Purchasing A Horse Property Can Be An Exciting Time
Purchasing A Horse Property Can Be An Exciting Time
Purchasing a horse property can be an exciting time. It is something all horse lovers dream of –
having a ranch of their own, with their beloved equines right outside their
back door. Whether you are bringing your horses home for the first time from
the boarding stables, or you have had your horses at home and are simply
relocating, you probably already have an idea of what you are looking for in a
horse property. There are many factors
to consider, as you are not only trying to find your next home, but also the
perfect living space for your four legged friends.
Location, Location, Location
Location is key, as the saying goes, and
it rings true for horse property. But what really makes for a “prime location”?
As horse properties go, the perfect location must be based upon several
criteria. First, one must look at the current and future needs of the humans
and animals who will reside on the property.
If you have children, it is a good idea to check out the schools, parks,
and other activities in the area. Also, consider how close the property will be
to work, schools, and important amenities such as grocery stores and other
shopping, feed and pet supply stores, and entertainment. The proximity to horse-related activities,
such as shows, riding clubs, and recreational trails may also be available in
the area is also something to look into before committing to a property.
It is also important to think about how the location of the property will
affect you and your loved ones in an emergency situation. As all equestrians
know, with horses come injuries – both equine and human, and sometimes other
animals. Given that fact, it is important to determine the proximity of the
local hospital emergency room, equine veterinarian, small animal veterinarian,
and farrier to the property you are considering. Look at the routes to the
property, and consider how quickly you could evacuate your family and animals
in the event of a catastrophe.
Geographical features of the area should also have some bearing upon choosing a
property which will be most practical and cost-effective in the long-term. Many
geographical features can make or break a horse property, with water flow and
the resulting drainage and erosion issues being at the top of the list. Many
people who currently own horse property will tell you that it is best to visit
a potential property during or shortly after a rain storm to observe the
behavior of the water. You can also look
at potential properties on Google Earth to try to determine water flow and
erosion patterns, and also find out about other geographical features
surrounding your prospective new home.
Additional geographical features that should be taken into consideration
include learning about the common poisonous plants, trees, snakes, and insects
that may affect your animals, as well as what other wildlife may be found in
the area. Identifying and eradicating toxic plants in the areas your horses
will frequent is the first step toward providing a safe environment for them.
Learning about the wildlife and the potential hazards they pose can help you
formulate a plan to protect your horses from dangerous diseases such as rabies,
and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM).
The house should certainly be a major deciding factor in whether you make an
offer or not. Unless you have plenty of
excess funds designated to property improvements, the last thing you want to do
is buy a mediocre house that has stellar horse facilities, as you may
eventually find yourself spending money fixing the house instead of funding
your next horse show or paying off that last vet bill. Be sure to have all of
the structures on the property inspected by a licensed home inspector,
including any sheds, barns, and other outbuildings. Some homes in the country
were built by individuals who may not have been licensed contractors, and you
may not be able to see what hazards lay beneath the sheetrock. The inspector
may also notice buildings that are too close to a setback or easement, which
future owners can be held responsible for even if they did not build the
structures in question. Ask your agent
to obtain a full property profile from the title company, and request a
color-coded map showing setbacks and easements.
If the property is on a septic system, have it pumped and fully inspected,
including testing the leech lines. Most rural properties are on a well, and it
is advisable to have the well tested for water quality and gallons per minute
(GPM) output. This is particularly important if you are using the well water to
irrigate landscaping and pasture. You can visit your local water district to
find out about your water rights, and it is recommended to have a perk test
done as well.
Some homes with horse property are located within communities that have a home
owner’s association (HOA), and thus there may be specific requirements for how
you maintain your property. It is essential to find out about these
requirements prior to moving in, as HOA rules generally tend to be more
stringent than local zoning regulations or laws. It is equally important to be
aware of the zoning restrictions for the property you may be considering, and
pay particularly close heed to the maximum number of horses allowed per
It is also a wise decision to take some time to check out your potential
neighbors to get an idea of what it might be like to live near them. If you see
that many of them own livestock or horses themselves, you might be looking at
good neighbors! Some potential red flags
may include dirt bike tracks, shooting targets, or unkempt animals which may be
harboring disease or parasites. Look at the condition of any common fence lines
shared with neighbors for signs of poor maintenance or other things which could
prove hazardous for your horses, such as toxic plants allowed to grow over into
grazing areas. Shared fences should be a
shared responsibility, and signs of disrepair may be an indication that fence
maintenance may be left to you as the new home owner. This can be costly,
particularly if the neighbor owns animals with destructive vices.
