Buying property suitable for horses is no small task. It is certainly not the typical home buying experience. There is so much to consider from what kind of property best meets the needs of your horses to what kind of home will best meet your wants and needs. Speaking from experience, the horses’ needs are typically the priority.
Working with an experienced Equestrian Advisor/Realtor will also help ensure your home search and purchase go as smoothly as possible. You can find one here.
The Property has Acreage: Is it Suitable for Horses?
Any Equestrian Advisor/Realtor will be the first to tell you that, just because a property has plentiful acreage does not mean it will be a suitable property for your horses. The best property will be flat to gently sloped with good drainage, open areas with grass for grazing, with few trees, and wet areas. Horses weigh 1000 to 1500 pounds on average, which puts a lot of weight on the ground. Therefore, horses can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
The priority is finding an Equestrian Property with useable land – meaning not acres of unusable gullies, steep edges, or too many bodies of water. More land doesn’t necessarily mean it is better, the useability is the priority.
Housing horses and livestock on your property can be done with ease with a few convenient amenities. It is important to consider these amenities as they add value to the Equestrian Property:
- Barn – Does it have an adequate number of stalls for your needs and the right size for your type of horse? Horse stalls can measure from 10 x 10 to 12 x 12 or even larger. Does it have the capability to increase the size of the stall to make foaling stalls? Are the stalls matted? Are there runouts (sacrifice paddocks) off the stalls?
- Hay Storage – What style is the barn? If it is a Monitor style barn, does it have a hayloft? How much hay can be stored in the hayloft? If there is no hayloft, is there adequate storage for hay elsewhere?
- Tack Room – Does the barn have a tack room? If so, is it insulated? It is important to be able to store tack, brushes, and other items in the tack room without them getting damp and moldy.
- Tack Area and/or Wash Bay – While one can do without this amenity it sure is a bonus to have it.
- Quality and Safe Fencing – Fencing can be quite costly (please watch for our future blog on fencing). It adds a lot of value to an Equestrian Property to have good quality and safe fencing. Equally important is how well it is laid out on the property. Is the property fenced and cross-fenced?
- Arena (Indoor and/or Outdoor) or Training Round Pen with good footing – It is a huge bonus to find a property with an arena, especially an indoor arena. Indoor arenas are getting increasingly more difficult to get approval to build and depending on the size can cost well over $100,000 to build. Outdoor arenas are great but have their challenges. It becomes difficult to manage the footing due to weather. Footing in the arena is something to really consider. Each discipline has its own preferences for footing type and depth. But any equestrian will agree that poor footing can cost you a lot – cause lameness in your horses resulting in expensive vet bills and not to mention the time to rehabilitate the horse from injury.
- Water source and location of water on the property. Are there ample spigots to the pastures/paddocks and arena?
- Electricity – Does the barn have electricity running to it?
Transitioning to an Equestrian Lifestyle is a big adjustment. Make sure you are taking your daily routine into consideration when looking at properties. Consider the layout of the Equestrian Property. Does it seem that your daily routine will be seamless i.e., bringing horses in and out from pasture/paddocks to the barn? Are there turnouts off the barn that make it easier on your daily routine? Where is the manure kept? Ultimately, as an Equestrian, you want to be able to leave your property and know that your horses will be safe and sound while you are away.
Barn(s) and Outbuildings Should be Inspected Too:
You have found your Equestrian Property. It will cost you extra, but it is important to have your inspector inspect the Barn(s) as well as the Outbuildings. Your horses are part of your family, and you want to make sure that they will be safe in their surroundings. It is important to have a professional evaluate the Barn and Outbuildings for structural issues, electrical issues, or other potential problems.
Do not assume that the property is an approved horse property just because the owners or prior owners have had horses on the property in the past. Part of the Inspection process will be to do a little research with local city, county, and/or HOA regulations for agriculture and livestock. Do not let this lack of research cut into your dreams of owning an Equestrian Property.
Let us help you make your dreams of owning an Equestrian Property a reality:
To be honest this is all just the tip of the iceberg when searching for an Equestrian Property. It helps to have someone working for you that has done this before. Let’s get you connected. It would be an honor to help you make your dreams a reality.
Written by: Kristen Stavros
16 September 2021
There is a general feeling amongst brokers that the Oak Harbor market has softened up just a bit. As Branch Manager and Co-owner of Windermere Whidbey Island I pay close attention to what my brokers are seeing and feeling out there in the market. When I begin to sense a theme I go to the numbers to see if they are telling the same story.
