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Postponing our Homestead to Help My Mom  RSS feed

 
David Galloway
Posts: 78
Location: Greenville, SC
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The plan for my wife and I for the past couple of years was for us to sell our subdivision house with a tiny lot in March 2012 and look for some land in the WV/PA area.  My Mom is divorcing my Dad finally after years of him cheating, being an abusive drunk, etc. but being a homemaker all her life and about to turn 58 she has very little to help support her.  It looks like when the divorce is final in six months or so she will have to sell the house she's been in for 25 years and find something she can afford on what little she will receive via SSI.  My 18 year old brother still lives with her and works part-time for the church doing groundskeeping and maintenance, but doesn't make much money.

After visiting yesterday my wife threw out a suggestion: why don't we sell our house a little early and buy my mom's house/land?  The house is a poorly-built Jim Walter house from the early 80s and is falling apart but the 2.11 acres of mountain land are pretty good and where I grew up, so I know it like the back of my hand.  The property tax estimates the place is worth 75k but given the state of disrepair of the house I think it'd probably go for around 50k.  Our plan would be to sell our house, buy my parent's place which would roughly give my mom and my dad around 22-23k each after closing costs.  My mom would immediately give us the 22-23k back which would leave a very low mortgage of around 27-28k. 

My wife, son, and I would put up a yurt on the land and we'd live there for around 2 years in which time we could easily pay off the mortgage and help my mom get the house repaired.  The benefit for us would be that we'd have some land to start learning how to homestead (chickens, large garden, rabbits, etc.) and we'd be able to save a lot of money as our monthly expenses would drop about $800/month.  Since the yurt would be on the back of the property we'd go with a composting toilet and a small solar setup for running lights and laptops.  That way, when we strike out in a couple of years to buy our own land we'd already have most of what we need to get started on that land and be used to living with just the basics.  We'd also get loving childcare from my mom instead of daycare centers for the next two years.

I think it's a pretty good idea, and I'm having a hard time coming up with downsides.  The only major one is that if we sell our current house before March 2012 we will have to pay back the $8,000 first time homeowner tax credit to the IRS, which would suck, but I'd rather do that than my mom lose her house/land.  It'd put us back a couple of years on buying our own land, but we'd get some good experience with basic homesteading.  What do you guys think?
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9893
Location: Portugal
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There is no downside, I'm sure of it. 

Go do what needs to be done - you won't regret it!
 
Chris Fitt
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
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It sounds like a good plan all around.  I've found in my life, that when I am open to opportunity as opposed to a rigid design of my own making that I get more than I imagine.  It sounds like you get to help your mother, save money, and practice your ideas on a good scale.  2 acres is plenty of space if managed appropriately.  We worked on a farm in Alaska where the total acreage was 1.5 acres with less than 1 acre under cultivation.  This was included multiple gardens, raised beds, hoop houses, a green house, chickens, and rabbits.  They made enough food to sustain themselves through winter as well as sell at the farmers market to bring in cash. 

Good luck to you.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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That $8000 tax credit is the only 'down side' I can see, as IRS will want it all up-front.
Is there any way you could manage it by renting your old house until you can sell it without having to pay back the tax credit?

The in-house day care is a huge step in the right direction.
Go for it, and good luck.
 
David Galloway
Posts: 78
Location: Greenville, SC
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RustysDog wrote:
That $8000 tax credit is the only 'down side' I can see, as IRS will want it all up-front.
Is there any way you could manage it by renting your old house until you can sell it without having to pay back the tax credit?

The in-house day care is a huge step in the right direction.
Go for it, and good luck.



That's possible, but there are already 3 homes in my 150 home subdivision up for rent right now that are sitting empty.  If it didn't rent right away it would be painful to pay both mortgages. 
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Crunch the numbers first for the yurt and the gear that you will need.

And, make DARNED sure it is in writing and in the proper and legal form! Tempers can get hot during a divorce, and temper can make people lie. Having things in the proper legal form will protect your Mother, your brother, and yourselves.
 
David Galloway
Posts: 78
Location: Greenville, SC
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Thanks for the advice!

We're looking at 10k or so for the yurt and platform if we buy from a commercial manufacturer.  The closest one, Laurel Nest Yurts - 70 miles away, also sells DIY packages where you do some of the work yourself and also hosts two day classes on constructing your own yurt.  We may end up doing that if we have time.

At that price, if we were going to stay on the land permanently we should really build a cabin over a yurt, but since we plan on buying our own land in a few years we think the yurt makes more sense.

As soon as we get that setup we'll be ready to move in and add to that as we go.  Remember, we'll have a 3bd/2ba house with all the modern stuff 200-300ft away so it won't be that bad.  We'll also probably do this sometime this summer and I'm in the South so we've got until Halloween to get the wood stove setup.

Here's my basic outline of costs:

$10,000 - 20' Yurt/Platform ($5330 for yurt plus $965 insulation and $x for platform)
$2,000 - wood stove, Stovepipe, and Masonry hearth
$2,000 - Composting Toilet
$3,500 - Basic Solar Setup

Adding in various odds and ends we're looking at $20,000 or so.  Hopefully less.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
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It might be possible to rent a home for a year for half the price of the yurt.

Just thinkin'.
 
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