About a year and half ago I embarked on one of the most exciting, frustrating and difficult experiences of being an equestrian: horse shopping. I’ve written about my personal trials and tribulations and even given some advice on the subject. But now, I’m going back through and re-reading all of those posts for an entirely different reason: I’m house shopping. Right about now you’re probably asking yourself what the heck horse shopping has to do with buying a house. Well dear reader, I’m really glad you asked because I’m going to tell you just how similar they are!
#1 You go through a roller coaster of emotions
Whether you’re buying a new equine partner or shopping for a roof to put over your head, it’s an emotional process. And let me tell you, the process is a wild ride. You start by questioning yourself (Is this the right time? Is this the right choice?) and then you start dreaming about exactly what you want (16.2hh bay with chrome and a 10 jump or 2,000 sf with 3 beds and 2.5 baths). For those A-type personalities out there, this is when THE LIST makes an appearance — must-haves, wants, deal-breakers.
And then you finally find ‘the one.’ A horse you want to take on trial or a house you want to make an offer on. And it’s so exciting! It really might happen in a matter of a few days and your quest will be over. But then, something happens and it doesn’t work out and you’re crushed.
Of course, you forge ahead but with now your eyes are wide open. And of course, eventually you find the right horse… or house… that you were meant to have. Maybe not all of your wishlist criteria are met, but it’s the right combination of what you need and things you can live with, for a price you’re willing to pay. And it’s a huge relief to finally be done with shopping!
#2 The internet is both the best and worst thing to ever happen
Thanks to Dreamhorse, BigEq, Zillow and Trulia you can access thousands of horses or homes for sale by taking two minutes to fill out a form. At first, this is amazing. You find so many horses you like and a bunch of open houses you want to attend. Plus, you get so much useful information about price – what can you get for what you can afford?
But then you realize if it’s too good to be true… it probably is. The house looks nothing like what it did in the pictures and that horse is definitely NOT 16.2hh. And you kind of want to curse the internet and throw your computer out the window.
#3 Professionals are worth their weight in gold
Not everyone shops for horses or houses with a professional and that’s okay. Personally, I needed help on both fronts. I don’t have a lot of (or any) experience shopping for either horses or houses which mean I don’t know the market that well nor do I know the ins and outs of the process. But aside from all of that, having someone who isn’t quite as invested in the purchase as you can be a huge help.
They’ll make sure you aren’t going hog-wild and can remain calm, cool and collected to advise on if this is a good, financial decision. Like that moment you see a really, fancy Dutch Warmblood that you fall in love with who is $20k over-budget. Or the time I decided I had to walk through a $500,000 house in the best neighborhood in town.
But even if all your trainer or realtor tells you is to be patient, the right one will come along, they’ve earned their commission in my opinion. Because trust me, there will ALWAYS be another one for sale.