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View Full Version : Update.Looking at an acreage!...Well I looked.



TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 3, 2009, 03:35 PM
We have offices in two towns and an acreage has come up for sale on a highway inbetween and I made an appt. to go see it. I'm a bit giddy right now. It costs about 10k less than my house in the "city" was to buy (and I think we can get a tad more) and that's because it is an OLD 1111 sq ft house with a single detached garage that hasn't been updated since 1950 when the 1920's house was moved to the farmsite. But through my folks I know the elderly lady who is moving off the property would have kept it clean and tidy. My issue is that my husband has said he will move to the country only if the house is as nice or nicer than our home (which is much larger and nicer than this place is)...eeeesh. Usually that means an acreage that costs at least double what our house does.

This place comes with rural water, one little shed, the detached one car garage and a nice mature shelterbelt on the north and west sides. Approx. one acre (looks like more) but there is "additional land available." We'd need a snowblower for sure, but the drive isn't tremendous. The trees sep. the house from the highway. House is in the middle of the "acre".

Ok, so my questions. Assume I buy additional bare farm land--how much more do I need? I will NOT grow my own hay, but want to eventually have a 6 stall (or to be exact, a 4 12x12 stall, wash stall and tack room) barn, sacrifice paddock, 2 grass paddocks for lets say a maximum of 3 geldings and 3 mares (plan is no more than three, but you know how that goes). Also room for a 200' x 200' arena (future indoor outdoor if I want). That's it. I don't want to do a bunch of mowing. I don't want dirt lot pastures either (well except the sacrifice paddock). This is good midwestern farm land, btw.

So can you guys help me out--how much land for the above? Assume all house stuff (garages, toy storage, etc.) will fit on the acre that the house and shelter belt sits on.

It's fun to dream.

Also, what do I need to look out for in this house? I bet the wiring is outdated...

SkipHiLad4me
Dec. 3, 2009, 03:55 PM
Ideally, 2 acres per horse will give you plenty of grazing with room for rotating pastures. Minimally, I'd want 1 acre per horse or you'll end up with little to no pastures absent only the very best pasture management. Add in another 1-2 acres for barn and arenas depending on how you lay out your farm.

Definitely have the house fully inspected before you buy - wiring, roofing, heat/AC system, foundation, etc. All of these can be of concern in an older house and can definitely hurt the pocketbook with unexpected expenses if you're not fully informed of what you're buying.

good luck!! :yes:

GoForAGallop
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:03 PM
The first half of your post was discussing just the acre that the house is sitting on, and I was about to say "Ohh, sweetie, an acre isn't ACREAGE." :lol:

I too, like the poster above me, would stick with the two acres per horse rule. My three boys go out on a five acre field all summer (well, actually it's split into two fields and they swap every other week or so) and they have it pretty much beat by the end of the warm period. My sacrifice area is about an acre, and there's not a chance of anything growing in there, obviously.

So if you want six horses, I'd go with twelve acres...plus a little more for your ring and whatnot. You don't have to use all the land all the time...in fact, it would be better if you could have one or two "extra" fields that you can rotate in and out of service. So let's say you have 15 acres and the three boys go out in a group, and the three girls in another. I'd probably have three 4 acre fields (with one being rested while the other two are in use) and then with the additional three acres I'd put up a small paddock or two (for layups/new arrivals/quarentines/etc) and then fill the rest up with house/barn/storage sheds/etc.


OBVIOUSLY it can be done with less land. It just takes better management. But, ideally, for me and six horses, 15 acres or so is about as low as I would go. But then again, I'm sitting on 90 right now and I get a little claustrophobic sometimes, so I may not be the best one to listen to!! :lol: :lol:

sunridge1
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:06 PM
20 acres.

Bacchus
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:15 PM
I agree with the 2 acres per horse. I have three fields and a paddock. Two fields are about 3 acres each, one is about 2 acres, and the paddock is pretty small. I have four horses on this land. They still have grass now, but I live in Kentucky:) I rotate among the three main fields and use the paddock as a dry lot (although it's never actually been dry).

Expect to do a LOT of mowing. Maybe it's just here, but we need to mow about every two weeks in the spring and early summer -- not that we get around to it as often as we should, but our pastures show it:(

Also, you will need a good-sized tractor, mower and harrow, which are additional costs. We often end up paying someone to mow for us, and it gets expensive.

