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May be in the market for 1st horse property! UPDATE p.2: What do you think?

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  • #21
    Haha Septic...

    Well it seems like every house that is for sale has some type of septic issue. The place we are trying to buy needs at least a new drain field, and possibly a new tank. It's a pain because the sellers don't have the money to make the repairs, but we can't get a mortgage until the house is "livable" aka has a working septic system. In Oregon, there are also DEQ requirements, and special inspection, yadda yadda yadda.....

    I've been learning about septic systems and what the dos and don'ts are of having one. We've always had city water and sewer. I was told by a plumber that garbage disposals are bad for septic systems.
    Foaling Around www.facebook.com/foalingaround
    Custom Equestrian Items and Bath Products


    • #22
      There is so much work to do you an say 'bye bye' to any regular riding...
      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


      • #23
        Fanfayre will chime in - she's the septic specialist here....in the PNW area.

        Our septic and soap box is so old we are grandfathered in - or we'd have to comply with all the new regulations. Our place will be 100 years old in two years. Our last quote was $25,000.00.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


        • #24
          We bought our dream horse property in California (South SF Bay Area) 4 years ago and have been loving it!

          TONS OF WORK, but it is part of the lifestyle. Ditto on "less regular riding time" - there is so much to do just operating/running/maintaining the ranch. But you enjoy it.

          Our horses are our pets/family. I ride and enjoy my mare. My husband never rides his horse anymore. He is the one that is strapped with alot of the big projects here at the ranch though! We just put up a 6 stall barn, plus tack and hay storage! We have so much work left to do

          But we love it! You've already received lots of good advise. Please consider the usefulness of the LAND. Consider the SLOPE of the land, how much of it is useable - where the house is compared to where the ranch facilities are or will be. You can't change the land. You can always change the house or put in fences, barns, arenas, etc.

          We LOVE our place. The land is just perfect. The spot where the old, terrible house was is perfect - we simply REMODELED EVERY ASPECT of the house from top to bottom - literally. The land is mostly flat with a beautiful slight slope that goes down at the back end of the rear pasture - so the drainage on the whole property is perfect. Where the house was placed ON the property was perfect.

          WE just had to RE-DO the whole house, put in all the landscaping, fencing, infrastructure for horses - everything. But we got to plan it our way

          You will LOVE having horses at home! Again - you can't change the location, the neighborhood, the convenience/closeness of shopping/work/ammenities. You can't change the land.

          so give those older, fixer-uppers a look! And the properties WITHOUT all the horse/equestrian facilities (as long as it's zoned properly) You are in SoCal.....you don't need a "real barn"

          You DO want plenty of room for trucks and trailers to get in and out of the property. To turn around easily. To have the hay truck and hay squeeze deliver hay, ideally. Room for hay storage. Room to park trailer, tractor, implements etc.

          2 acres sounds so small to me....but I know there is "no room" in SoCal.

          We have exactly 4 acres and I wish we had 6-7 acres
          Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
          **Morgans Do It All**


          • Original Poster

            Again, great ideas and insights. The underpriced property didn't pan out as it apparently doesn't qualify for financing--it's in such a state of disrepair no bank would want to risk it. The selling agent didn't say much beyond that. Rats!

            We're checking out a property today that's on a little more than an acre. It's small, obviously, but has a kids' play area, a green house, a riding ring, and a 3-horse barn--plus a ridiculously large house. It's at least 1000sf more than I've been looking at, and I don't really NEED a big house. It's also--probably due to that size--at the upper end of our affordability. (It's not been updated/McMansioned, which is why we can even consider affording it at all!) Still, we want to see just so *see* what's out there. If we fall in love with it, we'll begin the financial organizing and gymnastics. If we don't, we'll wait. BTW, we're meeting with our financial planner next week to help flesh out ideas.

            We may end up just waiting another year or so to save more, get our own house a little more polished, and letting some new loan products come available (one for teachers is in the works). That's actually what I woke up leaning toward right now. Still, it's good to get out and see.

