Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Picking out Prepper Real Estate

Prepper Real Estate? What exactly do I mean by a homestead? Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. The goal is to support yourself using mostly, or only, what you can do on your own.

Prepper Real Estate

According to Wikipedia: Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small-scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Prepper Real Estate

We are talking about creating a homestead for the purposes of surviving should the SHTF. Some preppers have ONLY a homestead that they currently reside on and some have one as a back up -that they move to when the time is needed.

We will be looking at both of these options over the next few months as I work on this series – and tips/tricks for both kinds.

The Price is Right

Cost is a factor for many people. You are trying to survive the here and now, yet plan ahead for a possible problematic future. Maybe you are one of those longing for a homestead for the fact that it is a smaller carbon footprint compared to what the average American does.

While the Homestead Act of 1862 was repealed in the mid-1970s, it was used to give out more than 270 million acres of land to potential homeowners. There still are a few states/areas that offer FREE land, mostly in the Midwest. They are more likely neighborhood lot-sized instead of 3-5 acres that you would normally prefer for a real homestead.

Free is usually a good thing, but you can work on other options. We have a list of a few things that you are going to want to consider before plopping down some serious cash for your new land.

Depending on how much work you want to put into it – you can usually get a lot more land and home for less money if you look at foreclosed on properties or even ones that are “fixer-uppers”.

This might mean hauling out a lot of junk. Repairing fences. Scraping and painting. Fixing sheds. You get the idea… you are trading money for your elbow grease.

As someone who has done everything from resealing a driveway to putting in a bathroom subfloor – to repairing and staining a deck, I tell you, it can ALL be done, with a little homework and patience.

Prepper Real Estate

Prepper Real Estate: Don’t go too small

A tiny plot of land isn’t too helpful if you are looking at making a real go of it.

The FREE land I mentioned comes in sizes like: 86’ x 133’, 155 feet wide by 93 feet deep, or 80 x 120 feet.

That isn’t enough land to have a house and livestock, along with a decent sized garden.

Also, it’s preferable to have a larger plot that you can fence off and get some distance between neighboring properties. Being in the middle of a subdivision isn’t going to cut it.

If you are getting land where you need to build a hone on it first, then make sure you plan accordingly for your home, outbuildings, animals, and garden.

Try to avoid rough terrain

When planning out and planting your gardens, you don’t want to have to remove a ton of rocks or trees.

When digging out for the foundation of your home, you don’t want to break your backhoe or bobcat on a boulder. (we did it landscaping at our old home).

You don’t want to have to get all funky and creative with house plans to accommodate strange elevation levels.

When looking at slightly larger farm animals like goats or cows, you don’t want them to go lame by faulty footing on uneven ground.

You also want to be able to navigate your homestead property on foot or in a smaller vehicle like an ATV or snowmobile, so don’t get something too difficult to move through.

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Your land can’t be “parched”

This is huge when looking at Preparing Your Homestead for Survival. Every living thing needs water. You need more than city water on your property. What kind of water source do you need?

You can certainly take advantage of a rain barrel or two, and use that for everything from watering plants to doing laundry. But what else can you look for?

Is there a creek or stream on your property that a neighbor can’t block off? Nothing is worse than thinking you have water and then the neighbor upstream takes it away from you when they divert it to take care of their own crops or livestock.

Do you have a spring? That helps build your own water supply and feed your own well. YOU will own that water source and that is worth more than it’s weight in gold in the long run.

There are fights over water right now, all over the county. The desert areas of Arizona, etc wanted water from the Great Lakes… but there are problems all over the world. He who has water, is King (or Queen).

Get a plot with some wildlife

Yes, you can plan ahead to have chickens, a pig or two, maybe goats, and even a cow, but it pays to have a little wooded area where you have enough natural livestock for hunting.

You don’t want too many large predators, like bears or wolves, but having some wildlife on your property can be great for hunting in a survival situation.

Think deer, rabbits, even squirrels in a pinch. On deer a year, when butchered correctly, can give you almost a year of meat to supplement your eggs, and smaller game animals.

Prepper Real Estate: Be in the Zone

While we are talking bout animals, is your property zoned for livestock. Currently, I live in a city where you can’t even have backyard chickens!

While zoning might not matter when the SHTF, it does now – while you are Preparing Your Homestead for Survival. We have to play within the current rules and regulations while we prepare for a time where there really aren’t any.

Do you have power?

If you are out in the country, are you on any public power grid? If that power goes out, do you have a backup plan? Can you do solar panels or a windmill? Is there a running water source to do an old-fashioned water power source?

While you can certainly get away without electricity and survive, it is nice to actually have it. It means that you are Preparing Your Homestead for Survival past the temporary use of generators.

Homesteading Electricity Options

Just because you’re technically off the grid – it doesn’t mean you have to go without power completely. We all know batteries are too expensive to store – unless you have rechargeable batteries with solar-powered chargers.

One thing you can do is invest in any gadgets that don’t require electricity at all, like and-crank radios, etc. But there are other options you can consider – such as solar, wind, and water generated power.

Prepper Real Estate

Let it shine with solar power

Solar power is the most common option that people think of when they consider moving from a dependency on an electric company. Solar panels can be pricey, but they quickly pay you back for your investment.

You can cook with solar ovens, charge your electronics with solar-powdered gadgets, and do just about anything that you would normally use with paid electricity. You can either buy solar panels or make them yourself.

Be careful about some of the crude do-it-yourself tutorials. You want things to work on a budget, but you don’t want to put your family at risk with a setup that endangers anyone.

Let it flow with hydropower

One option, depending on the property and its water resources are to create a hydropower system. You have to have a stream or river flowing nearby that has a nice drop in elevation for it to work properly.

Let it blow with wind power

Wind power is another option. You can install wind turbines that will generate electricity, but you need to live in an area that consistently delivers wind speeds around 9-10 miles per hour for it to work.

