How to Finally Buy Your Retirement Homestead

You’ve been dreaming of buying a spacious home out in the country for years, scouring the listings at to find your perfect parcel. And now that you’re no longer commuting to an office five days a week, you can finally make that dream a reality.

Moving to the country not only lets you pursue your homesteading hobby and enjoy a slower pace of life in retirement, but rural living also means getting more for your money when it comes to land prices and taxes. However, purchasing a homestead is more complicated than buying a townhouse in the city. Before buying your retirement homestead, here’s what you need to know.

Finding Land for Sale

New homes are hard to come by in the country, which is why many rural buyers opt to purchase land rather than buying a home. When you buy vacant land, you can build your dream home to suit rather than rehabbing a fixer-upper in retirement. Buyers can work with a land agent to purchase property or search for property in California and Florida using Other land-for-sale sites include LandWatch, LandandFarm,, and craigslist.

Financing Your Homestead

How to finance your homestead depends on whether you’re buying vacant land or a lot with a mortgageable home.

If using a mortgage to purchase a home, consider a USDA loan. USDA loans are designed for buyers with lower income and offer 0 percent down with competitive rates, making them a great option for seniors who want to upsize but don’t have a lot to spend.

Land and lot loans, on the other hand, tend to require higher down payments and interest rates. However, homesteaders can pay off their land loan using a lower interest mortgage once the home is completed.

Since land loans are risky for lenders, it’s important that buyers’ finances are in good shape before applying. This includes improving your credit score as well as aggressively paying down debt. Retirees with hefty debts can do this with the assistance of debt relief programs that help you reduce debt through consolidation, settlement, and debt counseling. A debt relief specialist can also help you understand your rights regarding debt collection.

Buyers with imperfect finances can also turn to owner financing to afford their homestead property. With owner financing, buyers make payments directly to the landowner rather than going through a bank.

What to Look for in a Homestead Property

Do you want a property big enough to have a few chickens and a vegetable garden or are you planning a full-fledged farmstead in retirement? Do you want to be close to recreation or is staying close to children and grandchildren most important?

The answer to personal questions like these will vary. However, there are some things all homesteaders should consider when buying property:

  • Property boundaries: It’s not always necessary to conduct a land survey on rural property. However, buyers should do their due diligence to ensure the advertised acres roughly match the property boundaries and tax assessor records.
  • Deed restrictions and zoning ordinances: Even in rural areas buyers may encounter deed restrictions and zoning ordinances limiting certain types of livestock or activity.
  • Utilities: Don’t assume a piece of raw land has access to power or water. Determine if utilities are available and what it will cost to run power, dig a well, and install a septic system if not.
  • Accessibility: When buying a retirement property, it’s important to consider access, safety, and maintenance as you age. In addition to analyzing the property itself, factor proximity to healthcare, relatives, and other important services.

The countryside is full of promise for your retirement years. However, figuring out how to get there can be complicated. If you need help deciding what type of land you need or want to see what’s available, call at (813) 575-0001.

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