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Another horse buying/selling etiquette question

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  • Another horse buying/selling etiquette question

    First of all, let me just say horse shopping really sucks! I'm getting frustrated. There are only a few horses that I've found that meet my needs and it seems like most of the good ones sell before I can get there.

    If you contact a pro to set up an appointment to try a horse in a few days, do you (or should you) get "priority" or right of first refusal if someone else calls and wants to see it before you? Or is it just every man for himself, first person who shows up, likes the horse and hands over the cash wins?

  • #2
    First person with the cash wins. The seller doesn't know you and has *no* idea if you're even going to show up.

    If you really like the horse you can offer a non-refundable deposit that tells the seller you are very serious. But you have to be willing to lose that money if you decide against the horse-- it compensates the seller for taking the horse off the market for that period of time.
    ... and Patrick


    • #3
      Agree with wsmoak.
      I had to fight 3 other people to get my youngest horse. Fancy young OTTB with a great price. I saw the ad, went and saw the horse that day or the next morning, had the vet out the next day, and paid a deposit for the horse (50%) after the vet left, picked up the horse and paid the rest when I picked the horse up the following day. All told, I think it was 3.5 days from the time I saw the ad to the time the horse came home. And the seller told me I got him because I was the quickest. I even managed to talk the price down 50% because the horse was a monster in the PPE, but I told her I'd cut her a check that moment and she wanted the horse gone.


      • #4
        In the information age, you are competing with many more buyers that may be interested in the horse than before.

        You have to realize you are not the only one that may be interested in any one horse advertised for sale and the seller may just have to sort thru several equally interested and qualified prospective buyers.

        You would not want to have a horse for sale and have one person that may or not really be interested hold the horse for days or longer to even come to see it or make it's mind if it wants it, when others are also interested?

        I just sold a horse yesterday the buyer had for some days to try out and was making it's mind if it was suitable.
        The buyer knew that if someone else decided to buy the horse, they would have to either buy him then or let him go, not keep holding the sale up.

        The better sellers will handle that up front with all interested parties, make it clear what they will do at any one time about this, so no one has to feel left out.


        • Original Poster

          I understand not wanting to "hold" a horse as a seller, but when I've been selling I'd tell person #2 that they could come see it sooner than person #1 but that person #1 would have right of first refusal. This is only if we are talking a few DAYS difference, not weeks or anything. I get that. I wouldn't expect anyone to take the horse off the market, even temporarily.

          Unfortunately I have this inconvenient thing called a J.O.B. where I can't just go see a horse on a moment's notice. It usually has to happen on weekends so I guess I'm just screwed if someone beats me to the punch.


          • #6
            If I have an appointment to see a horse, and it sells before my appointment, the only responsibility I feel the seller has to me is to notify me that the horse has sold in a timely manner.

            Now if there's a lot of travel involved or something, arrangements to hold a horse can be made, but they're probably going to include a deposit, as previous posters have mentioned.
            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
            -Edward Hoagland


            • #7
              Originally posted by KPF View Post
              I understand not wanting to "hold" a horse as a seller, but when I've been selling I'd tell person #2 that they could come see it sooner than person #1 but that person #1 would have right of first refusal. This is only if we are talking a few DAYS difference, not weeks or anything. I get that. I wouldn't expect anyone to take the horse off the market, even temporarily.
              That's very nice to person #1, but if I was #2 I probably wouldn't come see your horse. I wouldn't want to waste my time, which is also not in great supply, only to risk "clicking" with a horse that might then get sold to someone who comes after me.
              Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


              • Original Poster

                Coanteen, I've been in a situation where I was person #2, and just opted to wait another day to go see the horse after #1 had their chance. When the seller told me about #1 I was disappointed but thought it was fair, since she contacted the seller first.

                I've had similar experiences when selling stuff (farm equipment, cars, etc.) on CL. I tend to think that whoever contacts me first, as long as they sound serious and can come in a few days' time, has first dibs. I'll tell subsequent people who call that #1 already has an appointment on x day and they are welcome to come later that day or after. It really is a strange situation because as a seller you risk no-shows but I'd feel like a jerk telling #1 "I know you were the first person to contact me but since you couldn't come today I sold it to someone else who could". In my mind, the courteous way to handle it is the way I do it but it sounds like most of y'all disagree. Interesting.

