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Forte
May. 15, 2012, 06:42 PM
After having yet another deal fall through on a farm (this is the third one, sigh . . .) I'm thinking of changing my approach. I have been trying to find a farm that is already set up for horses, ie. has at least some sort of a barn and paddocks and maybe an outdoor ring, even if the barn does need work. This approach hasn't really worked out all that well for me. There aren't a lot of places set up for horses. Most of the ones that are set up for horses are pretty scary, dark converted dairy barns with very low ceilings. The ones that are set up with more modern horse facilities seem to be very expensive and sell very quickly. I am considering now just buying a house on some cleared land and building the horse facilities myself. Has anyone on the board done this? Would you recommend building or buying something that is already built? I think in the end it will be more expensive to build, but at least then I'll get exactly what I want. Hubby used to be a contracter, so he can do some of the labour himself.

Bravestrom
May. 15, 2012, 08:19 PM
we had a 100 acre property already - but built everything new - I think it is easier than trying to fix up someone else's mess and you get what you want.

Kryswyn
May. 15, 2012, 08:32 PM
It is much more expensive to retrofit someone else's "dream" than to build your own.

I vote for buying acreage with a house you can live in while building the barn, and if you don't like the house all that much, build a house or apt attached or over the barn. I built a 1,728 sf house over my barn. I moved into it when it was done, and then rented out the orignial (OLD!) 2 br/1 bath house.

Loved the space, loved the convenience of having the horses downstairs all under one roof (cheaper to replace when a new roof would be required).

Good luck.

clanter
May. 15, 2012, 08:38 PM
humm.. make sure it's fenced acreage... fencing costs few zillion bucks

Bluey
May. 15, 2012, 09:06 PM
Depends on what you have to pay for either.

If you can find undeveloped land cheap enough, you then can use the rest of your money to build what you want.
Or you can buy all built right and pay more.

I would just keep looking around for both and see what you find.
Building your own will cost 1/3 more than you think, so budget for that and also much time you could be already running your place and enjoying your horses.
Fine if you want to wait, not if you want to be working with the horses in your place from the start.

Good luck, it takes that too to find just the right place for you.:)

JB
May. 15, 2012, 09:09 PM
"cheaper" depends on what you want LOL

But build is exactly what we did. It was 10.75 acres that was partially wooded, and the woods are still there. Everything else was overgrown pasture with small trees and "junk" trees, so that was all bushogged with little stumps then removed, a few sections had to be really disked and fully seeded, as well as the whole thing being over-seeded.

We built the house, barn, put up the fencing, ring, etc. all of it.

It doesn't have to cost a LARGE fortune, just a small one ;)

Our Horseguard fencing was INFINITELY cheaper than 4-board fencing, and loads cheaper than any Ramm or similar vinly/flex fencing. Part of that was due to labor (we put up the tape ourselves), but part was that the materials themselves were just cheaper.

The barn took about a year after we moved in to start. The ring a couple more years.

The fact that your hubby is a contractor can save you LOADS in labor costs. We saved by doing the inside of the barn ourselves, but we did have someone else to the shell. We also saved more than a few $$ by doing some of the house work ourselves - an estimated $15k in bathroom tiling done for less than $5k in materials and our labor, for example. We also saved by contracting out the hardwood and carpeting ourselves, as well as electric and plumbing. We were VERY up front on that with our contractor (and actually had to fire the first contractor because he decided he wanted to try to back out of that deal).

Ambitious Kate
May. 15, 2012, 09:39 PM
Yes, I think labor can be the real killer, so you may really have something there, if you buy and build yourself. Not that he can do it all himself, but if he can be the GC, he can do alot of the labor and the GC work himself. and you can say, "And ah hayalped!"

saddleup
May. 16, 2012, 12:22 AM
I bought a place with a house that had good bones, and a terrible barn. I had the barn removed and a new one built. The perimeter fencing was up, but I ended up changing it. I didn't find a place that was exactly what I wanted, but I felt pretty confident in my ability to make the house into a place I could like. It was fun to pick and choose what I wanted in a barn.

The barn's not big, but it's perfect for my three horses.

