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

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    I'm on my fourth dream-farm. First one was, well, my first; four acres and a little boarding barn. Second was part of a campground I owned. Third was a big 40 acre training/lessons joint. Now I've downsized to about 13 acres with two horses and a pony, an outdoor arena and a few miles of space to trailride in the neighborhood. I've loved them all. Good luck!


      It took us 5 years and we walked through over two hundred properties. No joke. Be patient and hold strong to what you want to pay and what you want for your dream property. It’s out there.


        Originally posted by Bicoastal View Post
        For those who talked to the owners, how? I thought that owners were discouraged from being present and all communication went through agents?
        This would be a red flag to me as an owner. My agent knew my time was valuable so he kept noise away from me but he also knew I cared my house went to the right people. We’ve spoken in depth with new owners of our properties. Before and after the sale.

        When we walked through our current farm, the owners met us outside on the second walkthrough. He walked us through the whole property with my realtor tagging along and listening. He talked about his horses, his kids, his plans for the future, and special areas on the property to pay attention. At the end, he said “you are good people, I approve of you” lol. That really didn’t make negotiations much easier but closing went smooth and both parties were happy.


          This was the second place we looked at. It was obvious that it was a diamond in the rough, and a huge opportunity that could not be passed up. It suits us perfectly. It has everything we were looking for, and more. It was bigger than we were looking for, but that just gives you protection from being close to neighbours. Scary, when it comes along so early in the looking process, when so many places offered for sale are crap. And it was as close to "free" as real estate can be. I said, "If we want this place, we've gotta get it done before the snow comes off in the spring, because once it greens up, it's going to look unbelievable". We had to build everything, but that was OK under the circumstances, and you get to avoid the disasters that other people have already built. When the well was drilled and we hit an artesian spring at 60 feet that pumped out 80 gallons or more per minute, we figured that was a good omen in a semi arid climate. Had to get a local backhoe in quickly to direct the flooding water that gushed out of the ground. A few days after we had closed the deal and owned it, my hubby was in a local restaurant near our old farm five hours away, having a muffin and coffee. A nearby table had a couple of other customers, talking real estate. He listened in. They said, "We called the agent about that place in Clinton, wanting to come and take a look at it, but it was sold". He leaned over and said, "We bought it".

          All I can say is, when you see the right place for you, you know it. Don't hesitate.


            All of our moves have been job related and far enough away that we didn't have time to search high and low for the perfect property. We were blessed every time to find a property that fit our livestock needs and our family needs and in our price range. All but 1 needed work on the house to some degree or some fencing / building upgrades etc, but I was sad to leave every one of them.

            What I have learned is that you can't change the lay of the land or how close your neighbor are. Those are non negotiable issues. Houses and barns and getting it set up for your use is something you can do over time.


              Originally posted by clanter View Post

              problem becomes horses can detect sounds as far as 2.5 Miles.... and they can hear when you turn on the coffee maker so they know you are awake

              How about pompoms in their ears? I had no idea their hearing was so good.


                I am in the middle of looking right now. We've been looking for about a year now. Have seen maybe about 30 properties. We are in the process of trying to negotiate the purchase of one right now, but sellers are being really squirelly. This whole process is EXHAUSTING.


                  We spent about six months actually looking in person and looked at about 30-35 properties between three states. Five trips total (we were living in Ohio while looking), one to South Carolina, two to Georgia, and two to Florida. I spent 6-9 months before that scouring the internet for information on the potential places we thought we'd want to move to, saved hundreds of homes on Zillow and, then when we were ready to book flights, we narrowed down which cities we wanted to focus on.
                  We put offers on a few in the Ocala area. The first one, they were unwilling to negotiate either to provide a credit or pay to have the road/drive fixed. It had potholes like two feet deep. Pass. The second just never responded. It was an estate sale and the person in charge of the sale was out of the country, but had told our realtor they'd be able to respond to emails. Yet, no response. So we put in an offer on a third and it was the one we bought. The second one responded no less than three months after we put our offer in. Already bought something, bro.
                  Last edited by mmeqcenter; Jun. 20, 2020, 05:11 PM.


