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I may have a good problem- 3 potential buyers for my horse. How to handle?

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  • I may have a good problem- 3 potential buyers for my horse. How to handle?

    After weeks of only a few emails and no one being interested in even coming to see my gelding, I finally have three interested parties. One is coming Friday, one Sunday, and one I emailed back and told her two others were scheduled to see him (she is still interested last I heard but hasnt tried to set a date)

    Person A and C sound like great potential matches. Person B might be too green but the trainer asked questions and liked the answers well enough to want to come out.

    So what happens when more than one want to vet and make offers, if I am so blessed?? I have a vague idea of how to handle it professionally but could use a solid plan for what to say and how to juggle potential buyers.

    I tried looking for old threads but got a lot of random threads in my search.

    Fingers crossed.

  • #2
    Keep it simple. Tell Person A that you have someone coming to see the horse on Sunday. Tell both A and B that the first one to hand you payment (you need to decide if it's a downpayment or full payment) will have one week to arrange for vetting and make a decision.

    Ignore Person C as an option unless they get in touch with you again (or if neither A nor B make an offer, contact C and ask if they'd like to come and see the horse). Tell them the same thing. First one with the money can have 7 days to vet and decide.

    Decide now what you will do if there's no decision communicated to you and it's day eight. I would contact the other person(s) who came to see the horse and give them the chance to pony up the payment and do a vet check. If the first person came back and said they wanted to buy after the second person had handed over payment (or indicated they would do so within 24 hours) I would tell them that their seven days had passed and another person had made an offer and would have seven days to vet and decide before the first person could make another offer.

    Keep it simple. Stick to your stated timeframes, write it down and get signatures.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      First one with the money gets the horse. Simple


      • #4
        Yep, first one with the money. Not a down payment, the full amount.
        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


        • #5

          as a seller I tend to give too much information - can work for or against you.

          as a buyer, if someone said they had 2 other interested parties, I'd back off unless it was easy to go see the horse, I knew the horse or someone who did or owner, or the horse was EVERYTHING I wanted and I didn't care if I had to pay top dollar.

          I have turned down $$ in favor of a better fit for the horse...


          • Original Poster

            I'm definitely the type to give too much info

            First with the money sounds good, though A is two hours away and B is one hour. I'll have to sort it out as I go.

            If the horse is over 5k, do you take a money order? Then hold on to it during the vetting?

            I've only sold one horse before and I'd already moved overseas at the time.


            • #7
              As others have said, the first one with all of the money, no payment plan, no trial period, and a set time to arrange for vetting. If it comes down to two homes are interested, then decide on the best fit for your horse.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                I wouldn't consider this a "problem" until you actually have a solid offer. Until then, you're just showing the horse. Horse selling is a lot like trying to sell a house. You can have a lot of traffic at an open house but it doesn't mean you're going to get an offer. Just take it as it comes.


                • #9
                  I always took a down payment but then asked for a bank check before releasing the horse.

                  I once had a bidding war going on between buyers in the kitchen with me and buyers in the barn with DH. The first people got there late and the second family got there early. They both had their kids ride in front on the other family. I had bit off all my nails by the time the people in the kitchen left the check in my hand!
                  Ride like you mean it.


                  • #10
                    Around here, if a horse is, say, around $5000, most sellers today are asking for cash if the buyer is a stranger.

                    One problem you and the buyers will have is, for you, deciding how much to take and for them, how much to offer, knowing someone else is interested.

                    Then, each buyer may not decide the horse is a good fit or the right price for them, so your problem may quickly become finding more buyers.

                    I buy some horses but then have friend trainers actively competing and with contacts sell them.
                    They earn their commission, it is not easy to deal with the public today and place horses in the right situation and it seems to be getting harder.

                    Good luck, having three interested buyers at once on the same weekend sounds like a good problem to have.


                    • #11
                      Amen, Snowflake!

                      First, see if the ANY of the prospective buyers actually show up. Second, see if the prospective buyer and horse are suited for each other. Third, be prepared that the buyer is not going to make a decision and will say something like, “Thank-you, I’ll get back to you.” The prospective buyer may want to think about it, perhaps talk with a trainer, perhaps review some video (if it was taken), or may be trying other horses as well. Don’t expect an immediate offer.