With all of these options, you have choices that range between crude, low-power producing products and extravagant products that leave you carefree and fully secure with a working system.

One thing that each homesteading family needs to do is determine how much power they really need. You’ll want to cut down on your electric usage – unplug appliances when not in use, turn off lights, etc.

Then you can better choose among the viable options you have to deliver enough power to provide for your family. If possible, make sure you have several choices on your property so that if there’s not a lot of rain, or the water flow gets stifled, or the wind dies down, you won’t be stranded without electricity.

Prepper Real Estate: Customize your list

When looking at Picking out the Right Land for your homestead, take our list, and add a few things of your own to it. What matters to you? What are you looking for? What size group are you trying to accommodate?

Here are a few more things to possibly add to your own list…. it is worth a quick watch.

Make sure that you have a full list ready and then, you can decide what you may or may not compromise on to find the perfect land for your homestead.

Other articles you may find helpful:

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Build Your House with Security in Mind

Build your house with security in mind? If you are lucky enough to be able to build your home from scratch, there are a ton of things you can do to build your house with security in mind.

Build Your House with Security in Mind article cover image with a picture of house plans with a security system

Ideally, if money were no object, just think of all the things you could do! As long as you focus on the big three things, you will be fine. Make sure it is easily protectable, has a good shelter, and that you build it with strong materials.

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Build Your House with Security in Mind

We have already talked about finding the perfect land, from location to what you need to look for, as well as making sure it isn’t too far from civilization, but yet far enough out to be safe.

When looking at actually building that home – or if you are looking at land that has one already, you need to think about defense.

Easily protectable

Home invasions are a very scary and very real thing. However, you can take steps to avoid having your home invaded in the first place, even if you’re bluffing. The first thing you want to do is try to ward off any would-be criminals – especially desperate ones during a SHTF situation.

This can be achieved by having plenty of warning signs out in your front yard such as “beware of dog” and “Protected by [security company].” There’s nothing a burglar hates more than a loud dog that draws attention to them, and can even attack them.

Even if you don’t have a dog, put that sign up. Similarly, even if you don’t have a security system installed, you can still put up a sign and they won’t want to try to call your bluff.

You can put up cameras to really make sure they get the message – even if they’re not real. You can buy fake cameras that have real recording lights and everything on Amazon for $8.

You just have to screw it on somewhere and put two AA batteries in it and it will ward off most criminals. You can get multiple ones by all of your windows in order to ward off attackers from any angle.

Of course, it’s always best to get the real deal when it comes to a protective dog or a security system. But for those on a tight budget, it’s better to invest in fake security than having nothing at all.

You should also make yourself a less assuming target. If you leave out tons of expensive potted plants, they might get the hint that you have extra money to spare, making you a target.

Some people mistakenly think that a welcome mat or funny sign warning, “This house is protected by the second amendment” will ward off criminals. In fact, criminals will only see this as a house with some expensive and easily pawned assets.

So, is that house going to be easily defensible? Should the SHTF and you need to be on your guard, there are a few things to consider:

Are there places to hide?

Sometimes, it is best to make yourself invisible when trouble comes. When things go bad, there will likely be more people who mean to do you harm than there will be people who are prepared. Having a panic room or shelter, that is fully stocked for short term, is something to think about.

Tons of preppers talk about hiding supplies – from food to guns. They bury them, build false walls, have huge safes, etc – but they forget to hide one thing; themselves.

If money were no object, these would be some amazing options! A little creativity and research is all you need!

Sadly, this is extremely important for females. Rape is no joke and it is usually a crime of both opportunity and control. Depending on the situation – women could become a commodity and the last thing you might want is your teen daughter being taken off to become someone’s wife or plaything with force.

Whether you go for the underground shipping container concept, or have a panic room, just make sure you are able to hide ALL the things (people included) that are important to you.

Is there plenty of cover?

Nothing screams target like a person walking in an totally flat and open area. We mentioned how you want to have land that isn’t too crazy or uneven, but a few trees, well placed ditches, even a few fences or stone walls can make all the difference if people are trying to take a shot at you.

Can you defend both inside and outside of your home?

In our talk about defending your property, we touched on snares, log traps, spike pit traps and more. These are things you can put in place for the outside of your home, around your property. Just make sure all of your group is aware of each and every location so they can travel your land in the dark safely.

If you want to Build Your House with Security in Mind, make sure you plan your landscape accordingly.

As far as the inside, if you are looking to Build Your House with Security in Mind, we need to focus on simple things like smaller windows, no sliding glass doors, a 360-degree view of the property, easy roof access, and more than one escape route.

That all allows you to eliminate easy ways for people to breech your doorstep, make sure you have a straight shot at any threat, and are able to bug out if it becomes absolutely necessary.

How to Fortify Your House

We have a FREE printable worksheet for you to add to your Homestead Binder – 5 ways to fortify your house!

A shelter always comes in handy

Not every prepper has an actual house on their property. Some use a cave, some create an in-ground shelter, some use the shipping container method.

Realistically, you need to consider your climate and the weather you are going to experience, and then create a large enough place to hide out bad storms or other serious events.

If you do have a house, you might want to create a shelter where you could ride out bad storms or other serious events that could harm your house – like a tornado shelter if you live in Kansas.

Build Your House with Security in Mind: Build it with strong materials

Whether you plan to Build Your House with Security in Mind or even a temporary or emergency shelter, you need to build with with durable materials.

You need to think of things that help increase the security of your house and can do several simple things to accomplish that.

We have talked before about how a majority of people will be deterred by signs that you have made an effort – you need to kick it up to the next level for those that aren’t so easily deterred.

Use steel door frames over wood. Wood is easy to break down, even if it takes a little effort, but steel is a lot more challenging to breach.

