Expanding your homestead is going to take quite a bit of money. After all, you’ve got a lot of things to invest in here, and it might take a while for you to really get that expansion project going. However, working out ahead of time what you can afford and when you’ll be able to afford it is key; if you’re a new homesteader, or you’re someone who wants to breathe a bit more life into your homestead for the year beyond, here are some questions to ask yourself right now.
Imagine what you could do with all that land… (Pexels Image – CC0 Licence)
What Animals Do You Want?
You want to care for as many animals as possible, and you want to have your own flocks you can spend time with throughout the day. However, knowing which animals are right for you, and that you can afford, is essential here.
Expanding the homestead is most often done by including new animals on your land, and deciding which animals you want/would be best for your home and family takes a bit of research. If you already have animals, you probably already have the equipment needed to care for further livestock. However, if you’re a new homesteader, or you’ve never cared for anything other than your cute, cuddly dog before, there’s going to be some bigger expenses here.
For example, taking in chickens for both eggs and meat – you need to know about the laws, you need to be able to account for basic care at the very least, and you also need the right space for an entire flock of hens. And these same principles apply to cattle or goats or pigs too, so work out what animals you want the most, and focus on them one at a time.
Can You Refinance the House?
If you took out a mortgage to purchase your homestead, rather than, say, buy it outright or inherit it, you could try to refinance it to save some money here. Going in for a lower interest rate, and/or lower monthly payments, is a good way to put more cash into your savings and save up for what you really want to do with your home.
Decide what you want out of refinancing, most of all, based on your plans for the future. Keep in mind that you could also simply look to change the term of your loan here. Lowering an interest rate is most effectively done by cutting down how long it’ll take to pay the whole thing back, so look for either 15 to 20 year terms. This will really free up some room in the budget for the future. However, if you’re focused on the here and now, lengthening this term will ensure your monthly payment is much lower than before, which will help you get a move on.
Most of all, shop around for the right interest rate for home loan here; you don’t need to stick with the provider you’re currently with, and you definitely don’t need to jump onto the first mortgage you come across! You have options, and it’s worth it to hold your horses and keep an eye out for one that really attracts you.
Is There Enough Room For New Buildings?
And then we come to the issue of space. Even when you only have a small holding to make use of, there are many creative ways to create more areas to make good use of. Doubling up on space, using compost bins and recycling most materials as part of the farm, growing in small vertical spaces instead of horizontally, etc. These are all great ways to keep your small holding functioning and expanding.
But what can you do to physically increase that space? Well, you could rent the land next to you. If you’re living in a neighbourhood of homesteads, it’s a good idea to talk to your neighbors and ask if you can pay to use their land. This is a very accessible way to expand your operation.
Can you afford to expand your homestead? Really, there are multiple different ways you need to account for here, and you don’t just need to have the budget to do so. You need the time and the space too, and preparing these will lead to much more successful homestead expansion in the future. So don’t delay; your homestead needs some work, to ensure it can get bigger and better in the years to come.
*This is a collaborative post