                    Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post

                    I simply cannot fathom FIVE "from the ground up" builds. Could you take us through your biggest advice and what you've learned? What mistakes did you make early on and learn from? After years of looking for the right property and never finding a place enough off the road, with neighbors far enough away, a house the fit the land, a nice piece of land, some acreage.....we finally gave up and bought a place that required building the horse facilities. I work full time and find this project to be extremely challenging - expensive, time, knowledge and decisions. But, it is the only way to get what you really want - your requirements" list.
                    First...start with the location you would like/HAVE to settle in. Then pick the property...bare land or home with "some" workable buildings that you LOVE. I designed all of the barns we had built over 40+ years.
                    Our needs changed over the years...first was a "necessary" place close to the race track where we trained...cute stone house with a huge old tobacco barn and wooden fenced paddocks. We just built stalls as the barn interior allowed … old wood beam/braces were hand hewn pieces 20"x20" so no moving/cutting those. Stalls ended up 14"x14" up to 14'x20'. But the place worked for the horses that needed time away from the track.
                    Next barn was on a farm we bought in upstate NY. We did 30 stalls back to back in the center, with a galloping track around the outside wall and an attached, indoor arena at one end. We could gallop on the outside wall track, do circles and turns in the arena reverse and gallop either direction. When NY weather was at its worst...we could turn horses out in the arena. When spring came and the races started our horses were fresh, fit and ready to go!
                    Next place was a 100 acre, TB, Training Center in So. Pines, NC. 30 stalls 38'x200' off the side of a 100'x200" covered arena, with a cute brick home.
                    Next place was a "retirement" home (Ha Ha) in Ok. Home and some barns were there and we added a 52'x90' center aisle barn and assorted. BIG run-ins in each paddock.
                    Last... so far was a 65 acre BARE hayfield piece of land we bought in NE Tx. (we hated Ok. weather and tornado threats.) We "thought" Texas would be like NC....WRONG. I designed three barns here and we had our Ok. barn builder come and erect them. Our activities and needs had changed to recreation and breeding. Our pastures are laid out in a star pattern so each pasture goes to the far end of the property, but all barns are within 150-175 feet from the house. There is a 54'x60' section of center aisle stable/feed/tack room continuous with a small 60' arena.
                    All stalls have center aisle half screens and half screen doors directly out to a covered loafing area and pasture. Doors at both ends of the stable are 12x12 for ventilation, but the insulated roof keeps the stable cool or warm depending on the season. Mare barn is 34x84 with open front stalls across the back wall and a 12x34 feed/hay room diving the two halves and a separate, shop/tractor bay, attached stallion barn 24x48. The stallion has two open stalls in a 24x24 shed that he shares with his "wife".
                    This is the PERFECT set up for two senior horsemen...but we aren't liking Texas ground and taxes!! So our next move is back to the East coast!!
                    Back to the drawing board!!
                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                      Well, the place I just (March) bought is far from perfect, but I spent about three weekends and looked at a dozen or so properties spread over about 1/3 of Tennessee. I was changing jobs and on a short time frame and even shorter budget; "perfect" wasn't an option. I ended up with a cute 60s era rancher that will need some electrical updates sooner than later (there are NO three-prong outlets anywhere other than the kitchen - super fun for the home office scenario, let me tell you) on about 9.5 acres (~3 of which are completely unusable for me/horses, but, conveniently enough, a neighbor just offered to buy from me!) with an old barn (needs LOTS of work but the structure is mostly very good) and a gigantic detached garage + storage shed. There was "fencing" here, but none of it is useable. This part of TN put it mildly; the only flat portion of the entire property is my front yard, so I'll probably eventually end up with a very small arena there. So far I've (well, let's be honest - I've paid someone else to do all this) fenced the side yard in 4' no-climb and repurposed the old wooden fence into a chicken coop. I've got one of my three paddocks fenced now; the other two should be finished this week. Next project will be addressing drainage issues around the barn and cleaning up/improving the loft and feed room so they'll be usable. The stalls will probably have to wait until this fall or winter - I'm using the barn hall as a makeshift run-in shed for now. I'm guessing I'll having things *almost* the way I want them in about a decade. Lol. But it's MINE, and you can't put a price on that.


                        We have been looking for a farm for three years. We sold our house a year ago so we are ready to buy. We looked at a place this week. It's a five acre boarding farm at a very affordable price. It has been for sale for a long time, but since it didn't sell I figured there was something wrong with it. The owner showed us around. She wants her daughter and niece to be able to continue to board their horses there. And she wants to keep her horses there until she finds a new farm. She is refusing to sell to anyone non-horse. We don't want to have a boarding business, and I already have no room for other people's horses so we don't want to get involved. Plus the neighbor is more junk yard than farm.

                        Our agent said the inventory has never been so low so it looks like we'll be in our penthouse apartment awhile longer (2nd floor above a sneaker shop (not posh)). It's fun living in town! But looking forward to having a pony and cooking outdoors again.


                          Originally posted by bangboombaby View Post
                          We have been looking for a farm for three years. We sold our house a year ago so we are ready to buy. We looked at a place this week. It's a five acre boarding farm at a very affordable price. It has been for sale for a long time, but since it didn't sell I figured there was something wrong with it. The owner showed us around. She wants her daughter and niece to be able to continue to board their horses there. And she wants to keep her horses there until she finds a new farm. She is refusing to sell to anyone non-horse. We don't want to have a boarding business, and I already have no room for other people's horses so we don't want to get involved. Plus the neighbor is more junk yard than farm.

