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How do we help her???

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    I understand about wanting to keep a farm that has been in the family for 150 years. However, I think she should make sure that her daughter wants to keep the farm before making any more plans. If the daughter doesn't want anything to do with it, I would let it go, as hard as that is. It would be a terrible shame if the mother lives in poverty and barely eeks out a living to get it paid off, and then after she dies and leaves it to the daughter the daughter puts it up for sale. What is the point of that? If the daughter would want to keep it in the family, then that is a different story.

    Is there any of the farm equipment left that she used the mortgage money on? Can she sell any of that? Does she get any income off the farm at all? Is she renting it out to someone else? Is it signed up for CRP?

    How big is this farm? Is it just a farm house and a few acres around it? Or hundreds of acres? You say she only owes for 2 more years at $1500 a month. That is $36,000 for the next two years. If the farm is 100 acres and worth a very conservative $750 an acre (for our area at least), she has something worth $75,000. It sounds like she has been paying on this for 17 years, so it really must be worth more than that.

    I would go to a local community bank who knows what farms go for in the area and see if they would refinance it for 4 years instead of the 2 remaining. Get the payment cut in half and she could probably live on that. Especially if she has more than half of the equity already paid down. And if one turns you down, go to another one.

    This really depends on how big this piece of land is. If it is a farm house with enough land around it for a few chickens it wouldn't work. But, if it is a few hundred acres, someone will lend her the money to stretch out the payments and get her back on her feet.


      She has around 2 years and a couple months left to pay. There is no farm equipment left--she can't farm it without the equipment. She has a few chickens and that is about it. She has 10 acres listed for sale--it has been listed for over 2 years--no takers. Land/houses are NOT selling in this area at all. In fact, in last weeks paper, there are 57 places listed to be auctioned off at the courthouse as foreclosures. This is a small rural area--her town is 1/5 the size of mine. Our bank is closing its local branch, and that will leave us with 1 bank for about a 30 mile radius.
      She has little free time--she works 40 hours a week. Days one week, night the next week, then evenings the next week. It rotates between the 3 shifts. Her days off differ each week also.
      Her place is probably worth around $400,000. It is a house and 80 acres. Farmers are not interested in renting it as crop land, but one guy does take hay off of it and she gets a little from that. But, as wet as it is this year, she will do good to get 1 cutting, which would only be a couple hundred dollars. Many farmers are not farming--too wet to get into the fields, and for some crops will be too late once the fields dry out, so they are taking the government farm insurance payment in its place. I suggested she rent out part to put cattle on, but her fences are not the best.
      Working swing shifts, makes it hard to find a 2nd job or babysit--esp when she has no phone.
      Last time I was there, she had 2 lightbulbs in her house. Her electric can't go any lower than it is now--she pays the minimum billing on it.
      She wants to keep the farm and her daughter does too. I don't think the daughter realizes how close her mom is to loosing it since the daughter is at school away from home. Since she (mom) can't read, she is very instant that her daughter stay in college and not work to bail her out.


        Wow, she has $350,000 in equity and she can't get anyone to remortgage it to stretch out those payments? That is pretty unbelievable.

        If she can hold out for the 2010 farm bill, I would suggest putting it all in CRP. At least she would get something out of it.

        How about leasing it for hunters?


          She needs to sell the farm and find a smaller place(paid for), payoff her debts and find a job. The farm is not viable.


            That is commendable you and others are helping her. Even the retired banker guy making the calls. I tried to read each detail but may have missed:

            is there any attorney (real estate or estate planning att) that could check out her options on a volunteer basis?

            there are so many factors in this particular situation.

            Reverse mortgages are not for anyone under 62.

            In such a small obviously helpful community the judge could have given a more doable pay back judgment on that credit card - quite steep for her situation.

            I am surprised the land in itself is not more valuable where she can do something with some of the acres even selling them off or releasing them to the bank (is that even doable). If she has hundreds of acres you would think that would be quite an asset.

            Any local boyscouts want to help her with her fencing for the livestock option mentioned?

            The farm equipment - that is zilch value now obviously which is amazing because farm equipment and modernizing is what caused a lot of farmers their farms in the end. On an aside I have actually read of a guy - Don Aslett known for cleaning products who wrote in one of his books how his dad refused to be lured into the big farm equipment and actually thrived.

            Most organic farmers do not use the big farm equipment - is there a market for organic produce?

            Raise more chickens? They require less in the way of a set up but might require permits, etc.

            No chance of an equity loan because of credit?

            I think that maybe (and I know this is a personal decision that only she can make) letting the daughter know the situation so that she is fully aware she can have the choice to come back and work to keep the farm and help her mom or realize her mom may have to sell or let foreclosure ensue.

            If a person realizes they might be running into trouble, selling a farm (yes, hard in a down market) ideally lets them walk away with a profit to build their life elsewhere. If foreclosed on all they worked for it zilch. That is why I have never believed in real estate as an investment.

            If foreclosure comes up a person does not get a dime.

            Maybe put in a call to a bankruptcy attorney also.

            Unless a working farm unfortunately a farm nowadays takes money to maintain.

            Has she gone to her mortgage holder?


              a few months? Seriously? she has literally months to go and then she is done?

              Is there really no one who can loan her a couple hundred for a few months!

              As soon as it is paid off she has 1500 free each month! Get a small loan shark type loan for two months even if the interest is terrible she only has a few months!

              Have you tried or whatever that small personal loan site is?

              So long as you know she will pay it back. will she?


                I really don't get this thread at all...something seems to be missing.

                Person has a $300k to 400k asset.

                Person owes a few 10k

                Person is almost starving and is having to resort to charity???

                The whole "been in the family 150 years" thing doesn't hold water when you need to eat and live. If the farm is really worth 350k then I bet you could sell it in less than a month for $250k, thus avoiding foreclosure, etc.

                If that area is so depressed that a 350k farm can't sell for asking price, then the 250k should be enough to buy a nice 50k house on 1/4 acre and live off the rest, suplementing it with whatever the part time job brings in. Or just rent.


                  To sum:
                  -26 months (or so) of mortgage payments still owed.
                  -Woman is working but very staggerred shifts (which makes it downright impossible for a supplemental job (if even available in the area).
                  -Woman and daugther both want the property.

                  The only thing I can suggest is that someone let the daughter know that this is at risk. If I were the daughther in that situtation -- I'd want to know.

                  The 46 yr old woman cannot do this herself; she's slowly sinking.