I’ll be really curious to see how these numbers change when we can add September data to them but I’m seeing the teensiest sign that there may be some easing.
For the first time all year, we’ve seen a dip in closed sales in August.
At the same time, new listings continue to rise every month.
Average days on market has plateaued.
Does this mean buyers can start getting homes for less $$$?
The answer is emphatically, NO. As you can see from the graphs below prices continue to climb, inventory is still at a record low, and homes are still moving off the market incredibly fast. This just means that instead of being up against 10 other buyers you now may be up against just 2-3 other qualified buyers. Instead of great homes going for up to 10-20% over list price, the good ones may just end up 5-8% over list. The pressure on buyers is still decidedly strong but the dial has been turned down ever so slightly.
Average Price Per Square Foot.
Months’ Supply of Homes (based on closed sales).
Average Days on Market.
Sellers still have a fantastic advantage in this market but things are changing weekly so we are encouraging sellers to not get too greedy or assured because doing so may mean you overprice the market, lose the opportunity to garner multiple offers out of the gate, and ultimately make less profit on your home.
Working with a smart and sophisticated listing agent has never been more important in the previous 3 years than it is RIGHT NOW. You need someone who is really going to take their time analyzing the market against your specific home before giving you pricing advice. Call us today to be connected with a market pricing expert!
This analysis focuses just on the Oak Harbor market but we have the same analysis going on for all of Whidbey Island! If you are interested in knowing more about any aspect of Whidbey Island real estate let us know and we are happy to share.
50 miles South of the U.S./Canada border and 25 miles North of Seattle lies Whidbey Island, an incomparable destination for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. On Whidbey, you can get lost for hours and find yourself mesmerized not only by incredible views but by a breathtaking variety of birds.
Whidbey Boasts 148 miles of winding shoreline, 6 state parks, 4 lakes, hundreds of miles of trail, and a ridiculous variety of habitats from bogs to estuaries to the prairie. It is not surprising then that Whidbey accommodates roughly 250 resident and migrant bird species.
Birdwatchers will declare some of the best times to watch for birds on Whidbey are:
Late April through May you can expect to be woken early by the Songbirds singing a pleasant tune.
Late July through September It is hard not to miss fat red-breasted Robins filling the apple trees and spot migrant visitors from the north like wigeons, ducks, coots, waterfowl, and red-tailed hawks.
November through mid-March is a great time of year to watch for Northern Shrike, Bald Eagles, and other raptor-type birds.
Best places for birdwatching:
If you are just trying to take advantage of easily accessible shoreline almost any time of year works. Some of the best places to watch for shorebirds birds on Whidbey Island are Penn Cove, Keystone Landing, Fort Casey State Park, and Dugualla Bay.
If you don’t live on Whidbey and are coming just for birdwatching be sure to schedule more than one day for viewing. Plan time so you can experience multiple locations, each with its unique features. To better understand all the places you can access the shoreline you really need to buy Getting to the Waters Edge! We sell it at our Windermere offices both in Oak Harbor and Coupeville.
Frequently asked questions:
Some people wonder if there is a time of day that birds are most animated. Typically speaking most birds are bustling around sunrise and sunset but that rule does not apply to all birds. For example, the morning is typically the best time for spotting diurnal species, while nocturnal species are generally spotted in the evening, but it really depends on the bird and the time of year.
Whidbey Island is native to species like Eagles, Northern Harriers, wading birds, loons, grebes, sea ducks, including Harlequin Ducks, dabbling ducks, Black Oystercatchers, Common Yellowthroats, Marsh Wrens, and more. It is also is a temporary home for migrant birds who frequent the island seasonally for the island’s ideal breeding habitats. But do not be fooled. Some birds like robins, hawks, cardinals, finches, sparrows, and more stay here all year but they seem to “return” because they become active again during the spring through fall seasons after they have bundled down in their nests and shelters during the winter.
To learn more about the birds that can be spotted on Whidbey and a guide for when you will likely catch a glimpse check out this detailed Whidbey Island Bird List created by the Whidbey Audubon Society.
Here are some of our favorite spots on Whidbey to watch for birds let us know your favorite spots in the comments below.
Gray Whales Return to Whidbey
As the cold melts away and flowers start to bloom again, Whidbey Island is blessed with a rare and wonderful gift. Many people hike to the very tip of a bluff or edge of the waves hoping to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon. Then it happens – water spurts into the air from nowhere and at the surface, you can just barely see a tail appear.
