Buying or Building a Farm

Buying or building a horse farm can be a challenging venture where dreams might or might not become reality, and where budgets dictate compromise. The buyer needs to consider what is more advantageous: To build on empty land, or to buy a

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Buying or building a horse farm can be a challenging venture where dreams might or might not become reality, and where budgets dictate compromise. The buyer needs to consider what is more advantageous: To build on empty land, or to buy a pre-existing horse farm. There are many other elements to consider, including location, future growth and how that might work for or against you, the soundness of pre-existing structures, land use rights and easements, good terrain, soils that can support pasture, and so on. By carefully examining the flaws and merits of the individual property and any buildings, you can avoid the consequences of making costly or uninformed decisions.

Build or Buy?


Generally, it is cheaper and easier to buy an existing farm in decent repair than to build it from the ground up. Notes architect John Anthony Blackburn, AIA (American Institute of Architects), President and Senior Principal of Blackburn Architects, Washington, D.C., “Buying an existing farm could be an easier choice if one is available, the price is right, and the existing improvements on the farm are what you need. The cost to build a new farm and put in all the site improvements can be high. An existing farm with site improvements already in place may cost less than having new ones installed. However, if the existing layout is inefficient and not what you need for your specific operation, the added cost in labor over the next few years could very easily exceed the cost of putting in new improvements that work for your needs.”


Another plus for the turn-key facility is the ability to move in quickly–an important issue if you’ve sold and must vacate your existing facility, or if you make your living out of your horse facility and can’t afford the off-time during construction. But building your own horse farm has its own set of advantages, too: It allows you to custom design the facility exactly as you want so you’re not dealing with someone else’s mistakes or problems

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Written by:

Marcia King is an award-winning freelance writer based in Ohio who specializes in equine, canine, and feline veterinary topics. She’s schooled in hunt seat, dressage, and Western pleasure.

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