Salem, Ore., realtor Catherine Ulrey, of Keller Williams, specializes in buying and selling horse properties. As a competitive horsewoman, she understands the value of finding the perfect horse property, and also makes sure her clients understand the value of a well-planned move.
Moving a family and household can be stressful enough, without the additional work and concern of moving a barn and horses.
“Moving you, your family and your entire household can be overwhelming. Add to that your tack, feed, horse and outdoor equipment and the job can appear to be impossible,” Ulrey says. “But there are several ways to reduce the work load. Remember, when the move is finished, all your effort will be worth it.”
On her website, homeswithhorsesense.com, she offers some practical advice for horsemen who are making the move.
Before the Move
• Start early – months early! Allow yourself plenty of time to apply for financing, search for the right property, wait for escrow to close and, of course, move.
• Have a garage or barn sale. Thin out your unused items, both in the house and the barn. One of the easiest ways to make your move easier is to lighten the load you have to move. Bonus: If you start early, you can have several sales and get rid of more stuff!
• Whatever doesn’t sell at your garage/barn sale, donate. Used tack items in good condition are usually welcomed by therapeutic riding organizations or 4-H clubs. It makes no sense to move unused, unwanted items to your new home and barn.
• Depending on the season that you move, have all turnout sheets or blankets sent to cleaners and bagged. They will be neatly contained to move, and it will be one less thing to deal with later.
• Pack boxes by room (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc.). Do this not only for the house, but for the tack room, too. This makes finding things much easier as you unpack. Try to keep grooming supplies, first aid, feed supplements and hardware in separate boxes.
• Label the boxes specifically with the name of the new location in mind. If it is labeled “tool shed” or “tack room,” then whoever is helping you move doesn’t have to constantly find you and ask where everything goes.
• Allow more time than needed to vacate your current residence, barn or boarding facility. You may need time to prepare the barn and fences at your new home before moving your horse.
• If you do not have an overlapping time at each dwelling, consider short-term renting for yourself and boarding for your horses.
• When you take your final walk-through before signing the papers on your new house, take a tape measure. Write down measurements for fencing, stalls, concrete or gravel if you plan on having any projects done. Knowing these measurements will allow you to collect bids on the work to be done in advance. However, don’t order anything until the sale has officially closed. You don’t want to be stuck with 100 stall mats you don’t need, or lose your deposit with a fencing company if the deal falls through at the last minute.
• If you are relocating to a move-in ready facility, during your final walk-through, be sure to walk the fence lines, especially if you plan on moving your horse in right away. Check for weak spots, take your electric fence tester for electric fences and keep an eye out for large holes in pastures and other potential equine hazards. This will help you prepare to repair prior to turning your horse out.
• Ask your real estate broker for a plat map or survey so that you have the dimensions of the property. This will especially come in handy if you are adding new buildings, and will help in planning the layouts for your barn, arena, round pen, paddocks or pastures and perimeter fencing.
• Enlist the help of friends and family to help move. Call in those favors! If your budget allows, hire movers. Moving companies offer everything from complete pack-and-move services to ala carte chores, such as moving the refrigerator or couch. Speaking of heavy stuff, save your back and use a dolly, or let the movers tote the big items.
• Keep a “barn essentials” tool kit with you during the move. At the least, this kit should contain a hose, bucket, extra snaps, hammer, screwdriver and hay net. Make sure it is accessible during the move.
• Keep a list, on one piece of paper or saved in your phone, of all the phone numbers for everyone involved with your move – your real estate broker, title company, lender, everyone helping you move, utility companies, repairmen, insurance agent, inspector, pump service, septic company, etc.
• If you are moving to a new town, have the phone numbers of several vets handy, just in case.
• Have your truck and trailer serviced if you are using it for the move. Check the tires, brakes, lights, etc.
• Similar to a survival kit for yourself on moving day, pack one for your horses, too! Including enough hay and grain for at least two feedings per horse, a first aid kit, extra halters and lead ropes, water buckets, feed tubs, hay nets, manure fork, wheel barrow, vet records, daily medications or supplements, extra bedding and treats
Relocating your family and your horses doesn’t have to be a stressful situation – just plan ahead.