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Equestrian real estate; knowing what to look for.

Selling or buying a horse farm? You need to know what to look for and so does your agent! There are many properties advertised on the MLS as having "Horse Facilities"; while it easy for an agent to click that box; how many really know what "Horse Facilities" are?

Barns are important in selecting a horse farm
Barns are important in selecting a horse farm
Missouri and Kansas Horse Farms
Fullerton Inc.

To answer this we spoke to several agents who specialize in horse related real estate; and we visited with the folks at The Institute of Equestrian Real Estate Professionals, (IEREP); an organization offering training to equine Realtors. The common thread was that many agents really have no idea what the difference is between a horse farm and a cattle farm, they see a few acres of grass and they assume it is a horse farm.

Much like agents who list investment property but can not tell you what a CAP rate is, the field of equine real estate is also fraught with untrained agents, marketing real estate to people they don't understand, and trying to learn on the job. If your agent doesn't know a round pen from a pig pen you may be wasting a lot of time looking at properties that don't fit your needs.

In working with buyers of equestrian property, I often find that the properties are all house and little barn or all barn and little house. It is truly rare to find a good combination of the two.

While cattle are content to roam a field ringed with barbed wire and take shelter in a low draw on the south end of the pasture. Horses require much more refined settings. When working with top producing show horses, the last thing you want it to have barbed wire fencing and sharp-edged metal barns.

Most horse trainers would be content to stay in the horse trailer; and the house is the last thing on their list. So their homes tend to be sparse and unrefined. The other extreme is the luxury home on acreage with a few stalls built for keeping a horse or two. Finding the perfect combination of the two is rare and sometimes difficult.

Depending on your needs you may be content to keep a few horses in a modest shelter, but if you are working with show horses, training or breeding; your clients horses will need something much more suited to the situation.

Catherine Ulrey an equine Realtor® in Salem Or. lists on her website 6 Key Efficiency Features To Look For When Purchasing Horse Property . Her website is full of great information for equine property buyers in Oregon.

A little closer to home Turn-Key Properties LLC has the only Accredited Equestrian Real Estate Professional in the Missouri and Kansas markets. They specialize in horse farms and equestrian facilities. We asked the Broker at Turn-Key Properties LLC what people are looking for in equine facilities.

  1. Safety - Horses need a safe environment, free of sharp objects, chemicals and other hazards. IEREP offers a course called Horse-Safe; that teaches agents what to look for on a property.
  2. Efficiency - The property must be set up for horses, with stalls and facilities that make working with horses convenient, safe and practical.
  3. Functionality - A two bedroom home with four barns may work for an individual horse trainer, but for a family of five there is just not enough house. Often times when a buyer finds the right property it either has too little house or too little barn. My job is to weed out those types of properties before we spend time looking at them.
  4. Access - Horse trailers are large and require quite a bit of room for turning and loading. Often pulled by dually one-ton trucks, it is helpful to have a garage with over-sized doors to accommodate that type of vehicle.
  5. Location - most homes on acreage are quite far from major metropolitan areas, often buyers are looking for an easy commute to a town or nearby city for employment or services. Kansas City is unique in that finding a property suited for horses within 30 minutes of town is not dificult.
  6. Value - Quality is important, but affordability is also; you must find the right property for the right buyer. Taking time to listen to the client is the first step in finding that property.

Other factors to consider when looking for equestrian real estate are the sources of water, types of fencing, availability of forage, hay and grain storage and access to vet care. The location of septic tanks is also important, as they can pose a cave-in hazard if horses walk over them.

Prices vary greatly depending on many factors, a truly professional horse farm may run well over a million dollars like this world-class equine facility in Odessa, MO. - Missouri Horse Farm for Sale. Or for a little under $600.000 you could obtain this nearly new 16 stall horse farm east of Kansas City. Other choices exist also for under $250,000 you can find a more modest home an acreage that can be accommodate your needs while you work on making improvements to suit your desires.

If you can't buy or just aren't ready to make that commitment, many horse properties can be aquired by lease or lease-purchase plans as I outlined in a previous article Lease to Own homes on acreage.

Marketing horse property is an art of its own; there are litterally thousands of horse property websites to choose from. Turn-Key Properties LLC uses hundreds of them and say they have found the greatest success by combining social media, with listing sites such as ,, and their own plethora of websites. Each listing they add gets, tweeted, blogged, posted to and multiple other sites, they even maintain several Pages on also.  They tell me just the marketing is a full-time job, it takes hundreds of hours to promote one property!

Whatever your horse property needs are, make sure your agent has some horse sense!


  • Catherine 5 years ago

    Well written Ben! I couldn't agree more! I don't go to the chiropractor when my tooth hurts, so why go to a general real estate agent when you have equestrian property needs?

  • Bobby Carroll - Dakno Real Estate Marketing 5 years ago

    Ben, excellent post! Every field has both novice agents and experts whether it's buying/selling horse properties or oceanfront real estate. Consumers would do well to heed your advice to find the experts.

    Thank you so much for highlighting Dakno Real Estate Marketing client Catherine Ulrey and her Salem, OR equestrian real estate website!

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