Oh, what a whale of a tale to tell….
Spring brings with it a special excitement for this curious island. As the waters warm, they welcome back one of our favorite travelers; the gray whale! Migrating every year from their winter home in Mexico to the wild waves of Alaska; gray whales often make a special stop within the waters of the Puget Sound.
As food foragers, the gray whale “dig[s] up the mudflats [on the ocean floor] for shrimp and worms.”1 They then filter these small creatures through their baleen, or whalebone, which acts as a strainer to keep the food in their mouth and push out all the water.2
Given their foraging requirements, gray whales’ proximity to the shore and repetitive presence in the Puget Sound comes as little surprise. While the average depth of the Pacific Ocean is a little over 12,000 feet, Puget Sound’s deepest point is approximately 930 feet. The shallow waters of the sound serve as a great benefit to this massive mammal that relies on both oxygen and access to the ocean floor in order to survive.
On Whidbey Island, we take great joy in the return of these travelers every year. Many islanders and tourists alike find their way to the water’s edge and peer into the waves in hopes of a glimpse. Luckily, sightings are not at all uncommon on the island. To commemorate the love we have for these ocean friends, both Coupeville and Langley have erected what is called a “Whale Bell.” These bells have a simple instruction: “See a whale, ring the bell.” These bells serve as both a monument to the whale’s impact on our island culture and a creative way to notify others of the whale’s presence so they can also look out and see!
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Every year the town of Langley has pulled together to commemorate the beginning of whale season. Complete with a parade, this festival speaks volumes of the love islanders have for their precious whales. Unfortunately, the event has been canceled this year due to covid for the health and safety of the community continue to check back here for updates. While the ring of the bell brings joyous memories of years past residences and travelers alike look forward to a day where gatherings return to celebrate these incredible creatures.
- “Gray Whales.” Orca Network, https://www.orcanetwork.org/Main/index.php?categories_file=Gray%20Whales
- “Gray Whales.” National Geographic, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/gray-whale/
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Have you ever been standing there admiring your gardens when a deer walks in and decides it is time for lunch? So have we.
They are the wild and majestic creatures of Whidbey Island, often found in the peaceful pastures of Ebey’s Landing or beneath the cooling tree shade of the state parks. They are elegant, graceful, mesmerizing… and frankly a pain in the arbor.
Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer.
Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE our Whidbey Island deer and are grateful to live in a place where wildlife feels welcomed. However, if you’ve been working hard cultivating that garden all year long, the last thing you are interested in is a handful of fauna munching on the fruit of your labor. To top it off, deer can carry ticks with Lyme disease which can be extremely harmful to both humans and their dogs.
Sorry Bambi, but no one messes with mans’ best friend.
We’ve done a little research and decided to give you a hand with those pretty, yet pesky visitors.
5 pro-tips to get the grazers out of your garden.
- Cut ‘em Off! – It might seem like the most obvious solution, but fences are always a great first step to keeping out unwanted guests. Although deer are great jumpers, the additional effort required might just be enough of a deterrent. < We’re all a little lazy.
- Don’t Plant Tasty Treats – Deer LOVE plants rich in nutrients, moisture, and basically anything else your doctor said you should eat more of. This includes almost all produce plants as well as leafy ivy and bright, water-filled flora. Instead of these, try planting pungent flowers like lavender with greenery that is thorny, hairy, or prickly. You can also use these less desirable plants as a natural barrier for the tastier ones. If all deer see and smell is lambs’ ear and snapdragons, odds are they won’t investigate much further.
- Let Rover Out More – Chances are your dog is like most others and DOES NOT see grazing deer as welcome guests. Barking dogs are a big deterrent for deer. Who wants to eat with someone yelling at you? Eventually, the deer will likely decide your home isn’t a safe place to eat and won’t return.
- Shine a Light on the Situation – Deer are more skittish than the commitment-phobe you dated in college. Installing motion-sensitive floodlights can often leave a deer stunned and anxious to get away as fast as they can.
- Live a Little! – Although we might find them beautiful and nice to look at, deer aren’t that excited about us. Chances are if a deer sees you out and about in the yard they will simply turn around and find someone else’s garden to plunder. So, get outside more! See this as an opportunity to re-imagine your yard and incorporate more outside living space. Your health and your hydrangeas will thank you.