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Dream farm - how long to find and how many did you look at?

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    Dream farm - how long to find and how many did you look at?

    Hello, We started casually shopping for a farmette around January of this year. Just made an offer on one but during the 5 day attorney review period the contract was rejected because they got a better offer. Unfortunately the seller didn't give us a chance to put in a best-and-final.

    Make me feel better. How long did it take you to find your dream farm? How many places did you look at? The good news is we are starting to know what we really need and what are more "wants" on our list. Some properties are getting snapped up quickly if they are priced right in our market (IL-WI border). I now have all of my financial ducks in a row, have an attorney ready to go and understand the entire process better. My guess is the market is going to taper off a bit here through next Spring but I have my alerts set for my search criteria on two real estate sites in case something pops up.

    Tell me your story. Did it take long? Did you look at many?

    It took us over a 1 1/2 years to find a small horse property. We looked at least ten of places. Some had a not-so-nice house and good acreage, another was a nice house in the middle of a swamp, and yet another was in a really dodgy area that made me uncomfortable. Some we ran away from! Two of the properties were exactly what we wanted. Both had been on the market for a long time and had received only low-ball offers. We put in strong offers, only to be outbid at the last minute. I'm not sure how that happened since there had been little interest in the properties. It's really hard to find a nice place that is affordable where we live.

    The place we finally bought was in our ideal location. We bought it for full asking price without any hesitation. The house and acreage are smaller than we wanted, but it has worked. There is room for my two ponies, an outdoor arena, a big vegetable garden, and lots of fruit trees and bushes. We are adding on to the house this summer, so it will be great to have more room. We are cramped after moving from a big two story to a small ranch-style house.

    The saying about "location" is really true. Our place is in a desirable area and property values have gone up substantially. Keep that in mind when you look. If the property is in a nice place, but not your perfect house, think about improvements you can make.


      We bought our place without even looking at the house. This was in the old days when multiple listings were published I think that was only once a week, on Wednesday. Our agent was letting us have a first look, I saw "the address" and knew where it was as I had done work on a house one block away. The Listing was published at 9AM we got it before 10AM, went to the address walked the property and put in a a full price offer with earnest money without looking at the house..... offer was accepted by 2PM....... seventeen offers followed but our had been accepted so they could not back out.

      Before we bought this place we looked at well over 200 properties , all were compromises but one which was just what we looking for except it was next to a 700 acre ranch, my concern was that knowing my luck a trailer park would be our in next door so we passed on that property. I did go back to look at it fifteen or so years later .. no trailer park but a regional high school football stadium with concrete pour up to the fence line where the high school marching band practiced

      One other property that we put in an offer, we later found out our pediatrician also had put in an offer... neither was accepted

      Currently we are in one of "the places" to be . very secure, low taxes, everything needed with a few minutes, full city services.. but the lifestyle of being in the country

      Time line was about five months. We sold our house in Dallas in a few days then closed on this house the next day.


        clanter what an exciting story..."without looking at the house"!!!!!


          Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
          clanter what an exciting story..."without looking at the house"!!!!!
          we were in construction so as long as the house would pass the inspection we could make it work. It is an old style ranch house that is 135 Feet long from end to end ... really became interesting as the kids would at times not shut a door all the way and the miniature horses would break in running up and down the hall.... then there was the summer day I stopped by to find younger daughter with her horse watching a video in the den (which she later turned into a tack room).. dear, what;s going on? Oh it was TOO HOT outside so Foxie and I wanted to watch a movie in the AC they did

          and you know, the house survived it all


          we had looked at so many properties we knew this would work, it appears to be level but does have a slight slope which provided drainage .... it is the center lot of fifteen on multiple acre tracks...five in front, five in back and two on either side
          Last edited by clanter; Jun. 6, 2020, 08:52 PM.


            Well my ‘dream farm’ is something similar to Rebecca Farm but I don’t think I’ll ever get there

            That really sucks you lost your offer. I would’ve been crushed. My best advice is that in real estate, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is especially true. Can’t take it personally. Just accept it wasn’t the right property for you.

            We looked at about 4-5 properties before finding this one. And about 100 online. We already lived on a smaller acreage with quite a small house at the time. We knew we would run out of space in house very quickly once we had a baby - which we planned to do in next couple years. It actually got to the point that we looked into building on former property because nothing was coming up that met our needs.

            Then our current property came up. I think I called realtor day it went on market (believe it was a Thursday), we saw it Monday, made an offer and had it accepted by Friday. Listed our house the following Friday and sold it 10 days later. I think I was operating on pure adrenaline for a couple weeks while everything went through.

