People always want to live their lives without stress – or any form of stress – pulling them down. However, the current state of society and developments in the past couple of decades may have pushed some people – especially the elderly – to the breaking point and consider an off-grid lifestyle.
Off-grid living, by definition, is a lifestyle primarily fuelled by a desire for sustainable comfort while also distancing from basic service networks, such as electricity, water, gas, and sewage. People aiming for an off-grid lifestyle should have the skills and capability to support themselves, from agriculture to first aid. Many sustainable living and survival experts claim that people who have lived in urban or suburban environments all their lives may have a steep – but not impossible – learning curve ahead of them if they are to make that shift.
The Australian federal government admits that as much as two percent of the population are living off-grid and are even responsible for at least six percent of the country’s electricity output. While Australia has no hard and fast rules against living off the grid, property observers still recommend researching and following local regulations on off-grid power generation, zoning, and building permits for off-grid properties. If your prospect location is well in the outback and requires no building permits, be aware that the tradeoff may be in the form of not having close access to basic services.
Property for off-grid living
The prime consideration is to find a property that may be in highly remote areas and set up the place to be highly conducive to an off-grid lifestyle. A number of sustainable living experts state that securing a property for off-grid living will depend on several factors:
- Affordable land prices. Australia’s continental size lends itself to endless opportunities for acreage to invest in, whether they are located a ways from the nearest urban area or deep in regional Australia. A look at land property portals such as Farmbuy and Trovit will yield you a nest of options, giving you ample time to assess your financial status.
- Road network and population centre access. An ideal off-grid property should be located a considerable distance from a decent road and in the process, driving opportunities to the nearest town or city for various purposes.
- Area weather conditions. While Australia boasts of sunny weather for most of the year, off-grid residents should always be ready to deal with the weather right in their area. If you have been dealing with floods for many years, for example, your ideal off-grid location may need to be at higher elevations and have been previously tagged as not in a flood-prone area.
- Water supply. Even if there are no water utility vendors at the prospect location, off-gridders should inspect the area’s water sources and ensure it’s safe for consumption.
If you have secured a property for off-grid living, there will be vital elements to make sure you will be comfortable.
- Power generation. Electricity for off-grid living is primarily centred on solar power in order to have a residential property functioning like a normal home. Sufficient investment will have to be made on having a solar power network of considerable voltage. Some properties may even up the connection with nature through stocks of hardwood.
- Food and water. In line with the above consideration on water and food, the property itself must have the adequate conditions for developing a sustainable garden and be irrigated using clean water sources nearby. Farming animals may be also viable, given skills in animal husbandry.
- Hot water. Water heating is a major end-product of Aussie homes and in the case of off-grid, it boils (no pun intended) down to acquiring solar power heaters or to use pots for heating water.
- Medical supplies and knowledge. Being able to take care of oneself will be a major challenge when applied to an off-grid setting especially when living independently. To this end, off-grid residents must have adequate knowledge of first-aid and will have built up a stockpile of important medical supplies. If your off-grid budget has room for internet access, consider investing in telemedical services.
Living off-grid as a retiree can work, as the following Aussies have demonstrated to wonderful effect.
Bette, North Queensland: In January 2023, Ben Fogle and the team at Channel 5’s New Lives on the Wild visited Ms Bette, 79, at her cabin in the North Queensland forest. She and her daughter found the cabin while exploring the area in 1988; it didn’t take long for the two to settle in after Bette left her job and sold her house in Byron Bay, NSW. While the house is connected to the QLD power grid, Bette lives off her pension and drives to a town 30km away for groceries and essentials. While her daughter resettled elsewhere back in 1997, Bette admits living there was a challenge, with floods, irate but distant neighbours, and snakes a daily threat.
The Watsons, Curtis Island, Queensland: Curtis Island residents Trevor and Cheryl Watson live in a house Trevor built back in 1989 while they were residing in Gladstone. As the island has no water or power providers, the couple invested in a 24-volt solar power system for the house before upgrading to 48V when they permanently left Gladstone to settle on the island in 2006. Mr Watson claimed an off-grid lifestyle has saved them thousands of dollars in energy expenses.
Jill Redwood, Goongerah, Victoria: Well-known for her lifelong environmental advocacies, Ms Redwood bought a 22-acre property in East Gippsland in 1983 and spent the next eight years building her house from timber and recycled materials despite a lack of homebuilding experience. Her property relies on a solar power array for electricity and a waterwheel on a nearby stream for water needs. She has since sustained herself tending to her farm, growing her own produce and earning a small honorarium from Environment East Gippsland.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Seniors wanting peace and quiet for their later years deserve to achieve it, even if it means a major disconnect right in the heart of nature. ASAG will find a way to help you get there.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage may aid the effort for shifting to an off-grid lifestyle or to supplant it through a Motorhome Loans. If you have a property that is fully paid off, the resulting equity may be invested on buying a new property that has been built as an off-grid location, or to purchase a property and have an off-grid home built on the lot from the ground up, with renewable energy equipment installed. Any other funding can be put on additional equipment to aid in the lifestyle, but much of the effort will have to be done years before.
If you wish to explore further on the equity release alternatives, feel free to get in touch with ASAG via 1300 002 724 or drop an email at email@example.com. Additionally, you can assess your equity by utilising the tool furnished below.
DISCLAIMER: The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no relationships whatsoever with the individuals and companies mentioned in this article.