You can take inexpensive measures to ensure that your home is safe. For example, a Master Lock security bar can make sliding doors and hinged doors practically impossible to break into without causing a huge racket. They only cost around $20, and are a wonderful investment. You should always lock your windows, and you may even consider using one of the previously mentioned security bars to make sure they can’t open your windows without shattering them

10 Easy & Inexpensive Hacks to Burglar-Proof Your Home Video

Keep doors and windows locked, add security cameras, and consider solid police locks to bar doors and windows from the inside.

Not only can this help increase the security of your house, it is great at preventing common criminals from breaking in.

Don’t forget the garage! The majority of garages have a hollow-core door that leads right into the home. This might be one of the first things you want to check in to doing.

How To Prevent Break Ins Through Your Garage Door!

Being proactive is so much easier than being reactive in a bad situation so taking the time to plan ahead can make a world of difference for your safety.

Other articles you may find helpful:

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Stay Away from the City

In a SHTF situation, there are two mindsets about what to do. Some people believe that you should automatically bug out, while others believe that you should bug in. Personally, I believe you should plan to stay away from the city, and preparing your homestead for survival should reflect that.

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Stay Away from the City picture of a large city

Cities will be the worst places during an emergency – as services are shut off and the supply trains are disrupted, many problems will arise. Before you know it, high populations will start to move out and you will find more and more people on your property.

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Stay Away from the City

There are pros and cons to both decisions. One pro for bugging in (which means staying home) is that you can have more supplies at home. But a con could be that your neighborhood is no longer stable enough for you or your family’s safety.

Too close is dangerous

If that’s the case, then you’d have to make the choice to go. Keeping in mind that people who live in the suburbs who need to get out could be heading your way.

Not knowing where to go and not having any idea how you’re going to take care of the rest of the supplies you need is a problem a lot of people will be facing. They need to wait until they can put together what they need before they can head out. If they are forced to leave, then they’ll struggle to survive or get desperate enough to become a threat.

Having a place to go, and being ready for an emergency means you won’t be competing with hundreds or thousands of others who are going through the same thing. Plus, if your city is under attack, it would be a con to stay regardless of how well – or not – you prepared.

You are planning for YOUR family, not a lot of others so making sure you have a place outside of the city is good for the possibility that a short-term event you’re dealing with may turn into a long-term situation.

Keep to yourself

Have you ever noticed that people out in large plots of land tend to keep to themselves? Compare this to people from the cities will try to group together. When you are in a SHTF situation and are looking at either bugging out or getting to your homestead, you need to stay isolated from them.

How to get out of the City FAST if SHTF video – worth a watch

Check Your Bug Out Bag for Sounds

If you’ve ever noticed, most stories about thieves tell a tale of people who are sneaking around, trying to be quiet and unnoticed while they get what they want and make a clean getaway.

That’s because the thief knows that making sounds attract attention. While you’re not a thief, you do want to keep in mind how one operates. You want to be able to bug out quickly with an emphasis on doing it quietly.

Not only is bugging out not the time to be singing out loud, clapping your hands to get attention, or talking loudly on a communication device, it’s also not the time to have any item on your body or in your bug-out bag that’s making noise.

This is one area that so many people fail to check ahead of time. Then disaster strikes, they grab their bug-out bag and take off. But they’re leaving behind a sound trail that can alert others to their location.

Sounds attract the attention of anyone nearby and they can also echo. Depending on what’s making the noise, the sound can reverberate and lead a predator or an unsavory human right to your location.

Before the bug-out situation ever happens, once your bag is packed, you need to check it to see if you’re able to move it without it making any noise. Don’t just pick it up and put it down.

You need to check it the way that you plan on wearing it. Strap it on and walk around with it. Take a short hike with it while listening for any sounds. If something is making noise, stop and find out what it is.

Rearrange your bag if you have to so that it’s silent. What some preppers do is pack their bug-out bag, making sure it’s quiet, then set it aside somewhere, not thinking about it again until the day of crisis happens.

Then they grab it and go. The problem with that is that things can shift due to heat expansion, cold weather, and someone or something bumping the bag – especially if the bag isn’t tightly packed.

So when something is now making noise. During the moment when you have to bug out, that’s not when you want to be trying to fix a sound that could draw attention to yourself.

Make sure that nothing is rattling, shifting, crinkling, or clanging together. You also want to make sure your bag doesn’t give any creaking or scratching sounds when you’re on the move.

I know this sounds crazy, but if you are working your way to your homestead, and are in the midst of others leaving for greener pastures, you want to attract as little attention to yourself as possible.

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Initial traffic will be bad

People escaping from the city will result in crowded roads. It doesn’t matter if they are driving, riding bikes, or on foot – it’ll take a lot longer to reach your own location when you are in the midst of others. Forget about having to stop at a gas station – there will be incredibly long lines!

Picking the Best Location for You to Bug Out

When you have to bug out, you need to make sure that you’re heading to the right destination. It’s always best to have a plan well before the SHTF situation actually happens. Keep this in mind when looking for where to set up your homestead. It is important to Stay Away from the City, but be close enough that it is accessible for you.

You don’t want to leave anything to chance. If you haven’t chosen a site yet, you’ll want to avoid the mass mentality. Camping and getting to the woods like touristy forest areas will be on everyone’s mind – so don’t go there.

Remember that during a time of chaos, being in a crowd of people isn’t what’s best. That old rule that there’s safety in numbers doesn’t apply when a SHTF situation occurs.

It’s every man for himself. You want to make sure that your location – if you have to head out on foot – is somewhere that’s not as populated. Get away from the people. Head out deep into the woods in a pre-scouted location if possible.

You’ll want a location where you can see others coming so that you’re not easily ambushed. For homestead scouting, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind for when everything around you turns into chaos.