            There are things I would change about our place if I could snap my fingers and make it happen but overall I love it. There’s always going to be compromises in house hunting. We have since heard from 2-3 couples we know that they had also looked at house and were planning to put in offer. We just beat them to it! Everything just came together to make purchase possible.


              We are on our fifth "done it all from the ground up" horse farm. We never found the "perfect" place, ready to move into. So we have designed and built each one. One more to go for our retirement!!
              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                We looked at maybe 6 different places before making an offer on the place we have now. We had to build ours though from the ground up. Honestly, I think you can get more bang for your buck buying a place already done. We bought land though as our number one priority. It’s taken us 15 years to get the place finished. Not an easy process, but rewarding looking back at how far we have come. My husband was shocked at how little I cared about the house, I wanted land and barns.


                  I think we looked for about 3-4mos, and probably toured 6 or 7?
                  Sorry you lost this one, but sounds like you're ready to pounce now. Best of luck!


                    I am not sure my story is going to make you feel better, but I agree with the person above who says that in real estate, everything happens for a reason!! Your property is out there - don't be too discouraged.

                    My DH and I looked, at least on an off, for almost 10 years. No gun to our head as I was fortunate to have (mostly) good boarding options, so it was not a full time effort, but we really wanted a very specific arrangement and we were picky. We looked at SO many places and most either had lovely horse facilities and McMansions, or lovely horse facilities and houses that were tear-downs. We were not interested in either of those options. I think we put in two prior unsuccessful offers for places over that period, one of which later sold for exactly the price we'd offered although the sellers didn't bother to respond to us. The other went to someone else in a bidding war that I wasn't willing to entertain.

                    I had alerts set up on all the listing services and used to scour horsey sites on FB and similar, but the place we ended up buying was a drive by. I used to pass what is now our farm every day as I drove to and from the place where I boarded. Cute little ranch house on a nice street of small private horse farms, really nice pastures, and it looked to have a pool too.

                    One morning as I was driving to a lesson, I saw a woman walking down the driveway with a yard sign. I stopped and asked her if the place was for sale. It was the realtor, and she said yes, she had just listed it that morning. I said great, I will buy it, you can just put the sign in my car. She replied, very coolly, that her first available appointment was at 2:30 and she was showing it on the half hour. Gulp. OK, I said. I will come back at 2:30. I don't think I paid very good attention in my lesson that day. I raced home and frantically texted my husband who was out and about as he normally does on a Saturday. I was not able to reach him in time so I went to see the property by myself. I was not too interested in the house but of course they always want to show you that first!! Did a quick walk through, was pleasantly surprised that it was in decent shape, just crammed with furniture that was not my style, but everything seemed to be in decent condition and there had been some nice additions to the home which added a big master suite to the back on one side and a large great room and back porch on the other. Barn likewise had really good bones, six stalls with a nice sized washrack and a tack room. The arena was nothing special but it was well located and seemed to have decent drainage. The rest of the property was well laid out, too.

                    I told the realtor we would put in an offer that day and wanted to bring my husband back to see it. Her only remaining appointment for the day was at 5pm. We came back, DH had the same, "omg this is the one" feeling and we knew we had to jump on it. There was already a couple in the driveway presenting their offer while we were touring the house, but they were asking about things like perc tests and zoning and clearly planned to tear the existing stuff down to put in a McMansion. So we messed around a bit and waited for the owners to come back so we could meet them. We chatted about how great the farm was set up and how the horses would just love it here. These people had built the farm over the years and were justifiably proud of it - we knew they didn't want it torn down. We did go over the asking price when we submitted our offer and got the property. I've chronicled some of our early renovation projects at

                    Good luck with your search!
                    Last edited by Lucassb; Jun. 7, 2020, 03:21 PM.
                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                      Originally posted by RTF View Post
                      My husband was shocked at how little I cared about the house, I wanted land and barns.
                      sounds like all of new neighbors, their idea of remodel/renovation is the choice of what size bulldozer they want to use. The latest had intentions of remodeling the house but after looking into the costs it was better to build new. ... sure makes for an expensive lot, but everything is in place...but they are purchasing the Land which is getting harder to find.


                        We looked at countless properties for a period of over six years. We were very specific on what we wanted since we planned on staying in the place long-term and had no deisre to compromise on our top requirements.


                          I looked for almost two years before finding the right place. Put two offers in on one that was okay but overpriced and both offers were rejected which worked out well because the place I did buy was about the same money in a way better location and has far better buildings. I probably physically looked at 50 different properties before finding something that was what I wanted. All things happen for a reason and when the right place comes along you'll know.
                          "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."
                          -Richard S. Bach


                            We (mostly me) looked for about 4 years. Several seemed good on paper, but weren't, at all, in person. No misrepresentation, there's just nothing like SEEING.

