When We Buy a New House, Can We Get a Pony?

Real Estate Agent with Boardman Realty Minnesota License#90858

Horse and animal restrictions on Minnesota acreage properties

Last year, during a final walkthrough of an acreage home my buyers were purchasing in Anoka County, one of their daughters ran up to me giggling and said, “Joe thinks you are buying him a pony.”

Minnesota Acreage Barn by Teri Eckholm REALTOR
“Oh…really?” was all I could think to respond.
Mom nodded that yes it was a fact, Joe had it in his three-year-old head that I was going to drop off a four-hoofed pet on move-in day. While I have been known to give a closing gift to my clients, I have never offered a pet as a present…especially a pony!
This particular precocious toddler must have mixed up some of the conversations during our home search outings. As we searched for the perfect Minnesota acreage homethroughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties, there was quite a bit of discussion of horses. The reason this city-dwelling-but-soon-to-be-country family was relocating to a more rural property complete with a polebarn, was so his older sisters could get horses.
But acreage alone does not make a horse property. The fact is, many potential acreage homebuyers are surprised t
o find out that there restrictions on animals in the country. Though leash laws and licenses are expected in most urban environments, many people don’t realize that rural communities also have rules, ordinances, covenants and restrictions regarding animals.
So if you are planning a move to a more rural environment and want to have a horse, raise chickens or just have a couple of dogs and cats, it is important to check the restrictions  before writing an offer to purchase a home.
Each county, city and even specific development will have rules, restrictions and covenants in regard to animal ownership. The current code for the City of Ham Lake, where I live has a number of specific rules for pet ownership. For instance, owners of more than two dogs must obtain a private kennel license. You can raise chickens or pigeons with a temporary conditional
use permit. Horses, or other animals with hooves like a pony, can be kept if a permit is obtained from the city prior to obtaining the animal and land is designated R-A or residential agricultural.
Now, a few miles away in the City of Columbus, a homeowner can keep up to four dogs before being required to get a kennel license. And in the City of Wyoming, horses are allowed on properties that are larger than five acres but no more than 1 horse per 2 acres. There can also be restrictions on grazing acres versus wetland or unusable acres. One time I came across a development with 10 acre parcels that had covenants restricting the land use to exclude horses. Bottom line: There is no hard and fast rule regarding whether rural properties will allows animals. Each home must be researched to verify any restrictions.
So what should a home buyer who has promised the kids a pony do?
Work with a REALTOR® that specializes in acreage and knows how to find homes with a place for your pets. Be flexible on areas/communities you want to relocate to. If pets are a priority, write any offer contingent upon being able to have the number of horses, dogs or chickens that will be part of your family household. Make it a practice to call the city and/or county regarding any pet or animal ownership restrictions. Check with the seller regarding all covenants that would restrict pet ownership. So if your move to acreage requires a place for a pony, make sure it is allowed!
Posted by

Teri Eckholm. REALTOR with Boardman Realty, is a native Minnesotan who has lived and worked in the Minneapolis St Paul metro all of her life. She specializes in lakeshore homes, acreage properties and first time home buyers but assists anyone making a move in the north and east Twin Cities metro.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give Teri , a call or visit her website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report She specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Hello again Teri. What a funny, charming and informative post. Great information.

Apr 10, 2012 06:51 AM #1
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

best to find out all that information first.

Apr 10, 2012 10:47 AM #2
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Teri how adorable!  I can just imagine this little guy thinking the pony would arrive any moment!  Great informative post.

Apr 10, 2012 10:52 AM #3
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Teri~for those of us who actually WORK in rural communities, you are SO RIGHT....be forewarned, do your due diligence, and work with a reputable realtor who has that area as a niche, or is a really good researcher.

Only two dogs and then a kennel's license is needed after that??  Wow, it's four, I think in Portland, that you need a kennel's license. I had 3 dogs myself for many years, and off-and-on with my hubby as well.

This was so well-written. You deserved more than this small amount of comments! 

Apr 10, 2012 04:00 PM #4
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Teri, people assume that laws and regulations are the same everywhere and sometimes it comes as a shock that it can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.  This was so well researched and I really appreciate the time it must have taken you.  But now, it's done and you've got a great piece you can send a link to when people call you to look for this type of property.

Apr 10, 2012 10:03 PM #5
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Shelia--Thank you! :)

Tammy--It really helps when moving with pets.

Anna--If you only knew...he was quite a little character!

Gayle--Thanks!! :) The two dog limit is normail in communites close to the urban area and it expands as the area gets more rural. I think with Ham Lake being almost exclusively acreage homes, it does surprise people. There are lots of pet rescue foster homes in this area so maybe that is part of the council's reasoning. I have several buyers who have had 3+ animals and were surprised by the rule.

Mona--Unfortunately it is not comprehensive for the area I work as I have about a dozen or so different communities in the north Twin Cities metro I work in and they all have different rules. But it will give buyers a heads up that it is not the same for every community.

Apr 11, 2012 04:17 AM #6
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Teri Eckholm

REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
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