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So you want a homestead but are not in a position to buy the perfect place just yet? Having personally both rented an off-grid home in the middle of the high desert in New Mexico and owned another homestead, I understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
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At the end of the day, what is most important is that you are comfortable with the place you call home and that it meets your family’s needs. Sometimes, the ideal place is not for sale but you can find a great place for lease.
Here are a few pros and cons when it comes to renting a homestead versus purchasing one outright.
Pro: You Get to Try Out an Area
If you are unsure as to whether a certain region will suit your needs, renting allows you an opportunity to try out the location without investing a whole lot. If after your lease period is up you have fallen in love with the place, you may want to take steps to establish a more permanent home. However, if the lease period has been riddled with doubts, you may need to investigate other options.
Con: It’s Not Really Yours
No matter how much I have fallen in love with places I have rented before, the fact that they are not mine always bothers me. It makes it difficult to invest too much money, too much time or even too much love. Because, in the end, the lease will come to an end and your heart may be broken.
Pro: Less Responsibility
Yes, you have to take care of any place you rent. However you have less responsibility than a homeowner. Generally, larger scale items are the owner’s responsibility. So if your wind generator stops working or a solar panel goes bad, it is not on you. This makes renting a homestead an attractive option when you don’t have the reserve cash to set aside for major repairs.
Con: Can’t Make Major Changes
I have rented places before that I have wanted to make big changes to – fix the barn, overseed pastures, dig new gardens, build a greenhouse, etc. However, I have had to hold myself back from major repairs many times because I just couldn’t see the long-term value in it for me. Granted, some landlords will compensate you for work you have done or want to do by reducing your rent. However, it is imperative that you have a written agreement before entering into any type of arrangement like this.
Pro: No Savings Necessary
To rent, you will need a source of income, a good rental history and most likely a deposit equal to two month’s rent. Compared to purchasing a homestead, this can be considerably less. You won’t have to have a padded bank account to rent, and if you can find cheap enough rent, you may be able to save quite a bit for your future homestead.
Con: Not an Investment
As mentioned above, you may be able to save some money while you rent. However, renting is not an investment. You will have no interest to write off on your taxes and you won’t be working toward establishing any equity. Remember, when you rent you are paying someone else’s mortgage, not your own.
Pro: Develop Your Skills
If you are new to homesteading and need a chance to test out the waters so to speak, renting might be the perfect option for you. You can practice on someone else’s land before making a huge commitment of your own.
After spending a year renting a home in an off-grid location where I had never lived before, I became convinced I wanted to stay. Renting, for me, was absolutely the best decision. It has led to the purchase of a nearby home and the search for a piece of land to create my own homestead very soon.
Remember, there really is no right or wrong choice. It is the choice that best suits you and your financial situation. If you are like me, you can make any place your home with a little hard work and lots of love.
Have you ever rented to homestead? What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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