A Horse Lovers Guide to Buying Property
If you are a horse owner, or even just somebody who has dreamed of owning their own horse, I bet that you have fantasized about having your horse on your own property. I have owned horses on and off (mostly on) for the past 36 years. The times when I have been able to sit on my front porch and see my horse grazing peacefully in an adjacent pasture have been some of my favorites!
If you are purchasing property for your horses, there are a lot of variables to consider. Here are some tips on what to look for when you are searching out your perfect horse property:
Your current needs are important, but remember to think long-term, too: Give some thought to what your current property needs are and how those needs can evolve. Are you looking for a property with pasture where your horses can graze and take shelter under the natural windbreak of trees or a run-in shed? Will you be looking for a property with a barn or building a barn? Do you need a riding arena? Are you looking for trails you can get to on horseback or will you be planning to trailer to your riding destinations? Is the property for pets, pleasure riding, performance animals, or breeding? Decide how you want your property to function so that you can select a property that will have some longevity for your vision.
Location Location Location
Location is everything, especially for the horse owner. In Western North Carolina, there are some locations that, while rural and beautiful, may be very difficult to drive a horse trailer to. Pay attention not only to the physical location, therefore, but to the potential drive to and from the property. Will you be riding on your property? On nearby roads? Adjacent trails? Will you be trailering to and from some of the beautiful trail systems that we have access to in Western North Carolina? You might consider purchasing property that gives you easy access to Dupont State Forest, Turkey Pen, The Biltmore Estate, or Coleman Boundary so that, once the truck is hitched to the trailer, it is a short and stress-free drive to your ultimate riding destination.
Are you pasturing your horses? If so, a reliable creek running through the property can be a god send – it provides a constant source or water to your horses, is in contact with the earth so remains warmer, meaning it is far less likely to freeze over. When water freezes over or gets very cold, horses can drink less and their chances of a deadly colic episode increase dramatically. If your horses are going to be stalled – or if the pasture does not offer a natural water source – is there city water or good well water (with a good well water pressure) readily available. Hauling buckets of water from your home to the barn is difficult, time consuming and can get old fast.
Speaking of water…if you are pasturing your horses, you will want to consider the water drainage of the property you are considering. Pay attention to flood plains and flooding patterns. Is there higher ground where your horse can get to if the streams and rivers start overflowing their banks? Is there a grade to the pasture that allows natural runoff of excess water? You will want to find a pasture graded with some run off but still flat enough that it is usable. What is the soil like? Very rocky soil can be a challenge to good pasture land. Do you have enough land for the number of horses you plan on grazing there? Unless you are planning on supplementing with hay, the general rule is to allow at least two acres of grazing for the first horse and one acre for each horse or pony after that. Provision also needs to be made for every part of the pasture to be rested for at least six weeks, twice a year. Ideally you set your pasture system up in a way that you can rotate horses from one pasture to another to allow recovery time to each pasture.
Know Your Community Ordinances
Remember to research what can be done on your property. Is livestock allowed? How many buildings can be built on your property per the local zoning laws and ordinances? Are you planning on running an equine-based business out of the property? What are the zoning regulations in regards to that? Be careful that you learn how your vision aligns with the local laws and ordinances before you become financially invested in the property.
Buy? Build? And Great Expectations
It might be tough to find just the perfect property with both your dream home and your dream barn. If you find a property that “has it all” but is not what you had envisioned, assess the bones of the property. If the basic structures are in good shape, it might make financial sense to consider renovating that property. This takes the ability to “put on your future goggles” and see the property for what it COULD be. If you find the right property with either the right home or the right barn, it may be worth building either a home or a barn in order to have the property you desire. In a perfect world, all the stars align and you find just the right place with everything you need at a doable price. Rarely is it a perfect world scenario, so be prepared to think out of the box.
Know your budget before you begin your process, and keep a wary eye open for properties that might require a lot of extra investment after purchase that will take you far beyond your budget and delay your dream. It can make more financial sense to spend more up front on a property that is ready for use than to buy a piece of land that costs little initially but requires a lot of investment when it comes to adding roads, driveways, utilities, correcting drainage issues, building structures and fences… In short, make sure to be looking at the BIG PICTURE when assessing a property.
