Trading Rent and Partial Board for Work?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tango, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I've read enough about renting to give me some doubts but I want to ask anyway. This summer my son will finish homeschooling and will begin college in Florida. I will need some help around here but am leary of sacrificing my privacy and /or inviting someone else's problems into my life. Hence I'm not sure yet, just asking questions.

    For one thing, my house isn't finished and everyone will lack privacy to an extent. For another thing, I'm off grid so life is not what many people are used to. No fridge, not to mention cooling... toting water is still a possibility when the water system messes up, etc. This house is a work in progress.

    Then there is the thing about loafers getting in an me having to hire a lawyer or call the sheriff's office, or someone lying and not knowing anything about anything and not being useful, or the deal going bad for both sides.
    The work I need may be specialized to some extent, fencing repair, some drywall work, installing interior doors, vinyl floor (maybe). I can also offer some hands on work with dairy goats, poultry, a dairy cow, and horses. The place is gorgeous, which is why I don't want to invite problems, but I realize it would be difficult for a lot of people to live this life and see the problems in who it might attract.

    Do I even want to invite someone in to my house? Any experience with this? I was thinking of putting a definite limit on the time, say one year or six months since I don't want a long term arrangement - just need help while the bigger projects are finished. Probably not an opton most people find agreeable.

    Should I just tough it out and go it alone and pay for work as I can?
     
  2. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Tango,

    Perhaps the solution to the situation you present could be what we have discussed in http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=117152 (and in an earlier thread that was probably lost in the Great Crash).

    Having an “RV Helper” would not infringe upon your privacy or theirs. There would be no “eviction” problems if things went sideways. Many RVers are accustomed to being self-contained and living off the grid (they call it “boondocking”).
     

  3. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    I think the odds are miniscule for you getting someone who fits your needs and needs what you have to offer. And the potential downside is tremendous - the wrong person can wreck everythingn and sour your experience. I wouldn't consider someone like that unless you had references from several bosom buddies.

    I think you'd be better off with a local friendship and trade help. Or maybe finding someone local you can see that's competent and then offering them your help on what they need extra hands for in exchange in kind. No transients.

    But then, I do everything myself. Sometimes things don't get done.
     
  4. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    I think you might want to ask yourself who would be out of work, with no ties and able to relocate for just for room and partial board? It could be bad situation for a woman alone to have a stranger around. You have a vested interest in the successful completion of your home, what would motivate the person you're looking for? Almost everywhere people with building skills are indemand even as casual "handymen". Most of the time you have to wait until they can fit you in. I'd be a little concerned as to what kind of quality craftsmanship might show up.
     
  5. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion obser, given what caballoviejo and fricknfarm advised I am retracting. That is kind of what I thought, especially the being alone part. The most urgent need I have presently is fencing and I can do that myself given time and materials. I've tried the local approach btw. I have two neighbors who have come to the rescue a hundred times and continue to do so. The rest make promises and don't keep them. That latter type is probably what I would end up with if I opened my home :rolleyes: Okay back to reality :)
     
  6. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    There is quite a difference in what is produced by positive outlook and expectations vs. that produced by negative outlook and expectation. Note the difference in MorrisonCorner’s “controlled positive” vs. “suspicious negative” views.

    Those who prefer to be suspicious of others and negative in outlook are certainly welcome to live that way. Anyone can imagine negative scenarios for ANY course of action and can project their fears and negative characteristics upon others.

    We choose to associate with friendly, positive people who are not afraid of others and we allow anyone the opportunity to earn our trust and respect. That has produced positive outcomes for all concerned.

    IF people turn out to be negative or usurious we are capable of recognizing and dealing with the situation promptly and appropriately. Thus, we do not close the door to positive outcomes before they have a chance to develop in order to prevent any possibility of encountering negative people.

    We frequently hear, “Aren’t you afraid to ____________ (fill in the blank)?” referring to things we do regularly with very enjoyable results and no threats to our safety or well being.

    Perhaps others have reason to fear “the unknown” because of past situations in which they were a participant (“participant” is a key word and concept) or because of “horror stories” presented by sensationalist media and fearful acquaintances.
     
  7. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    I have had experience with people who were supposed to trade labor for rent, we owned several rental properties. The key word is OWNED. It was an ordeal to oust what turned out to be real dead beats. There were always "problems" that prevented them from fulfilling their part of the bargain. I would have to supply not only the free housing, but transportation also if I wanted any work done.
    I never had any of these people(I use the term loosely) actually living in my abode. I can't imagine what it would be like. Hell would probably be a viable alternative.
    REMEMBER the old adage, "cheap is dear". I have no idea why anyone in this day and age would encourage a lady alone to welcome strangers into her home. I think the best course is the one you have decided to take. Things may go a little slower, but you'll feel secure.
    Maybe you can have a "frolic" like my Amish neighbors. They get together and have a "party" at someone's place. 10-20 men don their tool aprons and in one day the can do AMAZING things. Everybody has a nice big dinner together, not sure if the wives bring "covered dishes" or the host family does it all, but I've seen BIG barns go up in two days like this. Many hands make light work. This is all reciprocal. Perhaps you might be able to get your neighbors interested in this kind of thing, a dozen families working cooperatively with a schedule(one day a month X 12 months= 12 farms) would give each family 12 days labor a year. Perhaps the families that like this idea could draw up a loose "contract" themselves describing terms for a cooperative labor group.
    Another idea is can you trade labor? Can you "babysit"? Do you have skills like sewing? Can you do country crafts like carding/spinning? Many folks here LOVE natural fiber. How about trading things like started plants/perennials ? Rights to cut firewood? Do you have goats/chickens/ Trade milk or homemade cheese/eggs? Chickens? Money isn't the only answer, but you don't need to be reckless with your safety either. I'll bet YOU have many skills that would allow you to "pay" for the services you need.
     