Having a good place to homestead can ensure your safety as well as your long-term survival. Ahead of time, know the population count of the area. Figure out whether or not the area will become overrun from an influx of people trying to escape the chaos.

Look for any possible obstacles that might stand in the way that would keep you from reaching the location during a SHTF time. The key to homestead scouting is to make sure that the area you pick will not be touched by the upheaval that you left behind and it is the reason to stay away from the city.

The area needs to have a way that you can create a sustainable, renewable source of food. So that means you need to know the growing potential of the land. Not all soil is good for growing things.

You’ll want to know what the weather is going to be like – because if you’re going to be using a rain barrel system, you’ll need to figure what the potential supply could be. You’ll need to make sure that the homestead area isn’t easily accessed by any major roads.

You don’t want those fleeing the chaotic situation you left behind showing up. Your homestead area should have shelter structures on it that you either planned for in advance or you can turn into a long-term shelter if necessary.

The area should also be one that isn’t in a flood zone. You’ll need room to house animals like cows and chickens to help sustain life. Prepare all of this before you need it if you can. If not, scout the location that you believe you can set up a new normal again.

Planning ahead is important

That is what this series is all about – being prepared BEFORE a problem happens. When Preparing Your Homestead for Survival, location is more important than you could know.

Other articles you may find helpful:

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Homestead Maintenance is Important

Homestead Maintenance is Important? There are so many different things to consider when taking on the concept of building a homestead. Location, protection, workability, and the concept of being able to almost hide in plain sight.

Homestead Maintenance is Important article cover image of an old farm that is falling apart

Homestead Maintenance is necessary whether you live on-site or off – to make sure everything is ready and working for when you actually need to be there. When the SHTF the last thing you want to do is worry about a leaky roof, or how to navigate your own property.

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Homestead Maintenance is Important

I feel that it boils down to three basic things when looking at homestead maintenance: the property, avoiding squatters, and the buildings themselves.

If you break it down into those three categories, and prepare for each, you should be all set with this topic.

Keep up with the property

It doesn’t matter if you have half an acre or five full acres, you need to be able to access it ALL. This means you have to clean up the shrubs, trees, and even the grass.

For smaller jobs, I like the Scuddles Garden Tools Set. Some basic gardening tools can help you get a small farming operation started, possibly growing a few vegetable plants, but also larger items will be needed to trim the shrubs.

As for the grass? Will you have any livestock? Keep your chickens, rabbits, goats, or cows rotating around different areas of your land to keep the grass ans weeds in check.

The trick here is to keep the land from looking abandoned or even triggering the local municipality to issue you ticket/fine for noxious weeds, etc.

Keeping it from looking abandoned can take us to the next item: squatters.

Proper upkeep keeps squatters away

if your property doesn’t look abandoned or left alone, then people will be less likely to take up shelter in your property while you’re away.

This is totally a thing – there is an actual science to how some of these people pick a property to set up on, and depending on where it is? They are almost impossible to get rid of.

The Law That Lets You Legally Steal Houses – why you need to prevent squatters!

The trick is to keep them from even thinking about encroaching on your land right off the bat. Let me start by saying that squatting is not legal. In many cases, squatters can be considered trespassers—individuals living in or on the property without the owner’s permission and/or knowledge.

If you are in a true SHTF scenario and come across a squatter – that isn’t going to make one bit of difference. If they have found your supplies, defenses, and have truly dug themselves in? You could be screwed.

How long does it take to become a squatter?

Each state has its own laws surrounding adverse possession. In some states, squatters need seven years of continuous possession to lay claim on privately-owned property. There may also be other requirements to fulfill the claim.

What states have squatter laws?

“Squatters” rights are actually there to protect tenants from being abused by their landlords. If you’re kicked out with no notice, chances are, you won’t have somewhere else to go and will end up homeless. Oddly enough, squatter rights are a legal loophole that protect people who break into vacation houses and squat there.

The states with the worst (for you) problem would be

  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana (30 years)
  • Maine
  • Maryland

Once you have a squatter issue, it can be difficult to remedy it! The police won’t be help without getting the court system involved. The police can remove trespassers immediately. However, they can’t remove squatters. It is that pesky squatter’s rights thing again…

Can I kill a squatter?

Um, no. If you are in your residence and are in fear for your life from the presence of an intruder, you can use deadly force to protect yourself. However, if someone (a squatter) moves into a house you own, you cannot use self-help (including shooting them) to remove them.

Of course, all rules go out the window in a SHTF scenario.

By keeping things from looking abandoned, but not letting them seem too attractive, you should be able to prevent this from being a problem for you.

Monthly Home Maintenance Worksheet

Get our FREE Printable worksheet here that you can add to your homesteading binder – it sets out a plan to keep your homestead maintained over the course of a month with simple daily tasks.

Monthly Home Maintenance Worksheet

Don’t let the house deteriorate

If you have ever taken a drive in the country, you can see old farms slowly falling apart. Barns with the roof caved in, sheds leaning at a strange angle, even houses with windows broken out and paint peeling off the siding.

Nature can quickly reclaim its own and it is up to you to keep that from happening. You need to keep an eye on foundations, sidewalks and driveways, gutters, roofs, windows, and so much more that it might seem overwhelming.

Make a list of everything you can possibly think of and then break it down into twelve different lists so you can focus on one each month. Winter time is great for indoor items, spring a good time to look at roofs and gutters, structural work over the summer, and then winter proofing for fall.

Are you on or off the grid? What kind of utilities do you use? Make sure all the utilities there are still functioning as intended when you visit. Occasionally fire up that generator, test out those solar chargers, etc.

The big thing is to make any repairs you need to as soon as you spot a problem. A torn shingle can lead to a leak in the roof. That can lead to water inside, which will not only deteriorate your structure, but encourage growth of things like black mold.

Nip it all in the bud.

