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selling horses UGH ;-(

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  • selling horses UGH ;-(

    I have a horse for sale and she is doing well and a solid Novice level hopefully will move up to training in the fall.. I had someone look at her, fell in love and offered me less than half of what we are asking. Why would people insult me like that! We are not talking a really expensive horse either. Has had a correct start and has had great comments on her scores by lots of judges an does really well XC and stadium. Should have lots of potential...
    Do people think that a price listed does not mean anything? When the trainer told her that the price was really well below the value of the horse she offered some kind of payment plan. Has anyone ever done that before with someone you do not know? UGH! I want a nice home for our horse,The trainer thinks they are a good match also and was very disappointed with her offer...
    Any suggestions?
    Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
    Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
    "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

  • #2
    Try not to take it personally on you or your horse - although I know that is hard. I think (and this is just from my personal observation of both selling my own horses and also others and I may be off base so hopefully no one takes offense at this!), that our culture is kind of geared towards this. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times "the economy is so soft, I think I should only pay XX" (or some variation of this. I price my horses, I think, reasonably, and I am negotiable to a certain extent. Esp when I get the right feeling about the person (good match with the horse, the horse seems to like the person, there is performance involved, and I get a good "vibe" etc). I'm also not afraid to say no - either because of a bad vibe, or (as I did recently) I think that the horse is truly worth more and I'll get the price I really want. We see it all the time on the BBs - "just ask them if they'll take less, what can it hurt?" So really, it isn't a reflection of yourself or the horse, it is just the society

    As for payments... I NEVER take payments on a horse unless the horse stays on my property, contract signed, and insurance on the horse is taken out. PERIOD. If they are serious the buyer will do this and agree to it. Board on the horse is up to what the two of you work out while the horse is being paid off - I've not had anyone take more than two months and I've done board at my cost and I've also kind of lumped it into the purchase price.... but I'm on my own farm and my costs are minimal. Good luck, I feel your pain!!!
    Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!


    • #3
      Just politely say no and move on, without burning any bridges. She may come back later with a more realistic offer after she looks at more horses.

      If someone needs a payment plan, they should borrow the money from a bank, a credit card, a friend, or family.

      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


      • #4
        If someone needs a payment plan, they should borrow the money from a bank, a credit card, a friend, or family.
        I have to disagree with this. I have bought two horses on "short term" payment plans. In both cases, there was an issue of not having a place for the horse to come and so boarding it with the seller for a period (in one case 3 months, in the other 2) and spreading the payments out over that period. I don't think either seller found this objectionable or a problem. I have also sold at least 2 horses this way with only minor issues.

        I do agree that unless you will be happy that the horse is going to that home for that amount of money, you should just politely say no. On the other hand, if you are boarding the horse or have other substantial costs in keeping it or need to sell it by a certain date, consider the potential costs of saying no to a lower price today for a higher price however far in the future. A lot of good horses seem to stay on the market for a fairly long time these days.
        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


        • #5
          It's part of selling horses. I got offered all sorts of screwball offers when I sold Vernon. I just rolled with them until there was a deal that I could agree on and it was a home I was happy with. You can't take it personally. And, as a buyer (or "buyer's agent") I've always held the belief "the worst they can say is no."

          As for payments....well, I paid for Toby in payments, over a year. A generous seller who wanted to see us together (it was actually their idea). Depending on my circumstances as a seller, I would consider payments if I knew the person or they came with very good references from someone I know and trust. As a buyer, I would not take out a loan from the bank and definitely wouldn't use a credit card, but did get help on the initial payment for Toby from a friend. Not the ideal situation in my book and hopefully one I'll never relive, but sometimes being flexible in price or payment options means getting a good horse a good home.


          • #6
            Pretty simple - (1) it's their money, they can offer anything they choose. (2) It's your horse, you can accept (or decline) anything you choose. Free market.

            It is important to pre-qualify the buyer as shopping in your price range. If you're selling a $20,000 horse, and they say they are shoping in the $2,000 - $20,000 range, don't waste your time.

            We've had all those situations and more. We don't encourage "make an offer," but we're not insulted when we get one, either - and we DON'T build fat into our prices to give us negotiating room. What we ask is what we expect to get, representing fair value to buyer and seller. A simple "No thanks" is usually adequate for ridiculous offer.

            But we should always remember, in my world, as long as the conversation continues we've got a chance to do business.


