• Sarah Lipkowitz

Tips For Buying An Equestrian Property

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

There are a number of important factors to take into consideration when searching for the perfect equestrian property.  These crucial elements can make or break your experience as a farm owner so it is vital that you bear them in mind when looking at properties.

Storage. Does the property have adequate storage space? Is there space for a feed room? A tack room? What about hay and equipment storage? Many people are uncomfortable storing hay in the same barn as their animals because it is a fire hazard so you may need to think about additional outbuildings. Bottom line: you will always need more storage space than you think.

Accessibility. You don’t want your house a mile away from your barn and your hay barn further still. Take a careful look at the layout of the farm and save yourself some steps. Running a farm is enough work without having to crisscross the property a million times just to get morning chores done.

Land. If the property is in a floodplain then you’ve got yourself a problem. In most places, outdoor arenas and pastures are bound to get sloppy sometimes, but you don’t want to buy a property that is so often underwater that you need to commission the Loch Ness Monster as a stud for your broodmare. A soil sample may also help you prepare for your horses’ additional nutritional needs and enable you to supplement appropriately. You must be aware that the grass in a place like Maryland can be very rich certain times of the year, while the grass in South Florida provides little more than entertainment value.

Location, location, location. If you plan to run a business out of your farm, then pay attention to the major thoroughfares in your area. Have you ever driven down a country road and thought, “Hmm, I never knew there was a hunter barn back here…?” Yeah—neither did anyone else and in five years there will be a housing development in its place. You will be more successful if you choose a property with a convenient location. No one wants add two hours to their commute to see their horse after work. Not to mention, the roads are likely to be better maintained and you will have your pick of vets and farriers.

Facility. If there are existing barns or arenas on the property, are they safe? If you intend to build, will you have enough land leftover for pasture? You need to know how much money you are willing to put in to make your facility operational. Many people prefer turnkey equestrian properties while others want design their own space. If you’re thrifty, I know of a barn owner who refurbished an old dairy barn to suit her dressage horses’ needs and has since counseled others on how to do the same and sidestep some of the roadblocks she encountered along the way.

Zoning. Even if the land seems like the perfect location to build the barn of your dreams, be sure to check how the property is zoned. Commercial activities (like running a training barn) may be prohibited. You may also be required to build a house BEFORE you build a barn. Zoning is critical and HOAs can be just as important because they may also place restrictions on the land.

If you want to turn your dream of farm ownership into a reality, then be sure to do your research and have a game plan before you put an offer on a property.

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