Leaves may seem like a small thing, but he found that fire ant nest! That would suck if they got inside!

Leaves are a bugger – they clog gutters and then when a hard rain comes, you lose that important drainage. It can back up, damage the roof, flood the basement, and so much more.

In that video? Those leaves were hiding a worse problem that he was able to take care of before it became a serious issue! Nature at its best – working against us.

Just make a plan

If you consider those three things, make a list of all you can think of, and break it down into bite-sized pieces, it is very manageable to accommodate all of your Homestead Maintenance.

Other articles you may find helpful:

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Keep Within Some Distance of Your Home

Keep Within Some Distance of Your Home? This is important for so many reasons but mainly to be able to access your homestead when you actually need to if there is a disaster.

Keep Within Some Distance of Your Home article cover image with a small plastic read house

Your first step in your own disaster preparedness should be to find out what types of emergency situations you need to get ready for. Take a few minutes to review the types of disasters your area is prone to. This is particularly important for a natural disaster.

Preparing Your Homestead for Survival: Keep Within Some Distance of Your Home

If you live in Florida or the South Easter US coast, you should prepare for hurricane season. If you live in the North East or south of the Great Lakes, you should get ready for big snow storms. If you’re in the Mid-West, or South West, chances are you’ll come across a tornado or two. In California, you may prepare for earthquakes.

Next, think about possible man-made disasters. If you live near a dam, you may need a plan of action for flooding. If you live near a nuclear plant, you should think about a way to get out quickly if something were to happen at the plant. You get the idea. What disasters we prepare for will be different for a lot of us and what sort of emergency plan you have will depend on those variables.

Once you have your list of disasters that you need to prepare for, it may be a good idea to consider if and when you would try to prepare to stay at your home and ride it out, and when it may be time to evacuate. Obviously, those decisions may be outside of your control, such as in the event of a mandatory evacuation, but there will also be plenty of times when the decision is up to you.

Think about what makes the most sense to you and your family. If you are able to stay put, you can take care of issues as they pop up and prevent further damage. If a storm blows out a window, you can board it up and prevent water from coming in for example. At other times, it may be safer and more convenient to get out of the disaster’s way.

These are all things to consider when planning where to place your homestead. There are a few other reasons to make sure you keep within some distance of your home if you aren’t living on your homestead full time.

You have to keep your homestead clean

Proximity to your homestead is essential as you’ll be making somewhat regular visits to your property to make sure it’s all in order. You will have to make sure no one is squatting on your property. If you have a place that looks inviting, yet abandoned? It seems like an open invitation to visit.

Squatters are a real problem -and they thrive on it!

Squatting 101 – an actual video teaching people how to do it!

You don’t want to put all that hard work into your property to have someone else rifle through your belongings and eat your stored food. It would be a paradise to them and a disaster for you.

You will want to visit often to make sure the flora is trimmed down enough, etc. Again, that will help prevent the abandoned-property vibe that may seem an invitation to others.

Catching problems quicker is important too. I had a friend who had a leaky pipe – that actually froze in winter and became a broken pipe. That broken pipe caused an awful lot of damage that was not only costly to repair, but created a horrible black mold issue.

Don’t want to go too far in an emergency

We have talked about how you will want to get out of the city – be away from the crowds in a SHTF scenario. Ideally, you will want to be able to escape on about a tank of gas. One tank.

Yes, this is a good time to talk about living off the top half of your gas tank. Never let your gas go below half full in your vehicle’s tank means you never have to be in that desperate line at the gas station in an emergency.

Gas stations will be too crowded in an emergency because the average person will be in line, trying to fill up their tank so they can drive to anywhere but there. Driving way far out from your original location would be a gamble if you can’t do it in one tank of gas.

Why you don’t want to run out of gas – it’s bad for your vehicle! – he cracks me up but knows cars

Before you let that freak you out – let’s talk about how many miles that might be. I have a 2018 Kia Sorrento. It has an 18.8 gallon gas tank and gets 21 in the city, 28 on the highway for milage. )

That gives me 394 miles on the low end – and 526 on the high end. That is if I have a full tank of gas and run it until I am just about empty. Cut that in half if I live in the top half the tank theory.

That means my destination should be within 200-300 miles tops from my location…a 2-3 hour drive.

If I have to walk? It can be done in a day or two. It is yet another thing to consider about trying to Keep Within Some Distance of Your Home.

What does your homestead need?

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More familiarity

The more time you spend at your homestead, you’ll be more accustomed to the basic conditions.


You will have an idea of what it is like under all weather conditions. You will know roughly where the snow is prone to drift. What areas of the field flood when it rains too hard or too many days in a row. You get the idea.


You will also get a feeling for the different temperatures that the location holds. Is it much cooler in the shade than the open areas? Are parts of the stream cooler than others? Is it so incredibly cold in the winter that you will need a decent stash of extra warm clothing items and possibly additional wood to burn?


Frequent visits will also clue you into the wildlife you find at your homestead. Do deer go through it often? What other small animals do you see? Are there larger animals that you need to be aware of like bears or cougars? Are there a lot of rodents that will be counterproductive to your gardening efforts? These are all things that you will be able to observe, if not by seeing the animals as they visit, but by seeing the traces they leave behind.

If you Keep Within Some Distance of Your Home when planning out and preparing your homestead, you won’t have any surprises when the SHTF.

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Five Ways to Defend Your Homestead

It is time to talk about the ability to Defend Your Homestead. A home invasion is scary, traumatic, and can even be life-threatening. You want to be prepared to protect your home from an invasion by preventing it from happening – especially during a crisis situation.

Five Ways to Defend Your Homestead article cover image of a man with a handgun

In order to do that, you have to make sure you’re prepared and you have to make it difficult for your home to be a thief’s target. If the intruder gets in, then you’re going to have to go into hostage survival mode – and you never want to have to go through that.