            • #7
              You are not alone. A person scheduled to see a sale horse from the barn I board at a week or so ago, they talked with the owner, knew the price. They came out thought the horse was wonderful. Kid got along great with the horse did everything and more that said in the ad -- offered the owner about 60% of the asking price. They said that was all they had. They knew in advance they couldn't afford the horse, wasted hours of everyones time. This horse was more than fairly priced and the ad didn't say or BO. If you can't afford it - don't waste your or others time. It's like looking at a million dollar home when you can only afford 50K home. Then all the homes in your price range won't meet your expectations. Just my opinion.


              • #8
                Having been in both the "buying" and "selling" position, I would still keep in mind the premise that "a horse is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it". When we price a horse for sale, it's what we think they are worth based on the current market (what other similiarly aged, similarly experienced horses are being marketed at). But what that horse ends up selling for, may be competely different from the prices you see asked on a sales flyer. Buyers know this and can make an offer of whatever they are willing to pay. Many times a buyer will offer the price asked initially but things change after the pre-purchase exam. The vet finds *something* and then the negotiations start. I certainly wouldn't be offended by it and like others said, they may keep looking and come back to you later with a better offer.

                As a buyer myself, I haven't asked for a payment plan--but I have asked to take horses on trial. Several people agreed to this and I ended up buying their horses because of it. I know some sellers would never agree to an away from home trial, but I still *asked* and the seller had the option of just saying "no".


                • #9
                  As a seller, you have the right to say "no" to lots of things, and I think that's important to remember. I completely KILLED a potential deal with Vernon because I was very unhappy with what the buyers wanted to do with him on a second ride (which never happened) and I had a very icky feeling about the trainer that was just screaming to not let them go on. I'm glad I followed my gut, kept my right to say NO, and ended up getting him in a very good home (with a trainer I think very highly of) not too long afterward.


                  • #10
                    Don't take it personally. I sold a lovely little $5000 hunter pony quite recently to a $1500 endurance home. The new owner is super-nice, and the kid is one of my favourites, and that little girl loved the pony on first sight. I couldn't help it, I called them with my brilliant idea of getting this fabulous little pony to their fabulous little girl within their budget. And now I get FB updates and Hunny just finished her first 25 mile ride with her tiny rider. That's well worth the price difference

                    I agree kind of, that it's a little insulting to waste your time if they really don't have the money. But that's rarely the case with a low ball offer - that's just what they say as their excuse for what they know is a little rude. They say they have no more money. It's rarely true. They just want to see how little they can spend. Wouldn't you ? (says me who just always pays the full asking price !)


                    • #11
                      Agreed, you can't take it personally. Horses are horses, and business is business. Just because someone offers $12k for the $20k horse you're selling doesn't mean they are trying to insult you, it means that's what they're willing to pay and were hoping you would either agree or counteroffer.

                      It's like a car dealership, sure the cars "have a price" but who knows how desperate the dealership is to unload the stock? As a buyer, isn't it better to try and negotiate to get an $80k car for $60k than settle for a $60k at $60k?

                      Just because you turn down $12k for your $20k horse doesn't mean someone else who is in financial straits, overpriced the horse from the beginning (knowing people would barter them down) or simply wants the horse gone won't.

                      All you have to do is decline politely and say firmly the horse is for sale at the asking price.

                      (As for time wasters, unfortunately that's the price of doing business. Don't you ever go into a meeting/interview/consultation and have nothing come out of it? Sure, it sucks but it's the sacrifice you make in hopes of a financially beneficial end result.)
                      A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing


                      • #12
                        Agree it is not personal and you shouldn't feel offended. I have had people offer 10% of my asking price (twice, actually) and offer to just take a (not cheap) horse for free, if I decided to give away not sell.

                        On the other side, I have tried horses that I liked, but for whatever reason couldn't consider for the asking price, and have offered much lower, again along the "never hurts" lines.

                        As a seller, it has helped me to decide what my "initial counteroffer" to any offer would be, and respond to all offers with "I'm so pleased that you're interested in buying her, but I really couldn't take less than XX." You never know if they will come back, now or later, so it may behoove you to put feelings aside and keep the conversation open.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by secretariat View Post

                          It is important to pre-qualify the buyer as shopping in your price range. If you're selling a $20,000 horse, and they say they are shoping in the $2,000 - $20,000 range, don't waste your time.
                          I agree with the rest of secretariat's post, and generally agree that people should not shop far outside their price range, but if my budget is "up to $20k" by all means it is fair to look at a horse priced at the top of that range and maybe 10% more as most sellers price in a little flex. And if not, maybe my budget can flex a little for the perfect horse. Maybe you meant something else? FWIW, last time I was in the market for a new horse, I had $15k and bought a TB for less than a tenth of my budget...so a wide range does not always mean the buyer is out to lunch, and the fact they end up with a cheap horse doesn't mean they couldn't have bought yours.