We have a total of 10 acres, the other 2 acres has a house, a shop with three-stalls attached (paddock is off of these), and a shed. We use a zero-turn for that mowing.

I do not have an arena, but I think I'd be OK using the smaller field for one, but it will take valuable grazing land.

Just be prepared -- Maintenence on the land is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. It's worth it, though!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:25 PM
The first half of your post was discussing just the acre that the house is sitting on, and I was about to say "Ohh, sweetie, an acre isn't ACREAGE." :lol:




I know that, silly.

What I would likely do is NOT bring the horses home and rent out the bare land to the farmer for the time being so the focus is on remodeling/adding on to the house. I think that's the only way hubby will be on board.

I don't want to get into the situation that because we brought the horses home right away nothing ever gets done. I want to take my time and build it right.

Maybe there is some way to buy 7 acres now with an option to buy 7 more in x years?? I just think they are going to really stick it to me on the per acre cost and I won't need it until the horses come home *sigh*

I actually only have three horses (can't all be together though) but like the flexibility of having less or more... I guess what I really don't want is to have lots of upkeep (relatively speaking--I know what it takes) and want to make this as efficient as possible in terms of equipment needs and fencing. I may never build the indoor arena...

In fact I may only bring the retiree(s) home and keep boarding the riding horse(s) just to avoid the facility cost and upkeep.

SkipHiLad4me
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:35 PM
If you aren't interested in maintenance and upkeep, then I would suggest sticking with the boarding :lol: Pasture and barn maintenance is an ongoing battle.

trubandloki
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:38 PM
Check with local ordinances to make sure there is not a minimum acreage required for the number of horses you are planning on having.

JanM
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:56 PM
For the house I bet you'll have to redo the plumbing, electrical, flooring, and I'd worry about the amount of insulation it has too. If the attic is unfinished you can take out the old insulation and do blown in later. You might have to totally gut the kitchen and baths depending on the conditions and styles. I'm sure you'll have to upgrade the electrical load, and add things like cable, phone and internet outlets. It actually might be cheaper, easier and quicker to replace the house considering the actual conditions and the cost of upgrading. On my house redoing the wiring was almost $10,000 by itself. I would also get an engineer to look at the foundation and possibilities of adding on to the house in the future. The septic and well would be a concern too. And I second what trubandloki said about acreage and zoning requirements. And make sure you get a good survey too.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:59 PM
Check with local ordinances to make sure there is not a minimum acreage required for the number of horses you are planning on having.

There is not--I checked.

There is no well (at least that I would use). It is hooked into the rural water system.

I'm bringing a contractor friend along with me.

If we can get by for 10 years that would be great. Our goal is to build a home in the future (regardless).

It may not work out either, I'll know when I go look at it and figure out the acreage cost. I appreciate all the input though!!

2DogsFarm
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:46 PM
PerimeterFencing (ok - really 2 words)

2ac/horse is a great rule if you can do it.
On 7ac you could fence off as much of the land as possible for your pasture/barn or run-ins/arena - you said the house sits in the middle, right?
In hindsight I wish I'd fenced my house off and left 90% of the place as pasture. Just enough green space around the house for some flowers and small veggie garden.
Less mowing would be bliss.

EqTrainer
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:46 PM
You can never have too much land. Really.

LauraKY
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:55 PM
You can never have too much land. Really.

I agree. We have 15 acres. Started with two horses. Now have 5 to 6 (depending on training schedule.) That is pretty much all my property can handle. Looking to buy more adjacent property, but owner knows he has me over a barrel.

JanM
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:10 PM
I agree with the buy all of the acreage now. Once you buy the house and what you need now, and sometime later you decide to buy more you may not be able to for one reason or another. Or the neighbor might raise the price ridiculously high because they have you over a barrel, or they might sell and the next owner doesn't want to sell to you. Since the current house is for a limited time I would upgrade things like cable and phone by running from the outside if that is easier, and it's what I did at the beginning, unless your providers will run it through the attic or basement (most won't do attics anymore). If the house is liveable for your needs for the number of years you need it for then only do what you absolutely have to for your convenience, such as reface the kitchen and bath cabinets or paint them if they're solid. Leave existing light fixtures and such if they work, and save the fancy floors, lights, technology for the next house. And if you buy extra land and don't want it later you could probably sell it later or rent it out for hay or something. You really can't have too much land.

cowgirljenn
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:38 PM
You can never have too much land. Really.