Don’t Go It Alone
There is a lot to consider when purchasing your horse property. A qualified real estate broker will be a great partner for you on your quest for the property of your dreams. They will be able to connect you with properties you will otherwise miss, alert you to the strengths and weaknesses of a property and be able to advocate for you so that you get the best possible price on the property. Choosing a Broker who knows the area and is an experienced rider / equestrian will give you a big advantage as they will be able to recognize properties that are good fits for your dreams and will be able to steer you away from properties that should be avoided. Don’t be afraid to research and interview your broker to be sure they are the professional you are hoping for and that they are a good personality match for you as well. You will be spending some time together as you find your property – you may as well enjoy the process!
Julie and her horse, Hershey.
Real Estate Market Report – Third Quarter
Every market is unique, yet the national sentiment has given rise to the notion that housing markets are stalling. Although interested buyers are out on an increasing number of showings, there remains a limited number of desirable listings. And although mortgage rates have remained enticingly low, home prices have reached unaffordable levels for many new entrants into the housing pool at exactly the same time that established owners are proving to be less interested in moving.
New listings were down in the North Central Mountains region 13.9 percent to 1,066. Pending sales increased 6.3 percent to 922. Inventory shrank 15.6 percent to 5,040 units.
Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 18.6 percent to $255,000. Days on Market held steady at 83. Months Supply of Inventory was down 17.3 percent to 6.2 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.
Last year at this time, the national storyline was about how high demand was propping up sales and prices despite low inventory and months of supply. That has actually continued to be a familiar refrain for many months in 2017 and now for the past couple of years. But with the likes of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, different employment outlooks, disparate incomes, varying new construction expectations and potential housing policy shifts, regional differences are becoming more prevalent and pronounced.
If you found this data helpful and would like a more detailed look into a specific neighborhood or zip code, contact one of our agents or call the office at (828) 232-4030. We are happy to provide you the information you need to Move Smarter.
11 Reasons to Retire in Asheville
Looking for a place to enjoy your retirement and get real value for your investment? Consider the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Asheville.
“Asheville is a great place for retirement,” says Susan Wilson, of the Council on Aging for Buncombe County (coabc.org). “You can swim in a warm pool, play tennis, enjoy the nice summers and great year-round climate. There are a lot of things to do here if you like being outdoors, such as boating, hiking, camping. And of course, this is a foodies’ dream with the restaurants!”
Susan adds that in addition to the wonderful 55+ communities for active adults, there are a number of services available as people prefer to age in place and are dealing with more significant needs. COABC offers a wide-ranging array of practical services and resources for all seniors, no matter their income level.
Cultural and educational enjoyments such as Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (olliasheville.com), magnificent views, lower property taxes, and a reasonable cost of living are some of the draws to this bustling, creative city in the mountains. Equally so are leaving behind hot, humid summers and heaps of snow that needs shoveling.
Here are 11 reasons:
1. Active population.
Find your peeps! Active adults find it easy to stay fit and healthy in Asheville and the surrounding towns. Countless hiking trails with scenic views are easily accessible. If you like boating, camping, or fishing, you will be delighted with the rivers and lakes in and around the region. There are quite a few championship golf courses and resort and municipal courses that offer a challenging mountain environment. Fitness, yoga, and dance studios nurture healthy activity as well as community.
2. Street festivals.
Year-round arts and craft fairs dazzle the senses, including juried art shows set up in downtown parks, where locals and visitors are entertained by music and dance performances at Vance Memorial Park and Pritchard Park. Bands play and craft beer abounds at Downtown After Five on select Friday nights in summer. Cars are re-routed from downtown streets and pedestrians rule.
3. Historical architecture.
Downtown Asheville has an eclectic mix of architecture with styles ranging from Neoclassical to Beaux Arts. Downtown Art Nouveau buildings second in number only to Miami, FL. Among the must-sees include the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Grove Arcade, and Ellington’s Art Deco city hall.
