Farm living isn't for everyone but for my friend Gretchen, it's the lifestyle she's picked for retirement. I can't wait to visit the new farm and of course, I plan to study the old farmhouse in detail so you'll be hearing lots more about farm living, from a city mouse (that's me) and my friend Gretchen who grew up on a farm in Maine.
It's actually quite fascinating watching a number of friends go through the process of planning for retirement, and then actually turn their dreams into reality. Gretchen and Anne are proof that with good planning that includes your dreams along with the finances to support those dreams, you can make it happen! It might take a few years to sort out priorities of where you want to retire (that's where I'm stuck and it's not easy) and then take the right financial steps to get there..
Farm Living Started with a Plan
When you live in Boston and love to garden, you realize more land and more gardening is going to be important for your next home, especially when it's your retirement home and you have lots more options. Once they decided they wanted to buy a farmhouse, they started planning to sell their Boston condo. Gretchen monitored the real estate market and was able to sell the condo at the top of the market. They rented an apartment in Newton Center and started their search for the perfect farmhouse in western Massachusetts, with plenty of time to learn which towns offered the best utilities, access to health care and so much more.
Farm Living Starts with Buying a Farm House
It was fun hearing It was fun hearing about all the different farmhouses they looked at, some with great views and others with issues like one farm where strangers could hunt legally without permission. Finally they found the perfect farmhouse and closed on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Here’s what Gretchen shared after two days of farm living, right after the closing …
Thought I’d let you know that Anne and I made it through our first two days of farm ownership with flying colors. It didn’t hurt that the weather was drop-dead gorgeous.
On Tuesday morning, we did our final walk-through of the house with our real estate agent (Paula) and her husband (Rick). Rick is also a real estate agent and he had accompanied us on several of our farm viewings, but not this one. He kept walking around the house and saying, “Wow, this house is in great shape!” And for 173 years old, she certainly is. Many of the original details are still intact. For example, she has wonderful wood floors throughout the house.
Farmhouses Can Be Beautiful
Yes, those are pocket doors in between the two rooms. Four of the rooms need some extra TLC – removing acoustic tiles from the ceilings (to be replaced with wallboard and a flat finish), and removing wall-to-wall carpeting on the floors (which takes tons of time and energy just to remove the staples). Yes, Anne and I will be doing this renovation work along with our good friend Marianne. Then we will be stripping wallpaper and painting after some initial carpentry work is completed by a local carpenter and his son.
And speaking of wallpaper, it’s all through the house (which is typical of that era). While we plan on painting (rather than wallpapering) many of the rooms, we do plan on replacing the wallpaper in the hallway (which currently has a kind of southern Tara theme). As you can see below, the sellers liked it and even found a Kleenex box to match!
And just in case you were wondering about the outdoor cat (Ortiz) who came with the farm, it turns out he was our first ever house guest! So much for “outdoor cat” status. You can see that he hasn’t missed too many meals. And contrary to his reputation as being aloof, he was extremely friendly and happy to be combed.
That’s all for now, we will keep you posted from time to time on our farm adventure.”
PS Continue reading about Gretchen's farm adventures, and other homeowner stories here …