Purchasing a Horse w/Trial Period -- How to Do Payment
I am looking at a horse that I'm seriously interested in. Seller is willing to do a 30 day trial. Neither one of us has done much selling/buying and I was wondering what the "norm" might be when it comes to paying for this type of situation. Do I pay all the purchase price up front? Pay a certain percentage -- this makes the most sense to me? Or pay nothing till trial period is over -- that doesn't seem right.
Depends on how much you are talking about, I would think. For example, for a horse under $10,000, I would probably elect to pay the entire price up front, with a well written contract that spelled out how the money was to be held (in an escrow account) and how long the seller had to return it if the horse was returned. For an amount over $10,000, I would probably try to negotiate, half now, half at end of trial period.
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
- Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926
it would be in the seller's best interest to have the horse paid in full up front. No sale horse leaves my farm until it is paid in full-- too much can happen. Cashier's check for full purchase price and if the horse is returned to me in identical or better condition than when it left, I will give a cashier's check back.
I would not as a seller be OK with half now and half later, unless there was an absolutely bulletproof you-break-it-you-buy-it clause.
You pay the entire price up front. I would not expect a seller to let you take a horse off their property without the entire price paid in full. Have a written contract to serve as your receipt. Before the trial period is up you have the option to return the horse, however, only if the horse is in the same condition as when you took it. If the horse gets hurt, it is yours! For a more expensive horse, insurance would be a good idea.
Do not take a horse on trial unless you are pretty darn sure you want to buy the horse. If you are uncertain about purchasing the horse, go back and try it again on another day or ask to try it at a location that would mimic what you want to actually do with the horse.
Many sellers will not do trial periods because too much can go wrong--the horse can be ruined, blemished, or injured; other potential buyers will be turned away in the interim; the sale process is dragged out, etc.
Whatever you decide to do, have a written contract. You don't need a lawyer for this, but you do need to have a written agreement on what is going to happen, how the horse will be cared for/used during the trial period, how non-routine vet issues will be handled, how the money will be handled, how death or injuries will be handled and how the return of the horse will be handled. I want to stress the latter needs to be described in detail. Hopefully everything will go well and the horse will remain in his new home, but I've also know of trials where the horse is seriously injured in a new environment and one where the horse was killed.
I would also strongly recommend getting an equine mortality/major medical policy for the horse. That limits the risk if something really awful happens.
Horse has to be fully vetted the day of the move. (I will take horse to vets and then I will trailer horse to new home or buyer will take horse from vets.) The vetting depends no what the horse will be used for. After a full vetting and blood being pulled (to be storied if something comes up later) The buyer pays for horse in full and the contract is signed. Horse is loaded and off to new home. Buyer has to let me know by day 28 if horse is not working and will be coming back. I require that they keep in contact with me every 4-5 days so if they are having any problems they can be addressed right away. If they are happy then they own the horse. if they are not then horse has to be vetted again before coming back at buyers expense. I try to have the 2nd vetting booked at the time of the first so that there is no problems getting it done on time.
Seems like a lot but if they truly want the best for the horse they have no problems and both parties are covered if anything goes wrong.
I have tried doing it other ways and it just doesn't work out.
My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"
Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed
Depends on the price and what you were both comfortable with.
When I let my $4k mare go on trial, they left a $2k check with me. We agreed that in two weeks she would either be returned (money refunded) or they would send the rest of the money. I had a good feeling about the people, in my gut I knew it felt right. So this arrangement was fine with me. (They ended up keeping her and sending the rest of the $$).
Originally Posted by barka.lounger
u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.
Thanks all. As the buyer I feel very privileged to be allowed a trial period. I know how vulnerable this can leave the seller. I want to make sure that the seller is well protected even though we aren't talking about a great deal of money in the horse selling business. Will follow the advice given.
I have had trial periods with four horses. We purchased three of them and returned the fourth. With all of the transactions, I gave the seller two checks. The first check was an agreed-upon percentage of the purchase price, which was a "courtesy payment" to the seller for the trial period. It was agreed that if we did not keep the horse, the courtesy payment was not refundable to me. If I did keep the horse, the courtesy payment was part of the full payment for the horse. The second check was for the remainder of the purchase price.
For us, the courtesy payment was around 5-10% of the purchase price, usually in the neighborhood of $300-$500.
Both of us signed an agreement which specified all of the terms and conditions of the trial period. The agreement contained housing requirements, where we could take the horse, acceptable activities, etc. For example, for my horse, I included several lessons with my instructor (I listed her name and her ICP certification level, plus the address of her facility), trail riding locations, and the date, time and address of a Hunter Pace we attended. I agreed to contact the seller at least twice a week to let her know how things were going. I also took out insurance on the horse for the amount of the full purchase price, naming the seller as the sole beneficiary.
I like the 10-20% non-refundable deposit with insurance required (WITH YOU as the beneficiary- this way there is some kind of value assigned to the horse, you are listed as the owner for the length of the policy/trial, and in the case something goes awry- like buyer not paying- you have some kind of evidence other than a contract for civil proceedings). This ensures that the seller gets SOMETHING for the inconvenience, and keeps the buyer from simply taking advantage of the "free" trial period. Also, keep in mind that anyone can give you a check. Heck, I could write you a check for $100k. Doesn't mean it will clear. Have the seller pre-arrange verifiable funds for the full amount, and outline this in the contract.
Also, it's important to get the PPE done BEFORE the horse leaves your property. This documents his physical condition before the trial period begins. It is not unheard of for trials to go well, then have the buyer back out because of a "failed" PPE. Don't waste your time with something like this- the trial should depend ONLY on the performance of the horse during that time period. I think that in some way, it also indicates the serious intentions of the buyer- no one wants to pay for a PPE if they don't really want the horse.
I am of the opinion that trial periods are a totally reasonable expectation on behalf of buyers, particularly if the horse is expensive. I do not want to drop $50k on something that isn't going to fit MY needs or work well in MY program. When I purchased my current horse, I had him on a 30 day trial, during which time I paid a non-refunable "lease" fee that was then applied to his purchase price. Before he came to me, his PPE was completed, I paid for an insurance policy in the sellers name, and placed money into an escrow account to verify funds to the seller.
My BM is selling one of her horses and doing a 30 day trial. PPE done before horse leaves property. Buyer gave her a check for full purchase price to be held until the end of the trial period. I'm not sure if they are insuring the horse before he leaves, but if it was me the horse would not leave until he was insured.