Guest post: Bob Shannon http://seniorsmeet.org/
Maybe city living was perfect for your younger years, but you want to spend the golden ones under starry skies and away from the smog. If you’re ready to switch to a slower pace of living, what better time to pursue your dream of homesteading?
Check out these tips from Crest Backyard Homes and start pursuing your new path (and property) today.
First, Deal with Debt
If worries over debt are holding you back from your retirement dreams, you’re not alone. CNN highlights that older adults have a disproportionate amount of debt compared to younger generations. But hope is not lost.
Your best bet for moving forward with homesteading is to eliminate your debt as soon as possible. Check out debt relief and assistance programs in your state, and then consult a debt relief specialist to explore your options. The ideal debt solution will suit your income level, debt amount, and employment status – and get you back on track.
Be Realistic Yet Optimistic
You might be picturing an idyllic homestead complete with a handful of barnyard animals and a picturesque log cabin. But in reality, your dream homestead could take some serious elbow grease to become a livable and comfortable home.
You may also run into some property-specific challenges, depending on the age of your homestead. Access roads, for example, could be an issue, and easements may impact the usability of your land (and bug your neighbors).
Do your research before you purchase a property and be prepared to do some leg work. You’ll want to track down and thoroughly read any property deeds and other paperwork relevant to buying property. The more knowledgeable you are, the better the odds you’ll achieve your homesteading goals.
Know the Rules (and Your Rights)
Homesteaders qualify for special privileges, notes The Street, including unique tax benefits. But you’ll also have specific responsibilities, especially if you plan to take tax exemptions on your property.
The good news is that many homesteaders use their land to their financial advantage. There are tons of ways to make an income off your land, whether you grow food, raise livestock, or even host visitors via an Airbnb setup. Adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is also an option, whether for hosting family or renting out – depending on local laws and regulations. If you’re interested in adding an ADU to your property, check out the Senior’s Guide to Building a Modular ADU from Crest Backyard Homes. This 11-part video series explains everything you need to know about this project, from where to place it to obtaining permits to turning it into a source of income.
Have a Financial Plan
Once you’re clear of your debt – or at least have a reasonable plan for paying it down – you’ll need to consider finances for your property purchase. While cash is the ideal transaction method for homestead properties, you may be able to secure financing through a lending institution.
For example, USDA loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development can help you finance land and a home. Income and property size limits apply, but this is one way to secure the homestead of your dreams without overspending.
Reverse mortgages are another great option for seniors 62 and older. If you have a high amount of equity on your current home, a reverse mortgage will allow you to turn it into cash to use however you like, including buying your new property. This may be a good option for seniors with a poor credit score, poor income, or other circumstances that prevent them from being able to receive a traditional home loan. A reverse mortgage can also fund your purchase of an ADU for your current or new home. If you’re interested in a reverse mortgage, we recommend reaching out to Golden Age Financial Solutions.
Move (and Live) Smart
The truth is, you’re not getting any younger – which is likely part of your motivation for moving to the countryside. But the fact remains that you aren’t as physically capable as you used to be. That could mean the potential for mishaps while you’re moving or handling homestead chores.
Plus, back pain is a common ailment for retired folks, notes Cleveland Clinic. If you strain yourself while packing or moving, be sure to rest as much as possible and apply heat or cold at the appropriate time to aid in healing. Of course, the best plan is to avoid straining altogether and hiring movers or enlisting help from family to get your homestead up and running.
Making the move to a homestead is a life-changing decision, and it might be the perfect retirement plan for you. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. If you’re looking to add extra square footage to your new homestead, contact Crest Backyard Homes to see what your options are.