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After purchasing a farmette?

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  • After purchasing a farmette?

    I am looking at some properties and unfortunately in my part of the country and my budget, I can't get much. Whatever is in my price range is VERY rundown. But I'm thinking I would rather have 5 acres of rundown than barely 2 but livable. My thinking is that things can be rebuild over time, but getting more land will be difficult. Let me know if this is wrong way of approaching this.

    So most of these places I've seen have perimeter fencing and it will do as is, but I would rather spend some more money and put in new/updated/fix fencing. As money is an issue here, what repairs or building would you do and in what order? Of course this is horse related, not house repairs, that will be on a separate budget.

    Last edited by Winberry; May. 1, 2010, 12:36 AM.

  • #2
    I agree, go with the most and best land first.

    Even if you need to do electric perimeter fencing at first you can do that at low cost.

    It's very difficult to manage small acreage but you have to make sure that if you get a lot of land that it's usable land. 100 acres doesn't do you any good if it's all trees or a swamp.

    Good luck!
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


    • #3
      Agree. Go with the land. You'll be surprised how fast it gets used up. By the time you finish a barn, paddock, riding ring, you won't have much left with 2 acres for grazing. I have 51/2 and I wish I had ten. And I only have 3 horses. Horses are VERY hard on the land.

      As far as order. Fencing first, then a temporary shelter until you can build the barn. I went a year without anything and they all survived just fine. They are designed to live outdoors afterall.


      • #4
        I agree with the others. Fencing first with a shelter and water supply, then barn if you are planning on one. With a bit smaller acreage the coated hotwire is a very safe and economical way of fencing in.


        • #5
          Land first, but QUALITY, USABLE land. No swamps, no poor soil, no woodland (around here any land that's still wooded and not farmed is WET until proven otherwise) and make sure it's zoned for horses. Must have good water/well, good sites for barns/buildings and an ability to get big trucks and trailers in and out.

          Money is almost always an issue, unless you're just filthy rich. It's very, very easy to get in over your head by not being absolutely, brutally honest and scrupulous about how much the "intangibles" are going to cost. Never mind property taxes, which are concrete and obvious, but what about sinking a well? Two wells if necessary? Putting in a driveway? Permits? Site preparation for buildings? Bringing in electricity? Natural gas?

          We started with 12 acres of soybeans, NO improvements whatsoever except the 1st 75 feet of driveway was sort of in existence. No water, no electricity, no natural gas, no nothing. All of that cost mounds of money (except gas, that was $50K just to run the lines--we passed and went with propane/geothermal) before we could even think about building something.

          It took us almost 3 years after buying the property to have it "ready" to build stuff. Go slow, think carefully, the buildings and fences are on the BOTTOM of the budget page if you're starting from scratch.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            Four years ago we bought the slum house in this area. People asked us if we were going to "scrape it and build on the hill". Umm... no. I wish.
            But it was on eleven very nice acres, all unimproved except for a 'barn' which easily fell down with a little help.
            It's not totally rehabilitated yet, but close, and it's a great little farm!
            We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


            • #7
              Thanks for your reply. I looked into the cost of raw land, permits and costs of putting in new well and electricity and cost there was astronomical.
              The real estate agent is only showing me properties that are zoned appropriately ( of course it will be verified later as well). What I've seen so far had very run down houses and barn-like buildings. Based on conditions of the barns and house I'm sure I won't find brand new well and septic.
              Please keep suggestions coming


              • #8
                I had a long post and it got eaten. Basically DW is absolutely right. I've come to the conclusion that in the long run whatever you buy, turnkey or fixer-upper, will end up costing the same, you'll just be shifting your costs from an upfront mortgage/tax expense to an endless round of credit card payments or a waiting game for this or that expense, and you'l be expending a serious amount of time NOT riding.
                If you have family in the trades or lots of DIY experience from rehabbing previous homes then you are ahead of things. Not to say it can't be done, not at all, just go into it with a plan. I'll put in a plug for architects at this point, some firms specialize in horse farm planning and can save you so much grief.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible


                • #9
                  Good question, but it has many answers.
                  I don't know where you are, but around here, everyone knows that you can buy already there, set up and built way cheaper than you can buy raw and improve.

                  That doesn't mean you can't buy with few improvements and live with them, but by the time you set an uninproved place up to be livable, you will have spent as much as buying that already there and considerably more even.

                  A happy medium, buy where others had the basics there already, even if there needs to be much remodeling, over raw land you will have to start from scratch with the basics.

                  If you are only looking for pasture, heck, then buy land, you don't need improvements or a place to live, so don't buy that.

                  I would say, no matter what you look at, have your budget and figures on hand, so you can compare apples to apples.
                  Don't be in a hurry, eventually you will find the spot of your dreams that you can also afford.