Five Ways to Defend Your Homestead

1) Defend Your Homestead with Deterrence

Threatening signs and things like that can drive away less brave intruders before they even try, they tend to be more about the opportunity than the effort.

If you’re on the fence about installing a home alarm system, you should know that homes with them are almost three times less likely to be burglarized than homes that don’t have a system.

Alarms Are a Home Invasion Deterrent

During a crisis, desperate people are going to want to target the easiest in and out home to rob. You want to make sure that’s not your home. Sometimes, simply knowing that a home has an alarm system is enough to ward off a would-be thief.

While he might want to rob, he doesn’t want to escalate his chance of getting caught. Some survivalists think that in the event of a widespread catastrophe, the police won’t show up for a home invasion, or if they do, the time it takes them to arrive could be too long.

While this could be true, you still want to have an alarm. The reason is that an alarm system can alert you and your family members that someone has entered the home. While this may seem like a retroactive step when you want to Defend Your Homestead, it is important.

This will help prevent you from accidentally stumbling into a situation where there’s a desperate thief inside your home. An alarm can also help prevent you from being surprised awake in the middle of the night by a thief because as soon as the monitoring points are interrupted, the alarm will sound.

In the event that you’re dealing with a situation where you don’t have any electricity, a home alarm system can still be helpful. There are many models that come with battery backup so that even if there’s no electricity, the alarm will still work as long as you have batteries.

Some people think that the only good alarm system is the monitored kind but that’s not true. Plus, in a crisis situation where’s widespread chaos, and matters of life and death, a home burglary isn’t going to be high on the list.

However, you can choose to use an alarm system that does exactly that. Alarms you or the neighbors when someone breaks into your home. There are systems that can be set to create such a loud noise that the neighbors will be able to hear it go off.

These are ones that have a loud siren or horn sound that carries for some distance. You can find these systems with backup batteries or battery-only operation so they’re perfect for use when there’s a power outage.

People are torn about using the warning signs that tell thieves you have an alarm system. If your alarm is fake, then the signs might deter a would-be thief. But if you have a real alarm, you’d rather not alert them about what kind you have, in case they’re adept at disabling the system.

Lighting Can Drive Thieves Away

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in the area of preventing home invasions is having poor lighting. Most crimes don’t take place in broad daylight. Instead, they happen in the evenings when it’s dark out and difficult to determine a shadow in the yard from a human being.

Poor lighting, whether it’s inside the home or outside, can be an invitation to thieves. You don’t want to give them shadows to hide in. That makes it easier for them to be able to approach your home.

Defend Your Homestead! You don’t want them to be able to get that close. The closer a thief can get to your house, the higher the chance he’s going to attempt to break-in. Remember that light is not a thief’s friend.

The more of it you have, the less likely your chance of your home becoming a target. You’ll want to start with outdoor lighting. Starting with the edges of your property, you’re going to want to put up floodlights.

These are lights that are powerful enough to radiate over a great distance than normal lights. Floodlights should go on each of the corners of your home and you should make sure you buy the ones that are motion activated.

This way if someone comes near, the lights will switch on – but they’re not intrusive to neighbors or yourself if no one’s on the property. Most of them can be set so that they’re not triggered by the action of small animals.

Most people are pretty good at lighting up the back of their house. They’ll have floodlights and make sure that the back door has a light. But contrary to popular belief, thieves will not always head for the back of a home – especially if you live in an area where your neighbors aren’t too close to you.

Thieves will boldly approach the front of your home and they’ll ring the doorbell. If no one answers, they’ll attempt to break-in. However, if you have a motion sensor light on your front porch, that’s often enough to make the person turn around and leave.

The front of your home should be as well lit as the back of your home. And completely dark homes can be an invitation for a thief. If you’re used to watching television in one room late at night while having the rest of the house dark, you’ll want to rethink that strategy.

Yes, it costs a little more in electricity. But leaving a light on another room of the house, especially bright light, signifies to a thief that multiple people are in the home and that they’re awake and alert.

Thieves will choose the darkened home over the lit one. They’ll take the home that doesn’t have outdoor lights over the one with floodlights as well.

2- Defend Your Homestead with Traps

Whether you are talking about tripwire alarms or physically harmful traps that will freak intruders out they will still drive them away once they trip/spot them.

You want to protect the parameter of where ever you’re living before anyone can breach the interior of your place. The best way to do that is by setting up booby traps that stay armed and ready to fight off a thief for you.

Set Up Booby Traps Ahead of Time to Prevent Theft at All Times

How do they help you Defend Your Homestead? These booby traps can also alert you if anyone trips them, which will allow you to be prepared to fight back instead of being taken unaware. You can easily fashion an inexpensive set of tripwires to protect your place from thieves.

You’ll need electrical tape, a fishing line, and firecrackers such as champagne poppers. You can dump the gun powder out of the firecracker into the igniter and use electrical tape to put it together with the fishing line.

Make sure you leave the length of the fishing line to stretch across whatever space you want to cover it with. Tie each end of the fishing line between two small stakes in the ground and camouflage those stakes.

When someone breaches the tripwire, there will be a flash followed by a loud bang which can scare a would-be thief off and alert you. Some survivalists use what’s called a swinging log trap.

How to Make a Swinging Log Trap

You use two pretty heavy pieces of wood or logs and have each on separate sides of the walkway or trail. When someone trips the rope, the logs swing in unison and hit the person on either side of their body.

You can also use spike pits by digging holes in the ground and placing large spikes sharp end up. When a thief steps onto whatever is covering the opening, the covering collapses, and the thief gets a nasty surprise.

How to make a spike trap –

Some booby traps can be simpler. You can camouflage a rake with the hard tines pointing up. When someone steps on the rake tines, the handle will swing up at them. If you’re concerned that a thief might make it past your booby traps and reach your door, you can set it up so that if they pull on the knob, they get doused with a bucket of something that won’t be pleasant for them.

