Realtor.com recently published an article detailing just how mainstream prepping has become in a new piece titled, “Prepping for Doomsday: Bunkers, Panic Rooms, and Going Off the Grid“.

The post leads off with how, “Americans en masse are again preparing for the worst”. They go on to describe how the uncertainty in the U.S. economy and politics has driven up the desire for homes outfitted for doomsday.

For example, sales at American Redoubt Realty, a real estate firm nestled in the heart of prepper country in northern Idaho, are up 50% over the same time last year, says real estate agent Todd Savage, who specializes in such transactions. His clients typically hail from Texas and California.

Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are often considered the epicenter of the modern survivalist property trend. But you can find pockets of it across the country, from North Carolina to Washington state.

“Each election cycle we see a huge uptick in interest and sales,” says Savage, who first noticed the trend in 2012, when Mitt Romney faced off against Barack Obama. “People are tired of both sides.”

His buyers are looking for very specific, “100% self-sustainable,” rural properties, at least 10 acres and up, says Savage. To make it true prepper property, the land must have at least two abundant water sources, like a well and a stream; alternative energy, like solar panels or hydropower; and the ability to grow food.

It must also be easily defendable against a multitude of threats, with either bunkers or safe rooms or simply reinforced doors and windows and a lot of ammunition.

Properties already outfitted with solar panels or hydropower are particularly in demand since they can be expensive to install, he says.

It appears we’re at a convergence of several factors that are contributing to people’s desire for a more sustainable lifestyle.

The U.S. Economy

The economy is in a precarious spot. The 2007/2008 housing market crash opened up a lot of eyes. The economy came very close to an outright collapse, with the government pulling every trick in their monetary policy (0% interest rates and multiple rounds of quantitative easing) to try and keep things afloat.

7 years later, and at an all time high of almost 20 TRILLION dollars of debt, the economy is barely holding on. Americans are growing concerned that repaying our debt is all but impossible which makes a default at some point a real possibility.

Terrorism

ISIS, Iran, North Korea… The U.S. has a lot of enemies that would love to bring destruction its way. Whether it’s a cyberattack on the electric grid, nuclear attack or even a low-tech coordinated attack on public spaces, the risk of being attacked on U.S. soil has never been higher in recent history.

Regardless of the means of attack, it’s almost always safer to be away from large population areas. Off-grid setups like solar systems give an extra layer of protection against grid vulnerabilities.

Social Unrest

It used to be the case that mob scenes in the U.S. only existed on Black Friday. These days seems like a new riot weekly. Whether it’s political protesters, social justice warriors or anti-capitalist marches, seems like the country is tearing itself apart.

Now take these activists who are so eager to demonstrate their discontent, and take away their social support programs, such as welfare and food stamps, which is exactly what will happen if the economy crashes. Things will get ugly in the big cities rather quickly. If you have to stay in the city, having a home with a panic room, and other physical security features is a huge asset.

Cultural Acceptance

With the popularity of Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers, the culture in america is now more aware of the desire for folks to get prepared for bad times. Independent movies like AmeriGeddon, further push the idea of preparedness into our culture.

The downside of entertainment based TV shows and moves about prepping is that the culture’s perspective of what prepping is may be off base. But regardless of some misconceptions, it seems obvious that many Americans are waking up and taking responsibility for what may come. Whether that means storing some food up or become energy independent with solar, every American who moves toward getting prepared is a good thing for the county as a whole.

Off Grid Solar System Pricing

If you’ve considered going off-grid with your solar system, but aren’t sure how much a system will cost, why not try our Off-Grid Solar Price Calculator. Our primary service area is Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, but even if you’re outside that region you can use the calculator to give you a feel of what a standard solar system might run.