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huntergrl 01-15-2013 09:43 AM

Purchasing and getting started...
Any tips on the best way to build a barn and purchase property for horses?

I live in the eastern part of the states. If I was out west, I'd love a huge ranch. I don't have the budget for a huge Texas ranch but I want a good amount of land.
Is it worth it to purchase the barn kits? If so, should you pay for the company to put it together or is it best to do the hiring yourself?
Any suggestions would be great.

jaydee 01-15-2013 10:53 AM

If you know what you're doing and can project manage the build or can find someone that does and charges a reasonable hourly rate then the cheapest way is to buy a 'plan' and purchase the materials yourself - you can usually get a discount for bulk buying
If you buy a kit it might work out better to use the company to do all the work as well as they know what they're doing so will usually work faster and more efficiently - plus you'll have a better 'come back' if things go wrong
The best thing to do is to get several quotes and if possible talk to local people with barns you like the look of and ask who they use and would recommend

PaintHorseMares 01-15-2013 01:34 PM

IF you can find a property with a barn/out buildings already on it, with today's economy/labor costs it will be cheaper than building.
If you do need to build, do as much as you can yourself. Around here, labor is now around 2/3 of the total cost.
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Corporal 01-15-2013 02:15 PM

I love these questions! I've had horses since 1985, and I spent 12 years--in a GOOD economy--looking for the right place. It should be easier today, if you are solvent, but I have a few things for you to consider, and advice.
First, don't buy a swamp. Look for places that suit you today, then go back in the early/mid-Spring and see what they look like after a heavy rain. Most of us don't have the resources to buy a place with an indoor arena, so you will want to be able to ride your property. I own 5 acres. My DH's heart bypass Dr. owns 80 acres ~ 10 miles away from me, and in the rainy season, most of it is a perpetual, wooded lake. My property was the first built in our tiny town, ~100 years ago, and it drains east, though we're so flat it's hard to tell, EXCEPT after heavy rains. My former farm property drains very well. We have PLENTY of riding space ON the property, and the owner's permission to ride the farm fields behind us in between crops. ALWAYS get permission before attempting it and ticking off the owner.
Second, don't buy less than 2 acres, unless you plan to build that indoor arena for ALL of your training. Don't buy too much, either. You'll have to maintain or, even build fencing and then, maintain that. The exception is wooded areas, but you'll want to walk them with a "fine toothed comb" for any previous barbed wire fencing. My 19 TWH found a piece of that while riding in Shawnee National Forest a few years ago. Big property upkeep is time consuming and takes away from your time with your horses. I have kept up to 5 horses on my property, and generally they graze the 4 acres of turnout from April to November. That takes a big bite out of $ for hay.
Third, ZONING. You probably will want to live out your days there once you get your Dream Place, so make sure that you are zoned for horses before you are stuck with property but you can't have a horse on it.
Fourth, decide how much driving you want to do. I live 30 minutes drive from town/work. 45 minutes-1 hour would be a bit much for me every day, but many people will do it to ensure that their property stays rural. If you buy property adjacent to a housing development, and the economy picks up, your property will ultimately become a odor nuisance and the development's owners WILL work to change your zoning. Then, you're back to the big property and no horse problem, again. "Practical Horseman" talked about this recurring problem as far back as the early '90's. Glad I read THAT article, and talked to lots of horse people before I took the plunge.
Fifth, decide if you want to/can afford to build part or all, or if you want to buy developed. I wanted a real house, a barn for forage storage, and some kind of fencing. I GOT:
--6 bedroom house
--4 car garage
--2 outbuildings
--1 barn w/loft storage for ~500 bales (and stairs, instead of a "fireman's ladder" to the loft!) and a 16' x 19' shelter, w/hay manger
-- 4 acres of divided old, but mostly intact cattle fencing--I replaced it in 2008 with pipe fencing
1999 price, $89,999
We are re-roofing the house, garage and barn this Spring, but won't need to do that ~30K job again. We replaced the boiler, buried the power lines, hooked into existing natural gas, and I always have mistint paint around in my tool shed. JUST so you know that repairs can cost you.
I won't tell YOU what is important and what you are willing to not have, but YOU need to figure that out. I've lived in this county since 1982, and I know that although I live in the "town that time forgot", my DD's could move this property in one week after DH and I die. Price and size and equine use have a market in my county. Look at EVERYTHING, and don't be afraid to fire your real estate agent if he/she is wasting your time. 4 of them thought I had a secret stash of 1/2 of $million extra to spend, so they had to go. I called my last agent and told HER about my property bc I had just met the daughter-in-law of the people we bought from, and the place had JUST gone on the market that day. We had the bid on the property held against subsequent bids, and the only holdup was that they wanted about 2 months to move out. NO PROBLEM!
FINALLY, think hard about what you see. Be willing to walk away if it isn't right for you.
I'm so excited for you!! Keep us in the loop. =D

Saddlebag 01-15-2013 04:50 PM

The first thing you need to do is a feasibility or budget plan. This will involve a lot of research for property values in the area you are considering. Use graph paper and draw out your barn. A lumber yard can give you a material cost per sq foot for the shell and footing. If not then phone a cement company and get a cost. Be sure to add 10% to both costs for your figures. Get lumber costs and you can figure out how much lumber you will have inside. Work it out right down to the nails and any tools you will need to purchase. Once you have assembled barn costs you may find you have to give up some square footage and will need to redraw your barn. It is so much better to do the barn this way than trying to make changes once it's under construction. Work out you fencing costs and arena the same way. Lots of drawings. As for the barn, if you material cost is say $75,000, the labor to have it built is about the same.

GallopingGuitarist 01-15-2013 07:10 PM

Subbing... Interested in this for the future.

tim62988 01-15-2013 07:58 PM

here is my question do you NEED a barn?

I know everyone thinks: horse, barn, white split rail fence....

but in North Carolina would a 3 sided shed work? You could always put some gates on the front if you needed to have stall rest type of situation, or lock the horse(s) in durring bad weather.

here in upstate NY the only time the horses have been in their stalls this winter is if it's going to be lots of snow at night or rain, just to give them a chance to dry off since we don't have overhead shelter in the pasture.

another option is to look at the shedrow set ups if you plan on having a few of your own horses, woudln't take much to add a dry isle to a shed row barn.

huntergrl 01-20-2013 08:23 PM

Thanks for all the wonderful information! It is certainly the things I need to start thinking about :)
We will be putting together an active plan this year.

Corporal 01-24-2013 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by tim62988 (Post 1846076)
here is my question do you NEED a barn?
I know everyone thinks: horse, barn, white split rail fence....
but in North Carolina would a 3 sided shed work? You could always put some gates on the front if you needed to have stall rest type of situation, or lock the horse(s) in during bad weather.

In NC you probably don't need more than than a 3-sided shed. I have a book on barn building and it suggests such a building for warmer climates. I kept my horses outside with just a shelter in Central IL for a full 14 years. I couldn't WAIT to have a barn with stalls and good storage, even though I had to construct the stalls myself.
You NEVER KNOW when a horse will get sick or injured, or you get a new animal and have to separate the herd. You prevent injuries from the ice by having stalls, too, but in NC that probably isn't an issue. This week the temps dipped low and I added straw to everybody's stall. I also keep blankets, but they usually just get dusty--but they are there all the same.
IMHO, you can't have too many buildings with a roof. A barn is a real prize.

tim62988 01-24-2013 06:53 PM


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