You can use chemicals, nails, or paint. You can also set up a trip wire using a pepper spray type alarm. If the thief trips the wire, he’ll get doused with pepper spray. Just make sure you only use booby traps in a SHTF situation and not when life is peaceful and no one’s expecting to encounter hostility.

3 – Armed defense

Using firearms or nonlethal weapons to attack intruders directly is another way to Defend Your Homestead.

Protecting yourself is one of the most basic human instincts, and in the dangerous world we live in today, it’s important to know how to do it. However, you may not always want to kill or seriously wound your attacker.

While you are legally allowed to protect yourself, some states have laws against using a knife or a gun. But you have to weigh the law against the odds of whether or not you’ll survive the attack if you don’t use the weapon.

Defend Your Homestead with Non-Lethal Self Defense

If you’re looking for a way to fight back that uses non-lethal means, you can do that using a few different means. You can engage in self-defense moves that are effective at subduing an attacker.

Hand to hand combat

You can learn these moves through self defense classes, through online videos, home DVDs or through books. Some of these moves involve common ways to defend yourself and to fight back.

However, other self defense methods involve knowing where the pressure points are in a person’s body. If you use this method, you must know what you’re doing in order to take down your attacker.

By hitting a pressure point, you can cause the other person to experience pain, knock them off balance and render them unable to fight back. If you press a pressure point the right way, you can cause your opponent to experience spasms, confusion and even render him unconscious.

You can use your fingers to learn self-defense using pressure points but you can also use pressure point tools. Tactical pens are good for self-defense when you want to use non-lethal means.

There are many other ways to protect yourself in a non-lethal way, including stun guns, Tasers, and pepper spray. Stun guns are one of the most common forms of self-defense.

Stun guns

A stun gun usually has two prongs on the end of it that transmit a non-lethal dose of electricity through them. These stun guns are effective because they take advantage of how the human body actually works.

Your body’s cells use electricity to communicate with your brain and muscles. Sending an extra jolt of electricity through your body causes your muscles to contract and expand against their will.

This is ultimately harmless, but at the time, will be very painful and immobilizing for your attacker. The most common stun gun company is Vipertek, and they make many reliable and inexpensive stun guns available on Amazon.

Pepper Spray

The other most common form of self-defense is pepper spray. Pepper spray is, as the name implies, a spray infused with pepper and other chemicals, notably oleoresin capsicum, or OC.

OC is derived from cayenne peppers, and it works even better than tear gas, because tear gas won’t always stop victims who feel less pain, such as drunks and druggies. OC will cause temporary blindness and restrict the victim’s breathing, while not cutting it off completely.

The blindness will last at least 15 minutes – 30 at most. The burning feeling lasts 45 to 60 minutes, the coughing from it getting in your lungs lasts up to 15 minutes. These combined factors give you more than enough time to make your escape while your attacker is incapacitated.

One of the best companies for pepper spray is SABRE. SABRE is used by some of the largest police forces, including NYPD, LAPD, and Chicago PD. SABRE combines the tear gas mentioned earlier with the OC to create a perfect defense weapon.

It also includes a UV dye, so that the suspect can later be identified by holding up a UV light, without him knowing that he’s been marked. You can also get a pepper gel from SABRE, which works the same as pepper spray, but it sticks to your attacker, making it safer to use indoors.

Pepper spray may be a better first line of defense over the stun guns, due to the fact that they have a much longer range. Finally, there is the least common form of self-defense – a Taser.


Taser is a company that makes an advanced, long-range version of the stun gun. Tasers are legal in 45 states, so make sure you check the legality of Tasers in yours. A Taser is a small weapon that fires two little prongs, much like the prongs attached to the stun gun, which stick into the victim and shock them.

For non-law enforcement consumers, the maximum range for a Taser is 15 feet. This is still plenty of room, and the Taser will lay anyone and anything out completely. It’s essentially a much more effective stun gun.

The only downside to the Taser is its price tag. A Taser will usually run you about as much as a regular gun costs. However, this does not stop them from being very effective pieces of self-defense technology and it’s perfect for those who have a moral problem killing another person, even in self-defense.

Defend Your Homestead with Lethal Self Defense

Lethal forms of self-defense are the quickest way to stop an intruder or attacker. Sometimes, all it takes is seeing that you have a lethal weapon to make the other person run away.

Intruders and attackers are counting on being the victor, not the victim. Knives – such as combat blades, hunting knives, and military knives are quick tools that can incapacitate someone who wants to harm you.

Though some people like to use folding knives, just know if the knife fails to flip open, your opponent can then get the jump on you. Make sure the weapon you choose is one that you can count on.

Guns are one of the most effective lethal force weapons you can own. You’ll want to have a gun that you’re familiar with. While handguns are more popular for use with in-home self-defense, rifles and shotguns are also good weapons to have on hand.

Not all rifles are good at stopping intruders because they don’t pack the same power that other guns do. A 12 gauge shotgun is designed to stop whatever the ammo hits, but it has a strong recoil.

If you use a revolver, you want to have a .357 or a .38 special. One of the more popular guns used by survivalists is the Glock. This 9mm has low recoil and they’re known as good home defense weapons.

4 – Extra structural security

Stronger door frames, more complex locks, barred windows, and similar home upgrades can stop intruders who intend on breaking in – the trick it to install them before you actually need them.

When the world is in chaos, a thief will be more determined than ever before to get in and take what he needs. He’ll use whatever means necessary to get into your home. Most people believe that their homes are thoroughly secured through the use of deadbolts.

Consider Upgrading Your Locks

Sadly, this isn’t true. A determined thief can walk right up to your door, and with a few hard kicks, break right into your home. The reason a deadbolt or even several deadbolts just won’t do the trick is because a thief knows how to get around these types of locks.

