Things Mama Didn’t Tell you about Buying Horse Property

by Lisa Thomas 

Horses won’t pay your mortgage

If you think you’ll board a couple of extra horses to help pay for your mortgage, think again! It’s not legal to be a ‘backyard boarder’ and you can get sued and/or ‘popped’ by the authorities for this. (Disgruntled ex-boarders and ex-tenants are the most frequent culprits but we hear from time to time that the county actively looks for offenders, too). Commercial horse activities have to be permitted, carry liability insurance, etc. Besides which, your costs will probably be higher than you think and your profits lower.

Non-permitted improvements

This is really a bad idea. Installing arenas, building barns and adding living units without permits may seem like the easy/ cheap route but think about it first. Non-permitted structures can not be included in an appraisal at re-sale or re-finance time, buyers recognize they might have to tear them out (which costs) and so also don’t value them highly. Know that all the time and money you spend in this direction will not be coming back to you when you re-sell. And you might not know things which are important to design for… like don’t graze, work or stable your horses over a septic system…

Time to Ride?

The first time I brought my horses home, I was shocked at how much less riding I did. Bear in mind, you’ll probably spend a lot more time mending fences and mucking stalls than you will on horseback. If you just love all the time your spend with your horse, you’ll find it incredibly rewarding, even if you’re not riding so much.

Hay! We’re herd animals!

Don’t… do NOT put your horse out in a field by himself. This is not a good way to treat your best friend and in my opinion, borders on cruelty. If you just have the one, why not adopt a pasture mate? Call Katie Moore at CHANGE[ii] for a start (707) 570-7050 or visit www.SonomaChangeProgram.com or check into a host of other organizations rescuing horses who just need a good home.


[1] The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not to be used to make specific decisions on the purchase or development of any particular property. Buyers and sellers of all property should fully inform themselves as to possibility and/or desirability of keeping horses on the land. The author and Coldwell Banker accept no liability as a result.

[ii] Coins to Help Abandoned and Neglected Equines, a 501 (c) non-profit horse rescue organization.