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Any horse farm real estate specialists?

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  • Any horse farm real estate specialists?

    I am renewing my real estate broker's license soon, after a few years' absence.

    Considering marketing myself as a horse farm specialist. I have decades of riding experience, have owned and boarded at a few barns, and ridden at more. Have overseen friends' boarding stables on a fill-in basis years ago. Have my own large piece of land, although it is not horse based, and the work I have done (clearing, brush hogging, etc.) has to be subcontracted as I have no "big toys". Also been in a TB racing partnership, and have gained some good contacts and experience as a result of my involvement.

    But first feel I need some nuts and bolts background before I can assume the label. Anyone out there with this experience?

    I feel this is a niche that could be filled as I've fielded a lot of complaints about a near-by specialist over the years. I would mix this in with a regular small residential brokerage, and have another small business as well (out here in the boonies, you need to juggle a couple to bring in the $$!)

    But I don't know how to identify minimal square footage for the animals considered, pasture size, how much hay you could produce on "x" number of acres, talk about equipment, discussion about tax considerations, etc. Any idea where I could get a crash course? Mentoring? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by CVPeg; Dec. 5, 2011, 01:16 PM.
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

  • #2
    COTHer "jan weber" is a real estate agent who specializes in equine properties.
    TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


    • #3
      Take an MCE course like this. They should have something similar for your state.



      • #4
        The National Association of Realtors does not have a designation for Equine Property Specialists. This is very much a word-of-mouth specialty, particularly since horse farm owners in different parts of the county manage their horses' needs in different ways (think California, Florida, Vermont). Be involved in your local horse community as an active rider or volunteer - and TALK to people about what works for them. Know also, that the shiny ads in the "equestrian" magazines showing a perfectly coiffed rider/realtor on a lovely horse - they may RIDE - but they may not know which end of the pitchfork is the business end. When I meet other "equine property specialists", I always ask (politely, of course) how many stalls in their barn. You'd be surprised at the answers I get...


        • #5
          I know I came across this last weekend, as I was daydreaming about new career paths:

          Although I'm not sure if that's what you're aiming for or not. You could also consult a local Extension Agent(s), take or look into local agricultural courses/classes at a college ...
          The dude abides ...


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for all the good advice!

            I have taken loads of CE courses - in fact just waded through several this summer to renew my license. But nothing equine related available here - unfortunately there are still so many CE courses that are only relevant in the mind of those at the Department of State which licenses us...and so many courses are really very ancient.

            I hear you, Jan, and thanks for the heads up. I have had a handful of buyers and sellers for horse farms in the past. The worst part is flinching at the new owners plans for things such as "their own herd...".

            Just was a little worried that I don't know all the agricultural ramifications. The idea about extension courses is something worth looking into, and the land specialist designation is intriguing as well. If there's anything that's been selling lately, it's land up here.

            I'll make sure I keep the barn boots in the back of the car - for both the legitimacy, and for their essence to "set the mood".
            But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


            • #7
              To be a true one-stop equine or agricultural specialist you need to really go all out for the client. For example, when you get a listing or have an interview with a potential seller do research at the zoning office to make sure of the zoning classification, the number and types of animals allowed, and any easements or other speical restrictions that a potential buyer needs to know about. Research like that should help with setting a price, along with the usual comps comparison. You also need to develop good marketing plans, with great pictures on realtor.com and other websites, since apparently almost all buyers see that first to decide if they are interested.

              If I was a potential buyer I would really like to have lists of suppliers, vets that handle the type of animals I own (don't forget the exotics like alpacas, llamas, etc), feed suppliers, local fence and barn builders, and other services that a new owner might need. And don't forget the usual contractors for repainting the house, roofers, general contractors, plumber and any other skilled trade that they might need. A full service realtor that goes the extra mile for the client can still do well even in this market.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                Speaking as a Landless and Clueless one, but the kind of buyer that would research the bejesus out of any purchase or realtor who would help me make one.

                Originally posted by CVPeg View Post
                Just was a little worried that I don't know all the agricultural ramifications. The idea about extension courses is something worth looking into, and the land specialist designation is intriguing as well. If there's anything that's been selling lately, it's land up here.

