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Buying your first horse farm ... Anything I should know?

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  • Buying your first horse farm ... Anything I should know?

    So, the possibility may be coming true soon. We are in the market for our first home. We've planned out mostly a little hobby farm, maybe board a horse or two. But nothing serious.

    Since we don't own any horses yet, our main focus is our living quarters. Fence is topped with barbed-wire so it has to go, but we can do that as we go. It will make some nice decor!! We've even mapped out a garden for growing our own vegetables! I loved doing this as a child, so it is a must for me.

    So here I am asking advice from those who have jumped off of a cliff before me! Give me the good, the bad, and the ugly sides!

    (General home buying advice and farm operating advice, please!)
    I walk into the barn and hear her soothing nicker, feel her soft muzzle against my cheek, her warm breath on my skin, and it is at that moment I realize there is no where else I would rather be.

  • #2
    Be sure to get an inspection for home, barn, well and septic. Also get a Radon test.

    LBR

    And good luck!!!!
    I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

    R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh I can give a ton of advice , but not knowing your "particulars" I'll just give horse advice. Safe fencing was my 1st priority. We replaced barbed wire with pipe and "no climb/predator" wire. We have to deal with a-hole neighbors (who don't take care of their horses), so on that shared fence line we also have a hot wire on top.

      After 16yrs. here we are building a new barn. Thank goodness the builder, and a friend, talked me into going bigger than my 1st plan. Now I'll have a hay storage area so I won't get caught short like this last year. Also have a winter place for my plants that are now in the dining room.

      I only have 5 acres, and I don't mind riding alone, so I've resisted too much cross fencing. We cut the land pretty much in half and I ride (and have my jumps) on the back 2 1/2 acres.
      "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

      Comment


      • #4
        Determine how the water flows on your property then don't build there. The horse/barn was built by the prior owners and we deal with some flooding depending on the amount of rain. Put in stall mats before bringing the horses. Easier than doing it after the stall floors become uneven.
        Hot wire on your fences makes you life much easier, my gelding had to teach DH that lesson
        Like ToadiesMom said, think bigger, you can always use the space. That also goes for equipment, a tractor should be on your gotta buy list.

        Welcome to the madness and congratulations.
        "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
        Courtesy my cousin Tim

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't invite anyone to board you wouldn't invite into your home. It keeps the barn a happy place, and the company good at the dinner table we've been so fortunate over the years to have awesome, awesome people.
          Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
          http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Buy more land than you assume you'll need.
            Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

            Comment


            • #7
              If you plan to board, keep in mind the additional insurance. Also check if you can take in boarders.. sometimes there are ordinances that govern that. Double and triple check the ordinances and codes in the area you plan to buy.
              I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

              Comment


              • #8
                Congrats!

                Check & recheck your zoning if there are no horses living on the property now.

                Even then, current owners could be grandfathered and you - as new owners - will not have the same rights.
                It happens.

                My 5ac was zoned for 2 horses when I bought 8 years ago. Sometime in the past 5 years zoning changed so a new owner could only have 1 "large animal" here now.

                If zoning checks out I ditto getting as much land as you can possibly afford and building more barn than you think you need
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                Comment


                • #9
                  walk the land after heavy rains so you can identify the places you may need drainage or maybe a pond site.

                  i too spent the most money on the best fencing i could afford. perimeter fecning is fabulous, then you can create individual turnouts and fields thoughtfully as your particular needs develop.


                  check well water, septic age and capacity and maintanence records too.

                  introduce yourself to the neighbors and chat with them about the pros and cons of living there.

                  if you find someone who hates horses for instance, that might be good info when sighting your manure pile.
                  otoh if your nearest neighbor is an avid gardener they might be thrilled if you shared manure with them, and you might consider placing your pile closest to their property line.

                  hth!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Go Fish is right -- buy more land than you think you'll need. We started looking at 25 acre farms, moved to 50 and then ended up buying 95 acres. A few years ago, we bought another 38 acres next door.

                    Get your financing in order. Depending on what size farm/farmette you buy, you may not have a conforming property by residential real estate standards. Residential real estate typically has restrictions on how much acreage is involved. So it really pays to get educated about the financing. Talk to Farm Credit or other companies that finance farms and "country properties." It will be very helpful when you are shopping.
                    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                    http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Go meet the neighbors before you put an offer on the house. Ask them about loose dogs, people shooting firecrackers, hunters, flooding, etc. You'll be miserable if you buy a place and hate your neighbors. You can kind of get a feel for people just talking to them for a little bit.
                      Try to go drive out there on a Sat night, and on a holiday like 4th of July if the timing works out.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        The place we are considering is a little 'ranchette' in a community of ranchettes. It's still in the same postal code as I am. I know the area pretty well. Used to know a few people who lived on the same road, but they sold and moved to a larger place.

                        I'm not dead set on the idea of boarding. I've just met way to many shady people. I thought they were nice, but in the end I was the one who got hurt (financially and physically).

                        No pond, but there is a pond on both neighbors properties. It's a quiet neighborhood. Dirt road (with lots of holes!). 5 Acres. That is more than enough for me. A small (2 stall) barn with a 12'x24' tack/feed room. No electricity in the barn, but I can always have that done. And after that is done, I'll be adding a concrete floor. I HATE dirt floors. Last place I boarded had dirt floors and they were DIGGING the pee out of the floor. A 2' deep and 10' diameter hole is NOT acceptable in a stall for a horse. (Especially if there is a tree stump in the middle of it!)

