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Boarding Barn in Mortgage Default

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  • Boarding Barn in Mortgage Default

    What would you do?

    While doing some research down at the county recorder, I decided to snoop on my new boarding facility a bit. I love the place, but I had wondered if the BO owned the property, or leased it, or what, as it wasn’t really clear.

    Well, I found out that the BO does own the property, and……. it is in default. A notice of default recorded pretty recently, looking at the records, it seems that other properties owned by the BO have gone in and out of default in the past, and it looks like they always managed to avoid a foreclosure. But this one is more $$ then any of ones in the past.

    It just makes me feel a little uneasy. Care, so far, for my horse has been excellent, and I am very happy with the facilities.

    What would you do? Just try to keep my eyes open and make sure that my horse is getting the feed / care that is promised? I do have a friends place that I could move my horse to on short notice.. while I found a new place. I hope it doesn’t come to that, I do LOVE the place I am at now.

  • #2
    I wouldnt be so quick to banish the barn because of being in default. There could be so many reasons that have nothing to do with the care your horse receives... maybe other boarders didnt pay their bill, or insurance took too big of a chunk out that month, vet bills, etc... We all know it's expensive to keep a boarding facility afloat. Maybe they arent good with their private funds, keep putting it back into the facility upkeep instead of paying the mortgage? There could be so many explanations.

    I say if you like where you are, stay. You do have a back up at your friends place if it goes into foreclosure. But you sure dont help the barn owner by jumping ship now and leaving her with an empty stall and no income. I know if i were the barn owner, that would be my biggest fear if my income all left because we had some rough months!
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!
    www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com

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    • #3
      Been there, done that, and own the t-shirt.

      Don't jump ship yet. As was already said, things could be fine. But be sure you have an escape plan and watch the care LIKE A HAWK. These situations can go from fine to terrible in a matter of days. All it took in my situation was for the grain and hay to run out. No warning. Then the staff didn't get paid...and they quit. This was all in a matter of about 48 hours where things looked OK and then really, really weren't. Oftentimes, people will go to great lengths to hide financial problems, so be certain you have an out if you need it. And don't let a day go by that you or someone trusted doesn't check in on your horse.

      All that said...you can and should still hope for the best. Not everything is terrible.
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

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      • #4
        Please don't leave, if you love the place then stay, you have a backup in case it goes South.
        I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

        Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.

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        • #5
          some people have lousy payment ethics...does not even mean they don't have the money...
          Originally posted by BigMama1
          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
          GNU Terry Prachett

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          • #6
            In the current market? I might stay, but be ready with a backup plan in case this time is different.
            Author Page
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            Steampunk Sweethearts

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            • #7
              Am I the only one who says life is too short to be stressed about your horses boarding arrangement. If it were me, I would move. I want peace and serenity with regards to my horses welfare and wondering if the owners can stay afloat would be enough to make me seek a better managed facility not on the brink of financial ruin, regardless of the reason. I might be so bold as to ask the owners point blank for the skinny, of course in a very non confrontational manner and an curtiously as possible. I don't take risks with my animals and I won't let anyone else do it either.

              On the flip side, as a barn owner, I would never leave my clients in the dark about financial issues that may leave them high and dry for a place for their horses. But that's just me. I also would do my damnedest not to let my business fall apart at the seams.
              ...don't sh** where you eat...

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              • #8
                Before I read this, I thought: "Note to self: Don't look into other peoples' financial dealings gratuitously, when you can't change it, and also can't properly ask about it even if it may (or may not) affect you. It's crazy-making."

                But now I really think so, especially because the OP 1) Likes the place and wants it to stay afloat; 2) Has an option should things go south.

                Originally posted by winfieldfarm View Post
                Am I the only one who says life is too short to be stressed about your horses boarding arrangement. If it were me, I would move. I want peace and serenity with regards to my horses welfare and wondering if the owners can stay afloat would be enough to make me seek a better managed facility not on the brink of financial ruin, regardless of the reason. I might be so bold as to ask the owners point blank for the skinny, of course in a very non confrontational manner and an curtiously as possible. I don't take risks with my animals and I won't let anyone else do it either.

                On the flip side, as a barn owner, I would never leave my clients in the dark about financial issues that may leave them high and dry for a place for their horses. But that's just me. I also would do my damnedest not to let my business fall apart at the seams.
                I know, but *how* would the OP ask the owners for "the skinny" on this in a non-confrontational way.... when the OP basically looked up info that wasn't her business (even if public)?

                I think if I were the BO, I'd have a hard time with staying neutral in that conversation. I'd feel a bit blind-sided.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

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                • #9
                  I think it depends on your county and state, but these things used to be printed every week in the little local paper, along with sheriff calls and the like. I have to try to remember the time line but it sort of goes like Eponacelt's - my first re-riding trainer was subletting a place. I'd just gone there, met her and signed my DD up for camp, sat down with the paper and had this address in the front of my mind and lo and behold there it was. I called her back up and asked her point blank was she aware of this and would she be able to honor my DD's camp dates. No, she didn't know but if there was a problem she would let me know.

                  Evidently it took about two years after that for the place to go belly up. The property owners managed to refinance but with worse terms, they needed money and tried to take over the boarding business from the primary leaseholder, they just didn't have the expertise or the cash flow to make it work and two years later when I called about lessons for myself I had to go to the trainer's new location. I guess things just got a little worse and a little worse and finally it was time to move.

