By and large I don’t distinguish between land you’re buying to live on, to homestead on, or as a bug out location. The overall general concepts are largely the same in my mind, it’s just some of the features that differ (such as how much land you get)
In my mind the biggest thing to consider is access to the land. Having good access is critical. For example, the place we just moved to is on a decent chunk of land (about 20 acres) but we’re 5 minutes from town, 1/2 mile up a dirt road a few miles outside of town. We’re up on a hill, so there’s that to deal with, but that’s not so bad.
Contrast that with a plot that’s surrounded by USFS land. On the first glance that looks great, because chances are you won’t have neighbors to bother you. The problem is, you may not have access to your property. The road that goes there may not be maintained, if it even exists.
So first, make sure that you have good access to the place. A longer drive, or a long driveway, is fine. No vehicle access? No thanks.
Next, water is super important. You should have either a well on site, some other natural water feature such as a year round spring or stream, or access to a water utility. The development of water systems can be rough, and is often expensive.
Tread carefully here, and check it out BEFORE you buy. I know a guy (and have heard of quite a few more) that went and bought a great spot, except for the minor detail that they can’t find water. They’ve spent over $25,000 on prospect wells, and have come up dry.
Don’t be that guy.
Having access to other utilities without massive expense is a good thing too. If electrical and phone services are available near the land, and it won’t cost you TOO much to extend it, then that’s a good thing.
Unless you want to be off grid, being too far away from grid electricity isn’t a good thing. Bringing in service where none exists already gets really expensive, really quick.
You want to also make sure that theres room to grow stuff. What that stuff is, depends on you. But you’ll want room, and you’ll want it to be well suited to growing stuff.
The biggest thing here is good southern exposure, or the ability to create it. You can take poor soil and turn it into fantastic soil. You can take dry land and irrigate it.
But you can’t create sunlight. So make sure your growing area has southern exposure, or close to it.
Here’s the other big thing. Make sure the land is usable. Avoid too many hills in particular.
The place we live now, while it’s 20ish acres big, has only an acre or so that’s suitable for doing much with. The rest of it is hillside, near on mountainside. If you put a bunch of work into terracing, or ran the appropriate kind of livestock, then great.
But you can only do so much with the side of a mountain.
This is last on the list because all things considered, it’s something you can work with. If the only place you can find is mostly unusable, you can generally make more of it usable with a little work. Or leave it as-is and enjoy it that way too.
Goodness knows our kids will have fantastic sledding this year….