Taking a client out to look at horse properties adds an element to the home buying process that most real estate agents don’t fully understand. Many people who own horses place their barns and land needs above their own home. Finding the perfect blend of a great piece of land, functional barn set up and a decent home can be difficult to balance.
Often, you will find a great house and not so great barn or vice versa. In the current market, finding a turn key farm with the right combination of barn/land to meet your needs and the house that will fit your families needs is a real challenge if not almost impossible. If you are facing this problem, the solution might be to buy the house and land that works for you and then build your barn for your horse.
If this is a consideration for you, there are some important things to look for with regards to the actual land you are purchasing. Here are some questions to ask yourself before moving forward:
1) How many horses do you have or plan on getting and how much acreage do you need? How many paddocks do you need? Do you need an arena? Check your county requirements on the number of horses allowed per acre
2) Are you in a horse neighborhood? Do you have access to trails if you want to hack your horse? What is the road frontage like – are you on a busy road or a quiet country road? A busy road is not the most desirable for horses but if no other alternatives, one benefit is that your horse will be used to traffic!
2) How wet is the land?
3) Does the property have any flood plain or low lying areas that might be wet during the rainy seasons?
4) How hilly is the land? Is there a good spot for the barn (i.e. – flatter area located up and out of a water runoff area). What about a ring or a place to park horse trailers?
5) What kind of access is available to the barn from the house, driveway or road?
6) How will hay trucks, vets or farriers access the barn? Is there good access with land that drains so you can build a driveway there? Or do you have to go through a wet area to get to the barn?
7) How is the house situated to these needs?
8) What are your neighboring land owners like – do they have a lot of dogs? Cows? Are you going to have to share a fence line? Are there other people that have horses next to you?
9) How far are the utilities? Your barn will need water and electricity.. how is that going to be installed?
10) What are the property covenants/restrictions or HOA restrictions? Even if a property is not in an HOA, there might still be restrictions on what you can build on the property or how many or what type of animals can live on the property. Check this out before purchasing your land or home.
My favorite time to look at horse farms or potential horse farms is after its been raining or during a rain storm. It’s not fun to walk around the property when its wet, but this is the best time to tell where the water run-offs are and potential issues might be due to wetlands.
Building a barn is a very individual process. Some people can get by with a run in shed, or a shedrow type barn, others need the full center aisle. The needs really are dependent on what the buyer does with their horses. There are numerous barn plans online and many great alternatives if you need to keep the cost down…alternatively, there also is no limit to how fancy your barn can be either!
Interview several builders to determine what their price includes…often things such as the driveway, prep work, electrical, water and the pad is not included in the actual barn building. So, remember to ask about these things when you meet with the builder! If you need some Virginia horse barn builder recommendations, reach out to me and I will send you a few names.
When looking at horse property take a horse person with you! An agent who has horses and has the knowledge of what your needs might be is a key asset in your home buying or selling process. Email Sonja Adams, your equestrian specialist, today at SonjaAdams@kw.com for assistance in buying or selling your horse property!