Selling your homestead and moving can be very stressful! These tips will help ensure that both you and your homestead are prepared for the big move!

Moving is hard. But moving a homestead is even harder!

In February, we moved our homestead 500+ miles from Southwest Idaho to the South Sound area of Washington State! It was… an interesting experience! I’m thrilled with the way that things turned out, but mistakes were made, folks! We thought that we were prepared. And, honestly, we really were! But moving is stressful no matter how prepared you are! Frankly, we just did our best based on the fact that we didn’t know what to expect! 

Let’s face it: moving an entire homestead is very different from your run-of-the-mill move! 

I googled things like “how to move a homestead” trying to look for advice and help. There’s a lot of info on moving to a homestead. But what if you already have an established homestead and are moving? Frankly, there just isn’t much info out there! 

Because of that, I that once we survived our move, I would share as much info as I possible to help everyone else who might need it! So, here it is: How to Move a Homestead! There’s a lot of info, so I’ve broken it into a mini-series of posts. Feel free to jump from post to post depending on what info you need. 

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How to Move a Homestead!
In this series 4-part series, we will cover:

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Obviously, the first step in the whole process was selling our house and finding a new home. Sounds pretty simple, right? Definitely not!

Well, the selling part actually went quite well! Our house sold less that two days after we listed it! But it took us much longer to find a new property! After several very stressful weeks and 3 rejected offers, we finally had our fourth offer accepted on our new property! It actually all ended up working out perfectly, which really is quite a miracle when you consider how many moving pieces there were! 

So, today, let’s discuss some tips to get you started if you are considering selling your home and homestead in order to make a move!

The Nitty Gritty of Selling Our Homestead

Using a real estate agent: 

Let me make it clear that I am not a real-estate professional. Lindy, however, is! So, obviously we used a real estate agent (Lindy) to sell our home. I also realize that there are a lot of people with very strong opinions of real estate agents. Whether you love them or hate them, they absolutely serve a purpose. And there are some out there (like Lindy) who really do care about helping people find their dream properties. 

Personally, I would never buy or sell without a real estate agent. Living with a real estate agent really showed me how complicated and stressful the process is! And it has shown me how a good agent actually mitigates a lot of the stressful things! Lindy works 24/7 and a lot of her clients never know the sh*t she deals with and even pays for in order to make sure that their transaction goes smoothly! It’s not just about getting buyers in the doors to see your house. Your agent works non-stop on your transaction (coordinating the funding, appraisals, inspections, and communication with buyers) until you sign the closing papers! 

But, I’m not trying to sell you on using a real estate agent if you are set against it. You do you, boo! ? But I did want to explain why I value their services since many in the homestead community don’t feel the same way. 

Selling an “As-Is” Property:

We decided to sell our house “as is”. It’s actually the only way that I will sell a house. People often think that the only houses sold “as is” are dumps or that there is something wrong with them. Sometimes, that is the case. But that’s not what “as is” means! 

All that it really means is that you aren’t willing to negotiate repairs into the sale of the house. So basically, what you see is what you get. Like when you buy a used car. We sold our house “as is” meaning that we were not willing to negotiate further repairs into the sale of the home. After spending 3.5 years renovating the property and home and pouring money, time and resources into it, we simply weren’t willing to do any more at that time.

We’ve sold some houses not “as is” and regretted it later when the buyers start asking for crazy things! I think that a lot of people have a hard time understanding the reality of buying a used home and realizing that it’s going to require work! Now, how much work you want to put into it is totally up to you. If you want a brand new home, buy a brand new home. But you can’t buy a used home and then expect the sellers to make it perfect for you. That’s your job!  

Again, let me be clear that I solely wrote this post (not Lindy) and that I am not giving out any professional real estate advice here. ?

Since we decided to sell our home “as is”, we paid to have a pre-sale home inspection done. The inspection report was available to everyone who was interested in the house. That way, they could verify that the house and property were in great condition and that all major concerns had been addressed already. 

While some people may still shy away from the “as is” label, it certainly didn’t effect the sale of our home! We listed it just a few days after Christmas (which is a terrible time of year to sell, in my opinion!) and we had a full price non-contingent offer in less that 48 hours. Not too bad for this little old farmhouse! She certainly has come a long way! (See the before and after pictures here!)

Selling Your Homestead: 3 Tips to Help you Prepare

Moving an entire homestead is a big undertaking! And, believe me, it’s never too early to start prepping for it! Every day, I thank the almighty packing gods that we started early! I cannot stress how much of a weight this took off of us once the truly stressful stuff hit!

1. Start Packing & Organizing as Early as Possible!  

As soon as you know that you will be moving, or even if you are just seriously considering it, start packing! Our process of packing and preparing to move actually started in July – a full 7 months before we actually moved! At that point, we didn’t even know if we would be moving or not and we certainly didn’t know where we would be moving to. But we did know that it was a very real possibility!

During the summer, we went through every item that we had in the shed and barn. We got rid of a ton of unnecessary things. Everything that we decided to keep got cleaned, organized, packed into big Tupperware containers and labeled. We also did this with each room of our house and packed away anything that wasn’t a necessity.