PNWjumper
May. 16, 2012, 12:46 AM
Well, in this economy you can buy for a lot less than it would cost to build the same. We priced out building a new home in Raleigh with the same setup we have here (similar home, barn, arena, shop). The total came to $650K WITHOUT the cost of the land and without any high end finishes.

We were asking $400k for the exact same thing INCLUDING the land (a higher value here compared to Raleigh) and would have had to drop lower to sell.

So I'd say you can save a lot of money right now by buying rather than building. But if you'll have to retrofit a lot then that's a whole other bag of worms :)

Ibex
May. 16, 2012, 12:54 AM
Don't rule out the bank barns!!! I know it's different than what you get out here, but they're amazing. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, lots of storage... If I ever had a property back east I'd have one in a second...

Alagirl
May. 16, 2012, 01:27 AM
around here, I'd say keep looking. barns and outbuildings don't seem to add much to the overall value of the land

But then again, around here it does not take much to keep horses, you can get by with minimal shelter, does not even have to be a barn....

Spooks
May. 16, 2012, 08:38 AM
Well, in this economy you can buy for a lot less than it would cost to build the same.

Not necessarily. Up here we did not have the housing market crash that you had in the US. Property values have continued to rise and the market has been strong for quite a while.

I would look at a house on cleared property then put in a barn. Take a good look at the soil though, and make sure it is something you can work with without having to put in a lot of drainage or additions because that can get expensive.

jumpytoo
May. 16, 2012, 08:58 AM
I looked for "ready to go" places in my area and there weren't ANY for sale. I ended up buying acreage and sitting on it a couple years. Finally I found a house builder I liked and a barn builder. The barn guy is really just doing a pole barn type frame using plans of the barn I am currently at and then we are finishing it out ourselves.
Moneywise, I am doing a one time close construction loan, that includes house,barn (plus wood to finish out),septic,power, well,fencing all rolled into one loan. The house builder is paying the interest until the house is move in ready,(so 3 or 4 months) the barn part will be done in a month and it will get finished out this summer.

I didn't include the arena costs in the loan (but thought about it) because I wanted to keep the loan itself down, so I could pay the mortage even if I had NO boarders. Three of my clients will pay 6 months of board in advance to cover arena cost. Really we are just as happy to ride on the lawns so no huge hurry on the arena. So a bit rustic to start but I am happy to have my home and horses on the same property.

Construction costs can vary depending on your area but if you find a piece of land you REALLY love then go for it !

shakeytails
May. 16, 2012, 10:22 AM
Usually it's cheaper to buy what you want already built, unless you can do most of the work yourself.

We went the "built it yourself" route. We were going to have a barn builder put up a shell, but after sticker shock at the price we did it all ourselves. We built this (http://community.webshots.com/album/173549613QWbziI) for about the same cost as an average new car. We both have construction experience, DH is a carpenter and is a pretty good welder. The only labor we paid for was the electric service entrance, septic and plumbing, and continuous gutters.

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 16, 2012, 10:27 AM
I was wondering how the deal ended up. Sorry to hear it fell through. :(

That is what I'm doing. I have yet to see a place with an adequate barn or decent horse fencing (pretty much all falling-down old barb cattle fencing). Most of the barns are gigantic old cattle barns that need new roofs and have 6 foot ceiling heights. I did offer on one place with a newer barn (no stalls though) but that is the only one I've seen in dozens of farms.

I am going to buy an existing home however. Building a home is incredibly expensive around here vs. buying an existing home and fixing it up.

I plan on having a contractor put up a barn shell and do the cement and then I will build out the inside. I'm sure all I will be able to afford is a pole barn (i.e. Morton-type building), but that's pretty much the norm in this area.

I will pay someone to drive posts and then will build fence myself.

wildlifer
May. 16, 2012, 11:19 AM
I'm attempting the in-between. I'm looking at a house on 10 acres. I would have to timber and perimeter fence most of it, but the price is cheap enough that I have leftover money. By fencing, I mean, I will have someone set posts and then I will coerce a crew to help me run the actual fence myself.

There is a shed that will not take much (like 3 steps) to convert to a simple 2 stall shedrow barn with a tack/feed room. The ceilings are a bit lower than ideal, but my horses live outside and are quiet geldings, so it can work for quite a while. Then all I do is cross-fence with tape, build a shed, get some rye in before winter and I'm good.