                I'll make sure I keep the barn boots in the back of the car - for both the legitimacy, and for their essence to "set the mood".
                I'd want you to be up on the things that local extension help with-- figuring out soil, zoning whatnot and crops. I'd want that contact once I owned the place, so it would help if you brought that along with you as I was shopping.

                And I'd want to walk around the land in the wettest season to see where the water was really going to go. I'd bring my rubber boots, so good thing you have yours. It's not just for ambiance. You would be smart to walk out there with me. Without that babysitting, I might start deciding against the place when I found the swamp that would cost a fortune to control.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • Original Poster

                  Nodding my head in agreement with all of you. I've been in a few communities, and always considered "a possible horse farm" when looking at houses.

                  The first house I looked at to buy with my exDH had 4 acres and a shed in the back, and was advertised as being a horse farm. I knew the zoning required 5 acres (gee, the agent didn't really know - she just knew the sellers used to have a cute little pony there...), and to top it all off, you could have made a Matchbox car racetrack running downhill in the family room, and as a result couldn't open the slider to the deck, but exDH engineer totally didn't notice even though he had been shown it previously.

                  Can't tell you how many agents (and broker/owners!) showed me swamp land as pasture - under the snow... How some of the houses in my county less than 20 years old I remember riding past the land as a kid on my bike and having to swat at the hoards of mosquitoes coming from that location. How one particular large parcel of land on the market was "the dump" back in the 60's. I guess there are ways of remediating areas, and my own may have some hidden ghosts I'm not aware of (for now, it's just a yearly annoying poacher we have to chase and has finally gone away...). But that's the experience I'm coming from as well. Of course as real estate agents, we can't know every secret behind every property, especially in a specialty that would require you to roam farther and wider outside your normal sales area.

                  But I'd like to know a bit more - even what is needed to turn old weeds into possible hay fields, and what to stay away from - as I've been learning about my own land, and from reading in places like COTH as well. I can't go out on a limb and be that expert that knows everything agricultural or equine, but would like enough knowledge to at least put them in the right direction, or have someone myself I can ask an opinion of. But of course, as most farmers around me are, they are hard working, don't have a lot to say unless you know the right questions vs open-ended "how do you make a farm?" .

                  So the cooperative extension idea is excellent, as is having the files full of information to give buyers a head start on their farm.

                  As buyers, owners, horsemen/women, and potential owners, you are all also giving me great insight as the real horse farm specialists.
                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CVPeg View Post
                    Can't tell you how many agents (and broker/owners!) showed me swamp land as pasture - under the snow...
                    have friend who is now a renown urban planner, the first sub-division he laid out for a developer during the winter.... he had three lots that were in the middle of a lake


                    • #11
                      Another suggestion - know the state and county-level laws governing agriculture and tax abatements. They may be applied differently in different townships, and there you will need the help of your local zoning officer and tax assessor. Coming in with a baseline of knowledge will enable them to work with you on specific properties both as a buyer's agent and as a seller's agent.


                      • #12
                        Please DO take all of the advice suggested here!!!

                        When we first began searching for a horse property here in VA, we particularly sought out realtors who advertised that they were specifically experienced with horse properties. What a NIGHTMARE!!!!!

                        First realtor continuously showed us places with zoning problems, swampy land, or barns that were only tall enough to house maybe poultry or goats. Since she was currently taking riding lessons, that's what she considered "horse property expertise".

                        Second one didn't have a CLUE as to her county's zoning for horses. After she showed us a few places with acreage that looked interesting, luckily I had the foresight to phone the local gov. offices to discover that every place she'd shown us either did not allow horses or other livestock, or had severe restrictions that I did not want to deal with. Hello???

                        FINALLY, we went with a woman who not only had horses of her own at home & lived right in the area we were looking in, but belonged to the local hunt, & she knew EXACTLY what the zoning & other regulations were for every single property she showed us. Needless to say we ended up buying through her, & have been here happily for the last 14 years.