Horse boarding a contingency to sale of house?!? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-16-2013, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Horse boarding a contingency to sale of house?!?

Hi all! I am new here but I've got a question in need of some advice from horsey folks. I am in the process of buying a house and have placed an offer on a short sale farmette. The owners of the property countered my offer with the contingency that their horses can remain boarded on the property for one year after settlement. My initial reaction is no, absolutely not! That's like saying "you can buy my house but I want to keep living in it for a year." However, the seller seems pretty adamant about it so agreeing may be the only way I can purchase the property. I'm considering agreeing because I really love the property but also because it's a short sale so priced way below market value. Tough call! I am looking for opinions and advice and maybe some insights about things I have not considered that I should.

I have about 15 years experience with horses, own my own horses, and work professionally in the horse industry so I know what boarding horses entails. I guess that is why the prospect of allowing the horses to stay is so unattractive! The seller's offer is to be able to keep the horses on the property with the seller providing all feed, care, etc - basically a self-care situation. I am concerned because 1) allowing their horses to stay would be a liability for me, 2) it would limit my use of my own barn and pasture, and 3) the seller is losing their house to a short sale, so I feel uncomfortable with the fact that they would be coming back to the property - that they essentially lost to the bank - to care for the horses every day.

For those who aren't familiar with a short sale, it's basically the step before a foreclosure. The seller is in financial trouble and is (or will become) in default on their mortgage, so the bank agrees to let them sell it instead of foreclosing on them. The bank gets all the proceeds from the sale, and the seller gets none. You would think that the bank wouldn't like that the seller has this weird contingency, but apparently in this case the bank doesn't mind. But this makes things complicated because I don't see a way to negotiate around the horse boarding issue...If it were a regular sale, I could offer a higher purchase price, theoretically so the seller could use the extra to pay for board somewhere else. But in a short sale, the seller gets no money from the sale; the bank gets it all. So offering more money won't make a difference to the seller.

My agent is still trying to get information from the seller's agent about the specifics of what the seller would require. Neither my agent nor the selling agent knows anything about horses, which complicates things. I wonder if it's even legal to imbed a horse boarding contract within a purchase contract for a house...still trying to figure that one out. I can't make a decision on this until I find out the seller's specific terms, and I definitely will not negotiate this point unless the seller is willing to work out a legal boarding contract that includes some hold harmless clauses. But, judging by the limited information here, what would you do? Thoughts, advice?
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-16-2013, 11:36 PM
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Would they not pay you any board? And you had no way to evict them? What if they were mistreating their horses? Or yours? I think it wouldn't be so bad if you could evict them (with probable cause). But then that gets sticky with what is considered probable cause. That stinks, sounds like you really like the property,

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post #3 of 30 Old 12-16-2013, 11:36 PM
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I think you should consult an equine lawyer if you can. If you go forward I would absolutely have a very detailed boarding contract, including what happens if they stop providing care after a certain time period, who covers property damage, vet care, farrier, etc.
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-16-2013, 11:54 PM
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Call their bluff and say no, no way, no.

The bank may not have an opinion at the moment, but if they believe that a sale is being lost because of this ridiculous (and unenforceable) condition, then they will probably discover their opinion pretty quickly.

I absolutely would not countenance it. It's barking mad to expect someone to agree to it, and it's only your emotions about the house that have stopped you from seeing that.

Day no, and then hold your breath for two weeks. I would be willing to wager that the horse problem will be resolved.

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #5 of 30 Old 12-17-2013, 12:01 AM
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I would absolutely say no to that for the same reasons that everyone else has brought up. 30 days max to find a new home for them (or sell them... if they're in enough financial trouble to lose their home they probably should be selling their horses anway...).
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-17-2013, 12:10 AM
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I agree with the others in saying no way. If they are bold enough to make those demands what makes you think that a few days after closing they wouldn't pull up with a camper and park it outside the barn and make themselves right at home?
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post #7 of 30 Old 12-17-2013, 12:30 AM
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No way!! I am in the same boat, looking to relocate two states away, and one thing I am learning, short sales don't always mean short, they can, at times, take up to a full year before you can move in. I looked at a "perfect" property that had tenants (human ones lol) that they tried to say "came with", thought long and hard about it and walked away. I mean why take on more (possible) issues in your "new dream spot". That house is still on the market, in an area that even a week before Christmas if you take an extra day to look over contracts, someone else already bided!
Don't lose faith, wherever you are the spring market (literally waiting for Christmas to pass) will open up MUCH opportunity, without petty clauses demanding possible nightmare situations. And keep in mind, the bid you pay for the property is only ONE expense, you have moving costs, deposits for utilities, potential for new furniture/appliances, all new headaches, and you are considering adding the pressure of caring for animals that you don't know in a situation that doesn't sound like you can get out of for 12 months. I wouldn't take it on, what if they had to replace a bunch of stuff these horses destroyed just to list it??
You can always ask your realtor to take you there when they are home and discuss a contract outside of a contingency, feel it out, and perhaps help each other. But to attach it to the purchase price and agreement of sale? No way!
Best of luck to you, and again I know what you are going through, I am putting a bid on a house tomorrow that I originally loved, got out bided back in Nov and their financing just fell through, relisted this afternoon, fingers crossed! Stay positive, and invest in your dream, not a potential situation that may leave you wishing you never got involved. Best of luck!!
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-17-2013, 12:59 AM
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I wouldn't do it if I were you, for all the above reasons. I would be weary considering they seem to be in a less-than-ideal financial situation.

But, if you did I would bring the time down to 3 or 6 months, require a boarding contract and be sure that you're able to evict them if they violate the contract.

In the contract include; the date they are to remove the horses, the fact that they are liable for all care (feed, water, turnout, vet, farrier etc.) state that it is only applicable to a specific number of horses, and probably set specific hours that they can come out (And I mean between maybe 7am-9pm, nothing too extreme) to keep your privacy. And also if they don't show to care for their animals for X amount of days then the animals are able to be rehomed. Or something similar, whatever is legal in your area.
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post #9 of 30 Old 12-17-2013, 01:33 AM
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Don't do it. I could accept keeping the horses there for less than a month until they found a suitable boarding stable, but not longer than that. Talk to a lawyer and see if there is any way to get around it, and pass on the property if not. Not worth the trouble if they are this demanding upfront.
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post #10 of 30 Old 12-17-2013, 03:45 AM
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I'd definitely say no. There should be a six week period between exchanging contracts and actually owning the property so that is ample time for them to find alternative accommodation for their horses. I'd contact the bank or solicitor or whoever is doing it and clearly state in writing you're happy to accept the contract without the boarding clause.

If you've got your heart set on the place and you think they'll reject otherwise, perhaps offer them a boarding contract but only separately from the housing contract. This way you can keep it on your terms perhaps specifying only use of certain areas of the property. If they break the agreement you can evict them.

Or work out the cheapest cost of self care boarding, like $10 - $20 a week or whatever your area is and offer to pay that much more to the overall price to remove that clause.
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