                  I'm sort of a believer that things happen for a reason. I wasn't a faithful reader of the little paper and I doubt you run down to town hall once a week to check on stuff either. If you like the place, stay, but be prepared to use the back-up plan.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=mvp;5255597]when the OP basically looked up info that wasn't her business (even if public)?QUOTE]

                    Of course it is her business! That's why it is public--so people/investors/etc with a stake in the matter have the information necessary to make the best decision. We are talking about a business, one that affects people who pay for those services.

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                    • #11
                      Been there, done that.

                      In our case, the property owner did not run the barn; the BM leased it from her. So there was no concern that owner's bills might come back to haunt the horse care.

                      Our BM had friends with a barn with lots of empty stalls, where we could all move on pretty much a moment's notice (and she was the awesomest BM ever in the history of BMs - if anyone is ever looking for board in southern NH, let me know! - so the group was happy to stick together), and with that back-up plan in place, we rode it out for awhile.

                      Ultimately, new people bought the place, and BM kept up the lease for a few months, but new people were WACKO (they owned - I am not making this up - a Zamboni. And no, they did not have an ice rink) and afraid of the horses, which was actually pretty funny, as they also thought owning a barn was going to be a cash cow.

                      Ultimately, new owners just got to be too much for BM (and thus all of us) to bear, and we all moved to the back-up place, which was just as nice (though in different ways) as the place we were coming from, so there really wasn't a downside. It was a little stressful here and there, but honestly, there's always some stress somewhere in life, so, eh, whatever.

                      I think as long as there's a good back-up plan in place, you like the current barn, and the care is good, stick around. The owner may well be able to rework things and get the property out of foreclosure - and if not, you have your friend's place for the interim.
                      Proud member of the EDRF

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                      • #12
                        As the others have said, depending on the state a foreclosure can take quite awhile to run it's course from the time a notice is printed in the paper to the day the owner is booted off the farm.

                        My bigger concern would be "what is her status with her vendors?" If you don't pay the feed store or hay guy they quit bringing the goods which has an immediate impact on your horse. I would have my feelers out in those places.

                        Good luck!

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                        • #13
                          Willingness vs. Ability

                          I spent most of my life looking at loans, most of which had problems.

                          Two of the keys to credit analysis are:
                          1. Willingness - character
                          2. Ability - capacity

                          And, in that order in reality.

                          Also, willingness and ability are totally separate most of the time. There are a LOT of people with means that just don't pay bills. A LOT LOT LOT Of them. SOme people with no $ managed to keep current.

                          You can't really tell anything about either from just a court search.

                          This may just be how they manage their debts. Some people handle it this way. 1 time out of 100, it's a quirk. Maybe 20 - 30 of the times, they just always do this and nothing comes of it - sometimes because, well, they just suck at cash management but they do have the cash eventually. But, most of the time, it eventually catches up with them. While it may seem odd, much of the time, the debtor really COULD pay, they just aren't willing. In that case, if they really get to where they will lose the farm, they usually pay up and the cycle is quiet for a bit and then they start old habits again.

                          Personally, IF THEY HAVE THE ABILITY and just aren't willing, I would move. That is because of personal feeling on that behavior though, not because I think it correlates with bad horse care or anything - and foreclosure is unlikely. If there is no ability, well, then, I would move as well because it probably won't end well. So, long winded post later, I would move.

                          The key here though for others is to determine ability.
                          You may not be able to.
                          "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII

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                          • #14
                            I'd stay but watch the operation carefully and be prepared to jump ship at a moment's notice. If it is headed to foreclosure then the length of time before the sale will vary depending on the state. Judicial foreclosure states take time; nonjudicial states are quick. Keep monitoring the public records to see if and when anything is scheduled. Who knows maybe the owner is just playing chicken with the bank and will work something out.
                            Love my "Slo-TTB"

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                            • #15
                              I'll tell you how to ask the question. You ask for a private meeting when the BO is in a good position to talk. You tell them that you are very aware of the challenges of running a barn but ultimately you have to have your horse's best interests at heart. Then you present the info you discovered, that which was public record. You tell them you do not want to make any assumptions so you are coming directly to them to get their side of the story.

                              based on their reaction to your inquiry, you can decide if these folks have the marbles to be responsible for the health and welfare of your horse all those hours in the day when you are not there to watch over them.

                              I have had two times in our business life where it was pretty dicey for a bit finacially. One was just a start up issue but the other entailed a huge change to the business plan in order to stay afloat. I called a meeting of my boarders and explained to them what was going on, how I wanted to remedy the situation and how they as boarders had the option to seek other accomodations or be a part of our new facility model. All my boarders were very eager to help out with the plan as they loved our barn and the care we gave. Not a single boarder left, many went out and spread the word amongst their friends about our new services and we actually grew business and haven't looked back.

                              If you like this place, you can show the owners you want to be part of the solution if possible. Their reaction to your gesture will tell you if this is a warm and fuzzy barn you don't want to see go belly up.

                              Remember, you are paying for a service first and foremost. But many boarding barns are like little communities and sometimes it takes a village to keep the horses fed...
                              ...don't sh** where you eat...

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