I agree. In Alvin/Houston, I had 5 acres and between 5 and 8 horses (you can do it, you just have to deal with lots of mud, little grass, and lots of hay feeding).

So when we moved to the Waco area, I doubled it. Now I really want to somehow find the money to buy the 10 acres next door. And then 15 acres on the other side.

You can never have enough land. :)

horsetales
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:46 PM
I agree with the others, min 2ac/horse if you really want to keep grazing grass. Also, as much as you can talk DH into letting you have. However, like empty stalls, large grassy fields seem to lead to the accumulation of horses :lol:

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:07 AM
I agree with the others, min 2ac/horse if you really want to keep grazing grass. Also, as much as you can talk DH into letting you have. However, like empty stalls, large grassy fields seem to lead to the accumulation of horses :lol:

THAT is precisely my fear!!

I told my husband about my little upcomming adventure and asked if he wanted to go along for the initial walk through and he reminded me he refuses to live in some "sh## hole", likes our house, and declined the trip in favor of (his already planned) pheasant hunting.

Maybe therein lies the key to hubby's heart? More land = more birds

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I'm worried about a highway and my dogs getting loose/killed. Which is sort of silly, because I live a couple blocks away from a relatively main thoroughfare in the city and have no issues (although the boy did have a couple adventures in fence diving before I lined the bottom with 4x4s).

nightsong
Dec. 4, 2009, 06:02 AM
Check zoning regulations. Horses or other livestock or agricultural uses may not even be PERMITTED on this residential lot.

judybigredpony
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:52 AM
THAT is precisely my fear!!

I told my husband about my little upcomming adventure and asked if he wanted to go along for the initial walk through and he reminded me he refuses to live in some "sh## hole", likes our house, and declined the trip in favor of (his already planned) pheasant hunting.

Maybe therein lies the key to hubby's heart? More land = more birds

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I'm worried about a highway and my dogs getting loose/killed. Which is sort of silly, because I live a couple blocks away from a relatively main thoroughfare in the city and have no issues (although the boy did have a couple adventures in fence diving before I lined the bottom with 4x4s).

My husband expressed almost verbatum the
'sh*** hole" house"criteria and it took me almost 20 years but I found a place he intially said he would never move to...think hicks" w/ capitol "H".
But a nearly 4000sq ft house on 30 acres we could afford persuaded him.
So while the house is great every ammenity your husband would like...and it has barns n fencing. But we did not do the lay-out and the fencing which will be one of you single most EXPENSIVE projects is horrible.

2 acres per horse is not enough you need at least 3 acres. You have to allow for drought conditions or exteme wet. Allow for double fence rows and don't dream of single line fencing you will regret not having those alley ways you mow when a horse gets hurt fighting over the fence line.
Running water lines and while the ditch is open run electricto...so nice to have hated troughs in dead winter when you have to use and axe to break the frozen water.

Remind your husband he can raise and release his own pheasent on your farm...and go pee in his own woods;)

Dogs roads...invisible fencing...easy to install keeps dogs out of pastures, saves money on yard fencing makes mowing easier.

Take the Hubby to a John Deere place turn him loose w/ some toys, promise a 4x6 Gator w/ electric dump cart..tell him its great for pulling deer out of YOUR woods.

The house..what guy can't resist DYI..power tools, knocking down a few walls...go rent the Cary Grant video "Mr Blandings Builds a House"

And Good Luck

S1969
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:22 AM
I keep 3 horses on 7 acres very comfortably; we also have a huge front yard that is unfortunately not easily combined with the pasture so we really only have about 6 acres total.

I would like more; if it were possible I'd probably say 15-20 acres for 6 horses + farmhouse + riding arena + outbuildings, your garden, garage, etc. etc. but of course you *could* do with less if you weren't able to find the perfect property.

Definitely keep looking if you don't love it and it needs a lot of construction & rehab (rehabbing house + building barn, fences, etc. etc.) Those things are expensive and time consuming, so finding a place that has at least something that doesn't have to be completely redone would be great!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:11 PM
Check zoning regulations. Horses or other livestock or agricultural uses may not even be PERMITTED on this residential lot.

This "lot" is firmly in the country--I'm not sure where you are coming up with residential--zoned ag? Surrounded by multiple sections of farmland. I already checked with the zoning commission--there are no horses per acre restrictions in this county (rural). I think you have to have over 25 animals to run into "feed lot" or commercial regulations--so that isn't a concern either.

