don’t neglect to plan for the time when you, voluntarily or otherwise, throw in the towel.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).

Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Instead of selling it why not look for a young family that can help you maintain it. There are allot of people out there that cannot afford a homestead but are looking for a mentor. They could each work part time jobs get there housing for free from you and learn all your hard learned lessons while allowing you to continue on in your dream. If you don’t have family to leave the property too or they are not interested and the new hired family works out you could even set it up so you have a life lease or a rent to own type of things. Selling would be my last resort.

    We have a neighbor who is doing exactly this. They pay him $10 an hour for chores and maintenance. They gave him 10acres of property after he was there for 5 years and helped him build a small cabin.

    1. This is exactly what I’m hoping to find. I have the money to invest but would like the opportunity to work for more than what I can afford. In my case, specifically rural Missouri or Arkansas Ozarks.

  2. While we don’t discuss specifics (which we edit and change fairly often) with our children, our oldest and most dependable child (executor of our will) knows exactly where to find our very secure ‘Emergency Plan’ binder. It contains all of the up-to-date information/recommendations/wishes/locations etc. that we would want to convey if something should suddenly happened to us.

    1. Anonymous has it right. An “emergency plan” binder or operations/procedures manual for your retreat is exactly what you need, not only to pass on to your relatives, but to share with a potential buyer if that’s your only course of action. That catalog of information is a huge value, just like a spare well pump or a backup generator. As others have pointed out, this is one of the preps that we often neglect. Guidance on how to pull it all together and much more is available at basiclifetraining.
      Regarding “live-in” help, Ja5onl6’s comments are spot on, and there are additional approaches that can be very effective at finding a good match between an aging retreat owner/family and a younger family with a sincere desire for learning about homesteading and survival. If you are discreet about your screening and pre-qualification methods, you can find a good match while maintaining your OPSEC. Many retreat owners rely on help from a third-party non-Realtor to maintain their confidentiality and to cull the “tire-kickers” so they only talk with seriously qualified cash buyers. Lots of options if you can just overcome your inertia.

  3. Thanks for the great ideas. This article finally pushed me to draft up a Will. Not having a will is a great way to donate your assets to the government. What a waste that would be!

  4. Here’s another idea that may be feasible for those nearing the age where they may not be able to manage their retreat: There is a mechanism whereby you can sell your property subject to a Life Estate. For your protection, it requires a attorney who is well versed in both Estate Law and Real Estate Law. Basically, with a Life Estate, you can cash out the equity in the property but continue to live there until you either die, or your health requires you to relocate to a care facility. This is a way to transfer a portion of your wealth to your heirs while still living, or use the cash for your own health care without having to move out of your home until you are ready. This requires a particular kind of buyer – one who wants to invest in the property, but has no desire to live there immediately.

  5. Successful Farming magazine has a feature called “Can their problem be solved?” This column often deals with succession planning for farmers, how to satisfy, and be fair to, farming and off-farm heirs, and the legal mechanisms to achieve this. A lot of these principles are applicable to anyone in the position addressed in this article.

  6. I would set up a living trust. It passes to your heirs or church or whomever you stipulate in the trust. No government hands ever to touch the property or preps. We did just this.

  7. Being “prepared” ABSOLUTELY includes being prepared for the SHTF situation of becoming disabled or passing from this earth and this series hits on it’s importance very well. Not only is it important for those you leave your belongings and other worldly assets to but also will take a large weight off of your shoulders for the rest of your days! ORGANIZE your preps and home – get rid of clutter and true junk because no one is going to want to do that for you and will be bitter about having to if needed (not the legacy you want to leave behind). Plus, you and your family/team will know where things are for fast access when needed (the whole purpose of prepping). INVENTORY your belongings and preps – not only is this just wise so you know what you have on hand and save money by not over-purchasing and help eliminate “holes” in your preps but, if a natural disaster wipes out your stuff, you won’t lament for literally MONTHS about what you had in order to claim it for insurance purposes. Just pop up that spread sheet and call it good. GET A WILL AND ADVANCED DIRECTIVES – we all could pass or become disabled at any given time no matter our age. Our loved ones need to know our preferences in order to make any decision making easier for them and keep “outsiders” from making those decisions for us and our stuff. GET AND STAY OUT OF DEBT – we don’t want our loved ones to be forced into dealing with our debt (heck – WE don’t like dealing with our own debt, right?). Not being stressed about debt will allow for a far more happy life while we have it. Frugal spending is really a prep of it’s own. LIVE WITH JOY AND MEANING – prep for the worst but don’t forget to LIVE in the blessings of the current day. Sure, the worst could be around the next corner but why live “there” until it happens? Live in the present knowing that if/when “it” happens you can deal with it then. Being prepared is smart which is why we are all here and sharing/learning. I suggest branching out into some “meaningful living” blogs and organizations such as simple living (minimalist=organized), frugal living (save money/live debt free/have money to spend on true needs), zero waste living (leave no trace), faith (of course!) and even environmentally sound/tiny living (off grid). They all offer sound tips related to prepping for SHTF needs as well as making life TODAY less stressful for ourselves and loved ones.

  8. As we get older it’s important to reevaluate your goals. When our 5 children were living with us we tried to be set up to take care of them if any disaster should happen. While raising them we taught them many life skills and a resourceful way of thinking. They are all grown now. We still have things on hand to help them in case of A crises. BUT they are now adults and it’s now up to them to decide how they will live their lives. With this in mind my husband and I decided to downsize a bit and set up a new homestead that we are better able to maintain. It seems to be working as he had a knee replacement this last year and we were able to get by just fine. Our main living quarters are on the ground level and we feel that we should be able to stay where we are for a long time. We may have to downsize some of our activities as we age but we set up our place in a way that to maintain it could be done with much less effort than our previous place. We don’t have to do all we do now in the future but hope to be able to for much longer. Our trust is in God and we feel being prepared is a wise way and a fulfilling way to live. But we both know we won’t live forever. So we endeavor to share and teach that which we have learned to anyone interested in hopes of passing along the skills and knowledge we’ve learned. None of us know just what the future holds but we’re to occupy until He comes and we have chosen this lifestyle . What our children choose is up to them.

Comments are closed.