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Discussion Starter #1
I live in the Midwest. KY to be exact. My fiance and I are looking for a new home. We currently own a three floor townhome and have been prepping for the last year or so. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or suggestions as to a type of house that would be better or worse for prepping/ defense/shtf/etc. I have looked at ranches, bi-levels, two stories, houses in subdivisions, in older neihborhoods, and on a small amount of land. (less than two acres). If anyone has any suggestions as to what to look for when selecting a home, I would greatly appreciate it. Hopefully this thread helps others in my situation as well.
 

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Find out what you can get a mortgage for - and buy way less then that :)

Being able to pay the mortgage on just one of your jobe would be a good idea.

Look at the crime rates, look at the school rankings. It would probably be better to assume you will have kids and be in a decent school district then have to move again.

Buy an older home. Look at the 70's houses. They used plywood, had insulated windows and insulation then. Also, the 70's house will be cheaper. Check older houses too - but be aware you could have insulation and wiring troubles.

Get a basement! make sure it is a dry one. I love my basement for storage, helping to heat and cool my house and an emerganc shelter.

Look for the house that needs a little work. You'll pay top dollar for the immaculate one.

Make sure you get sunlight, full sunlight on part of the property where you can put in a vegetable garden. Keep an eye open for a property with fruit trees and an already existing garden.


This is all based on owning 5 different homes - and living in them with kids and pets. I hope I helped
 

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HFTB-PFTW's list is very good. I'd also suggest that, if in a rural or semi-rural area, you look for a well or find out if you can have one drilled. If in town, see you you'll be subject to any housing covenants or regulations that could really restrict your ability to make changes you might want. Have a good building inspector go over any place you're interested in with a fine toothed comb before buying, they can often find problems that you might not realize existed. Try to get a feel for the neighborhood and your potential neighbors before buying in: The best house in the world will be a nightmare to live in if the guy next door plays loud music 24/7, steals from you, and allows his animals/kids to run wild. And of course, buy low, sell high. :thumb:
 

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Find out what you can get a mortgage for - and buy way less then that :)

Being able to pay the mortgage on just one of your jobe would be a good idea.

Look at the crime rates, look at the school rankings. It would probably be better to assume you will have kids and be in a decent school district then have to move again.

Buy an older home. Look at the 70's houses. They used plywood, had insulated windows and insulation then. Also, the 70's house will be cheaper. Check older houses too - but be aware you could have insulation and wiring troubles.

Get a basement! make sure it is a dry one. I love my basement for storage, helping to heat and cool my house and an emerganc shelter.

Look for the house that needs a little work. You'll pay top dollar for the immaculate one.

Make sure you get sunlight, full sunlight on part of the property where you can put in a vegetable garden. Keep an eye open for a property with fruit trees and an already existing garden.


This is all based on owning 5 different homes - and living in them with kids and pets. I hope I helped
I agree with all of the above. I would add find a home with its own well.

Purchasing an older fixer-upper is a good idea as well. We fixed up the living room and 1 bathroom, moved in and then took our time fixing the rest of the house. It was fun a learning experience and a financially smart move.
 

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As Im from the Uk I don't know much about your houses but this is what Iv thought of:

check for flood plains, flooding, earthquakes, fire areas, crime rates, schools (good ones are hard to find here), a water supply, type of land (to see what plants you can grow), local hospitals and ERs etc.
 

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The Jed.
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One that has four walls, and a roof that don't leak. That's all I need and what I'm thankful to have.
 

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To add to what HFTB-PFTW has posted. Single story, brick, plaster walls, copper plumbing, with a hip roof, on 1-5 acres in a suburban setting would be my suggestion. Make sure the structure is sound. Foundation, plumbing, roof, and materials need to be quality made and in good shape. I like the house to be on a rise or hill, especially in flood prone areas. Be sure to check the flood plane maps at your county planning office for any site you are planning to buy. Living in a flood prone area could wipe your investment out if it floods the area every so many years. You probably need to be close to other houses for community watch and help in defense if it comes to that. A well or other source of potable water would be really good. Small towns are probably better than urban areas if you can do the commute to an urban job.

A 15 year mortgage works better for the home owner than longer ones. You make a slightly higher payment per month but you pay it off 15 years faster than a 30 and save a huge amount in interest. Check the payment/interest charts 15 vs 30 year notes.

Look for distressed sales due to divorce, transfers, death or economic troubles for the best deals. REO's from lenders are another source of good deals. A cosmetic fixer upper is a good deal if it's not too far gone. You want the soundest structure you can find. You can then make the house fit your life style as you replace aging appliances or decoration. There probably isn't a perfect house out there new or used. Almost all need some fixing up to make them function for you. It's a question of your remodeling skills and tool set as to how much you can do yourself.
 

