If horses dream, Arizona is their dream-come-true. Wide open spaces and amazing year-round weather make for ideal equine conditions. No matter how ideal the weather and trails, however, the property on which you keep your horses is of paramount importance. Arizona offers a wide range of horse properties, from small, rural farms to those near bustling urban centers.
How to Choose Horse Properties in Arizona
Naturally, any property with steep inclines and lots of brush are better suited to goats than horses. Ideally, horse property is level (or with no more than a 15 percent slope) and grassy with excellent drainage. In Arizona, shelter from the summer sun and heat should be offered.
Determine how you will use the property: Will you need an arena? Room to park trailers?
What else should you keep in mind when viewing horse property?
- Look for property with between 2 and 50 acres in the country and 1 acre in residential areas if it is flat and useable. Although small lots are fine for one or two horses, 2 acres per horse is ideal, according to Marie Griffith, California horse property expert.
- Check to ensure that there is adequate, safe fencing.
- Ensure that the property is zoned for horses and for the number of horses you wish to keep.
- The property must have water.
- Is there a barn or space to build one? Ideal horse properties also include paddocks and pasture.
- Look for properties near horse trails if you don’t want to have to trailer the horse.
- A property in close proximity to a feed and tack store will make life easier.
Sometimes it helps to look at three or four properties to get an idea of what you want and don’t want in your property. A good horse property real estate agent understands this and will accommodate your needs.
Get Loan Preapproval to Purchase Arizona Horse Property
As in all real estate transactions, if you won’t be paying cash you must be pre-approved for a loan before even looking at property. The preapproval process benefits you, your agent and the seller. It benefits you by letting you know exactly how much you can spend on an Arizona horse property. It benefits your real estate agent by not wasting her time showing you properties that are out of your price range. It benefits the seller because of the sheer volume of work required to get a horse property ready to show to buyers. Tasks such as sweeping the tack room, cleaning the barn and moving equipment around all take time. To expect a seller to do this work to prepare for an unqualified buyer is just not fair.
Choosing an Agent
While it’s always important to take your time when choosing a real estate agent both when buying and selling real estate, it’s vital to choose the right agent to help you list or purchase horse property.
Arizona horse property expert Andy Ghigo says that “water is always a concern in Arizona and you’ll most likely deal with a lot of well contracts and shared wells.”
It takes a specialist to help you identify and deal with these issues and others. A residential specialist, while he or she may be a wonderful real estate agent, isn’t equipped with the knowledge and experience to steer you in the right direction when purchasing horse property.
Hiring a horse property specialist is critical when selling as well. Determining the market value of an Arizona horse property isn’t anything like the process of determining the value of a home in a subdivision. Knowing how to compare the somewhat incomparable takes decades of local experience and knowledge or, as Ghigo, with 33 years of experience, says, “it takes a horse property person to understand the value of what you have.”
Arizona Horse Properties for Sale
Horse property is in short supply right now in the more popular areas of Arizona. In Maricopa County, for instance, in June of 2012 there were 608 horse properties (1 acre or more) available for purchase. Jessica Senecal of Solutions Real Estate in Surprise, Ariz. breaks these listings down by price range:
- 64 horse properties are priced between $100,000 and $200,000.
- 104 listings are priced between $200,000 and $300,000.
- 107 horse properties are priced between $300,000 and $400,000.
- 76 properties are listed between $400,000 and $500,000.
- 99 of the properties are listed between $500,000 and $750,000.
- 158 are priced from $750,000 to $12.5 million.
Ghigo agrees with Senecal and adds that the inventory across the board in Arizona is down sharply.
Suppressed inventories and consistent or heightened buyer interest usually lead to higher prices, so if you plan on purchasing a horse property in Arizona, make the move soon.