I'm not going to bring horses home to only one acre...the question is how many acres for 3-6 horses and the consensus is at least 2 acres per horse with ideally more...

They are selling the acreage (it eyballs at about 1.5-2 acres) with the option to buy more.

Thx!

missamandarose
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:37 PM
Definitely have the house fully inspected before you buy - wiring, roofing, heat/AC system, foundation, etc. All of these can be of concern in an older house and can definitely hurt the pocketbook with unexpected expenses if you're not fully informed of what you're buying.


For an older home this is SOOOO important! About 4 years ago my husband and I bought our first home. It was built in 1955. Passed inspection after a few minor repairs.

Months later, when it was hotter'n hell, we discovered that the insulation in the walls had settled, so that it came up only about half way up the walls. MAJOR issue!

Around the same time the kitchen sink clogged. Someone came out to look at it and couldn't figure out why our kitchen sink drain pipes ran one way, and the washer, bathroom sink and shower drain pipes ran another way. Answer: kitchen sink used to run out to the street (hullo.... against code). The drainage pipe had been cut in recent years though, and was draining into the middle of the yard.

So, don't end up like us LOL!

Good luck!

shawneeAcres
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:27 PM
You really do NOT need 2 - 3 acres per horse. If you manage your property by using small fields and rotating grazing you can easily have grazing and everythin you are speaking of. Our old farm was 3.85 acres, of that about 1 1/2 was house and yard. We had two alrger fields and three "sacrifice" paddocks, we had a smaller sand arena (about 70 x 130) and used one of the larger fields for jumping. Our barn was seven stalls. We kept 8 horses on that property. We then leased three adjacent acres which we put into three fields and rotated grazing. It CAN be done and not that difficult, byt the time we leased the extra land we had about 12 horses. As I went back to doing this (boarding, lessons, training) full time a few years ago, we decided to buy 20 acres. On that we have a 250 x 140 arena, round pen (60'), 8 stall barn with feed room and grooming stall, separate tack building, hay storage shed, larger hay building. We have about 15 acres or so fenced into 6 larger fields, largest about 3 acres, and three small paddocks. Crrently there are 20 horses on this amount of land. Now we don't have "year round" grazing in all fields, but in summer there is PLENTY of bermuda grass (we had it sprigged soon after purchase) and in winter we take horses off a few fields and overseed with rye, so come January we will have soem grazing on those fields. It is very workable with this number of horses. In summer I feed very little hay, some of the horses just graze, but the barn horses do get hay.

JanM
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:30 PM
I like the idea of your part of the land with horses and a nice buffer zone around it for isolation from neighbors, highways, and to avoid the people who are on a drive in the country and want to pet the horsie. Plus you can use the outer parts for game birds or something similar if you want to.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 5, 2009, 12:24 AM
For an older home this is SOOOO important! About 4 years ago my husband and I bought our first home. It was built in 1955. Passed inspection after a few minor repairs.

Months later, when it was hotter'n hell, we discovered that the insulation in the walls had settled, so that it came up only about half way up the walls. MAJOR issue!

Around the same time the kitchen sink clogged. Someone came out to look at it and couldn't figure out why our kitchen sink drain pipes ran one way, and the washer, bathroom sink and shower drain pipes ran another way. Answer: kitchen sink used to run out to the street (hullo.... against code). The drainage pipe had been cut in recent years though, and was draining into the middle of the yard.

So, don't end up like us LOL!

Good luck!

OMG that's terrible. I'm big on inspections, because we've always looked for older homes for the charm, but also love insulation! Our current home is older, a 1949 stucco ranch. I made them show me the prior years heating and cooling bill--always my worry with the old ones. It's actually super efficient. It was completely updated/modernized by the previous owner, but retained tons of charm (original hardwood, etc.). It is adorable--assuming you like Pottery Barn style (hence why hubby doesn't want to leave).

I was looking at the acreage online tonight and noticed no AC! I guess the house is small enough and the home site is wooded, so window units would work just fine (assuming the electrical was up for the task). It does have a dishwasher though! Priorities! I really do think of it as an eventual "tip and burn," so to speak, unless there's some hidden depth to it I don't see on the pics.

They haven't surveyed off the shelterbelt from the farmland, but driving by this afternoon (very slowly--probably looked like a nut) I'd say it's closer to 3 acres than to one.