                          Our agent said the inventory has never been so low so it looks like we'll be in our penthouse apartment awhile longer (2nd floor above a sneaker shop (not posh)). It's fun living in town! But looking forward to having a pony and cooking outdoors again.
                          That is smart.

                          They want you to buy their place, but still keep using it at their convenience?

                          Try to never, ever do business of any kind with crazy people like that.


                            I'm looking again, or still. It's been over six years since I became a widow, and I've lived here there and everywhere it seems since then. And now i have an excellent partnership with someonei've known for many years, and we not only have very similar wants and needs, but we've also both owned a few farms between us, and therefore know exactly what we can live with and without. This really streamlines our search, our only real concern is low inventory. If this house sells before we find 'the one' we may also have to rent for a while.


                              My father died when I was young. The sheep farm was sold at auction and my horse auctioned with me crying my eyes out on his back.

                              Mum came across the Nullabour Plain in a car with a caravan with some furniture in it, us 2 screaming kids and her older Aunt. In those days it was quite a feat for a vehicle to cross that plain, let alone a female on her own.

                              We ended up in a caravan Park. I was not allowed to get a horse of my own until we owned our own property

                              With the money from the farm Mum bought a Nursing Agency. She received $6 for every nurse she placed.

                              We moved into a rented house.

                              Then we moved into our own house. Mum bought a block of flats.

                              Mum liked going into houses with For Sale Signs. She often did.

                              This property had an auction sign on it for the week before. Mum went in to ask, it had not be sold. It was a spelling place for racehorses.

                              Mum signed a Contract and did sell the block of flats, but our house did not sell. She was told by real estate agents that she had to drop the price. She told them if she didn't get that price, she didn't want to sell, as she wouldn't be able to buy the property we wanted.

                              The contract fell through.

                              The wife called Mum and said,"Don't you want the place?"

                              "Yes I do but I could not sell my house."

                              "Where do you live?"

                              Mum gave her the address which was a 3 minute drive.

                              She walked in the front door. Glanced around and said, "Yes I can live here, we will buy it."

                              She just wanted to get her husband out of horses. Years later he left her and bought horses again.

                              We moved in, put the price per week down and opened it up to anyone who wanted to bring there horse there. All horses were separated and had their own shelter. We were in riding distance of a State Forest and the local pony club. We put in a jump paddock and a 20m x 60m sand arena.

                              I bought my own horse and it was a magical place to grow up. We sold it 2 years ago.

                              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


                                I think I shopped casually for about 6 months with a budget of under 200k. I knew that I couldn't afford anything in the central county so was looking at the surrounding counties. My job could be moved, and my fiance's industry is based on a mile radius from the state capitol.

                                In the closer counties I could afford 5 acres and a questionable house in a flood plain.

                                I thought I found the property when I looked at one 20 minutes from downtown on 6 acres that had a decent house and an enormous barn. When we went and looked the house sat in a valley with the pastures the low areas and not a single thing was flat. My fiance fell madly in love with it as he does with the first thing he sees but I knew that I had no flat riding areas, and I was told it flooded so bad in the winter that the pastures were unreachable.

                                We looked at another property a county further out in the wrong direction from the horsey side of town. It had 10 acres that was fenced and crossed fenced, a 6 stall barn with hayloft, lounge, bathroom, tack room, concrete floors. Oh, and a 120X80 indoor arena with 8 more stalls on one end plus an outdoor arena. We made one offer that was promptly rejected and then watched for a month as the property sat pending, then made a third offer. Closing on the house took well over a month. The sellers were out of state and their agent sucked. The renter had torn the entire kitchen out and then got divorced and bailed. The basement had 6 inches of water in it and no sump pump and at first they refused to fix it. The house was on 100 amp and they had it listed as 200amp. The septic system did not work at all. The sellers ate their hats on the cost of the indoor arena, which didn't even make it on the appraisal.

                                It's been 2 years and we've busted our tails but I wouldn't change my decision. We put the kitchen in first and then a series of important things died one after the other, most of which we fixed ourselves. We discovered that the indoor arena wasn't built above grade so the stalls flooded. The outdoor arena needed leveled and footing. The indoor arena needed sand. I still ride on a flat grassy area most of the time.

                                What helped us were a few things.

                                1. I had credit and most horse people didn't
                                2. It appraised below market value
                                3. Fancy horse people want to live closer to the city.
                                4. The house was AWFUL

                                It helped that I walked the barns first and the house second!