You’re ready to join the ranks of Texas horse farm owners. Whether a little hobby horse farm is up your alley or you have your eyes set on a 20-stall boarding facility, we know it can be an overwhelming process. We hope you are of the same mind as us—get the job right the first time. If that’s your goal, we have provided this checklist to help ensure every “T” gets crossed.
The best piece of advice anyone can give when it comes to searching for Texas horse farm real estate is to use professional help. That is not a shameless plug for our services—although we have an amazing reputation! Horse farms are complicated pieces of real estate. There are dozens, even hundreds, of extra considerations compared to a regular residential real estate.
A qualified real estate professional with at least five years of niche experience can help ensure your dream farm becomes a reality without hitch. Feel free to get in touch with us today!
Now, without further ado, here is the ultimate checklist for buying a Texas horse farm.
Consider Your Needs Carefully
First, you must consider your needs when buying Texas equine property. That means asking questions. The right questions. Here is a list to get you started:
- What kind of horses will you keep? The show horse stable and the hobby farm will require different sets of amenities.
- Are you interested in boarders? If so, you’ll need to make a list of facilities important to boarders.
- Would you prefer a turn-key property that will function immediately or is a fixer-upper a better match for you? Turn-key properties require higher financing, but fixer-uppers require deeper research, especially concerning aspects like waterers and waterlines.
- What elements and facilities are necessities? Make a list and stick to it.
- What elements and facilities are on your wishlist? Be prepared to make sacrifices.
- What are your long-term needs? Consider where you will be in 5, 10, and 20 years and plan accordingly.
2. Research the Texas Horse Farm Market
Once you have a clear, written framework for your new equestrian property, it’s important to understand the market. For an excellent resource from the Texas Association of Realtors that breaks down all the relevant statistics, check out the 2017 Texas Small Land Sales Report.
There are two key takeaways from the report. First, increased population in Texas has created greater demand for small land parcels, especially around urban centers. Increased demand makes Texas a buyer’s market. Second, while there are regional differences in real estate statistics, overall the state has a stable and healthy market.
Buyers should also be aware that price per acre will depend on location, facilities, and market demand. If properties are too expensive, you will have to make (or wait for) changes in one of these three areas.
If you would like to get a reliable glimpse into the future of the market, North Texas Real Estate Information Systems publishes monthly reports of future market indicators.
3. Get Your Finances in Order
For many, this will be the most challenging aspect to face head-on. You may have your heart set on owning a horse farm. If it’s not financially viable, however, it is liable to break your heart and the bank.
TheHorse.com says that lenders are currently tough on potential buyers. They require higher credit scores than before. They offer this advice,
“There is no guaranteed path to securing a loan for a horse business, but if there is a secret to the process, it is emphasizing the business aspects of the loan application.”
The Small Business Administration offers plenty of helpful resources for those hoping to start a thriving horse business. We have placed this section early on in the checklist for a reason. Before you get too deep in the process of buying horse property in Texas, double check that you are in a financially sound place to do so.
4. Educate Yourself on Municipality Issues
Potential horse farm owners should also consider environmental issues, land conservation, and property use restrictions. Typically smaller farms will fly under the Environmental Protection Agency’s radar. Even so, there’s no substitute for environmentally friendly horse stewardship, as explained in this article.
Depending on your goals, you may run into municipal issues regarding proper land usage. If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty of it, you can check out this resource on Texas Livestock Laws.
As mentioned previously, a reputable realtor will be able to nix this step for you.
5. Get a Real Estate Ally and Start Shopping
As mentioned previously, acreage property and especially Texas horse properties are often complex facilities sold in a highly niche market. Unless you are highly knowledgeable about the market and process, any objective party will tell you to get a real estate agent with at least 5 years of experience in the Northern Texas horse property market.
A good realtor will show you a variety of properties sizes in different areas. They will be able to estimate renovation costs and have an eye for potential issues down the road.
6. Main Horse Farm Property Elements to Consider
This section is the real meat of this checklist. These are the main property elements you MUST consider.
Generally, horse farmers want to avoid rocky or sandy soil. Instead, the property should sport healthy vegetation growth due to high-quality soil.
Beyond a visual check, you will want to get the soil tested for alkaline, acidity, and salt levels. You’ll also need to look for signs of bad pesticides or herbicides. Even if sprayed years ago, they can still impact the soil today.
Soil testing services are available through TAMU here.
Location of the Horse Farm
You know the saying: location, location, location. Is the farm located within a reasonable distance to a major highway, a town, and resources you may need like farrier services?
Two things matter when it comes to proper water supply: purity and supply. You should check the water quality with a reputable laboratory like those as the Texas Department of State Health Services. You can also check out AquaKnow for lots of info regarding water quality.
Consider also whether the water supply is shared with neighbors. That could lead to trouble!
Check for well-maintained fences, barns, and residences.
Want to know if the owner is the kind of guy who sweeps dirt under the rug? Check the fence line on the backside of the property.
The last major point of this article is to consider every property in terms of resale value. You will probably have to make certain sacrifices in order to find a good match for your budget and goals. Are those sacrifices ones that other potential buyers might make?
- Water drainage. Animals will always require places with dry footing.
- Safe fencing. Ideally, there should be “No-Predator” fences and zero barbed wire.
- Buy extra land. Often ranchers find they need it.
- Buy extra barn. Same idea.
- Meet the neighbors. They could make or break your experience.
- Water access points. They should be strategically placed.
- Barn accessibility. Can deliveries and farriers easily get to your barn?
- Priority: barn or house? Barns are cheaper to build, but typically have more regulations when used as animal housing units. It has also been said that true horse people care more about the state of the barn than the cosmetics of the house.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for the perfect Texas horse farm property. That’s why we really think you should get in touch with us today!