                      Personally, I would schedule everyone who wants to see the horse with the understanding that I would contact them immediately if a contract has been accepted for the horse. The only corollary to this arrangement is that if a prospective buyer was flying in to see my horse, I would be sure the horse was available for sale. Of course the travel arrangements would have to be made in a very short time window.

                      More importantly, are you ready to sell this horse? Are you ready to demo ride the horse or have a demo rider available? Many buyers (wisely, I might add) want to see someone else ride the horse first. Do you have a current Coggins on the horse? Do you have your liability release ready? Do you have a contract ready? Are you accepting a deposit to hold for vetting or do you want the full purchase amount? Under what circumstances would you refund based on the vetting? Assuming that most prospective buyers don’t arrive with a trailer and a pocket full of cash, consider if you really want to require a cashier’s check or a money order. That’s more work for the buyer. I will take a personal check if holding for a vetting because checks clear banks very quickly these days. I also only want a deposit for the vetting and it is 100% refundable for any reason whatsoever. I try to make it as easy as possible for the prospective buyer to commit to the purchase.

                      Whatever you do, don’t assume the horse is going to sell this weekend or sell easily. Assume nothing at all. You'll have less stress that way. Good luck!
                      Last edited by IronwoodFarm; Apr. 25, 2013, 12:30 PM.
                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                      • Original Poster


                        I have the coggins scheduled to be drawn Monday, I'll be demo riding, and I still need to print out liability releases and whatnots.

                        I'm just glad I finally have people interested in coming out. Hopefully I'll have him sold soon, and I don't want to botch the juggling...


                        • #13
                          Don't stress yet. In my experience you can expect at least one of these folks to be a no-show and another will ask if they can take your horse on a free lease . Selling horses is a recipe for frustration!

                          First person who pays gets the horse! if someone is coming from a distance, I would certainly keep the apprised but also let them know that just because someone tries the horse doesn't mean it's sold.

                          I've had people come and try a horse multiple times and then not buy it. I decided they were looking for something free to ride and never had any intention of actually owning a horse.
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JanM View Post
                            As others have said, the first one with all of the money, no payment plan, no trial period, and a set time to arrange for vetting. If it comes down to two homes are interested, then decide on the best fit for your horse.
                            Make sure you use a good contract that spells every nuance out and is iron tight.


                            • #15
                              I guess the market is finally picking up a little because I've had this happen three times already this year. The way I handle it is to let everyone know that there are other parties interested. So Person A comes and tests the horse on Friday. If they like it well enough to buy then, they need to give me a non-refundable deposit and come back within the week with the balance of the money. If they want a vet check, they need to get the vet out within 48 hours. I will let Person B (C, D whatever) know that person A is planning on buying the horse if anything changes I will be in touch. If person A wants to think things over after the test ride I usually tell them that is fine, but I have person B (C, D whatever) coming on Saturday/Sunday/next week so they should check back with me after that time to see if the horse is still available. If any of the people who test ride the horse don't seem like a good fit, I'm not shy about telling them that and encouraging them to look at a different horse -- we breed and train so maintaining a good reputation for matching horse and rider is more important to me than any one sale.

                              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                              Around here, if a horse is, say, around $5000, most sellers today are asking for cash if the buyer is a stranger.
                              Ours are registered, so for acquaintances or friends of friends we hold the papers until the check clears, but for a true stranger, I'd insist on cash too. Sometimes people are not realistic about their own budgets.


                              • #16
                                Don't get excited till you see the color of their money. "Tire-kickers" are a dime a dozen; some of 'em actually make a career out of "trying" horses just to get lots of free rides. Then, as said above, first one with cash on the barrelhead has the horse!


                                • Original Poster

                                  I am totally stressing

                                  Thanks folks. Wish me luck.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Fenika View Post
                                    I am totally stressing

                                    Thanks folks. Wish me luck.
                                    Relax and breathe. Treat each individual shopper as a single event and don't worry about the others until/unless you have to. Just focus on the suitability of the horse to the rider.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Breathing, praying, trying to plan a rough outline of what to discuss and show


                                      • #20
                                        Buyers bid the price up.

                                        Highest price gets the horse of the two you like.

                                        I prefer cash. When all the $ clears, then the horse can leave your property.