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Why is the Rum gone?
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If you are looking for survivability, I'd go with a one story house over a basement, with a low slope hip style roof, the newer the better.
The one story structure will suffer less from the effects of “story drift” during a seismic event as there is less mass elevated above the moving ground. The more elevated mass, the more likely the the transferred seismic energy will damage or collapse the lower structure during movement.
In the past seven years the building codes have changed drastically in Kentucky, especially in Western Kentucky, with special emphasis on the earthquake risks. During the code updates, additional bracing, referred to as “braced wall panels” or “sheer walls” have been mandated to strengthen the structure to resist wind and seismic loading. Newer homes will have had this installed as part of the construction but, older homes would not.
Years ago, the common practice was to put plywood only in the corners and one sheet every so often, typically once every twenty-five feet. The infill between these panel was often wood fiber board, or “black board” as it was called. Newer homes are more likely to be “continuously sheathed” with Oriented Strand Board or O.S.B. Both O.S.B. and conventional plywood are considered as “wood structure panels” by the building code. Remember, the more windows that a house has, the less structural integrity that it has because, more windows equals less framing and braced wall panels.
The hip roof style will deflect high winds better than a high pitch gable roof, no matter which direction the wind comes from. The winds simply go up and over the lower slope whereas they slam into the side of the steeper roof systems. Same goes with airborn debris. Debris will bounce off a lesser angle easier than a steeper angle. Hip roofs also have fewer valleys that can suffer from water leaks or the additional loading of accumulated drifting snow.
If you're looking for a basement, make sure that it's cast-in-place, reinforced concrete and not concrete blocks. You'll have less stress cracking and moisture problems.
To “brick or not to brick” would be one of personal choice, there are advantages and disadvantages to brick.
Brick structures are more resistant to wind born debris and look nice, but are more expensive to build, buy and repair if damaged.
Vinyl siding is less expensive and easy to repair/maintain but offers no impact resistance at all.
If anyone tries to show you a stucco covered house, run like the wind. They're probably trying to sell you someone else's water problem. That construction technique has never been perfected to any degree and is plagued with moisture problems.
I'd stay out of a subdivision if at all possible. Too many “sheeple” in one place and there's not usually room for a garden. Subdivisions could also be a “scum magnet” should SHTF.
With the economy in the shape that it's in, you might check with the banks on repossessed homes. Just look for a newer one because it's been built to a higher standard.
 

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Having just recently built a house, the best advice I can give someone in the home buying market is "know what you are buying". With that I mean know who built it and know what it is constructed of.

A few years ago when the housing market was booming in my area (Kentucky) people were building house after house and selling them. These houses were being built to sell and most of them were constructed of the cheapest materials that could be used and still meet building codes.

As for me, I had my home built by a person that I know and trust. By doing that, I know every item that went into my home down to the nails. I know my home is built extremely well and will give me years and years of service.

Everyone else has given you great advice, but if you don't know what your getting when you buy it, the fact of the matter is it doesn't matter what types of amenties it has if it isn't built solid and just thrown together by some so called contractor in order to make a quick sell and cash.

I would buy a home that the owner had built for themselves and have lived in for several years. But that is just me.
 

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+1 to the comments above, and after you purchase and move in see this book for more details on how to better secure your home:

Joel Skousen: The Secure Home

I own this book and can attest that it has HUNDREDS of pages of incredibly useful information, including blueprint-style schematics and drawings.
 

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To secure peace is to...
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techguy82,

Here it goes:

1) A full basement - this is a must.

2) A way to burn wood - if anyone in Kentucky hasn't learned this lesson by now, then there just isn't hope for you guys.

3) The most simple hip roof house that you can find. Hip roofs leak less, are cheaper to maintain etc. Forget dormers etc. Get a house with as few valleys as possible.

4) Buy acreage with your house. You can't farm, garden, raise chickens, goats, etc in a subdivision. If you can get a spring or a creek that is a huge plus!

5) Forget 9 ft. ceilings, crown molding, and all of that "Extreme Home Makeover" BS. Get a house that will fit your family and junk, make sure that it is sturdy, and make sure that it can be well defended.

6) Remember, see what kind of neighbors you have too.

Good luck.
 

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There are really three schools of thought here. You can:
1: Build a house of straw
2: Build a house of sticks
3: Build a house out of bricks

Now, if you have any wolves in your area, I'd recommend option three. If anyone serious comes huffing and puffing, the type of house you own is not going to make much of a difference....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks!!!!!

Everyone here has some great ideas. (I knew everyone would) I just wanted to thank everyone for replying. I am enjoying reading all of the ideas. My fiance and I are still looking, but I now have some more considerations to take into mind. Keep the ideas coming, Like I said, I hope this thread will be helpful to many people in my situation.

Now just to come to a conclusion on my decision to either rent out or sell my townhouse. :confused:
 

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Sell that townhome. The econony isn't going to improve anytime soon, which means houses aren't going back up. Generally I would advise keeping and renting a good property that you already own. However, in this economy I think you will be able to buy it back cheaper, later on, if you so desire. Time is of the essence as I see the economy worsening in September through next spring/summer. I would put it on the market even before you find a house to buy. In my area the only thing moving are cheap deals. It's much harder to sell at the moment.
 

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Low debt.
Good neighbors. Preferably ones with big gardens.
Dry basement.
Water or shallow well.
Workshop or dedicated work area 15x30 min.
 
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