            FTR, from what the numbers are telling me, we could afford this home (plus the increased upkeep) without breaking us or really putting us too much at risk. We have no debt outside our current mortgage and my truck (which will be paid off March 2015--hooray!). We could buy this home and still be able to set aside a good sized chunk every month for savings and investing, but other budget areas would understandably be squeezed. We would prefer no squeeze.

            The problem is, I'm trying to find affordable horse property in Los Angeles County. HA HA HA HA HA

            I grew up in Indiana. Total population of the entire state of Indy: roughly 6 million. Total population of JUST Los Angeles county: roughly 9 million. Yeaahhh. It's a bit cramped here. Since hubby and I work here, though, commuting much more than 20min isn't really worth it, so going east (toward, then into, the desert) doesn't make sense for us.

            Again...we shall see. I sure would love space...SOMEday! I yearn to sit on my patio and sip coffee while watching my mini-herd munch on their breakfast.
            SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
            CP Trilogy 2002-2015
            My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie


            • #26
              Another factor is water. Do you have city water, or will you have to drill a well? If there's an existing well, then what is the flow? Is it deep enough for health regulations? Are you allowed to have a well? Or do you have to hook up to regular municipal water service?
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #27
                Originally posted by Lauruffian View Post
                The problem is, I'm trying to find affordable horse property in Los Angeles County. HA HA HA HA HA

                I grew up in Indiana. Total population of the entire state of Indy: roughly 6 million. Total population of JUST Los Angeles county: roughly 9 million. Yeaahhh. It's a bit cramped here. Since hubby and I work here, though, commuting much more than 20min isn't really worth it, so going east (toward, then into, the desert) doesn't make sense for us.

                Again...we shall see. I sure would love space...SOMEday! I yearn to sit on my patio and sip coffee while watching my mini-herd munch on their breakfast.
                Many years ago, Mr. WTW lived in Lancaster and drove to Riverside County every day. Is Lancaster too much of a stretch? Azusa Canyon Area? San Gabriel Valley? Topanga Canyon? Agoura Hills is probably for the Rich and Famous

                Unless you can buy in one of the desert areas, it's going to be really tough to find something affordable that isn't bigger than a single car garage - especially with horses

                I had 1-3/4 acre of corner property with 40 Eucalyptus trees and people in my area thought I had a "ranch". I'm from the OH/PA border so, like you, a couple acres is a paddock and the infirmary when somebody's too sick to be in the big pasture.


                • Original Poster

                  Crap. I liked the house! And the horse property part was way, WAY better than I expected. Crap! Advice pleeeeeeeease!

                  Not perfect, but loved it. The land is astounding (all 1.1 acres is usable)--the barn is a NICE 3-stall + tack room 8yro Barnmaster with automatic fly system, seriously nice watering system/tubs, really nice fencing, rubber mats throughout, with small-but-large-for-around-here paddocks attached to each stall, etc. It's a BIG amount of space for the horses, at least in this horsey world area. It's currently being used to house her daughter's furniture, though.

                  Its arena (small, but bigger than a round pen, and it connects to trails) is currently holding equipment, but is decent and usable. I can ride or trailer to something larger, though it's about 2 miles away (so trail riding to it would take a few). And the ring has LIGHTS! A lighted outdoor arena! Totally shocked me. Plus full electric in the barn! GAH. What would it be to put something like that in? It's gotta be over $35,000 when you include the barn, lights, water, and retaining wall and all that, am I right??

                  The house itself is HUGE!! (3800sf) and has TONS of room and TONS of storage. While some of it is dated, it's FINE. Seriously, no where near as ugly as this place was when we bought it. This place NEEDED work. That place--I don't see anything. UPdating, yes, but not NEEDING work.

                  Right now, though, we're leaning toward doing nothing. I did the calculations, and we can afford it without changing what we're saving or investing (but with some squeezing of the household budget--which we prefer to do instead of change savings/investments). But it's a BIG house with a LOT of upkeep (which I budgeted for too, heh, after asking the owner point-blank what her monthly utilities were--YIKES the electric!)--and hubby (who says he really likes it, but isn't in love with it) is concerned we could buy it, but have no money to do anything for a little bit. I don't see what we'd need to do, at least at first, but he does. So we'd have to see.

