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Rural Retirement: Tips for Making Your Homesteading Dreams a Reality

A common assumption is that when one reaches retirement age, you’ll want to downsize – smaller home, smaller tasks, smaller life. However, that train of thought does not necessarily travel through everyone’s station. Many couples and heads of households put their homesteading dreams on a shelf for years for the collective benefit of the family. With the average retiree living a healthier and longer life according to research cited on Science Daily, that leaves folks with years to finally fulfill those lifelong aspirations.

Also, the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the advantages of wide open spaces – or at least a lack of crowds. More and more people are seeking a quieter, rural way of life. Those that still work part-time now know they can successfully do that from home, so why not a home outside of the city?

If you’re considering a move into a more rural part of Maryland to realize your dream of homesteading, Taylor Properties offers this helpful guide.

Planning within your means

Now that you’re retired, ensuring that you don’t get in over your head in this second life chapter is incredibly important. If you overextend yourself, it likely won’t be as easy to hustle in some extra income as it was even 15 years ago. Once you find out how much you can afford, both in home sales price and possible mortgage payments, you can look for homes with the features and amenities you want that fall within those ranges. And don’t forget – it is possible to buy and sell a home at the same time. You’ll just have to plan a bit more diligently, which is where working with a real estate professional can help.

One question to consider – and a good one to work through with your financial advisor or accountant – is whether to pay for your new home with the proceeds of your existing home sale, or to try and get a mortgage for your new home purchase. Getting a mortgage as a retiree has some challenges, but it is certainly doable with the right type of income stream and asset mix. If you have a real estate agent already, ask them to run a comparative market analysis, or “comp,” which gives you a snapshot of what homes are selling for in your area.

Once you have that estimate, you can deduct any existing mortgage balance, the commission you’ll owe your agent, and any other sales-related expenses you are likely to incur. The remaining balance is what you have to work with in your new home purchase and whether you’ll need to augment it with a mortgage. Depending on what rural area you are looking to settle in, you may also qualify for a favorable mortgage under a special loan program.

Assessing your needs and wants

Once you have the home price you can afford, you’ll want to list the features you want it to have, in order of importance, as well as your plans. For example, if you want to engage in subsistence farming, start a CSA (community supported agriculture) or even a beekeeping business, you may value acreage over home size. This gives you plenty of room not only for your agricultural operations, but also for outbuildings for a greenhouse, storage, and farm equipment. And, if you aren’t well-versed in buying rural properties, it’s important you select a real estate agent who is.

If your priority, however, is to own a place that your children and grandchildren can’t resist, with plenty of indoor (and safe outdoor) play areas, a spacious office for your consulting business, and a welcoming entertaining space for family reunions or business gatherings and retreats, your home accommodations will need to be more spacious.

Regardless of whether the type of business you have in this “second childhood” is conducted mostly outdoors or in, be sure to protect it by structuring it as a limited liability company, or LLC. It’s important you do your research, however, because states can have different regulations you need to follow to form one. Although you’re able to complete this process yourself, there are options. You can also pay a lawyer to do it or, if you’d rather save those lawyer fees and put them toward your new home purchase, use an online formation service

Assess Necessary Repairs

When making this sort of investment, you want to feel confident in your purchase. If your inspector comes back with some concerns, discuss them carefully with your agent. The American Society of Home Inspectors points out that certain issues such as cracks in the foundation or faulty plumbing or electrical could mean this isn’t the ideal place for you. Other issues like a broken HVAC or leaky roof can be negotiated.

On the other hand, cosmetic issues that can be easily fixed shouldn’t limit you from buying your dream home. You can repaint any rooms with colors you dislike. Light fixtures can be repaired or replaced. And so can wood decks, doors, locks and windows. When looking for door, concrete or home window repair, seek out trusted professionals with proven track records to ensure you get your money’s worth, and can enjoy quality workmanship.

Big dreams under big skies

Retirement marks the end of one milestone and the beginning of a new mile. If that mile takes you to wide open spaces, whether those spaces are inside your home or out, you can congratulate yourself for finally embarking on that dream that motivated you to work hard every day.

Are you looking to sell your current home and move to a more rural area? Do you want to get the best price for your property? Connect with real estate expert David Engel of Taylor Properties for a professional experience and a smooth transition. 240-620-4783

Please remember that all homes need regular maintenance and repairs to ensure your most valuable asset retains its value and allure for when the time to sell comes around. For all your winterizing tips go to Thanks for this article!