                        Farm Credit - Yay or Nay?
                        I walk into the barn and hear her soothing nicker, feel her soft muzzle against my cheek, her warm breath on my skin, and it is at that moment I realize there is no where else I would rather be.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PinkMartini View Post
                          The place we are considering is a little 'ranchette' in a community of ranchettes. It's still in the same postal code as I am. I know the area pretty well. Used to know a few people who lived on the same road, but they sold and moved to a larger place.

                          I'm not dead set on the idea of boarding. I've just met way to many shady people. I thought they were nice, but in the end I was the one who got hurt (financially and physically).

                          No pond, but there is a pond on both neighbors properties. It's a quiet neighborhood. Dirt road (with lots of holes!). 5 Acres. That is more than enough for me. A small (2 stall) barn with a 12'x24' tack/feed room. No electricity in the barn, but I can always have that done. And after that is done, I'll be adding a concrete floor. I HATE dirt floors. Last place I boarded had dirt floors and they were DIGGING the pee out of the floor. A 2' deep and 10' diameter hole is NOT acceptable in a stall for a horse. (Especially if there is a tree stump in the middle of it!)

                          Farm Credit - Yay or Nay?
                          It sounds like it is in a community type situation. in that case don't triple check the ordinances...

                          Quazillion check them. (is that a word?). Read the fine print. Have everyone and their mother's dentist read the fine print too..
                          I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Tapperjockey View Post
                            It sounds like it is in a community type situation. in that case don't triple check the ordinances...

                            Quazillion check them. (is that a word?). Read the fine print. Have everyone and their mother's dentist read the fine print too..
                            It's not really a community. Most if not all of the houses have been there since the 60's & 70's ... And both of the newer homes are mobile/manufactured homes. It's in a rural type setting. My only negative about the neighborhood is that dang road. The road is not maintained well. And some of those holes blend in so well!
                            I walk into the barn and hear her soothing nicker, feel her soft muzzle against my cheek, her warm breath on my skin, and it is at that moment I realize there is no where else I would rather be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PinkMartini View Post
                              . My only negative about the neighborhood is that dang road. The road is not maintained well. And some of those holes blend in so well!
                              private road or public? ... private street repairs maybe prorated by ratio of lot frontage to the street

                              Even If in the outback the area may still be under the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a nearby town/city

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by clanter View Post
                                private road or public? ... private street repairs maybe prorated by ratio of lot frontage to the street

                                Even If in the outback the area may still be under the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a nearby town/city
                                I believe that they are private roads, but not completely sure.
                                I walk into the barn and hear her soothing nicker, feel her soft muzzle against my cheek, her warm breath on my skin, and it is at that moment I realize there is no where else I would rather be.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The hidden benefit of living on a bad road: your neighbors are less likely to race past your house, arena, etc.
                                  They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                                  Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Life happens and if not, moves on and some day you will want to sell.

                                    Don't buy anything you may think you can't sell later, no excuses.

                                    Go by the local USDA Farm Service Agency and get some of their maps of your place and talk to them.
                                    You never know what all they may say, about any waterways or any other.
                                    They have cost share programs that you may qualify for, to establish pastures, work on your water, well and lines, help control noxious weeds and brush and help build fences.

                                    Most everything else has been well covered already, yes to your local land bank association for loans.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Check everything with your realtor. Ask about flight paths if near an airport. Check, check and ask questions. check zoning, check town planning for road construction ... near and far future. You don't want to be in the path of the interstate. A farm/et is a lot of your labor. The appraiser doesn't take that into consideration for value.

                                      Think about hobby farm... maybe a real farm would have tax advantages you could use. Ask what qualifies to be a real farm in your area.
                                      Equus makus brokus but happy

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Check with zoning to see how many horses your particular property is zoned for. You may be surprised to find out its only zoned for two horses; there goes your boarding plans. Or you may find out there is an underground stream on yoru particuar plot and you aren't allowed any large animals, or any animals at all on it.

                                        don't assume. Make sure. You may find that you aren't allowed to build any more buildings on the lot or that you won't be allowed to update the existing barn because it is too close to some boundary and you will have to relocate and build from scratch. These kinds of things can surprise youuu - better to find out before you buy than after.

                                        For example: I rent a property which I looked up about, for fun, thinking I might buy it. Its actually 3.5 acres in the middle of 1/4 acre lots - cool, I thought. Its actually zoned a residential2 lot, instead of the residential1 lots surrounding it. Res2 means I can build a second house on the property. Cool, right? Not so much. I can't for example build a barn on it, because you can't build a structure/foundation within 100yds of an existing property line, including the pretend property line of the pretend house I might never build. The way the property is surveyed for the second structure leaves no area where I could build a barn giving the barn 100yds distances from either my structures or the neighbor's boundary lines, because part of the 3.5 acres is marshland, and I would have to build a certain distance away from that as well. So if I bought it, I would have to have the property rezoned, in which case I would lose a grandfathered farmland status. Even though in this town 3.5 acres allows me to have 2 horses, not in this particular community with the 1/4 acre lots surrounding me. Very wierd, very particular, and very restriciting. I could go to the town and re-zone and claim historical president based on some old barn foundations on the property, as rehabbing existing structures would take president over building new ones, and I could build closer to property lines than 100yds with historical existing structures, but the foundations might not be considered structures, even though they are 1.5 stories tall, as they might be foundations and not remaining walls, etc. and it gets really whacky.

                                        You never know what you can and can't do with the property until you go to the town and find out. Don't get stuck with something you can't work with. Find out before you buy, and don't assume anything.
                                        My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods

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