I think I want 15 acres. I was looking at comparables in the nearby smaller town and if the farmhouse were in twon it is at LEAST 60k overpriced. There is a much newer home on 8.5 acres but 8 mi's south (everyone wants to be by the city to the north, although south is much prettier/rolling hills) and on gravel and it is only 40k more for the additional land and additional 1800 sq. feet of MUCH nicer house. That's the closest comparable I could find and both is just asking price.

It will be interesting to see what they are willing to do on the price/additional acreage.

JanM
Dec. 5, 2009, 11:27 AM
Trot-ask around and find the best home inspector you can. My inspector told me the roof needed to be replaced in a couple of years-WRONG! And some people just don't do AC no matter how hot it is, so don't assume the electrical will stand up to the load of running window AC units. If you buy the place it will be good to live in even while you build your forever house near it.

HungarianHippo
Dec. 5, 2009, 07:37 PM
Fences fences fences. Doesn't sound like DH will be all that keen on installing them yourselves, so plan spending significant amount of money to get them installed. And a smaller acreage requires more creative fences to make the most out of rotating pastures, etc, i.e. lots of corners, gates, etc which all drive up the cost (vs. long straight lines of fencing).

IMO Without a gung-ho partner in this deal, you're going to want to find the most turn-key property you can-- already fenced, newer home, etc. Or, how about just sit down with DH and advance the timetable for building the "real" home you already plan to build.

pnalley
Dec. 5, 2009, 07:50 PM
As for horse management, if you are dealing with mud & erosion issues like we were you mey try what we did. We called our local soil conservation office and had them work with us on creating a site plan. We got the plan made, then we had to implement it at the cost of $4,000, BUT... heres the cool part: they re-imbursed $3,800 of the money we spent. We had to enter a covenant to keep the property as it was for 10 years.

We ended up putting Geotextile fabric down in the muddy areas, including the paddock we created (attached to stalls), we did some grading so the excess water could drain off better. It was a very interesting process, and it has certainly made our mini farm more "user friendly"

Trot,
I wish you all the luck in the world. You have gotten some good advice. Have a structural engineer inspect, then even someone tha does plumbing & electricity. You can fix the stuff that needs updated (flooring, cabinets etc) but structural problems or radon can really chew you up & spit you out.

judybigredpony
Dec. 5, 2009, 09:13 PM
Shawnee there is a BIG diffrence you live much further south I believe and have a longer growing season.

My winters are temperate and I have had 4 horses, 2 stalls w/ small, run in area on 1+ acre along w/ a 1/4 acre sacrific area. Its just not fun...constant rotating, worrying about destroying the ground when wet, having to pick up the manure constantly, more flies. Where can you ride with out a ring.
The horses never get to stretch their legs and have a good run.

When we upgraded to 4 stalls w/ proper barn and 6 acres I though I had the ponderosa but soon realized it was just a few more small paddocks w/ a bigger barn.

We now have 20 acres under fence give or take w/ various size pastures 7 acres down to 60X60 turn-outs 1 in stone dust and a 100 x 200 sand riding ring that doubles as a sacrifice turn-out.
Once you allow for sheds,fence set back from property line so you can mow around, space barn takes up, manure pile, stone drive way, trailer n equipment parking, large enough area to turn your trailer around in a ring. Yard for your house etc you do need 2-3 acres per horse.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 6, 2009, 12:35 AM
Fences fences fences. Doesn't sound like DH will be all that keen on installing them yourselves, so plan spending significant amount of money to get them installed. And a smaller acreage requires more creative fences to make the most out of rotating pastures, etc, i.e. lots of corners, gates, etc which all drive up the cost (vs. long straight lines of fencing).

IMO Without a gung-ho partner in this deal, you're going to want to find the most turn-key property you can-- already fenced, newer home, etc. Or, how about just sit down with DH and advance the timetable for building the "real" home you already plan to build.

I hear you, but one of our main points in moving to the country is to build and honestly I just don't like the vast majority of new construction I see. We've been looking at acreages/land for a couple years now, but the location is never quite right. I guess my reason for not bringing the horses home right away is that I want to build it right. It seems like people who do temporary stuff (fencing, etc.) are permanently in or fixing up their temporary stuff (does that make sense?).