                  What I like is there is a second floor that would be great if our parents ever need support. Also, I have a friend going through a rough divorce after 20+ years (one of those where the man had a secret second family--can you believe it?), and she's losing her house. I adore her and she'd be welcome to live with us in a home like that, and since it's bi-level, she would have her own world (though there's just the one kitchen). But we're not counting on rent, or income from boarders. Any of that would be a bonus, and all that money would go into an account strictly for home/barn repairs. Also, we're not counting on hubby's overtime position--that's a big chunk of extra income, too, but since it's a year-to-year contract, that money also just goes in an account.

                  The one thing is--I wonder if we wait, if we'd not be able to afford a place like this again for decades. It strikes me as a rare--and around here, VERY rare--opportunity. In a few years, if home values go up and interest rates go up, so does what we pay in interest and property taxes, since it's all based on percentage of home value.

                  OH, and big OH--we'd have to pull from one of our retirement accounts for the down payment. That blows. We have money, but we're not liquid. I HATE touching accounts like that, but this is the sort of situation where it may be okay to. (We have cash for closing costs--but not down payment.) Don't know about that, though. Still offends me to even think about in a nose-curling sort of way.

                  So it's easier to sit and do nothing. Enjoy going to the grocery and buy without a calculator. Oh, who am I kidding, I'm a math teacher. EVERYwhere I shop, I take out the calculator! LOL Plus we can use our money to continue fixing up this place and traveling. Who knows...
                  SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
                  CP Trilogy 2002-2015
                  My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie


                  • #29
                    Sounds like a difficult decision and I don't have any advice to offer, just wanted to say that I love that the first thing you described is the barn, then the turnouts, then the arena and lastly, the house. I was just reading the horse obsessed whack job thread, maybe that's why it struck me as fitting. LOL.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by rulex View Post
                      Sounds like a difficult decision and I don't have any advice to offer, just wanted to say that I love that the first thing you described is the barn, then the turnouts, then the arena and lastly, the house. I was just reading the horse obsessed whack job thread, maybe that's why it struck me as fitting. LOL.
                      My husband and I bought our first horse property 9 years ago (Philly area), and when we were house-hunting, he knew we always headed for the horse facilities first! We were only in that property for 3 short (wonderful) years before we moved to SoCal and my horses went into a boarding situation. After six long (but wonderful ) years, we are FINALLY in a position to be able to buy horse property again in SoCal.... and the very first one we looked at, we get out of the car, look at each other, he didn't say a word, and he started heading for the barns! LOL (love him). OP- GO FOR IT. You will not regret it. I have missed my farm every single day for 6 years. Our new place (Bonsall- San Diego County) should close within the next 30-45 days and I Can. Not. Wait. to look out my backyard and see my horses with their heads down in MY fields.
                      ~Living the life I imagined~


                      • #31
                        Septic systems. Ugh. Well, it's basically an on-site sewage disposal system and with all the Water Quality Control stuff in CA nowadays they require a pro to mostly take care of the paperwork. There are setbacks that have to be met and percolation rates that the soil has to meet - if you get the old house it will mean that you only have to qualify for a "repair" and you can get an amazing amount done with a repair, you just have to do it in the right order and in a certain timeframe. 25K is about right to have it done. New systems and some repairs need an engineer, those get more expensive, like double. it all depends on the state, and then the county. KY is primitive, there are counties here where homes still have the "straight line pipe", like a garderobe into the moat. Ick.

                        Oh yeah - Living with a Septic System. They actually have a pamphlet on that from the county I used to live in. Try to keep extra stuff out of it, like no grease and no TP and no disposer waste and no bleach or bacterial killing cleansers, including watch your water use. Usually there are two compartments in a tank and the first one is where the solids sink down and the bacteria reduce them somewhat, the second does it some more and then there are so many different methods in the newest engineered systems, macerator pumps and aerators and lots more stuff that are supposed to really get rid of the solids, but anyway then the effluent goes out to the leach field, which is what usually fails and needs lots of room and is the big headache. The effluent goes out there and soaks into the soil surrounding it. It fails because the effluent has solids that gum up the surrounding soil (it's actually gravel in a trench first, then the soil) or trees put roots into it, or it gets compacted by vehicular traffic or the surrounding soil doesn't "perc" well enough to handle three washerloads one after another, or a family taking showers every day at the same time. Us modern American families use more than double the water that we did when I was a kid.