The Facilities Minimum requirements by humane standards mandate
that horses have access to adequate shelter from the elements, food, and clean
water. By these standards, it is perfectly acceptable to purchase a horse
property which merely has an enclosed paddock with a three-sided shelter with a
roof. Of course, most horse people want more in a horse property than just the
bare minimum, and safety and proper containment methods are also important. Any future plans for the use of the property
and what those plans entail in terms of facility requirements should all be
taken into account. You should ensure
that you have adequate space to accommodate the number of horses you plan to
have on the property, and the ability to properly dispose of manure.
It can be easy to overlook the maintenance costs of owning a large piece of
property, particularly if you have never owned acreage before. If there is a lot of landscaping on the
property, you will either have to maintain it yourself, or hire a gardening
service to do it for you. Then, of
course, there is the maintenance of the horse facilities. If the property you
purchase has primarily wooden fencing, you can expect to spend a fair amount
each year on fencing repairs and maintenance, especially if you have any horses
that like to chew wood in their spare time. The same goes for wooden barns,
shelters, and any sheds the horses may have access to.
In addition to having safe and secure facilities for your horses, it is also a
good idea to have a secure place to store equipment such as tractors and tack,
as well as a clean, dry area to store feed where it will be safe from vermin
such as mice and insects. Many barns choose to have locking doors on these
facilities to deter the theft of valuable tack, and now sadly feed supplies as
well, in some areas. Locking doors may be particularly valuable to those
seeking to run a boarding, training stable or riding school, or any other type
of facility which may be accessible to the public.
Work with the Pros Having a realtor who specializes in horse properties is
probably the most important tool you can have in your repertoire. Finding an
agent you can rely upon to understand the specific needs a horse owner will
have can mean the difference between finding a property you love and settling
for less than you’d hoped for. There is
nothing more frustrating to horse owners than being shown properties with “a
beautiful barn” that turns out to be a 30 x 30 metal workshop full of junk in
which the old owner kept a downtrodden pony for a few years.
Finding the right lender is equally important, due to the fact that in some
areas, the size of the property may have an effect on what type of loan you can
get. It is best to find a lender who has
years of experience in the industry and is familiar with all different types of
financing programs which are available at the time you start looking for your
new home. Your lender can also help you
identify your spending limits so you know how much property you can afford. It
is a good idea to have money set aside after closing for any unforeseen
expenses that may arise after you move in.
After you have found your dream property, be sure to set up an appointment with
your insurance agent to go over the changes you will need to make to your
coverage after closing. Horses are considered livestock, and are excluded from
a typical homeowner’s policy, and barns also have to be scheduled in as they
are not appurtenant structures. If you plan on running an equine business on
your new property, it is important for your insurance agent to be knowledgeable
enough to set up a commercial package such as a Farm Owner’s or special multi-perils
policy, including worker’s comp insurance to keep your facility from being shut
down for inadequate insurance. There is a lot to consider when you begin looking for a
horse property to purchase, but think of how rewarding it will be to step
through your back door and see your equine friends looking back at you!
To help you find a perfect property for your horses you can
use these quick links for the counties listed. You can also use the “options”
tab when using the search box on homeboom.com
Author:Sean Safholm BRE#01270334 Phone: 916-920-7000 Dated: June 19th 2014 Views: 582 About Sean: Sean Safholm started his career in real estate in 1999 when he was going to college to study real es...
Sean Safholm is a licensed Real Estate Broker in California. He is a real estate investor, broker, and seasoned mortgage pro. Sean has closed over 2000 transactions on the mortgage side of the business and a few dozen house deals for his own account. He has extensive knowledge on all sides of the real estate transaction and is here to assist first time buyers, move up buyers and investors with all their real estate needs.
The news came out a while back that Freddie Mac was suspending its new
"My husband and I were looking to buy a home and needed direction. We needed help finding the best area that was going to fit our family needs as well as finding a great loan that would fit our needs. We contacted Sean Safholm who was wonderful in taking care of us and helped us find the area that worked best for my family. He directed us to a new home subdivision that had the perfect house and met all the needs of my family.
He always answered all of our questions and picked up his phone every time we called. Even though he was not our real estate broker, Sean helped us with our financing to purchase our home. We feel we got the best deal in town with our mortgage. I priced/shopped rates with a few lenders and by far Sean Safholm beat them not only in price and payment, but also in customer service! I continue to recommend Sean Safholm to all of my family and friends.