My dad is very handy--built his own fence, tiles like a pro, did my crown molding, finished his garage, laid his own wood floor, etc. My construction friends are very handy ;) and would treat me fairly as well (re: fencing etc.--they have the equipment). I've even helped do fencing ;) (although not the posts). Also, hubby would be willing to help--he's just not into buying a property for the barn vs the house, so to speak. But yes, we may just decide to hire it done (or hire the posts set).

If this place is workable and we hold onto it for a decade and never even bring the horses home, decide to move elsewhere (better fit for us, better location, etc.) it is prime real estate in the fastest developing county in the state, so while I always tell people "don't view your primary home as an investment," I do think we would certainly get our money back. So that's a plus.

Even if the house is a pile and this amounts to nothing, this thread has been helpful--I've decided I want 10-20 acres.

judybigredpony
Dec. 6, 2009, 09:20 AM
A good barometer of growth and future investment potential on your realestate is check w/ the school districts. They keep up on future growth with in the community. Projections based on current available housing, future new home market based on job growth.
If they have a steady up swing in enrollment thats great but a decline or static growth bodes bad.
We waited 20 years to buy this place and made out like bandits before the realestate crash, selling primary plus 2 investment rentals.
To think about doing that now or in the next 10 years would frighten me.
Being in your shoes I would hold out for what I truly wanted or as close to its a buyers market right now.

We have friends who are in construction new and renovations. They seriously talked us out of a huge farm w/ big barn indoor. pool the works. Why because the house while from a cursory glance was impressive it had so many issues we would have spent every waking hour constantly re-doing something. They advised we would never enjoy the place because something was always under project. They were right.
We have a fairly new house that needs no updates, and while I hate most of my fencing its workable, can be fixed one field at a time. So we have the ability to sit on our porch and watch the sun set from time to time, no repairing wiring or plumbing.

Boomer
Dec. 6, 2009, 09:51 AM
I like the 2-3/acre per horse theory. I have 22 acres and don't ever have a pasture shortage - but some of that is because of the type of soil. The DNRC (dept of nat resources and conservation) classifies my soil as highly erodable and with high-shrink swell. I've got a high water table and even during the drought last year, I had good pasture. I have my 3 horses in a 8.5 acres field and 3 boarders in the other 8 acre pasture.

I wanted minimal feed bills. My 1st/2nd Level WB gelding gets 1.25 pounds grain once a day. The retirees get a handful. I only hay in the winter. Not at all from late April - late October.

Although the DNRC tested the soil and said it was "low fertility" the place grows grass like nothing I can imagine. Becuase my land tends to be wet in the winter, I wanted max pasture per horse. Once the ground is torn up and overgrazed, it's a bear to grow it back.

So the amount of land you *really* may depend on the soil type. If it's highly fertile and not very erodable, you may be able to have more horses on less.

Trixie
Dec. 6, 2009, 01:21 PM
Definitely have the house fully inspected before you buy - wiring, roofing, heat/AC system, foundation, etc. All of these can be of concern in an older house and can definitely hurt the pocketbook with unexpected expenses if you're not fully informed of what you're buying.

I second this wholly.

I live in a house built in 1870, renovated sometime in the 80s probably. I've got a fake brick kitchen floor, but someone installed central air, which mostly works. The insulation is terrible and I can feel the cold coming up under the floorboards in the winter. The roof was replaced a couple years ago, the pipes freeze, something usually needs fixing.

But it does have charm! :)

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 7, 2009, 03:47 PM
Well I looked at 3 acreages. First was a no-go--some weird family dynamics going on and they wanted an easement to get to some of the property they aren't selling, etc.

Second was the one I posted about. Decided the Highway was WAY too loud (and close). It was very charming until we got to the basement. The foundation is buckling and the wiring is original. The furnace is 50 years old if it's a day--I've never seen anything like that. It still works! I guess they really don't make them like they used to!

The third was a place the realtor threw in. Updated home on an oil road--over 2000 sq feet. Horrid decor, but beyond the superficial it looked really good. The barn was to die for (but needs a new roof asap). 1890's timberframe, structurally looked good, etc. Really good layout with the fields, barn and home. But only 5.8 acres. However, the price is good. Hubby says no--unless I have 100k lying around I haven't told him about (to redo kitchen, add a bath, redo barn, fencing, etc.).

