Buying a Modern Day Urban Homestead – A Checklist for Practical Preppers

urban homestead

If you’re like most preppers, you’ve probably daydreamed about moving out to the country, buying up a huge chunk of land and making a go of it on your own self-reliant homestead. Private hunting grounds, as much gardening as your back can handle and if the S ever really does hit the fan, you’ll be completely fine riding out life just like our ancestors did so many years ago.

It’s a great dream to have … but let’s be honest; a lot of us will never achieve that goal whether because of financial or logistical reasons. A lot of us have family that would hate that kind of lifestyle and some of us just simply wouldn’t be content being hermit farmers out in the middle of nowhere. That’s ok. Having rural property is not some kind of prerequisite to being a prepper despite what many influential people in the preparedness community might say.

What we SHOULD be taking away from the whole “homesteading dream” however is the basic principles of homesteading itself… not the exact picture that people keep painting of it. Despite popular belief you really can create your own modern homestead anywhere, whether that’s in suburbia, out in the boonies or even (depending on your needs) in a big city. It’s all about what “homesteading” really means to YOU, not what everyone else thinks it means. If homesteading means raising livestock, shooting rifles in your backyard and designing large-scale permaculture landscapes, then yeah, you’re probably going to need some rural land. If these things aren’t realistically in your future though, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go for that rural location unless that’s what you really want.

Rural locations have just as many inconveniences that urban locations do, they’re just different. What someone else might think is a deal-breaker for picking a homestead might not be a big deal to you. What we should be doing as preppers is actually doing a lot more preparing when it comes time to decide where to lay down roots so that you can decide on a property that will actually work for YOU and YOUR lifestyle.

As someone who is living as frugally as possible to save money to buy said modern homestead, here are some things we are keeping in mind when it comes time for us to start looking at properties. Your list may be different…it SHOULD be different. The fact of the matter is that before making any sort of major purchase like this, it’s important that you do actually make a list so that you’re getting as much of what you want as possible and avoiding the things you don’t.


Our Modern Homestead Checklist

Location – Suburb or small town. We actually enjoy many of the conveniences and attractions that cities can offer. We like having quick access to medical facilities, stores, family, friends and entertainment. However we do want to be on the fringe of all that convenience, not directly in it as we are now.

Good Neighbors – This can absolutely be a deal breaker for us. We fully intend on meeting all the prospective neighbors we can before purchasing a home. Neighbors can be a blessing or a curse, and if everything else is equal, good neighbors could be the deciding factor in our next home.

Communications – internet / phone – I’ve been to many people’s houses that have horrible internet connections and cell phone reception. Although it may not seem like a deal breaker on the surface, some of you may depend on cell phones for emergency communications and the internet for business reasons. For those reasons, communications are a pretty big factor for us.

Away from rental property – It may seem a little hypocritical to say that we want to be far away from rental property as we can in our new homestead (considering we are renters now) but rental property does devalue the property around it in most situations. There’s almost always a higher chance of crime due to the turnover in tenants, and the traffic of people going to and from the rental properties can also create safety and noise issues. It’s just something we don’t want to deal with anymore.

No HOA – Deal Breaker #1 – We will not be buying a home that is in an area with a Home Owners Association…at all. We’ve already got a city government, county government,. State government, federal government and apparently now a world government (UN) ….we sure as heck doesn’t need yet another form of government telling us what we can and can’t do with our property.

Low crime rates – A few days ago I shared my story of the attempted home invasion of my old house. I was pretty naïve in thinking that my area had a low crime rate. Looks can be deceiving. Before moving anywhere we will be doing a detailed inspection of the local crime rates and registered sex offenders in the area. I use www.crimereports.com to do this inspection. It’s pretty amazing the amount of information it can give you.

Storage – Obviously this is a big one for any prepper. The property will need a large kitchen pantry and a water-tight basement for prep storage.

Temperature stable – Far too many properties are built to day with a huge dependence on central air and heat. Obviously these conveniences are important to us too, but we would really like to find a property that that was built with mainly southern facing widows to capture passive solar heat as well as existing or at least an available area to plant trees that can block the prevailing winds to keep it warmer in the winter. This will make a big difference when the utility bills start coming in and if we’re ever in a situation without heating or cooling, we’ll be better off than in the standard cookie cutter house.

Large yard – This is a given. This apartment prepper is really looking forward to building a nice big summer garden, rain catchment systems, planting fruit trees and still having plenty of lawn for the kids to play in.

Neighborhood watch – This goes along with interviewing our neighbors, but we really want to be in a place that has an active neighborhood watch program. Not only will this give us the obvious benefit of having a few people watching our house when we’re not around but an active neighborhood watch program means that we’ll probably have a few people that are already preparedness-minded or might be open to prepping.

I know some people are looking at this list right now and thinking: “Seriously?…that’s NOT a homestead checklist. Where’s the livestock? Where’s the full-acre garden? Where’s the SHOOTING RANGE for god’s sake??!!” Well, despite what a lot of prepper authorities advise… I really have no desire to manage a huge amount of land. Although my own private hunting grounds would be nice, there’s a whole laundry list of responsibilities that go along with owning something like that.

Livestock? We don’t even want a house pet let alone cows or chickens.

Shooting Range? Yeah right (in my state)….and there’s a couple good ranges around here already with some great preparedness-minded guys running them.

You see everyone’s idea of their perfect homestead is different. That’s why it’s so important to go into this process fully-prepared. Make a list of everything you could possibly want in a homestead, the sky’s the limit, THEN go through and assign each one of those things a priority of importance. One of the biggest benefits of doing this is that it will help you establish a realistic budget as well as a list of “must haves” and “would be nices” A lot of the would-be-nice features of a homestead are crazy expensive. Why rule out somewhere just because it doesn’t have a particular feature that’s probably not all that important to you anyway?


Today’s post wasn’t written to put down anyone striving to attain that goal of the rural countryside homestead at all. I respect those people highly. It’s just not a lifestyle for me. The point of this article is that once you get past the labels and expectations, you’ll realize that in reality, we’re all Homesteaders. We all understand the value and pride of property ownership. We will defend our properties, we will work to improve our properties and we will value them as an important piece of our self-reliant and preparedness lifestyle.


What kinds of homesteading projects are you working on? Are you living frugally so that one day you can obtain that dream homestead? Tell us your story in the comments below!

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  1. Echo

    if the economy collapses, if the power grid does go down, if a civil war breaks out or if a pandemic does break out? a lot of if’s but……. it can happen. you just might want those chickens, beefer, cats and a big dog in your backyard. don’t rule them out. just because you don’t want them doesn’t mean you can’t plan for them.

    me? i hate chickens, but i would put up with them if i had to! : )

  2. FreeMan (NOT)

    Funny thing about rural living. When we moved to our present location 30 years ago, it was very rural. Over that time period, the population has moved out here with us. Walmart, Lowes, all the rest of the “big city” things have popped up, especially in the last few years.

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