A deadbolt can be drilled through in less than two minutes!

The deadbolts might be strong and hold up, the but wood in the door will not – and neither will a flimsy door frame. They’ll cave under the repeated onslaught of kicks or battering.

Multiple locks and adding a deadbolt isn’t the answer. Get a better door and a better locking system. You need to consider using steel doors and locks such as police locks. These types of locks are named because they’re highly resistant to break-ins and work differently from a standard lock.

They’re made to withstand a lot more force than ordinary locks. These are locks that are created to form an angle that allows the door to be backed with the power of the floor strength.

They can hold against a lot of pressure based on the bracing and angle of the lock. You place these types of locks with the foot on the floor and the brace under the doorknob.

They come with a steel bar that sits at an angle between the door and the floor. The door is held in place by a space on the bar which then braces the door. The other end of the bar goes against the floor.

The angle of the bar is what prevents a thief from being able to enter your home. You can also find police locks that are smaller, longer, and still able to prevent the door from being forced open.

You can also use a crossbar-type police lock. With this type of lock setup, you would mount brackets on either side of the door which supports steel bars that brace the door and prevent it from being opened.

This type of lock easily moves to allow you to leave your home when you need them out of the way. You might also want to consider making sure you protect your garage entry. Many thieves who can’t get into a home through secured doors will try to get in through a garage.

Many survivalists store their food and other survival supply items in their garage. To protect this area, make sure your garage can’t easily be broken into. You can use a lock similar to a vacation lock, which prevents the door from being opened.

Having a Gate Can Be a First-Line Defense Against Home Invasions

When it comes to security, too many people think of the home as the first line of defense. It’s not. You might think that the property or the yard around your home is the first line of defense, then, but that’s not it either.

Your first line of defense against home invasions is a gate. Having a gate can bar a would-be thief and prevent him from coming onto your property in the first place. A gate signifies to a thief that there might be something in your yard that you’re trying to keep from getting out – such as a dangerous dog.

It adds an extra layer of security that thieves don’t want to take the time to figure a way over or around before they can get to the actual house. You don’t want to use just any type of gate to prevent access to your home.

Choose a gate that clearly has your safety in mind. This would be a gate that has the means to thwart a would-be thief. The type of gate that you need to use would be the kind that’s not easy to scale and makes a thief think twice.

That would be a gate that has sharp spikes at the top of it. Gates with these spikes have the potential to snag the clothes of as well as injure a thief attempting to climb over them.

These spikes have the ability to puncture the skin, go through muscle, and do some pretty serious damage. They’re known as anti-climb gates. You can buy them and simply replace the gate that you already have with one of them.

Five Ways to Defend Your Homestead woman arming a security system

However, if you can’t afford to replace your gate, you can take steps to make the current one less friendly to people who’d want to think about going over it. What you can do is to add small razor spikes right across the top of the existing gate. When a would-be thief sees those, he’s not going to be as likely to try and climb over them.

A big mistake that people make when it comes to trying to prevent a home invasion is having a solid gate or an anti-climbing one and then not locking it. If you have a gate and leave it unlocked, that’s like an open invitation.

Secure the gate using the latch made for it – but you might want to add another layer of protection to that and add a chain and a padlock. By adding layers of security around and in your home, you can prevent your family from having to experience a home invasion.

5- Use the land to your advantage

Dangerous plants and animals that will trip up or harm intruders on their way in will convince them that it’s not worth the effort. This can be anything from very thorny bushes close to the house and under the windows or getting a dog.

Statistics show that noise is a great theft deterrent. Sometimes, all it takes is a barking dog to make a thief decide to bypass your home and break into a different, dog-free home instead.

Guard Dogs Can Prevent Home Invasions

Dogs know when something isn’t right. They’ll realize that someone is near your home (and shouldn’t be there) before you ever will because they can hear things before you’ll ever hear them. They are a great way to Defend Your Homestead.

Plus, thanks to their keen sense of smell, dogs can also pick up the scent of a stranger. Not only will a guard dog alert his family to the presence of a possible thief, but he’ll defend you if he needs to.

But having a guard dog means it usually doesn’t get as far as needing to be defended. Some people have small dogs like Chihuahuas and poodles. These dogs can alert you to the presence of a would-be thief lurking near or on your property.

However, small dogs are not always intimidating to thieves. A determined thief will take his chances if he sees a dog he thinks he can manhandle. A thief will often check out a house before he decides to break in.

He’ll peek into the window to see if anyone is home and what kind of valuables he can spot. If he spots a guard dog, especially if it’s one like a Doberman, a pit bull, a Rottweiler, or a German shepherd, he’s not going to want to deal with that.

Large dogs can make great home invasion deterrents because their sheer size frightens people off. These would be breeds such as Great Danes, mastiffs, wolfhounds, or Saint Bernards.

Though these dogs are sometimes sweet-tempered, and gentle, they can be protective and are diligent when it comes to warding off would-be intruders. If you’re sound asleep and your dog starts barking, this can alert you to potential danger faster than an alarm system can.

Because with an alarm system, the thief has to breach the defensive line. With a dog, he doesn’t. Any dog is instinctively protective when it comes to his family and his home. However, you can also train your dog to act as a guard dog even if he’s no longer young.

Any age dog and any breed can be trained to protect your home from a break-in. You can hire someone to work with your dog to train him or you can do it yourself using online tutorials, books, or other training materials.

Most dogs do need some training, as do the owners, to keep them from making common mistakes that would impede their dog’s ability to prevent home invasions. For example, most people make the mistake of telling their dog to be quiet when it barks at strangers and that’s not a good habit to have.

Instead of telling the dog to be quiet, praise the dog and give him a treat when he alerts you to a stranger. You also want to be careful about getting a dog for security if you have children in the home.

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