SPOILER ALERT! If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead and haven’t caught up through Season 8, stop right here. Because I’m going to be talking about it and if you aren’t up to speed, you might get a plot line reveal that you just won’t like.
And full disclosure: For the sake of this blog post, we’ll assume the (ZA) Zombie Apocalypse goes down very similarly to The Walking Dead comic book storyline. i.e. zombies everywhere, humans are struggling for survival, lots of running for your lives and such. The survivors often turn into some bad leaders, followed by power grabs, and the consolidation of choice living spaces. It won’t be easy, as Carl noted, to try to rebuild civilization to get humanity back as it once was. RIP Carl.
Home Buying Tips in the Age of the Zombie Apocalypse
No Mortgage Needed!
If you’ve survived this long in the ZA, the good news is that you won’t have to worry about qualifying for a mortgage! The bad news is your closest neighbors may just be trying a little too hard to have you over for dinner. Hmmmmm…..
But really, first things first. When you’re home shopping in the ZA, the first thing I’d like to see are some big, tall walls. Yep, you heard me. I’m not looking for see-through, wimpy chain link fences, no messy barb wire. I want something strong enough to withstand a zombie herd attack without having to do a daily clearing of spikes. Daily clearing of stuck zombies, like those Morgan clears each day, doesn’t work out so well for folks. Also, a lookout point, or something that you can add in a crow’s nest for a high vantage point, is ideal to keep watch for dangers, both living and non-living.
Don’t fall for the obvious places like a massive prison with flimsy, chain link fences and barb wire. Although it was a smart idea to go off the path to rebuild society in a prison, it was more like a zoo than a safe house. The zombies enjoy lurching their way across the chain link fences, and eventually succeed in pushing it over with sheer weight. Besides, the zombies were doing a fine job before the tank showed up. Southern prisons are all too flimsy.
Multiple exits required
Most high rise buildings require basic safety devices like sprinkler systems, stairwells, and fire escapes because exits are in short supply and can be easily overwhelmed or blocked. Take some rabbit advice. In nature, burrowing animals dig their homes also with escape routes. While the rabbits and voles may never have an agreed upon emergency meeting place, they rarely get caught without an exit.
Be like the bunnies. I recommend a multiple exit strategy from the big, tall walls. Multiple exits means more humans can get out if some nasty trolls like the Governor or the Termites show up to try to take over. It shouldn’t take 8 seasons to finally figure out the emergency exit plan and a safe place to regroup. Good sense is having a solid escape plan in place, plus a back up plan when stuff goes bad. And it always goes bad, this is the zombie apocalypse after all, so at least have a place in mind to re-group in an emergency.
Sturdy Construction, Move In Ready
Be flexible on the age and style, but sturdy built buildings are a must. Preferably built up two stories, with an interconnecting fire escape system of ladders, to allow escape to the adjoining roofs, all the way to the emergency escape system, in case the security walls fall under a crush of undead.
Barns, houses, sheds, and garages can all be used as permanent shelter, so be flexible in your choices. It could be a farming community, or a large homestead with sheds, outbuildings, or even a new gated type of community with a full solar power grid and automated water system. That’s a bonus, but if you think you’ve hit the jackpot, that just means someone else will want it more than you.
The point is you’re not going to have time to spend on building new houses behind your walls. You’ll need something move in ready. The less time you spend building structures is more time you can devote to building up your resources, growing crops, or rounding up livestock for your farm breeding program. Plan ahead for using the space between structures for gardening and responsible organic farming. Further down the road, you’re going to need space inside to grow some basic starter crops, raise your chickens, shelter your livestock, and store your extra food. The sooner you can stockpile the extra food, the better.
Which brings me to the next point:
Relocation- The Climate Change Option
Living in the northern states brings changing seasons. However, in the ZA, we suggest considering moving SOUTH to have better chance at growing food year round. Yes, the southern zombies will be in better condition, having not been frozen in the first winter, but a southern climate means you can grow more of your own food faster. And food will be key in surviving long term, as the stores will be rummaged and picked over pretty fast in the first year. In the long term, a regular migration route for humans could help rotate the farmers to the south and the builders to the north.
Then again, northern zombies, according to Greg Nictero, TWD Executive Producer, would freeze and thaw just fine. Check out his insights here:
Frozen Zombie Spin Off Series
No Fair Housing Laws
If you find a place that has decent walls, solid structures, in a good climate, don’t get too comfortable yet. Home buyers should always check out a home site and the surrounding terrain of any area that you like. Make a wide reconnoiter survey of the area before making a final decision. Good neighbors will be valuable in these times, but it’s not easy finding the right neighbors. As your survival depends on a safe and secure environment in the Zombie Apocalypse, you can and should be highly selective on who your nearest neighbors are.
Neighborhood- City, Rural, or Suburban
Even before the ZA, finding the perfect neighborhood has it’s challenges. Some folks thrive on a busy street full of undead. Others like to sip their lemonade and rock on the front porch of their farmstead, and while away the days with a barn full of locals turned zombie. It depends on how you like to survive. You might choose to be holed up in underground city sewers to avoid the walkers up top, or way out in the countryside, but with far fewer amenities like concrete, gasoline, and other humans for competition.
Are you likely to remain in the city? Living in the concrete jungle with limited open spaces can work in your favor if you can round up and trap the city zombies in one confined area.
Or you could be more in line to a suburban habitat. The risk here is it could be marked as a “easy pickings” area. Hiding in plain site from both zombies and human scavengers may prove tricky.
Finally, with Rural Zombies, living out in the country, with wide open spaces, it may have fewer humans but more free roaming zombies.
Now that you’ve narrowed your search to city/rural/suburban, you’ll need to verify the neighborhood. Is it noisy on the weekends, are the roads clear for exit routes, how sturdy are the walls, are there folks sitting out the front porch or do they seem to be holed up indoors?
Our good friend Rick Grimes had one of the best ways to figure out if a place is going to have friendly neighbors. Roll up to the wall line and listen for a moment. What do you hear?
If you hear the sound of children laughing and playing, that may bode well for humans. If you hear nothing at all, it could be a bunch of scavengers. If you hear howling, it could be the Wolves. If they shoot first and ask no questions, it could be Saviors. And finally, if you smell sizzling hot BBQ, don’t accept the invitation. Just keep driving.
The downside to home ownership in the ZA is that it all up to you to find something that either has walls or can be walled in safely. No one will take you in for a private showing and let you know about the hole in the roof or zombies in the basement. No one will point out the defects or the pluses from an objective 3rd party perspective.
Home buying in the ZA, just like learning to clear zombies from a site the hard way, will take a lot of patience, along with a katana or cross bow, to silence the squatters who might be roaming the property before you can really decide, is this place for me? Make sure you do your due diligence!
The housing market will never be the same in the ZA. First come, first to defend, will mark the best places out. Still, finding a new home doesn’t have to be a pain. Your needs can change in a heartbeat. Downsizing is easily available and transfer of ownership won’t take long at all. With no mortgages, no cumbersome paperwork, no regulations, or fair housing requirements, handling your own due diligence legwork is important. Bring your survival backpacks and giant cans of pudding, it will feel like home in no time.
(Much appreciation to the hard working, dedicated TWD cast, crew, and fans.)
Want more? I do more than sell zombie ready homes! Check out my Podcast with more tips on Selling By Owner, Curb Appeal, Foreclosures, Do’s and Don’t of Buying a Home and much more!
Jennifer Kinzle, SFR, e-PRO Broker
Fox Valley Homes
Charles Rutenberg Realty of Naperville, IL
3135 Book Rd
Naperville, IL 60563