To buy something suitable for what I need here already set up is considerably more expensive, even taking into account the land clearing. Good horse property still has value here and a lot is fenced in high tensile, which I would have to initially line and eventually replace anyway. I figure the land is a good investment, it's in an excellent location for value, and is surrounded by permanently protected woods.

I know a couple people who do good work cheap or free (my SO is trying not to die of a very lethal thing right now, so I am on my own at the moment) and I'm good with tools. The house is small but in good shape and well cared for.

Now, all I have to do is sell my house. Anyone want to buy a great little house with an awesome kitchen and a sweet front porch?

E D
May. 16, 2012, 01:03 PM
I bought a place that almost had everything and was very surprised at how workable the setup was done. House and yard in front, driveway to the barn in back, good perimeter fencing, and a large run-in pole barn style cattle shed. The cattle shed was easily converted to a not very fancy but very workable barn. I have added a fenced arena, hay shed, and a two stall run-in shed in second pasture. The hay shed is now a two stall temporary conversion barn and my small jump storage shed is my hay shed. I have nearly replaced all the fencing in the 18 years I have been here, but see no reason to replace the cattle shed. It has been here for 30 years with only minor repairs. My arena is right off the barn and is the best investment I have made. After 15 years it still is holding up very well. Flat land to begin with, but the topography still dropped 15-18 inches over the size of the arena. I stopped counting at 75 12 yard loads of roadbase (or caliche, whatever you call it) coming in to build up the base. Topped off with washed river sand and rubber. And fencing it off from the pasture keeps the young ones in and the others out.

relocatedTXjumpr
May. 16, 2012, 01:12 PM
I have said it before...and find myself saying it a lot more lately...I will NEVER buy an unfinished horse property again.

Unless you have enough $$$$$ to actually BUILD the things you want/need in a timely manner, its just too much work and time.

We thought it would be cheaper to buy land and build to suit...which, again, maybe if you have the $$$$$ up front to get it done it would be...but, for the rest of us, we do what we can when we can. And since my husband is a builder, he wants it done his way. So, I have been paying someone else board and building what I can when I have the extra $$$ and time.

I would GLADLY pay a higher price from the get go and be able to move my horse right in vs. paying board AND trying to build my own place etc. Its just too hard.

Guilherme
May. 16, 2012, 01:14 PM
In the U.S., particularly in "horsie" areas (like Ocala), you will get much more "bang for your buck" in buying an established property. Of course this does presume that the facilities are not just caving in from neglect.

I'm not familiar with the Canadian market so I really can't comment on it.

G.

Bluey
May. 16, 2012, 01:22 PM
In the U.S., particularly in "horsie" areas (like Ocala), you will get much more "bang for your buck" in buying an established property. Of course this does presume that the facilities are not just caving in from neglect.

I'm not familiar with the Canadian market so I really can't comment on it.

G.

I have a friend that is a real estate agent and no matter where you are, buying to build, unless you are a developer and can find those few places that are sold at rock bottom prices, is always more costly than buying already built.

Individuals will rarely find any undeveloped land worth the money to improve it, those go many times even before they hit the market.
What is left, there is a reason why it is cheap and undeveloped.

That doesn't mean you can't do it, just that you have to be very careful when looking to buy undeveloped land and lucky that developing it didn't cost more than you can resell for.

2DogsFarm
May. 16, 2012, 01:40 PM
Forte: oh crap
sorry the deal on Farm #2 didn't pan out.

I bought the acreage with a decent, liveable (with modest rehab) house and built the barn/arena from scratch.
The places I had seen with existing horse facilities would have needed a ton of rehab to make them work for me.

While I did not personally so much as hammer a nail, I found a great local builder that did a fantastic job.
The sales rep worked closely with me on design, even went so far as to meet me at the local Gvt. Center to obtain permits.
Above & Beyond IMO!

In 8 years I have not had a single problem with the barn's construction despite some pretty drastic Midwest Winters and abnormally rainy Springs.

Since this was my first venture into country living and keeping horses at home, I am glad it worked out exactly as I envisioned.