                  • #10
                    as an owner of a 105 year old farmhouse, a converted llama barn, a new arena, existing (and replacing) bad fencing, horrible old overgrowth....well, let's just say I'm glad to have a handy husband who enjoys using every stitch of energy, time and money on upgrades/upkeep. There is NO SET IT & FORGET IT and if you run out of $$ it's worse, because then there are repairs to save up for. We went for good land over buildings, but forgot we have to live in the house too.

                    let's just say...2 bathrooms would have been nice


                    • #11
                      In my mind it depends on how rundown the property is. If it is mostly cosmetic, with minor repairs, I would go for the more land, less house. Be sure to get an inspection, so you know what needs to be done to make sure the house and outbuildings are safe to live in, and get an estimate as to the cost of repairs to factor into your budget.
                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                      • #12
                        I went with land........ woods/small house. Cleared one section at a time, built one board at a time -- 15yrs later had a place!

                        But it was a lot of work, constant work. My girls learned to ride in a ring with no fence, just a tree line to 3 sides.......
                        but I took a small place adjoining 85,000 ac's of state forest ground and bought hay, rather than pay the costs of shipping out to ride.

                        Its my opinion that its a personal choice --- this worked for me, at that time --- I would not do it again. I went without so much .... and now sit on a farm in a sluggish market.

                        while I live elsewhere where the work is........bought it 20yrs ago May1st.
                        IN GOD WE TRUST
                        OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.


                        • #13
                          An important step is to determine your priorities UP FRONT - which it sounds like you are doing. Also, both people (if you are married or have an SO) need to be on board with how much work you are willing to do versus turnkey. Just spent some time with clients who really struggled to find something in their price range - you need to prioritize. GOOD land is irreplaceable. Here in NJ, we have the Highlands Preservation & Highlands Planning Acts to preserve the watershed from overdevelopment - so any new construction is severely curtailed in prime horsie territory. Wetlands are another factor - yes, you can graze horses on "wetlands" - but you can't fence over or through them. I agree with everyone who said land - but take quality over quantity.


                          • #14
                            I love love love a mini farm. Now, that said I know they are more work than 30 acres you can turn horses out on and not pick up poop or repair where they have destroyed the ground. But in my experience the in between state doesn't make much difference. If you have 5 acres or less...even 6. They still tear everything up. It is just not that big. I think planning is key. I think in my budget I would have to buy an ugly, small brick ranch style home that came with a few acres. Then plan around that. I could not start from scratch, it would just cost too much. You can have a barn up in a few years and then spend the dough on an architect that can help you redo the facade of the house and any additions you might like. Just some ideas...not that I am plotting...to move my family to a farm...or anything...
                            “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                            ? Rumi


                            • #15
                              My advice is to hold out for the right thing. I looked for more than two years. When I found our place the land was completely overgrown BUT had never been anything but hayfields. I did not want land that crops had been grown on.

                              The house was small, very small, but cute with lots of character and well built. The old tobacco barn is now a haybarn. We eventually bought ten more acres for a total of 22. Am coveting the 50 acre hayfield across the road. We added in to the house and continue to make changes to it to make it function as a farmhouse -just opened the laundry room to the outside to make it a true mudroom. The barn and fencing are all done but now I need a real tack room, wash stall and arena. Ouch.

                              Mr. EqT can build anything and is hyper so never stops. If we had to pay to have everything done it would have never worked. I hope someday to have a real kitchen but since hubby is opposed to debt I don't think that will ever happen LOL a home equity loan would be necessary. Otherwise...well let's just say I am sitting in my family room typing this, looking out over the back deck towards the river listening to the birds . Have ridden one this morning, longed Nanny and groomed another. Barn chores are done and I'll have lunch and then head out to trim/teach tis afternoon. Farm living is the life for me!
                              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                              • #16
                                One concept I wish I had known about earlier was "Paddock Paradise", it's a way to maximize land use for both the humans and the horses. I have 2 15 acre pastures that are mostly square, plus a 1/2 mile long, skinny 16 acre pasture. In the square pastures, the horses just don't use the middle (I have 8 horses). They may race across the middle occasionally, but basically they just do a circuit, round and round, making probably 3-4 passes over the course of 24 hours. We have put cattle in to help eat down the grass, or made hay. Had we fenced keeping the Paddock Paradise principles in mind, I could control the horses' intake of grass better, plus have better quality hay or cattle grazing. http://www.paddockparadise.com/ The long skinny pasture we have actually gets better utilized because of the shape.

                                It's really designed for smaller properties, but I can see where it would have been helpful here.

                                Good luck, it's so exciting to plan for your new place!