Smart Advice for Up-Sizing Your Homestead Move

Smart Advice for Your Up-Sizing Homestead Move

By: Bob Shannon 

The only thing better than daydreaming about retiring to a homestead is devising a plan to make it happen. And sure, it may seem far-fetched to imagine that you could be relaxing on acreage and tending to your hobbies instead of toiling in the corporate world.

But as a retiree, the world really is your oyster. If you want to upsize to a homestead, there are ways to make it happen. Here’s the advice you need for making a move, courtesy of House Realty.

Sketch Out a Budget

Knowing what you can afford is an essential step in your homestead purchasing plans. If you’re selling your existing home, prioritizing a quick and lucrative transaction is a priority. You’ll want to explore the best way to highlight your home’s features with real estate photography, set the right price for your property and the neighborhood, and be prepared for a quick close.

Once you sell (or if you’re not dealing with a sale at all), it’s time to get real and get to budgeting. Add up your income streams, not counting any proceeds from your future homestead, and outline your projected expenses.

It’s entirely possible to qualify for a mortgage during retirement, explains The Balance, but if you have alternative funding options, list those out as well. Your retirement accounts or other investments could help fund your homestead purchase.

Scope the Perfect Property

Picking out the ideal homestead may be the most challenging part of making your dream come true. You likely have ideas about what you’d like to do in your new home, like hosting family, creating a workshop or she-shed, and more. Make a list of your top must-haves and start looking at property listings – but don’t get too excited yet.

Many homestead properties are older, so you may come across a diamond in the rough that needs work but could fit your budget and needs. Consider the following while searching:

  • Home square footage – do you want a large home and tons of property or a smaller house on acreage?
  • Lot size or land – what’s your ideal acreage span? Some folks can homestead on a smaller scale with only an acre, while others want a dozen or more to spread out and enjoy recreation.
  • Property features – are you hoping for a creek, river, or well water source? What about views or features like a garage or shop space?

Setting a specific geographic area may also help you narrow down the options. Having a clear idea of what you want will also keep you from falling in love with the wrong property.

Know the Limits

You may stumble across a property that seems perfect, but make sure it meets your needs (and legal requirements) before throwing cash at the purchase. For example, your ideal property may not qualify for commercial zoning, so you may not be able to sell goods from your homestead. 

Or, you might find there are easements or other access issues to the property. Homestead land use definitions and guidelines also vary, though historically, homesteads have benefited from specific legal protections. Research is essential in this step, so take your time to investigate thoroughly.

Protect Your Investment

If you plan to operate your homestead as a business, you’ll need to check a few specific boxes. For example, you may need to file paperwork (and pay fees) for the appropriate operational permits if you’re raising livestock or selling veggies. But more general business specs may apply, too.

For example, you may need to establish a formal structure for your homestead business. Especially if you hire farmhands to work for you, those folks constitute employees, which changes your tax obligations and business structure.

One option is to file a Tennessee LLC; an LLC has several perks for business owners, including limited liability, tax advantages, and flexibility. Choosing to DIY means you’ll need to decode the legalese on your own, though. A formation service can be a good compromise if you don’t want to pay an attorney for their services. 

Moving to a homestead is a dream that can become a reality. With the right motivation and a solid plan, you’ll be living the homestead retiree life in no time. Whether you’re buying, selling, or both, contact House Realty for help reaching your property ownership goals today.

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