IronwoodFarm
May. 16, 2012, 02:16 PM
Not sure why the deals are falling through, but I appreciate that the OP is in Canada and real estate purchases are likely different there.

I basically did what the OP suggested. I was able to buy 95 acres which included an older, sound house for less that $300K about 14 years ago. DH and I put in fencing, a barn, run-in sheds, waterers, and a ring over time. It was an iterative process and has taken time. A great deal of sweat equity was invested in the process. Land prices have increased since our purchase and property is conservatively worth $1.3M now. So sure it can be done as long as you have the time and money to put into the effort.

Flagstaff Foxhunter
May. 16, 2012, 03:16 PM
Such a frustrating process. Inventory on horse properties seems to be a problem in most locations. We took a massive hit on our last place building our own horse facilities. We had the property appraised after completion, and we got less than 30 cents return on the dollar for the gorgeous barn and arena, and we did not overpay for anything.

We would have happily purchased a finished property, even with less than perfect layout, to avoid that kind of depreciation hit. We're the kind of people that would NEVER buy a new car. There just was nothing available. It's odd how if you're a buyer, the horse property you want is overpriced and out of reach, but when you want to sell the same thing, you lose your shirt.

Our property in NC did sell for a tidy profit, so I guess the area you live in can change the outcome, as did the market fluctuations. It all worked out. The best advice I can give is anyone who is going to develop their own horse property, take your time. Do the least amount to get by, wait and evaluate what you really need. If I followed my own advice, the 10-stall pro-grade barn would have been scrapped and I would have built a big tack room, a grooming stall, two indoor stalls, four run-in sheds, and some hay storage. Instead of the big fenced arena, a round pen, a dressage arena and some little XC jumps would have been smarter. My beautiful barn is a white elephant and instead of feeling happy when I see it, I regret the purchase.

wildlifer
May. 16, 2012, 04:45 PM
Flagstaff brings out a VERY important point -- there is a huge difference if you want a property with a fancy-footing arena, full-on "prettified" barn and lots of infrastructure with a bunch of stalls and washracks, etc. Then you would indeed be better off buying already built.

However, the type of farm I am looking for is just for myself and maybe one friend. I don't need a fancy barn with pretty doors and I'm not building an arena because I can ride on the grass year round. That is not expensive to build at all.

So your costs and whether you want built or blank will highly depend on what end result you want.

rodawn
May. 16, 2012, 04:51 PM
Well, in this economy you can buy for a lot less than it would cost to build the same. We priced out building a new home in Raleigh with the same setup we have here (similar home, barn, arena, shop). The total came to $650K WITHOUT the cost of the land and without any high end finishes.

We were asking $400k for the exact same thing INCLUDING the land (a higher value here compared to Raleigh) and would have had to drop lower to sell.

So I'd say you can save a lot of money right now by buying rather than building. But if you'll have to retrofit a lot then that's a whole other bag of worms :)

This.

hosspuller
May. 16, 2012, 08:32 PM
Only advice I can give for a horse keeping property ... Buy pasture land... Don't buy woods and expect to transform it into pasture. Time and expense to create pasture from wooded area is greater than you'll expect.

17Rider
May. 17, 2012, 10:34 AM
I had the same question a year ago... and we bought 40 acres to start building. We had a meeting with the County, determined the proper process, and costs, to build and operate what we want to do.. we had spent all summer driving, calling and viewing properties. All looked good.

So far, we have lived here 2 mos, and have our first permit REFUSED, to be able to board 10 horses. Apparently that use of horses is Discretionary and they ask all your neighbors if they have any objections. Our neighbors are on 40 acre parcels, all bushed, all zoned agriculure as well. And they object that our business might interfere with the natural birds, deer and moose, and their privacy and enjoyment of THEIR properties.

So we thought we'd be paying for a $3500 building permit, and have now spent over 10k. I think I'm permitted up to 7 boarders on my 40acres, but still no YES from the county.

And we wondered why there weren't any "new" Horse places in this County!!!

ESG
May. 17, 2012, 04:58 PM
Given a choice, I'd buy a house on ag or ag-eligible property, and fence and build the barns. Have gone all possible routes (raw land and built everything, fenced land with house and built barns and arenas, and fully fenced acreage with house and barn that we remodeled to suit), and the house with property and no barns is the only way to go. It's cheaper, it's MUCH less hassle to get the way you want it, and you don't have to pay $$$$$ to fix someone else's barn mistakes.