2. Finish Projects & Use Your Stored Supplies

Let’s face it: if you have a homestead, you also have piles of supplies laying around waiting for “someday”.  Well, “someday” is here! If you are considering selling your homestead, it’s time to to use up those supplies and clear out those crap piles! When you do finally list your homestead property for sale, it will sell much faster (and sometimes for more money!) if it is well-maintained and clean!

We had tons of tiny and big unfinished projects that we completed during the summer and fall before our move. Again, we weren’t even sure if we would be moving! But, either way, we figured it was a good excuse to get some projects completed! 

We renovated our bathroom, which was the last room in the house to be redone. During this time, we also did some landscaping in the yard and painted the chicken coops to make sure everything was in tip-top shape! We finished painting the barns and did touch-up work on the other outbuildings. Then we did several big property clean-up days and took several loads of weeds and brush to the dump. 

In the process of doing these projects, we used up a lot of the materials we had lying around. As winter set in, we used up the leftover bits and pieces of raw lumber by burning them in the wood stove. We actually ended up using it all, which cleared out the barn and the wood storage areas. 

Obviously, there were still supplies that we left behind, but for the most part, we were able to clean up the property and use our extra supplies at the same time! I loved knowing that we were leaving the property in the best condition that it had ever been in!

3. Downsize Animals

Downsizing your livestock and farm animals will make your move easier. It takes a lot of energy and planning to move with animals! Because of this, it’s probably in your best interest to keep only your favorite animals or the ones that are the healthiest or have the best genetics. 

Animals are surprisingly resilient and most of them can handle the stress of moving. However, we all have those weaker or more sensitive animals on our homestead that might not handle the move as well as others. We had one goat (our sweet Cassie) who stressed easily. We also had some chickens that were just a little more sensitive than the rest of the flock. Because of this, we decided that these animals would definitely do best if we rehomed them before the move.

We started downsizing our homestead animals over the summer and the fall before we moved. With our goat herd, we sold our 2 bucks, 4 does and the 4 doelings that were born in the spring. That left us with just our 2 favorite does – which is considerably easier to move than an entire herd! We also sold our 3 rabbits and rehomed around 15 chickens so that our flock was reduced to about 10 birds.

Staging Your House & Property

Staging a homestead house is very different from staging a normal suburban house! After all, most people have to remember to remove the baby chicks from their bathroom before showings! ?

The reality is that a lot of people want a homestead and are looking for that kind of property. However, they often have an Instagram image of a homestead in their minds rather than the gritty real version. So, your goal is to make your home and property look like the Instagram version of a homestead! This is where packing and organizing everything early on in the process is really going to benefit you! 

Cut the clutter

Remove anything that you aren’t using on a daily basis. And even if there is something that you use regularly, it’s still not a bad idea to pack it up anyways and do without for a while. Plus, it’s one less item to pack once your house sells!

Make your property and your home seem as uncluttered as possible. You will also want to remove any personal items (like photographs) before listing your house for sale. A highly personalized home can make it hard for buyers to picture it as their own.

Make it sparkle

Clean, clean, clean! This is so hard (especially during the winter and the muddy season!) but so necessary. Get that house clean (every nook and cranny!) and keep it that way! 

Bonus tip from Lindy, the realtor: clean under the sink and make sure it looks nice with no signs of water damage. No joke – Lindy spent a small fortune making sure the area beneath our sink looked great, complete with those stick-on tiles in a farmhouse pattern! I thought she was crazy but it turns out that real estate agents look under the sink about 99% of the time and use that as a way to determine how well the house was maintained! I was shocked!

Pay attention to smells

We might not notice certain smells – especially from animals – but other people do! And smells can be a real deal-breaker for some people! Keep animal pens clean. Keep compost contained and smelling as good as possible. Diffuse essential oils in the house to give your home a fresh, clean scent. And don’t forget about this when you are cooking because you never know when you will have a showing! (For reals, I cooked shrimp and cauliflower and we had a showing pop up 20 minutes later ?)

 

Preparing for Showings

Once your house is listed for sale, it won’t be long until you have potential buyers wanting to view it. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most unpleasant times when selling a house! It’s hard having people walk around your home – especially when there is short notice! But this is a critical stage in selling your home and it will all be worth it in the long run! Here are some tips to help your homestead really show well to potential buyers.

Leave the property during showings

There is nothing more awkward for potential buyers than when the seller is at home during the showing. And it actually reduces your chances of selling the property! If you are worried about your livestock or having strangers on the property, make sure that you only allow people with their real estate agent to view the property and that they have pre-arranged the time with you. You can park just down the road in your car so that you are nearby if you want to keep an eye on things. 

Be clear on boundaries

If you are working with a real estate agent, communicate clearly to them where people are and are not allowed to go during showings. We made sure that the goat pen was off limits to people since the goats can easily escape and/or run over people while trying to escape! You can also post signs on gates communicating which areas are not to be accessed. Make it very clear that your homestead is not a petting zoo! We also opted to not have open houses for this reason. 

Consider your animals & livestock

Keep livestock securely contained during showings. You’d be shocked how many people can be scared off by a little chicken! This will also help keep your animals safe and protected.

If you have animals in your house, such as dogs and cats, try to remove them from the home before showings. During showings, we took our pups for walks or drives, depending on the weather. A home really does show much better without animals in it, and you’ll get some extra quality time with your pet! 

 

Have you sold a homestead property before? What tips or tricks would you share? Tell us in the comments!

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