Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Farm Hunters: Property #1

First in an occasional series! I'll obscure some things and use stock photos for the houses, but will try to faithfully represent what's going into the decision making process

Property #1

The basics: 4 bed, 2.5 bath 1904 farmhouse renovated top to bottom, 2,500 square feet with 1.25 acres, new 20x40 barn on the property. Public water, septic, oil heat + wood stove.

The budget (1 being bottom, 5 being top): 3.5 - on the expensive end but well within our maximum (which is way less than the bank's maximum)

The pros: Every single interior of this house is to die for. It looks like it came off the screen of HGTV. Droolworthy kitchen (and I do not say that lightly), ridiculous bathroom, spacious master suite, walk in closets, you name it.

The 20x40 barn is new, in excellent shape, and has never been used for horses. The acreage is behind the house and could probably fence in 1 full acre of pasture. It's zoned appropriately for agriculture, and the lot is of sufficient size. Land is open, relatively level, and backs up to open land.

Not that this is a concern for me right now, really, but the school district is outstanding - one of the best in the county. The location is definitely closer to town than many other places and would keep my commute to a minimum.

The cons: It's definitely as small as a horse property could possibly be. There's no chance of rolling grass pasture here; at best, I'd plant hardy grass and basically create a dry lot.

The house itself is right up against the neighbors on both sides, and is on a busy road close to a busy intersection, set maybe 50'-75' back.

Having the house done to the nines is maybe not so much a good thing? It's actually done more or less to my taste, but there's no room for me to put my stamp anywhere, unless I take out something in perfectly good condition.

The maybes: The realtor is figuring out whether it's possible to purchase additional acreage out back. If anything could be added or purchased for a reasonable price, this jumps way up. Need soil analysis, and some fencing cost estimates, as well as a lot more in-depth thinking about how I want to keep horses going forward, which applies to all properties, basically!


  1. House looks adorable but that sure is mighty small!

  2. definitely a lot to think about - hopefully your research into how you want to keep horses and the fencing costs etc will help inform all your comparisons!!

  3. Oooh this is going to be fun to follow along with! I completely agree with you: 1.25 acres is as small as you can get. We have a 2.5 acre turnout for four ponies at our barn and that is basically a dry lot -- so with T and a friend, you would be struggling for lush grass. Buying land behind though... now that is promising!

  4. As a soil person, I will give you a soil research tip!

    Web Soil Survey (http://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm) is a resource from the NRCS. You type in an address, select your "area of interest" and it will tell you all sorts of useful data about your soil! (It's all under the "Soil Data Explorer" tab.) It will tell you about the suitably of the land for various types of develop (in case you want to build on any properties you look at), erosion potential, what types of crops (including grass) will do well on that particular plot of land, etc.

    It's an extremely useful tool when you're hunting for land! The interface can be a little clunky, but it's not too hard to figure out. Good luck!

  5. =) Looking forward to hearing about the other properties you're considering!

  6. Like the old house, though the tiny lot would throw me off, too! I want inside photos! ;)

    How much time do you really have to renovations to an interior? Maybe buying one that's already pretty much done could be a time saver, if you like the general layout and built-ins. You can customize SO MUCH with paint, layout, and decorating.

  7. Oil heat is also a huge con. Expensive and many insurers don't want to touch a house with oil. I wouldn't want less than 5 acres if you want the horses at home, but it certainly is cute!

  8. So cute! My first place was very similar, even down to the lot size. I ended up having a 60x120 sand dry lot that also served as my riding ring, then about 3/4 acre 'pasture' behind. It was do-able, but a LOT of work to keep it looking good all year round. When I broke down the time and money I spent keeping the property maintained and repairing all the horse damage I found it was cheaper to board elsewhere in the winters and save my yard and fences. I make it sound kid of bad, but I did love it - so much that i never did bring myself to sell it and upgrade to more room :)


Thanks for commenting! It's great to hear from you.