What to Know and Consider when Buying a Horse Property

Real Estate Agent with Windermere Hulsey and Associates
When looking for horse property or horse farm, it is usually assumed that is property between 2 and 50 acres and zoned for horses; Horse farms are often between 2 to 25 acres. However, in a few residential areas, one acre or less is satisfactory if the land is surrounded by city services, zoned to allow horses, and all useable and flat. Two horses per acre, however, is a good rule of thumb. Horse property is ideally grassy, rolling land for the most part, with good draining soil. Horses benefit from living on rolling or sloped land as they need exercise, but it should not be more than a 15% slope. Ideally, most horse folks are looking for 3-5 acres when shopping for a horse property. However, extra land is always useful for pasturing, breeding, casual riding, lay-up, access to trails, roping, cutting or even team penning. People without horses sometimes shop for horse property just because they know it is mostly useable property, easy to build on, and of greater value. When looking you must ask yourself "What is the main reason for purchasing a horse property/horse farm and will this property satisfy that need?" How do I use my horse? Does my family mainly like to trail ride or also do arena work? Does this property have access to trails? How far do we have to trailer to public trails or horse events? Does my show horse require a state-of-the-art barn, dressage arena? How much of the property is fenced and is it adequate or is it dangerous to horses and/or need to be replaced? Installing a barn, arena, and fencing can be quite an expense so it is very important to take these items into consideration when purchasing a horse property. It would be my advice to employee a Realtor with experience in selling horse type properties. He or She would be familiar with the type of inspection you may need to protect yourself. Most horse/ranch type properties are on well and septic systems. You need to be familiar with how many gallons a minute a well should pump in order to supply enough water to your animals and your domestic uses. Your Realtor should also be familiar with fencing which is safe for your horse, barns and arenas. It is also helpful if your Realtor is familiar with veterinary services, tack supplies, where you can buy grain and hay in the area along with riding areas if you have to trailer out. I get asked when is the best time to buy horse property?? I say when you are ready... It is not a bad idea however to look at horse property in the winter/rainy months to determine if the land drains well or gets to soggy and floods. Your Realtor should also have a good idea which properties may have a tendency to flood or be soggy in the Winter months.

Comments (2)

Vienna Bello
Liberty Realty, LLC - Jersey City, NJ
Real Estate Sales, Rentals & Consulting, GRI, SFR

New York & New Jersey law used to be 5 acres of land for a horse, and 1 additional acre each additional horse.  This post was a good reminder for me to look into that.  I heard that before I was even licensed years ago. 

That profile picture is awesome!  Is that you on that horse??

~ Vienna

Mar 20, 2010 09:28 AM
Charlotte Lloyd
Windermere Hulsey and Associates - Winters, CA

Hi Vienna,

In the area I work it is 2 per acre.  I do realize each county may be different and buyers should check with the zoning of the county in which they purchase.

Yes that is me on the cutting horse.  I raise and show cutting horses:)

Mar 21, 2010 04:19 AM