JME. :cool:

Forte
May. 17, 2012, 06:41 PM
Well we are definitely not thinking of building a house. Land with livable house where we would have to build the barn, yes . . . but I have no interest in building a house as well. The area we are in is fairly affluent. Lots of rich Torontonians buying up property for their second homes. There was nicely set up horse property in the area that got listed today. I told my realtor to book an appointment to view it immediately. By the time she called the listing realtor, the place was already sold conditional on financing with two backup offers waiting in the wings!
We've had 3 deals not go through so far. The first one was in Ottawa. New listing that was overpriced. I made a very fair offer but the seller pretty much wanted full price. Now she has lowered the price to pretty much what I offered her, but I've changed jobs and am no longer in Ottawa. Second one was also in Ottawa. We had an accepted offer. The sellers kept jerking us around. Making promises and then changing their minds. We went back and forth and back and forth, but they just kept lieing and giving misleading info. Finally I just walked away. The 3rd deal that fell through was just last week. We were a backup offer (full price) to another already accepted offer that was subject to the buyer selling their other home. They were given 48 hours to sell their other home and amazing they did! So we were shut out again.
This is getting frustrating! "Farm 1" that I mentioned on my other thread is still for sale and price just dropped $25,000 so I may reconsider that one.

fordtraktor
May. 18, 2012, 09:10 AM
I agree that buying an established property has been cheaper in every area I looked. It would cost almost twice as much than we paid to build the property we have now.

It might be different if you are extremely specific with what you will accept and plan to do expensive remodels to an existing property. I have a list of "not perfect but willing to live withs" that is quite extensive but overall I am very happy with my farm.

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 18, 2012, 12:19 PM
I agree that buying an established property has been cheaper in every area I looked. It would cost almost twice as much than we paid to build the property we have now.

It might be different if you are extremely specific with what you will accept and plan to do expensive remodels to an existing property. I have a list of "not perfect but willing to live withs" that is quite extensive but overall I am very happy with my farm.

I think it was you who posted pics when you bought your place--is it a midcentury house? I thought it looked pretty fab!

fordtraktor
May. 18, 2012, 05:16 PM
Yes it is, thank you TrotTrotPumpkn! I love the house and the barn. There are tradeoffs -- it came with field fencing which scares me, and my ring is too small (about 100 by 60 so really small for jumping -- can only really do singles and small gymnastics with my green horse) and doesn't have a real base. It is sand over clay which makes it not all-weather.

In 15 years when I can afford it I am going to redo the field fence. We put in some 5 strand coated wire which I like very much, so I only hate 75% of the fence now.

But overall I adore my farm and I love having the horses home with me. I spent the day on the tractor bushhogging and it looks especially pretty tonight. :)

Here are pics from when we bought it -- we have updated some things (like better pasture management, new 14 by 36 run-in in one of the fields, paint in the house, our furniture, etc) but most are the same): http://family.webshots.com/album/577452005GphOvB

wildlifer
May. 19, 2012, 12:01 PM
fordtraktor -- WOW. That place would be really expensive here (although I know "expensive" is relative). Since my budget is about $220K or less, I have yet to find anything that is even cleared or fenced, so I think I am going to have to go the clearing and fencing option on a property I'm seriously considering because it's cheap. I'd still end up spending the $220K after I timbered and fencing it, but... I won't have to build a barn, just do a simple modify and then seed the grass, but at least 60% of it is good soil (just got the tests back) so my choices are limited.

If I could find it in my price range, I WOULD rather have a house on cleared land with fencing up, even if it didn't have any barns or sheds. But I still have to drive to work so haven't found that option yet.

Horse properties still have a lot of value here so for poor people like me who just want to keep and train two horses, it's tough to find something. But the plus side of that is that if I do convert prospective property, I should be able to at least what I put in, back out.

fordtraktor
May. 19, 2012, 01:16 PM
Thanks! I love my farm!

