Homesteading in retirement is a wonderful way to spend your golden years. If you’ve always wanted to pursue a lifestyle of simplicity and self-sufficiency, the post-work years provide the perfect chance. But first, you’ll need to find the right property where you can make your homesteading dreams come true.
NOTE: This is a guest post by Suzie Wilson
How Much Land Do You Need?
Despite what many people think, homesteading does not require 50 to 100+ acres of land. Even smaller lots can support a functional homestead. Which is great news for anyone who thinks it homesteading comes with a high price tag.
The fact is, just a few acres can give you enough space to garden, build, create, and explore all those hobbies you never had time for when you were working. Plus you’ll have lots of room to entertain friends, host family reunions, and enjoy holiday gatherings.
What’s more, providing for yourself and your family by homesteading in retirement can offer a great return on your land investment. This is especially true now as the cost of living continues to rise at an unprecedented rate. With the extra space on your homestead for a workshop or home office, you may even be inspired to start that side business you’ve always dreamed about.
What Property is Best for Your Homestead?
There are lots of things to consider before you even start searching for land for your retirement homestead. Let’s explore a few things to keep in mind that will help you find the perfect property.
Get Clear on Your Vision
Before you go out and start looking for properties, take some time to think about your homesteading goals. What do you want to accomplish? What values do you want to bring to your hobby farm?
For example, if your primary goal is to produce your own food, you’ll want to find a property that will support a thriving garden and have space for a few animals.
If you mainly want a large property that your grandkids can enjoy when they come to visit, you may be looking for a larger home with spare bedrooms to accommodate guests.
Think about what you want your homestead to look like so you can find the perfect property for your needs.
Not clear on your homesteading vision? You can find plenty of resources on websites like this one for inspiration.
Pick out ideas you would like to implement on your own homestead to help determine how much space you will need and what kind of costs you can expect.
Consider Your Professional Needs
Perhaps one of your goals is to make money with your homestead. Turning a hobby farm into a business is a great way to generate income in retirement while maintaining the self-sufficient lifestyle you’re after.
Keep your professional goals in mind as you search for properties. This might mean looking for a home with office space, a workshop, or even a separate building that you can convert into a retail store.
Once you have a better idea of what you want to do with your homestead, the next thing to think about is location. This is a good time to consider how self-sufficient you want to be and what energy sources you intend to use on your property.
If you just want to grow your own food but would like to remain connected to the grid, start looking for properties closer to town.
If you’re hoping to power your house with solar, you’ll want to find a property that gets enough direct sun.
If you plan on drilling a well for water, make sure you’re close enough to the water table.
Get a Land Survey
Regardless of your homesteading goals, be sure to hire a land surveyor to help you determine whether a property is suitable for the purposes you have in mind.
A land surveyor will define the legal boundaries and features of the property. This is essential, especially if you plan to build new structures on the property, plant crops, or raise animals.
While you’re at it, look into zoning restrictions, covenants, or HOAs that may limit what you can do with the property.
Establish a Budget Homesteading in Retirement Budget
Budgeting for a homestead is not easy.
Freedom Residence explains that the cost of land can range anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars per acre. It all depends on where you’re looking and how much land you intend to purchase.
There are countless other costs to consider besides the land, from one-time down payments to ongoing monthly expenses. Obvious costs include any necessary construction, renovations, and/or repairs to the home and outbuildings. But don’t forget to factor in all the extras like fencing, gardening supplies, and livestock.
Setting up a new septic system can cost $6,000 while installing solar panels can cost anywhere from $15,000 and $30,000.
Be sure to create a budget that includes all of these costs so you can avoid straining your finances as you get your retirement homestead up and running.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Traditional Real Estate Listings
When looking for affordable homesteading land, don’t limit yourself to traditional real estate listing services.
Search websites like Land Watch and Land of America. Look for properties on Craigslist. Or work with businesses like Country Places, Inc. that specialize in off-grid land.
Remember that you can also reach out to owners directly. If you come across a great piece of land that looks unused and abandoned, do some digging to find out who owns it and make them an offer!
Make Your Homesteading in Retirement Dream a Reality
Many people dream about spending their retirement on a quiet homestead, far from the hustle and bustle of city life. Your golden years are the perfect opportunity to break away from society and embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle. Start planning your dream homestead and looking for the perfect property today.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years of experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. You can learn more about Suzie on her website Happier Home.