                I have to say, I hate the whole selling end of things too, which is why I sent my horse to a trainer's barn for her to sell him. The whole process sucks regardless of which end you're on!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KPF View Post
                  I understand not wanting to "hold" a horse as a seller, but when I've been selling I'd tell person #2 that they could come see it sooner than person #1 but that person #1 would have right of first refusal.
                  This I have never heard of occurring. And I, too, think this is very kind. But what if person #2 gave you cash right there? You're going to risk #1 hemming and hawing while #2, who would've taken the horse off your hands, goes out and finds another horse?

                  Originally posted by KPF View Post
                  Unfortunately I have this inconvenient thing called a J.O.B. where I can't just go see a horse on a moment's notice. It usually has to happen on weekends so I guess I'm just screwed if someone beats me to the punch.
                  Nature of the beast. I took off work because I was dedicated to buying my horse. Remember, you'll also probably have a PPE done, and unless you're willing to do a weekday, you may not get the vet out for weeks if you're limited to Saturdays only.

                  If you're the seller, you can do whatever you want. The OP is clearly a very kind seller. But most people are mistrustful and bitter and won't give a buyer the benefit of the doubt if they have another buyer who will take the horse.

                  Originally posted by KPF View Post
                  It really is a strange situation because as a seller you risk no-shows but I'd feel like a jerk telling #1 "I know you were the first person to contact me but since you couldn't come today I sold it to someone else who could".
                  The seller doesn't have to tell a potential buyer anything, and can even lie. The buyer doesn't have to know they were the first person, or that anyone else was even looking. I didn't know for sure other people were looking to buy the horse I wanted until after I gave the lady the money. I just assumed he'd go fast. I handed her the check and she said "good thing you got here now; I have 3 other people coming to look at him this afternoon and tomorrow". The only inkling I got from her was that she wanted a PPE done soon because she wanted the horse gone.


                  • #10
                    I had a situation where Buyer #1 contacted me first, but couldn't come for several weeks. Buyer was not local, but not many hours away either. Buyer #2 contacts me and wants to see the horse the next weekend. She buys the horse. I let Buyer #1 know that the horse was sold.

                    The only exception I make to this arrangement is if I have a buyer coming from out of town. If I know someone is incurring airline, hotel or other significant travel expenses AND if the appointment is for the near future, I will have the horse available for sale at their appointment. I can always show the horse to other prospective buyers in the interim and take back-up offers.

                    If I sold a horse to everyone who came to look, then horse selling would be very easy. The truth is that you are more likely NOT to sell the horse to a given prospective buyer. This is why when you have a suitable buyer with payment in hand, you take that offer and not wait someone who says they want to look at your horse.
                    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                    • #11
                      OP you are too nice :-)

                      For me, as buyer and seller, it's always been first person with the cash (or deposit, when vetting is involved). I did make an exception when I had a buyer flying in to try my horse long distance.

                      But generally I would not turn down cash and a trailer because I talked to someone else on the phone 3 days ago who may or may not show up/like the horse/have money.


                      • #12
                        Horses are first come, first served unless you've arranged for the buyer to hold the horse for you (and likely put down a deposit).


                        • #13
                          First come, first serve. You cannot hold a horse hoping that the person that started talking to you first will show up and like the horse.

                          Except in a case like Ironwood Farm, where she is selling a more unusual breed, most people who are traveling, are doing so to see more than one horse in a trip. In that case, I would not feel guilty if they booked a flight and the horse sold.

