Buying your first horse property is a big step that can bring a lot of joy and probably a little trepidation. Whether or not you've bought land or a house before, buying something specifically on which to enjoy your horses is a different task with different priorities than other real-estate purchases. So, how can you know the right property to buy? Here are six handy tips for any newbie.
Look for a Quiet Spot. Major thoroughfares might not be the best place to house and ride your horses. You'll want some safe and tranquil roads to ride around your property, so take a drive around the area to assess it. Keep an eye out for non-auto traffic like bicycle paths, mountain-biking trails, and ATV trails.
Keep It Flat. While you might want some gentle sloping on your land for visual appeal, a primarily flat property can save you a lot of trouble. It will provide the best base for barns, arenas, corrals, and other workout areas.
Don't Obsess over the Barn. A lot of horse properties for sale will have older barns that may not fit your needs or that need to be updated. Don't focus on the barn itself as a make-or-break aspect of the property. You can always remodel, upgrade, or replace the barn if the land itself fits the bill.
Watch for Flooding Potential. Be sure to ask your real-estate agent about flood plains in the area as well as flood history. If the property has any elevation changes, be sure that the main house, barn, and nearby corrals are not in a low spot or depression.
Check the Zoning. Check with local zoning authorities, especially if the property you're considering doesn't currently have horses and permanent structures (or if you're starting a horse business). You don't want to buy a piece of land only to discover that you're prohibited from building what you want on it.
Scope Out Services. Find out what the area has to offer as far as necessary services, both for you and for the horses. Among things you may want to investigate are
- What roads are plowed and by whom?
- Local large animal veterinarians
- Hay growers and services
- Local horse clubs and enthusiasts
- Local providers for any specialized feed or medical care
By knowing what to look for when searching for your first horse property, you can help ensure that you find the best space for you and all your four-legged friends.