  8. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    If you set up some sort of quasi-official "sustainable living" arrangement on your land, you can go hunting for interns. I know someone who has a large organic garden and raises goats organicly and regularly has college students interning at their place. They do it for credit, so they're fairly commited to the experience, and they're also short term. There's little chance that they will decide to stay and not go back to school. It's also a conventional arrangement with established guidelines, so you won't find yourself in a situation where you feel like you're indebting yourself to anyone. The best part is that you get to establish rules with an expectation that they will be adhered to. (within reason, of course)
     
  9. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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  10. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    What kind of fences are you talking about? Barbed wire with T posts?, heavy gauge hog panels, smooth wire?

    On soil or rock? How many linear feet, corners, and what typ corner posts?
     
  11. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    I posted a similar question a long while ago & got some great replys.

    Although I haven't finished my "trailer for rent", it's coming along and will be rented this summer

    Mainly what I've gleaned, is: rent it for what it's worth - either weekly or monthly. If you rent it for a year, it's considered a lease & becomes very hard to evict tenants.

    UTILITIES:I realize you're off grid, so that'll have to be worked out. I have my own well, so water is free. The tenant will buy their own propane for heat & cooking. Electricity? I'm not sure how to handle that yet, but I do know NO airconditioning!!

    BOUNDARIES: Make it clear that this is a business and where they are/are not allowed. I have a friend that let a gal haul her trailer on the property to "watch" it & said she could use the washer & dryer in the house. Pretty soon it seemed like the gal was in the house night & day.

    Do not exchange rent for work.... Pay by the job (not hourly). They can apply the $$ towards the rent. Keep great records so there's no misunderstanding.

    Try to get a referral from someone you know rather than getting a stranger on your property. ie: your minister, work, etc.

    This is a business affair...don't let it become mixed up with friendship.

    Best of lick....
     
  12. BillyGoat

    BillyGoat Well-Known Member

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    I myself would never be comfortable having any man living in my home.

    There is a thread (on Homesteading questions) for RV homesteading. The couple goes to different homesteads and helps with work. They are strying to get other Rv'ers to do this(verses government and forest jobs). May want to check that out.
     
  13. ChickenTracy

    ChickenTracy Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't feel comfortable with someone in my own home other than a few days visit. Not because of fear but comfortability. I kind of like to lounge around in the evening in my T's. Sleep with the BR door open. But, if I had the $$ I'd be more than glad to fix up the room over the garage & make it into a nice garage apartment. Rent free in exchange for a few odds & ends around the place. Just someone I could count on that was easy to get along with & didn't mind helping out now & then. This way everyone would have their privacy. The tenent would have free rent & I'd have someone to help out ocassionally when we needed an extra hand. They could come & go as they wished & I wouldn't be wakened by them coming in late,etc. A young married couple would be great! Right now it's one big large loft like area. Just an idea I've had for years that just hasn't panned out because of expense to make it into an apt.
     
  14. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    ChickenTracy, I think most people share your desire to maintain privacy. That is one big advantage of having RV visitors. Not only is your privacy respected, so is theirs. We always make it a point of insuring both – and that is not difficult since we have our own house (and no desire to immerse ourselves in the lives of others).

    If you do build that garage apartment, it might be wise to charge rent with the understanding that it will be reduced in proportion to the help provided. Giving someone free rent could easily lead to misunderstandings and to disappointing levels of help. I would set a fair hourly rate and a fair rental rate (say, just for example, $6 an hour and $300 rent).

    That way you could expect about 12 hours of work every week in exchange for the rent. To the renters that is a couple hours per day and no rent due. Another way to think about it is that you receive a couple hours help every day in exchange for the use of your garage apartment – probably fair to all concerned.

    By charging rent and reducing it in proportion to help, YOU stay in control. If help is scarce, they have to outlay more cash -- a great incentive system.
     
  15. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

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    This is how we have done it in the past, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again in the future!

    We have a large spare room with a bathroom. We advertise for a childless married couple to trade 40 hours a week of work on the farm in exchange for full room and board. They can both work 20 hours a week on the farm and work outside too for spare cash, or one spouse can work 40 hours a week on the farm and the other spouse can work outside. This is usually a sustainable arrangement. We put a time limit on the contract, to be re-evaluated for extension or termination depending upon everyones agreement. There has to be respect for the household by all parties. They have their own television in their room, but are welcome to watch what we're watching if they would like.
    We evaluate a lot of people before we agree to any one couple. We use the application process; have interested parties fill out an application with personal references, business references, etc. We do background checks on them all as well.
    Only once did we get in a bad situation. We had a 30 year old man who, once hired, started a divorce action against his wife wherein she moved out. He expected DH and I to be surrogate parents whilst he sat on his duff and ate our food and watched our television. He was clearly in violation of the contractual agreement. We met him at the door one day, escorted him to his room to pack his belongings and then stood on the porch and waved as he drove off. :rolleyes:
    Having Bouncenhumble makes it much safer and easier though. I don't know if I'd do it as a single woman or not. I'd have to think long and hard about it.
     
  16. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate all the replies, I've talked with family and friends about it as well. The unanimous answer is "no." Basically it is because I am a single woman I have worked hard for what I have and won't risk it. It was just an idea. Obser it has nothing to do with positive or egative thinking- but with reality and practicality. I've accomplished milestones since last summer on my own because I believe in being positive. I've also met way too many people looking for a way to cheat another and I won't have it in my life.
     
  17. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    If were going to do it I would AT LEAST go by the procedure above, you can add more if you want. As far as my own experience I've been there done that and will never do it again. Definitely DO NOT let them live in the house you live in. I have a couple of horror stories that I do not want to relive.