                          No matter the distance, however, I would think it proper ettiquette to inform any interested buyers that the horse is sold, no matter the distance the buyer needs to travel.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Coanteen View Post
                            That's very nice to person #1, but if I was #2 I probably wouldn't come see your horse. I wouldn't want to waste my time, which is also not in great supply, only to risk "clicking" with a horse that might then get sold to someone who comes after me.
                            I was #2 once, and it sucked, BUT the horse in question was not one I even knew was for sale. I flew down to VA to try one horse, and the trial was at a larger farm, and the seller of the horse I went to try told the larger farm owner to get out whatever *she* had for sale just in case the horse I went to try wasn't a good match. Which she wasn't. Farm owner had 3 others, 2 of whom I ruled out immediately (not bad horses, but not good matches for me). The third one was really, really sweet and easy, but there was a #1 in the picture, who had put down a deposit, and they decided to buy her a few days after I tried her. The farm owner said she would have preferred that the horse go to me but she had promised right of first refusal to #1.
                            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                            • #15
                              I've never sold a horse, but I would expect to sell to the first person with the cash (assuming I felt comfortable that the horse was going to a good home.) As a buyer, if I was told that someone else was coming to look at the horse and had first right of refusal, I would wonder if that was a negotiating tactic to try to get me to make a full price (or more) offer on the spot.


                              • Original Poster

                                Yeah, apparently I need to learn to be more ruthless! I can take a day off work here and there and actually am taking a week off soon so I can look at some horses during the week. However, it's hard when one comes up suddenly that I want to see because I have to give 2 weeks notice at my job to take a vacation day. So while I'd love to rush out and look, I just can't for the most part. PPE's and stuff like that I can work out, I don't necessarily have to be present for a PPE.

                                Horse shopping is just a big bummer all the way around... but hopefully it will all work out in the end. Cross your fingers for me that the next one I'm going to see doesn't get snatched up like the last one did!


                                • #17
                                  Yet another possibility, and one that I may be dealing with myself:

                                  What if one possible buyer has not put money down, and has made plans to drive two hours to see the horse. They are very interested, but there are some indications that this may not be a long term, perfect home for this horse's lifestyle preferences.

                                  Meanwhile, there is another interested party who has been told that she can have first right of refusal. She lives locally and has been helping keep said horse in work...and has come to like her quite a lot. (this would Be a perfect home, perfect match, etc...)

                                  Do you tell the first party that there is some one with first right of refusal? where does the current owner's obligation to finding the BEST HOME for the horse trump an "order of contact" line?
                                  I don't mean to hijack a thread here, because this is also relevant to the original poster's questions regarding how one handles such potential scenarios in a buyer line- up.


                                  • #18
                                    Any buyer gets the same treatment. I don't care how fast they can dial a phone, I care how fast they can write a (good) check. Cannot count how many times I've taken time out of my busy schedule and prepped a horse and had a buyer not show up, how many times I've heard "I'll be back tomorrow with cash" etc. Right now one of my boarders who has a horse for sale has had TWO people promise to appear with cash AND trailer, never to be heard from again. If someone really wants a horse, they will make it happen. I've paypal'd money and arranged pickup for the next day on horses I had never laid eyes on in person. I've cancelled hundreds of dollars worth of appointments and hooked up the trailer to go look at horses with cash in hand if they were close enough to do so.

                                    Third Charm Event Team


                                    • #19
                                      I don't recall a seller ever telling me if I was the 1st, 2nd or 135th person that contacted them.
                                      Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                                      Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


                                      • #20
                                        Here is how I buy horses:

                                        I call - don't email - I pick up the phone and call the seller. I honestly outline what I'm looking for and get additional information. If the seller sounds mentally stable and the horse seems like it might fit my needs, I make arrangements to see the horse ASAP - within the next day or two. Even if it's in the evening. I can get enough of an idea to find out whether it would be worthwhile to take some time off to get a better look during the day.

                                        When I go to look at a lower priced horse and know I'll have a decent chance of buying it, I come with cash and a trailer in tow. That shows that I'm a serious buyer and gives me some room for negotiation. If it's a higher value horse, I will leave a cash deposit pending PPE and am prepared to have that scheduled within the week. I negotiate that same day if I'm still interested after the PPE.

                                        When selling, the first one with cash wins. If someone tells me they can't make it out until Sunday, and they're talking to me on a Monday I flat out let them know, I will still market the horse and will consider offers if he's shown between now and then. If it's really that important to them, they can make some time to come out and see him ASAP. If not, I consider them to be less serious buyers than someone who will make what arrangements necessary to be more timely in their evaluations.

                                        I've been stood up plenty by buyers and have a pretty good read on who is and isn't really in the market. If this has made me a bit calloused, then so be it.