                          Anyway, I wouldn't consider it an insult, but it is rude if they only had 50% of your asking price and wasted your time looking at the horse. I wouldn't be quick to show them horses in the future.


                          • #14
                            As a buyer, I have found that many prices are negotiable. It sounds like you priced your horse very reasonably and fairly, but many sellers do build "fat" into prices so that by the time negotiations done they get the price they originally wanted. When I am interested in a horse out of my price range, I always let the seller know beforehand that my budget is lower than the listed price. 98% of the time, they are open to that. The other 2% of the time they are firm and we both politely go our separate ways, wishing one another the best of luck. Many sellers are more interested in finding their horse a wonderful, qualified, forever type home than they are in getting their desired purchase price (both are obviously important). If you liked these buyers, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. I think they should have communicated more clearly about their budget before taking up your time, but I also bet they've been burned by people's sometimes unrealistic expectations regarding the worth of their horse or by inflated advertising.


                            • #15
                              I don't think it is necessarily insulting.
                              I think taking up someone's time on a horse when you know you cannot afford it and you have not established whether the price is negotiable is rude and inconsiderate.
                              But offering what you think the horse is worth is just making an offer.
                              I had someone tell me they were afraid to tell me what their offer was on my mare because they did not want me to be insulted.
                              I said, you won't insult me and I am can always say no . His offer was indeed low and less than I think she was worth but since it was the ideal home (seriously could not have come up with a more perfect placement if I tried) and I wanted to move on, I took it.
                              If he had been too afraid he would insult me to make an offer, my mare would be nowhere near as happy as she is today.
                              There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                              • #16
                                I don't really get why you're offended.

                                They made an offer. You make a counter-offer (which can be the same thing as your original price). That's how you negotiate! Buying a horse isn't like buying bread from the grocery store; people assume the price is at least a little negotiable.


                                • #17
                                  I loved reading this post from both buyers and sellers perspectives. My most recent dealing I said up front what my expectations were and if there was no wiggle room in the price I didn't want to waste seller's time. to which the seller responded there was some room to negotiate. On the selling side, I've gotten offers as low as 25% of asking and less than stud fee (on foals), to which I gave myself permission for one patient explaination to the potential buyer (with sire's webpage, international videos, other progenys' accomplishments, prices) then walked away from the 3 adults who wanted to pool their resources for the foal.

                                  the only comment I can add to the posters who offer less (which I agree is your right), if the offer is too low, I'm going to conclude that a "lowballer" cannot afford to adequately provide for the horse I'm selling and that the horse will wind up in a rescue or kill pen. there's negotiation and then there's an announcement that one's too broke to feed the beastie.


                                  • #18
                                    I've said no to lower offers and more often than not make the sale at my asking price. However, I deal with a specialized breed where there are limited choices within that breed. There also is a limited range in prices to be honest and few horses go for 5 figures.

                                    I don't take low offers personally unless they are accompanied by some nonsense about how people are giving away sound, trained quality horses or their best friend got a free grand prix horse, etc. I just point out that I have 133 acres and keeping one more horse is a fairly low marginal cost for me. Generally, I am not that rude. I just accept we can't come to an agreement on price and leave it at that.
                                    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                                    • #19
                                      This is how business is done all over the world. Buyers have every right to make offers, and sellers have every right to outright refuse or counter those offers.

                                      It's never a good idea to get worked up over money in business transactions.


                                      • #20
                                        I understand your pain! I sold a homebred young warmblood gelding last year. I had him priced very reasonably for the market, at less than 5k. I had several people offer me $1500 without ever coming to see the horse in person. That insulted me a bit. But when a young girl and her parents came and tried him, and they obviously clicked, and the family offered me a price 10% less than I was asking, I took it with no problem because I knew it was a good home. I now get regular updates, and am very happy with my decision.

                                        On the other hand, as a buyer looking for an ottb project, I have no intention of paying full price, and will barter with anyone, and will probably offer a low amount to start with, as it is part of the game.