                        I have a lagoon system here in KY and I love it, it's basically a septic pond and we have to fence it off, it doesn't have to leach, in fact it's not supposed to, it evaporates and I can keep track of the level and adjust our water use accordingly
                        Last edited by ReSomething; May. 26, 2013, 06:43 PM.
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible


                        • #32
                          Thank you!!! I really appreciate your post about septics as we are in the market for a horseproperty too..... Sounds a little scary


                          • #33
                            Wow, OP, that place sounds perfect!!!! It sounds like you should get it. Properties like that don't come up often down there.

                            Any "dream property" will be a STRETCH. It's normal to take money out of savings/retirement and eat Top Ramen for a year DO IT
                            Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                            **Morgans Do It All**


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Fancy That View Post
                              Wow, OP, that place sounds perfect!!!! It sounds like you should get it. Properties like that don't come up often down there.

                              Any "dream property" will be a STRETCH. It's normal to take money out of savings/retirement and eat Top Ramen for a year DO IT
                              I agree, go for it!


                              • #35
                                In LA, looking for horse property is a very specific sort of dance. If you're not tied to a particular area, that will help immensely. Watch the Horsetrader. Find all the tiny pockets within your commute radius that are zoned for horses. You'll be surprised how many there are, actually. I'm from LA and I looked into this myself, and also helped a friend with her horse property. #1 takeaway: you really don't want to be adding horses onto bare land. Buy something that's already built, at least the house, and that either has horses, has had horses, or is in a horse-friendly neighborhood.

                                Make sure any property you consider is zoned for YOUR horses and any other species you want. Just because the current owner has them is not a guarantee.

                                Keep in mind that permission to keep horses and permission to board horses is completely different. You will almost certainly need your own CUP to board, and those can be difficult if the neighbors object.

                                If you plan to build anything, you may have a long struggle even if you're zoned, even if there are already horses.

                                Be aware of the water. City water can be expensive. Well water can be tenuous.

                                I'm on a septic in way northern California. Other than that we don't have a garbage disposal and don't put things in our wastewater willy-nilly, it hasn't been much of a problem. However, redoing a septic, if you have to, can be expensive.

                                A good parking situation for your trailer is important. Think about how you would safely load and unload horses.

                                If you have to build any horse facility, I'd suggest covered pipe corral type construction rather than an enclosed barn. It's portable, movable, practical, and you probably won't need any special permits.

                                The place you found sounds really good. If this is really really what you want to do, I would consider it.

                                Lifestyle issues: you won't be able to go places without finding a barn-sitter. You know if you have friends who can do this. It makes any overnight harder.

                                You talked about the space you'd have for elderly parents: realize that elderly parents who need to live with you probably can't get to the second floor. You'd have to give them the first floor.

                                Having to pull the down from retirement funds is scary, and I assume it leaves you without reserves. Having no reserves is scary. We are probably at the bottom of the market but you always have to ask what would happen to you if the value of the house went down or if it couldn't be sold quickly.

                                Good luck!
                                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                • #36
                                  I say do it! Having horses at home is awesome, and so what if you can't do any updates for a while, you will have your horses AT HOME!

                                  I will say this, the horse upkeep is more than you can probably imagine. I thought I knew how it was going to be when I moved my horses home, but honestly, I had no idea. It is double the work, still totally worth it though.
                                  come what may

                                  Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                                  • #37
                                    The place sounds doable; the second floor if used as you say would be rental income which also allows you to depreciate that part of the house and offset the utilities to support that area as a tax deduction


                                    • #38
                                      Make sure you price out manure disposal and the cost for your vet and farrier to come out to you.