                            One had us *this* close to putting in an offer. It was the Summer of a big drought, and I, as usual, procrastinated making a decision. And then it rained, and we decided to go see what was happening on the property. Let's just say it's a good thing we didn't buy! 10 years later those tracts of land were STILL for sale.

                            I found our property at one point, but DH wasn't open to how far out it was. 6 months or so later I said "let's just go look" - I had already seen it. He liked it, and we did our due diligence walking the land and talking to the owner.

                            Definitely don't get in a hurry. Find out now what your options are for locations of the barn and house vs road frontage, if there's going to be any building going on. Dig into all the zoning laws regard animals (and what kind), permanent structures, etc.

                            Find out right up front when you find property, assuming it's on a well, what the well situation is like in that general area - do wells go dry regularly, how deep is the water table, etc.

                            You'll find the right place if you know what you must absolutely have, and what you're willing to either not have at all, or have down the road.
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                              Original Poster

                              Thanks everyone - you all have such interesting and unique stories! I am coaching myself to enjoy the process. We have a great spot now, a teeny tiny little house with a fenced backyard and decent neighbors. We really can't complain and have no need to be in a hurry. I am ok with even waiting until Spring 2021 to see what else might pop up. That gives me a little more time to save and you never know what may get listed tomorrow. I appreciate you all taking the time to post - I have faith that the right one will present itself. I am going to practice my patience.... It is hard when in a consumers market you can get anything you want, with exact specifications through Amazon Prime or Auto Trader or at the local box store. What you can't get is a special order property in just the right location with just the right amenities at just the right price.


                                I think knowing what you want, knowing what type of improvements you can afford, and being ready to make a move are the ingredients you need. A nice farm will appeal to several potential buyers who are looking just like you. So having a realtor who is ready to jump and be available to schedule a showing and make an offer when the 'right' one comes along will be pinnacle. Obviously having all your financial affairs in order goes without saying so you know what you can afford

                                I looked for close to 2yrs and never found anything in my price range that met what I was looking for. I wound up purchasing land and am in the process of building. This wound up being the best option for me but all situations are different


                                  Whenever you get the chance, just go out driving. That's the only way I found our property. If you see empty land sitting and are also wanting to, or don't mind building, go to the courthouse and find out who owns it, and call and see if they'll sell. I have 2 friends who got their dream properties for a song because the owners were too lazy and didn't bother trying to sell, but were tired of paying taxes, so took a very reasonable offer.

                                  Our property was only FSBO, and the guy was in no hurry to sell so really didn't put it out there - he was just waiting for the right time, and it happened to be us.
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                    For those who talked to the owners, how? I thought that owners were discouraged from being present and all communication went through agents?


                                      Homes tend to be emotional topics--easy to take offense at an unrealistic offer, or disputes with the home inspection, etc. And most home sellers/buyers only do a few of these transactions in their lives, so they are not very knowledgeable. Agents can help their own clients be realistic, and lower the negotiation tensions.

                                      What we did was find the property ourselves, but we had an agent standing by to handle the negotiations with their agent and the closing. She took a reduced fee based on the considerably less amt of work involved. We felt like we could scan the MLS listings as well as an agent. Was also easier to schedule showings without coordinating with her schedule.


                                        It really depends a lot on why and when you are looking. When my ex-dh and I bought our farm, it was just after the peak of the housing boom (2005). Interest rates bottomed out and were starting to creep up again, and we decided that was the time to flip our 1st house and we were interested in buying a rural property, 5+ acres, ideally that was set up for horses. We both worked downtown in the capital city so we had strict parameters about how far we were willing to commute, and from which direction.

                                        When we drew a line around the area we were willing to buy in, there were only 2 properties for sale. We looked at them both, and bought one. Neither was perfect. I still think we made the right decision on which one to buy, but both had pros and cons.

                                        Location is really important. There are so many better and probably more affordable properties than the one we bought, but not with the easy commute. Which, is a HUGE factor, and worth a lot. I still think we made the right decision. I can't imagine a longer commute than the one I have already, which never seemed long but now that I am working from home I see just how much time I save by not having to drive, park, and walk to my office. On a typical day my drive is only about 25 minutes, but last year it included dropping and picking up one kid at the public bus stop to get to community college classes, circling around the city to get to the parking garage, and then about 10 minute walk to my office....all said it's the better part of an hour door to door. Had we expanded our region to include longer commutes, we would have been looking at 45-60 minutes just driving one way because of traffic patterns....