The nice thing about North Carolina is that you can live with less or no barn as long as your field situation is good. I built a very nice run-in last year, 14 by 36 filled and surrounded with crushed stone for around $5k including labor. 2 horses sharing that don't really need a barn even in Indiana winters. In NC they'd be more than fine. Add and enclose another 12 or 18 feet for 100 bales of hay storage and a locking grain bin and place to store a few items and you'd be set, for well under $10k even with someone else doing all the labor.

In a milder climate I would definitely consider that. Then you can save up for your dream barn later. I'd make the hay storage to where it converts into a stall in case a horse gets hurt and you need it for that purpose. You could gate off part of the run-in and move the hay there if you have one on stall rest, etc. Very flexible design for an inexpensive barn you'd like to use effectively long-term.

mpsbarnmanager
May. 19, 2012, 02:44 PM
:yes:
humm.. make sure it's fenced acreage... fencing costs few zillion bucks:yes:

Dalemma
May. 19, 2012, 05:31 PM
Not necessarily. Up here we did not have the housing market crash that you had in the US. Property values have continued to rise and the market has been strong for quite a while.

I would look at a house on cleared property then put in a barn. Take a good look at the soil though, and make sure it is something you can work with without having to put in a lot of drainage or additions because that can get expensive.

This will actually depend on where you live in Canada as some areas have seen a decline in certain product......for example anything over $450,000.00 in our area is not selling.....anything under $375,000.00 is selling well.....just depends on where you are and what you are selling.

Dalemma

wildlifer
May. 19, 2012, 08:46 PM
Definitely true, fordtraktor, we are blessed with mostly mild climate. I would do a rough convert of an existing shed to make two stalls because we do get the occasional really nasty ice storm and I occasionally do need to confine a beast, but that's it.

The realtor thinks I'm weird because I keep digging holes in the woods and staring at the ground and asking about land surveys instead of inspecting the kitchen, ROFL.

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 23, 2012, 02:19 PM
Forte, what did you come up with? Decision? I imagine you are still actively looking all the time for either/or options.

Forte
May. 24, 2012, 05:11 PM
Well I just put in another offer on a property today :eek: It's a new listing and a bit out of my price range but my realtor wanted to show it to me anyways, because it's EXACTLY what I want and there is some income potential there. Beautifully renovated century farm house. 125 acres (100 of hay and pasture) 25 of bush and trails. All of the pastures are 3 board fencing and have Nelson waterers. There is a lovely bank barn with normal height ceiling and 18 stalls and a newer barn with an additional 12 stalls. Breeding stocks and lab, washrack with hot and cold water, outdoor sand ring and roundpen need some work on the footing. The only drawback . . .it's about a 10 minute farther commute each way than what I was hoping for and there is no indoor ring. If this place was a little closer to town there was no way I could afford it. If we get it I am hoping to rent one of the barns out or take in some broodmare, youngster and retiree boarders. I made a pretty lowball offer, keeping my fingers crossed!!!

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 24, 2012, 05:15 PM
Well I just put in another offer on a property today :eek: It's a new listing and a bit out of my price range but my realtor wanted to show it to me anyways, because it's EXACTLY what I want and there is some income potential there. Beautifully renovated century farm house. 125 acres (100 of hay and pasture) 25 of bush and trails. All of the pastures are 3 board fencing and have Nelson waterers. There is a lovely bank barn with normal height ceiling and 18 stalls and a newer barn with an additional 12 stalls. Breeding stocks and lab, washrack with hot and cold water, outdoor sand ring and roundpen need some work on the footing. The only drawback . . .it's about a 10 minute farther commute each way than what I was hoping for and there is no indoor ring. If this place was a little closer to town there was no way I could afford it. If we get it I am hoping to rent one of the barns out or take in some broodmare, youngster and retiree boarders. I made a pretty lowball offer, keeping my fingers crossed!!!

OOOOOOOOOoooh! It sounds FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forte
May. 26, 2012, 10:18 PM
Well, as of tonight we have an accepted offer :yes: Now I have 3 weeks to get the inspections and financing organized, yikes!

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 29, 2012, 11:28 AM
Well, as of tonight we have an accepted offer :yes: Now I have 3 weeks to get the inspections and financing organized, yikes!

Yay! Is this the big place?