                                      Think about how and where feed will be delivered; your life will be much happier if you can take a truckload at a time and if you can have it delivered and stacked rather than you having to make regular trips in a pickup to the feed store and unload it yourself. You'll want to be able to get a truck in to the feed area.

                                      Your initial set up cost will surprise you - you may think you have All The Stuff, but most likely you'll need some stuff like wheelbarrows, pitchforks, buckets, hay hooks, hoses, etc and it does add up. You may find you need tools as well if you're not already outfitted with them. It would be nice to have about $1k for that kind of equipment, so you don't feel like you have to scrimp. (I still regret not buying the second manure cart that my daughter wanted right when we moved in.) This is especially true if you're also going to add chickens and the goat.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                      • Original Poster

                                        All excellent advice. And we are *thisclose*--but have hit a snag.

                                        Our excellent credit qualifies us for a low down payment loan, BUT that type of loan has a maximum amount. When we add in the cash down payment, we still can't offer anything more than $75,000 under their asking price. SO. CLOSE. Our debt/income ratio shows we can afford well more than the full price of the home, but that doesn't matter if I can't get a loan for that much. We have money, but we're not very liquid.

                                        We have options of taking out other loans, but that makes us very uncomfortable. Mortgage + loan on our retirement = okay, doable, but uncomfortable. Mortgage + retirement loan + borrowing from friends/family = icky. We're conservative with our finances and having loans everywhere is not our way of working.

                                        Our realtor thinks offering the max we can get a loan for isn't enough--he's "95% sure" it would be rejected.

                                        The seller likes us and wants to sell to us. They are willing to take a contingency sale--our home isn't even on the market yet, but in our area, homes like mine are "flying off the shelves" and aren't staying on the market more than a few days. Accepting a contingency in this hot market is unusual, but that property has been on the market 52 days and they are eager to sell. As for why ours is not on the market now--because I want a very specific kind of property that is rarely for sale around here, I don't want to just sell our house and hope somewhere out there is another home with horse property.

                                        There is one problem with access--right now, the only way to really get a truck down to the horse facilities (for hay, trailers, sand/DG, etc.) is to use the friendly neighbor's road they use to access their neighboring barn. Relying on the good will of a neighbor is not advisable, so our realtor wants an easement written into the contract. Basically, pay the neighbors so we have permanent permission to use that road. Personally, I don't see it as that bad, but hubby and realtor think it absolutely is.

                                        So, while we know they'll accept a contingency offer, a contingency offer + low ball $75,000 under their just lowered price + request for easement = unlikely.

                                        Still, I know the seller liked us. She reminded me of the man I bought my horse from--he kept saying things like "Just make us an offer," and even though I offered a fraction of what I think he was worth, they accepted it immediately. This seller kept saying "Everything is negotiable." While we know they're far from upside-down on this property, we know they are very eager to sell.

                                        I'm trying to take a step back today and breathe and think. Think I'll go do that on the back of my horse.
                                        SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
                                        CP Trilogy 2002-2015
                                        My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie


                                        • #40
                                          Why not try? At least if you make an offer, they know you are serious. If they say no, and counter - you will have to do some fancy footwork to come up with a different loan.

                                          Honestly, to get into a dream property, you do have to pull out all the stops and like I said, it is normal to STRETCH and normal for it to seem SCARY, even if you are borrowing from your own 401k (we did that).....in your area - in LA - in CA....property value WILL GO UP. Overtime, this is a great investment.

                                          We went totally unconventional to get our dream property up here in the Bay Area, and did a FHA loan, since we didn't have a massive amount of cash money/down. We only had to put 3% down, we make very good income, so the only downside (besides alot of hoops to jump through during escrow) is the PMI that we pay for 5 years. But we are at year #4....so almost there

                                          Just try it - seems you have a gut feel about the seller. BTW, I agree with your realtor and husband about the easement. That should be included in the contract. Kind of a bummer to have to "borrow/ask for permission" from a neighbor to use the only road to get down to the barn/trailer/hay area......
                                          Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                                          **Morgans Do It All**