Purchasing a Bug-Out Location (BOL) is a perfect example of a property that can be placed at the muzzle end of a “legal firing squad”
Not only will you purchase a property that you may not be too familiar with, but you also will not be able to manage the property as well as a local resident of the area.
Because of the reduced management and amount of items that can cause you a headache, you should take the time to cover your behind. Here are a few legal items to avoid when you purchase land.
(Note: I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY AND DO NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE, this is only for personal information, always check with your laws.)
Avoid any of these items when purchasing a property. The items I listed are actually the most common cases brought to court, so obviously, are a big issue.
Just knowing that these problems exist and what they are should help you identify them and, hopefully, avoid them.
Boundary disputes are extremely common in the court system. It usually happens in rural areas, which is typically where you would have a BOL (Bug Out Location).
Many people assume that their boundaries are where their fences lie. If you think this is true, you could lose a bunch of your property.
You may have access to water features, fields, forests or other amazing resource cut off from you if you don’t have valid proof that you own it.
This is an easy thing to fix. You can use a couple tools at your disposal to prove the land boundaries.
Take a field GPS with you and walk the property fence lines. The GPS data can be uploaded and places on a public sourced map, such as Google.
You don’t even have to spend any money on this survey
If you then look at public assessment data and past survey info, you can overlay the property lines onto the same map. Now you have the ability to see if the fence lines follow the property. You don’t even have to spend any money on this survey, except for the cost of a GPS if you don’t borrow one!
Just hire someone to give you a valid, legal survey for the property. They typically don’t cost much more than $200-$800 based on location.
Provide yourself with evidence of ownership
This will provide you with evidence of ownership if someone ever tries to dispute it with you.
While you are doing this, ask for the surveyor to pull the historic survey maps on the property. This will be your proof of a legitimate survey, both to yourself and the court system.
If you have a survey done and it proves that your land extends beyond your fence, especially if it has been maintained by another property owner, you need to let that owner know.
You may not want take the excess property or even deal with moving your fences, but you can now come to a legal understanding that the land is yours and they have the privilege of using it until you decide otherwise.
If you survey your property, hire a surveyor, look at historic survey maps, and talk to your neighbours, you should have every legal advantage you need to win in court.
This is enough to deter suits against you, and if you still end up in court, you will have the upper hand.
People can trick you into handing them thousands of dollars, and never give you anything else in return. And for a while you would be happy that you did.
Then, the day comes that you are kicked off of your own property, or arrested for trespassing. Don’t let this happen to you.
Don’t end up in court trying to fight someone you don’t even know over ownership of your land! Simply pull the property’s assessment information from public record and have a title check performed.
Title insurance could be a scam, or the perfect tool.
If the assessment and title have been investigated, you have some reason to think it is risky, and you still want the property, just get Title Insurance. Usually title insurance is a big scam, but in scenarios like this, it is the perfect tool to protect your assets.
You could purchase a piece of land and lose it due to an illegal sale. One such item that I want to cover is called a short sale.
This isn’t the legal type of short sale that occurs in stock exchanges. This short sale is where a person sets up to purchase a property from someone, while selling it to you at a profitable mark-up.
Sometimes the “middle man” will sell the property before the buy has time to go through the system. Many times the sell and purchase will happen in the same meeting. This is a quick way to make a buck, but also illegal in some locations and can put your title at risk.
The best way to protect yourself is to purchase directly from the owner with proof of ownership.
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Rural properties with little oversight are typically targeted by people that need a place to live or by others that enjoy stealing or destroying your private property.
Bug Out Locations (BOL) are usually exactly this type of land. You need to anticipate this behaviour, and ACT NOW to stop it.
Illegal Residents is just a nice term for squatters. Many times, remote land will accumulate squatters. It is easy to settle into a property that isn’t being watched.
The main problem you have to cover is catching them. The easiest way to do this is to provide easy access to them. THAT’S RIGHT!
Have fencing around your property and post is as “no-trespassing”. Then provide an easy way for people to get in and out while you are gone.
People will take the path of least resistance, and will take the easiest access to your property, which will then have an ingeniously placed game camera set up to catch anyone accessing the property.
Take it a step further and place game cameras around your main clearing (where you will have your home or foundation at). Also make a nice “campsite” on your property that true squatters will want to stay at. That location will also have game cameras set up.
Each of the game cameras need access to upload images or video to the internet so you can remotely monitor your property and take early action as soon as you see people on it.
The same camera system that you set up for squatters can also be used to catch thieves and people that want to damage your property. This gives you proof and notification of what they have been doing in your BOL.
A major problem that occurs on remote properties is the theft of camper trailers. Campers are fairly easy to hook up and take away. One way to get rid of this possibility is to lock the hitch on the camper.
Remove Your Hitch so Your Trailer isn’t stolen
You can also completely cut the hitch off (and save it) so no one will just snap a lock to get to it. When you need to move it, just bring the hitch and a welder to weld it back on. If you don’t trust your welds, then come up with a bolting system with locking nuts.