So I'll keep saving!! But thank you guys for the input on the acreage size!!!

nightsong
Dec. 8, 2009, 02:59 AM
The DNRC (dept of nat resources and conservation) classifies my soil as highly erodable and with high-shrink swell. I've got a high water table and even during the drought last year, I had good pasture.

Although the DNRC tested the soil and said it was "low fertility" the place grows grass like nothing I can imagine. Becuase my land tends to be wet

So the amount of land you *really* may depend on the soil type. If it's highly fertile and not very erodable, you may be able to have more horses on less.

Your post actually points out that the amount of water is more important than soil type. Water can come from many sources -- rain/snowfall, snowmelt, streams, irrigation, wetlands, water table, etc. etc. etc. And DO consider your climate. Horses need room to move around, also, in addition to grass-growing considerations.

slc2
Dec. 8, 2009, 07:38 AM
You didn't mention excavation. We spent five times more on excavation than we planned. Plan for putting in pipe, gravel, storm drains, swales and then plan for 5 times more of it. The key to having a midwestern horse farm that isn't a mudfilled, clay clogged misery of injured horses and days you can't ride(applies to an indoor arena too - if the area is not properly drained water will come into the indoor arena too - making it a swamp in summer and freezing it hard in witner) and can't turn out on your pasture, is excavation.

Look at the land and how it drains. Learn to see how the fall goes, where the storm runoff goes, and how it drains on to adjacent properties. See the property in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, and after. See how the soil drains. Look very carefully at the basement of the house, look for shifting and breaking concrete, look for signs that the soil subsides or is not stable or is water logged. Look for signs that the soil expands and contracts - such as cracks when dry and quickly heaved fence posts.

Walk it with an excavator who specializes in putting in arenas and doing horse farms. Add up all the drains s/he wants to put in, and how much they will cost, and then add 30% for material price hikes. That estimate will be good for a few months, then the costs will go up. Cost of excavation goes up continuously.

Don't assume the farmland around you will support horses, prove it through analysis. Forest can't always be cleared and support pasture - row crops don't always convert over to pasture, neither does vacant land with brush on it. Land that supported a very small number of cattle may not support 6 horses. Some soil types are just problematic. A low stocking rate doesn't completely solve that, because horses gather and put more wear on specific areas. Don't try to remodel contours, try to pick something that will work with as little excavation as possible, and remember you can't put up anything that would impede the natural watershed across your property or onto adjacent lands.

Sounds like hubby just is not on board with the whole idea of country place and eventually horses.

If he really isn't into it, I'd suggest you forget about it. People get divorced all the time over this kind of thing, and you can not even imagine how much you will need his help day to day, or how much repairing a home, and then building a barn, fence, you're talking about an indoor arena, that is a lot to argue about.

You may wind up getting a house he finally agrees on, but then you're going to have a battle every time you start trying to put in the fence, the barn, etc.

Men don't like to be led into things in little stages if they really don't like the basic idea, even if they grudgingly agree at some point in a moment of weakness. I don't think having some birds to shoot will make up for not wanting a country home or a horse farm.

When a pair of folks both really want a farm, and they both really love the life, the dailiness of it, the routine, and they both get a great deal of satisfaction out of improving a property and maintaining land so it's healthy and sound, having a farm, even just a small place is a wonderful thing.

You can look up at the stars as you walk back to the house on a cold winter night, you can be proud when the pasture is established or that little house blossoms with care, or when your horses are well cared for and content.

Or you can both be plotting each other's deaths!

Tiki
Dec. 8, 2009, 02:28 PM
Another thing about water and soil type. When I first moved into my place, the soil was all good ol' West Virginia red clay and weeds were the specialty. The horses live out 24/7/365 and when I mow with the bushhog, it breaks up and spread the manure. I now have almost all of the red clay covered with nice, composted, loam, just from having the horses on it.

SkipHiLad4me
Dec. 8, 2009, 03:15 PM
You really do NOT need 2 - 3 acres per horse.

You don't HAVE to have 2-3 acres per horse. But as many others have pointed out, unless you have high fertility, productive soil and long growing seasons, you need the additional acreage in order to protect your pastures from overgrazing.

