A big question many ask themselves when they think about the potential of disaster striking is if they will be safe when SHTF. Many of us live in urban areas — crowded cities where we have settled due to work or proximity to family. If something catastrophic were to happen, we would be stuck in the concrete jungle with thousands, or even millions, of other people, depending on where you live.
In a scenario like this, you just might start thinking that you’d like a secluded home to stow yourself away in until the worst of it blows over. But is this a wise investment of your time and resources? Let’s take a look:
What Is a Bug-Out Property?
Many preppers have begun to look into second homes and alternative parcels of land they can retreat to escape the chaos and hunker down. They are often called “bug-out properties” and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some people have taken to buying up old missile shelters and converting them into condos to make a profit on others lack of preparedness. There is even a branch of real estate making their living off of selling off-the-grid style homes and cabins in remote areas.
You may immediately picture what a bug-out property looks like, but there is no standard. A bug-out property can look differently for one person to the next, and its design may largely depend on the climate where it is located. For some it may be an RV to get shelter from the cold; for others, it could be a secluded, underground bomb shelter to avoid any potential intruders. There are appealing aspects to both, but you need to know what you are looking for before you set out to find it, just as you would with a vacation home or rental property.
Things to Look For
Your bug-out shelter can be used for a lot of reasons. You don’t know if it will be needed due to an epic flooding event or because of increasing acts of violence due to civil unrest. Being prepared for all scenarios is key.
Find a property with security at the heart of its design. Underground bunkers have been popular in the past and remain a viable option. For those above ground, consider how defensible the property is designed to be. The structure may be hidden if surrounded by thick brush and trees, but those would also make it easy for ill-doers to hide. Likely, there will not be electricity to power security cameras or gates. Look for a property that has made security a focal point with reinforced windows and, if you’re lucky, a lookout tower.
An ideal bug-out location would be both remote and secure, as well as easily accessible (within a single tank of gas). When considering the location, consider how you will gain access to your property in the event major roads are shut down and you likely will not be able to reach it by car. Consider how you would get there in a winter storm or in the summer heat. If there is rugged terrain that separates you from your primary residence and your bug-out shelter, you may not even make it there to take advantage of your investment.
A bug-out property may not necessarily be a permanent structure. A tiny house on a trailer, an RV, or a yurt that can be easily relocated and moved may also be to your benefit. Knowing the area in which you’ll likely find yourself will help you determine which would the most viable option. Yurts can be built with reinforcements to withstand feet of snow; RVs can be beefed up to resemble something out of Mad Max; or a tiny house can be easily hidden in the woods.
Look for a property you can use for other purposes and have a reason to visit on a regular basis to keep it updated, in addition to not appearing vacant. The more often a building sits unused, the more likely it will be targeted by others who know the area in the event of a disaster. An area away from popular vacation destinations with a low population density will reduce the risk of having to compete with others.
Arguments Against Buying a Bug-Out Property
One of the major arguments made by naysayers of purchasing a bug-out property is one of ownership. In the event that you would need to utilize your bug-out property, there would no longer be any law enforcement. We would enter into a world of chaos, where everyone would hoard resources and claim properties with force. If your bug-out property is not your primary residence and is not being occupied, it will likely be taken in a short amount of time.
The other major argument is that you can’t predict the future. Although you can be prepared for a disaster such as a storm, there is no telling when it might strike. If your bug-out property is difficult to get to or requires a long distance of travel, it is unlikely you will get there in a reasonable amount of time.
Keep these points in mind as you do your research. Purchasing a bug-out property could be of value under the right circumstances, and it never hurts to explore your options. As you look into the possibility, it may help you to better understand your needs and wants for a bug-out shelter in the future.
About the Author:
Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.