You need to be realistic. People can be menaces or pests. Keep all my tips in mind when you feel like making that next improvement on your bug out location.
Farmers commonly dispute over livestock ownership.
Some disputes are legitimate. Your livestock got out of its pen and looks just like your neighbors. So, naturally, they place it back in THEIR pens.
Other disputes are simply a result of theft and bad people. You have something I want, so I am going to take it.
Most of the items that you would do to keep others from saying your animals are theirs can also be used to prove ownership in court.
To reduce the chance that there will be disputes, and to win any disputes against you, follow some simple tips.
Tag each head of livestock so it is known that it is yours. Even if your animals look the same, having a good tag or brand will help others identify that you own that one. This will cut down on confusion.
Keep an up-to-date ledger of your livestock and food consumption to prove numbers. All you are doing is leaving a good paper trail of your purchases, sales, and other metrics that you should be analysing any ways. If a good judge sees all this information, you just became the most believable person in the room.
Keep game cameras set up at all entrances for evidence of theft. Sometimes, you just can’t stop thieves, so you have to catch them.
Become friends with the other farmers. They will be less likely to steal from or sue a friend. Think about it, do you really want to sue someone that has always been good to you, helped you when you needed it, and was always friendly?
If you make sure that everyone knows that the animal is yours, then the only people you have to worry about are true thieves. You can’t stop those people from trying, but having a good system set up, you can catch them, ruining their reputation in the future.
It would only seem natural if you purchase some land, everything on and below that land is yours. Unfortunately, thinking like that is wrong and you CAN purchase land WITHOUT RESOURCE RIGHTS.
If you purchase land in an area that is known to have minerals in the ground, make sure that cheap land you purchased wasn’t cheap because it was stripped of its mineral rights.
Something as simple as the ability to use your own creek water could be ruined by not owning the rights to the resource. You also always need to consider the downstream properties and how you will affect them. If you ruin their creek bed or pond because of a project, you can be sued.
Before you become that poor sap that purchased expensive land without being able to benefit from it, make sure that you know what rights you have on the property, before you buy.
Zoning of your property is important. Although I don’t agree with it, you need specific zoning for different ventures you want to take on your property.
Think of this as the county or city giving you permission to use the location for farming, but not for building an Auto-Body Shop.
Based on what you plan to do with your property, make sure you have the proper zoning.
If you buy a plot of land in the mountains, you may have iron ore “in them hills!” Or if you purchase some property in Texas, you may have oil under it.
Many times, the state or certain private companies will purchase the land to get the mineral rights, then sale the land to you without the rights.
Conservation groups or the local government may have use restrictions on water if yours is in a specific area. Something as simple as the ability to use your own creek water could be ruined by not owning the rights to the resource.
Even better, you can be forced to stop doing something, or even be fined, if your neighbour gets mad that your project reduced his water availability downstream from you. You also always need to consider the downstream properties and how you will affect them. If you ruin their creek bed or pond because of a project, you can be sued.
If you lease land, you need to get all of your rights to the property in writing. It isn’t your land and you better have something iron-clad to protect you in civil court.
If you are going to improve the land, get permission to do so in writing. Consider adding that you will be refunded the cost of the improvements off of your lease, because you don’t want to do a bunch of work for your landlord and not reap benefits from it.
Even if you get a good deal, you may be better off spending a little more to have full access to all your resources. I personally want ALL of the rights to my land.
When leasing land cover your butt, ask permission, get it in writing, and try to get compensation for improvements made. Consider adding that you will be refunded the cost of the improvements off of your lease.
Did you know that there is a group of people out there that can single-handedly ruin any potential your Bug Out Location (BOL) could have?
This group destroys resiliency and property rights, all in the name of “property values.” It consists of neighbours that look over privacy fences and invade your privacy, just to catch you in the act of doing some project they don’t like.
Figured out who this group is yet?… The Home Owners Association (HOA)!!!
We have National Government, State Government, County Government, City Government, and even more Government Regulations based on whatever it is you are doing today. I have a great idea…
Let’s add more government!
Don’t ever add more government over you if you can help it. An HOA (Home Owners Association) is just one more layer of government that you don’t need. STAY AWAY FROM THEM!
You can’t hide in rural communities from them anymore… THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!
Most Home Owners Associations are a group of neighbours that are willing to invade your right to privacy so they can catch you doing things that hurt no one because they don’t like it.
Police show discretion, and don’t enforce many old laws because they aren’t relevant and are a waste of time. Good think we have silver-haired ladies with nothing better to do that are willing to sit at the window with binoculars and watch the evil neighbours with a contained burn barrel, water collection system, or small chicken tractor.
Now we can all rest easy.
If you find a beautiful property in a great location, be careful that it isn’t in an area covered under a Home Owners Association. If it is, some properties have the ability to OPT out of the HOA. If so, make sure that you do this.
Go a step further and stay away from places that have any behavioural contracts or addendum added to the purchase agreement of your property.
It is hard enough to get ahead on your Bug Out Location without dealing with nosey people that want to be in your business at all times.
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!