There’s a big difference between buying a typical home and getting an equestrian estate or horse property. For one, the latter is much larger and more expensive. There are also certain elements of a horse property that can’t be found in most other types of real estate. These include things like barns, pastures, and training pens that require considerable space.
As such, you need to spend a little more time deliberating before you make a final decision to make a purchase. If you’re on the lookout for a horse property, particularly if this is your first time, below are some important things to consider:
Working With an Agent
When buying a home, you can probably do things on your own with just a bit of research. However, when buying a horse property, it’s better to work with a real estate agent. Again, there are a lot of differences between these two kinds of properties. A simple online guide might be enough to help you purchase your dream house, but not an equestrian estate.
As much as possible, find someone from a reliable brokerage. These establishments use tools like Brokerkit, which help ensure the recruitment of top-performing real estate agents. In addition, look for someone who’s experienced when it comes to buying and selling horse properties. If at all possible, look for someone who rides horses. This way, you can be confident that they’ll know everything you and your horses may need.
An experienced real estate agent can also point you to contacts that can make your purchase as smooth as possible.
Usable Space and Topography
Once you’ve found a real estate agent you want to work with, the next thing to do is visit properties. Obviously, the first thing you need to look for is ample space. That being said, this isn’t the only factor you should look at. You should also check the amount of usable space, as well as the topography.
Ideally, a horse property should have a lot of flat areas for grazing. There should also be some level space near the barn, which will come in handy during winter. Depending on where you are, you may also want to check the natural drainage of the area. Some areas get a lot of heavy rains, which can result in flooding if the runoff doesn’t have a place to go.
Other things you should keep an eye on are
- slightly sloped areas that can be good for giving the horses exercise
- bodies of water, like ponds or gullies, that can make navigation tricky for your horses
Finally, make sure to check the local regulations so you know how much space you need to allocate per horse. This part is related to zoning, which will be discussed more below.
In simple terms, zoning refers to laws and regulations that dictate how real estate can be used in a certain area. This urban planning method is why only a certain number of golf courses can exist within one city or if even a golf course is permitted at all. For horse properties, you need to check if the one you’re planning to buy follows such ordinances.
The key thing here is to not assume anything. Even if there are horse estates in the area, it doesn’t mean that the one you want is legal. Also, note that zoning laws can change at any time. To make sure that everything is on the up and up, check with the city or county. Your real estate agent should also have an idea regarding the matter.
Existing Structures and Facilities
Many horse properties come with existing structures. Apart from the house, there may already be a barn, some stables, a paddock, and other buildings present. Make sure to inspect them with a qualified individual, especially when it comes to electricity, plumbing, and waste management. The roof is another must-check part of these structures, particularly the one in the barn and stables.
You should also catalog all other amenities such as:
- hay and feed storage
- tack room, with storage for medicines
- wash area
- frost-proof spigots
Lastly, make sure that there’s a nearby veterinarian that you can contact in case your horses get sick or injured.
Finally, you need to be prepared for the costs associated with owning horse property. Acquiring one can be expensive, but its upkeep can be even more so. If you have more than a couple of horses, expect to shell out around $15,000 a year—and that’s a conservative estimate.
Some of the biggest expenses include horse supplies, farm maintenance supplies, veterinary fees, vaccine fees, and insurance. You should also factor in riding equipment, training costs, as well as electricity and water bills, among many other expenses.
Buying an equestrian estate is a milestone purchase, which is why you need to be more mindful of the details. Keep the above-mentioned considerations in mind so you can decide on what’s truly best for you and your horses.