The Grove Arcade, downtown Asheville, photo courtesy of thegrovearcade.com
4. Eating and Entertainment
Foodies and craft beer lovers rejoice! Asheville features countless restaurants and world class chefs. Natural food restaurants like the Laughing Seed and Rosetta’s Kitchen and The Buchi Bar serve up healthy dishes with a farm-to-table mindset. More into cooking at home? No problem because Asheville has plenty of farmer’s markets and co-ops around town to satisfy even the pickiest home chef. Asheville has the most craft breweries per capita in the US, and was first named Beer City USA in 2009.
Asheville has no shortage of entertainment and destination venues including the Moog Music Factory, Biltmore Estate, and the numerous museums and art galleries in the area.
Moog Music Factory, downtown Asheville, photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com
“Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst
What makes for a happy retirement? Meaningful pursuits that enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of others. Volunteer opportunities here are plentiful, creating instant communities as people join forces to mobilize for a common cause. Not sure where you might like to lend a hand? Start by checking out the calendar of activities at Hands On Asheville Buncombe (www.handsonasheville.org).
Asheville is the place to be for all of the culture lovers out there! The area boasts a vibrant Indy art, music, and movie scene. Numerous galleries and many local artists make their living in the area. The River Arts District is a great place to check out over 100 artist studios and galleries. Plenty of music venues around town like The Orange Peel, The Mothlight, The Altamont Theater, Isis Music Hall, and Asheville Music Hall bring a variety of acts and musicians to the area. Be sure to take advantage of the wonderful theaters in the area including the Fine Arts Theatre and Grail Moviehouse.
7. Locally owned businesses.
Asheville supports a vibrant culture of independent businesses. Stroll through downtown Asheville or down Haywood Road in West Asheville to visit unique shops and boutiques. Pop into Malaprop’s independent book store downtown, enjoy a sip of wine at Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, or stop in and try some small batch chocolate at the Chocolate Fetish. Each business adds its own quirky personality to the Asheville community.
8. Lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.
Launch your canoe, kayak, or paddle board into the Swannanoa or the French Broad Rivers, which bears the distinction of being the third oldest river on earth. There are many entry points to the river including Hominy Creek Park in West Asheville, Carrier Park, and Jean Webb River Park. Many riverside businesses offer and encourage river access, including Asheville Outdoor Center, Asheville Adventure Rentals, and 12 Bones BBQ.
Asheville is bypassed by the unique Blue Ridge Parkway, with plenty of overlooks and turnouts that offer spectacular mountain views. Trailheads abound offering hikes of varying difficulty from the novice hiker to the most seasoned. Be sure to spend some time at one of the numerous waterfalls in the area including Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls.
Looking Glass Falls, photo courtesy of visit waterfalls.com
9. Eclectic activities.
Whether your thing is mountain biking, shooting the rapids, antique-collecting, volunteering, making art or music, taking classes to expand your understanding and your skill set, or sampling the wares from an impressive number of craft breweries, you can find kindred folks and a place to feel at home here. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate. We’ve got some of the finest!
10. Natural beauty.
Asheville is situated amongst some of the most spectacular natural beauty our country has to offer. From the Pisgah National Forest, the proximity to other National Parks, and access to the Blue Ridge Parkway there is no shortage of natural wonder in the area. The North Carolina Arboretum is nestled into the eastern edge of the Pisgah Forest, as is the grand Biltmore Estate. Depending on the time of year, waterfalls and rushing rivers abound, we do live in a temperate rainforest after all!
Vibrant neighborhoods are made up of people who get to know one another, take an interest in each other and celebrate together, and give each other a hand when needed. Many of Asheville’s neighborhoods work toward creating that neighborliness and community feeling that makes up the heartbeat of a place, and makes a place a home. Some of Asheville’s medical facilities are considered topnotch throughout the state including Mission Hospital, health spas, and care facilities.
“Aging is not ‘lost youth’, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan
Written by Suzanne Arthur, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Suzanne at [email protected] to see how she can make retiring in Asheville easier for you. To keep up with all of Asheville’s local happenings follow @suzannearthur_realtor on Instagram and check out her website suzannearthurrealtor.com.
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