On cool mornings, Dwayne and Patsy Muse like to sit on the front porch of their log cabin and enjoy the peace and quiet. Birds chirp and leaves rustle as a gentle breeze blows over the thirteen acres that surround their home in Wakefield, Louisiana. For the Muses, waking up every day in their cabin is the realization of a lifelong dream.
“It had always seemed out of reach for us,” recalls Patsy. “But we went in and talked to Aimee Cook, a loan officer at the bank, and she showed us that building it was easier than we thought.”
The couple first started dreaming about building a rustic, cozy cabin on their land more than 35 years ago, when they bought property in Wakefield with the assistance of a loan from Bank of St. Francisville. They had been living in the Baker/Central area, but wanted a larger tract of land that would provide ample space for horses. They moved a trailer onto the property with the notion of saving money to build a log home in the future. The Muses adored the look and feel of log cabin living, as it reminded them of their annual trips to the Great Smoky Mountains.
But then life took over, as it does for so many families, and other priorities postponed their plan.
“A lot of time passed,” Patsy says, “but the dream never left our minds.”
When Dwayne decided to retire after 41 years at Georgia-Pacific, the couple decided it was now or never.
“Dwayne said, ‘let’s just go for it,’ and we went in and talked to the bank,” Patsy recalls. “We sat down with Aimee and she listened to what we wanted to do.”
Aimee, the bank’s VP of Commercial and Mortgage Lending, walked the Muses through their options for financing their forever home, a modest log cabin with a spacious front porch and about 1,100 square feet of living space.
“A lot of retirees, or those approaching retirement, find they finally have the time and resources to pursue that dream home,” Aimee says. “What a borrower wants to do is to find the right balance of using some of what they’ve saved with a loan that has an affordable monthly note.”
The Muses worked closely with their financial advisors, Cetera Investment Services, (located within the bank), to make a smart decision about how much to borrow to complete the project, while still allowing their years of retirement savings to grow. They secured a 12-month construction loan from the bank, enabling them to hire an experienced builder, Jesse Ludeau of Ludeau Construction/Louisiana Cabin Company. BSF also offered the Muses a favorable interest rate for their cabin mortgage, which was underwritten by the bank directly.
“We were thrilled,” Patsy recalls. “Within three months, Ludeau Construction was starting on the cabin, and in about five-and-a-half months, it was finished. It’s just perfect for us.”
Constructed from Spruce logs cut to their home’s specifications, the Muse’s new cabin includes cathedral ceilings in the living room, a dining room, a master bedroom and bathroom, a bonus room where Patsy likes to sew, and a half-bathroom.
“The whole experience of realizing this dream has just been great,” Patsy says. “We’ve been banking with BSF a long time and wouldn’t have gone with anyone else to see this through.”
Takeaway: When planned correctly, it’s possible to build or buy your forever home even as you enter retirement. Talk to your financial advisor and loan officer about smart options that will help you fulfill your goals while keeping you on solid financial ground.