The biggest key to the 2 acre per horse rule is that it allows for 24/7 turnout (without fear of overgrazing) by use of pasture rotation, overseeding, etc which absolutely minimizes your feed bills. If you don't mind feeding a lot of hay and having minimal grass, then there's no reason why you can't increase the stocking density of horses on your acreage.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 8, 2009, 04:18 PM
You didn't mention excavation. We spent five times more on excavation than we planned. Plan for putting in pipe, gravel, storm drains, swales and then plan for 5 times more of it. The key to having a midwestern horse farm that isn't a mudfilled, clay clogged misery of injured horses and days you can't ride(applies to an indoor arena too - if the area is not properly drained water will come into the indoor arena too - making it a swamp in summer and freezing it hard in witner) and can't turn out on your pasture, is excavation.

Look at the land and how it drains. Learn to see how the fall goes, where the storm runoff goes, and how it drains on to adjacent properties. See the property in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, and after. See how the soil drains. Look very carefully at the basement of the house, look for shifting and breaking concrete, look for signs that the soil subsides or is not stable or is water logged. Look for signs that the soil expands and contracts - such as cracks when dry and quickly heaved fence posts.

Walk it with an excavator who specializes in putting in arenas and doing horse farms. Add up all the drains s/he wants to put in, and how much they will cost, and then add 30% for material price hikes. That estimate will be good for a few months, then the costs will go up. Cost of excavation goes up continuously.

Don't assume the farmland around you will support horses, prove it through analysis. Forest can't always be cleared and support pasture - row crops don't always convert over to pasture, neither does vacant land with brush on it. Land that supported a very small number of cattle may not support 6 horses. Some soil types are just problematic. A low stocking rate doesn't completely solve that, because horses gather and put more wear on specific areas. Don't try to remodel contours, try to pick something that will work with as little excavation as possible, and remember you can't put up anything that would impede the natural watershed across your property or onto adjacent lands.

Sounds like hubby just is not on board with the whole idea of country place and eventually horses.

If he really isn't into it, I'd suggest you forget about it. People get divorced all the time over this kind of thing, and you can not even imagine how much you will need his help day to day, or how much repairing a home, and then building a barn, fence, you're talking about an indoor arena, that is a lot to argue about.

You may wind up getting a house he finally agrees on, but then you're going to have a battle every time you start trying to put in the fence, the barn, etc.

Men don't like to be led into things in little stages if they really don't like the basic idea, even if they grudgingly agree at some point in a moment of weakness. I don't think having some birds to shoot will make up for not wanting a country home or a horse farm.

When a pair of folks both really want a farm, and they both really love the life, the dailiness of it, the routine, and they both get a great deal of satisfaction out of improving a property and maintaining land so it's healthy and sound, having a farm, even just a small place is a wonderful thing.

You can look up at the stars as you walk back to the house on a cold winter night, you can be proud when the pasture is established or that little house blossoms with care, or when your horses are well cared for and content.

Or you can both be plotting each other's deaths!

Excellent post, btw. One issue I'm having is the lack of riding stables in the area (I'll stop at that). The place I board is great, but isn't commercial and any day the owners could decide they don't want to have me (the only non-family) there. Then I'm pooched (I never manage to own the easy keepers).

Also, it is 45 mi north of where I work. I'd like to find an acreage where the possibility is there to build a facility, but where I don't necessarily HAVE to and could just as easily have only a house. That way I'm flexible for the future. Land values are only going up around here.

Interest rates are wicked low right now too...

I think I need to become wildly successful, amass a financial empire, and then I can just hire everything done or we can move back to the Twin Cities where there are lots of barns to choose from!--sound like a plan? ;)

and on that note, I better get back to work!!

LisaB
Dec. 8, 2009, 04:26 PM
And then there's the situation where you buy a 150 year old house and think 'Hot Damn! It's got a new roof, new plumbing, new electric, brand new septic'
Guess what goes down the crapper?
Literally.
Well, the roof was installed by professionals.
The rest of it was done by the previous owner, who is an engineer. Now, being an engineer of sorts myself, I know exactly how engineers think. You think those cartoons of them are a hyperbole? Hell no!
We've had to replace the well pump, the plumbing from the well, new bladder, new plumbing out the main line.
We just had the plumber come out and figure out what the hell he did to the septic. Think we have that licked.
He made spaghetti out of the pipes underneath the house. It's got a HUGE trap that I have to crawl under there and let loose. Needless to say, the last time it let loose all over me. ICK!
The electric is entertaining. can't run the toaster, microwave and coffee at the same time. Can't run the tv, cell charger and iron my clothes at the same time either.
So, don't take for granted about new stuff. Gimme the old damned stuff any day.