A Horse Property’s Value, Right From the Realtor

Navigating the buying and selling of horse properties requires more than handling an average residential home. Condition of the property, location, exemptions and facilities on site are just a few of the items both buyers and sellers need to take into consideration when looking to buy or sell a horse property.

For example, a property in North Texas will be priced differently than a similar property in the northwest United States. North Texas is a hotspot for the Western performance horse industry with many major events being held in the area. In North Texas alone, there have been 41,446 farm and ranch properties bought and sold over the last five years.

Meet the Realtor: Sarah McEntire

Sarah McEntire is an equine industry real estate specialist serving North Texas and the surrounding areas. She grew up riding reiners with father Mike McEntire and cutters stepfather and mother Andy and Allison Lassiter. After competing on the Texas A&M Equestrian team, McEntire began working in the Quarter Horse breeding business and equine insurance industry. Now, she’s putting her extensive knowledge of the equine industry to work for her real estate clients.”

Structures on Horse Properties

The use of the property will determine the structures a buyer looks for when purchasing. Real estate is a case-by-case basis, but to keep this as simple as possible, the main structures include: a barn, a home, and an arena.

Horse people seem to be most concerned with the barn, and if it will fit the needs of their discipline. Many consider how many horses they’ll have in training and if the property accommodates them.

A trainer’s priorities will be different then a non-pro purchasing a property. A trainer may require a bigger barn with plenty of room for turnouts as well as an adequate arena for their discipline—preferably covered.

A non-pro that shows on personal horses will likely need a smaller barn with an outdoor arena. They may place more priority on the condition and size of the home.

With the average cost of an arena at $250,000-$400,000, having one on the premsis drastically increases the value of a property.

Some of the most coveted horse properties in North Texas include:

  • At least 10 acres in size
  • Nice home
  • Small barn
  • Outdoor arena

These are in such high demand and low supply it drives their price upwards, and buyers will often see properties like these cost almost as much as a training facility.

Condition of Property

In residential real estate, the term is known as “curb appeal.” As a seller, the property being sold doesn’t have to be in pristine condition, however, there are things that can be added to increase the eye appeal. Increasing curb appeal brings potential buyers to the property.

There is a beneficial psychological effect an attractive property has on a potential buyer. Also known as staging, there are little adjustments that can be made to increase curb appeal. A new interior and exterior paint job can really brighten a home or barn.

Solid roofs on all structures are one of these big, appealing items. Across the Southern U.S. and Texas, a hailstorm can come up at any time, so having a roof that passes scrutiny is a big ‘win’ for buyers.

Fences are a big plus as well. Pipe fencing is more expensive, extremely common, the safest for horses, and worth being inspected when buying a property or before selling. If there is barbed-wire fencing on the property, there is a chance this will deter horse owners that are potential buyers from submitting any offers and could be a deciding factor if a buyer is considering buying the property or not. It is extremely common for horses to be injured from barbed-wire, so inspecting all fences before buying or selling a horse property is vital.

While viewing your property before selling, look back and think of how a potential buyer would see the property, and what they would think when previewing the property. Sometimes, a rented dumpster and an intense round of landscaping can increase the value of a property up to $50,000 or more. The extra work like this shows a buyer you are putting in the effort to maintain a worthwhile property.


Location is a major reason why many horse people decide to move. For example, in the Stephenville, Texas area, known as the “rodeo capital of the world,” many people are looking for arenas with enough space for rodeo type horses, from bulldogging to calf roping and barrel racing. This includes enough space to hold a few head of roping steers and possibly a barndominium, or smaller home with an outdoor arena. If there is an arena, they would probably prefer it to include a roping chute.

While in Weatherford, Tx, many buyers in the market for horse properties are looking for space to house and ride cutting horses. Most of these buyers tend to lean toward a large outdoor round pen or covered pen with enough acreage to house and rotate in a herd of cattle to work horses on.

horse with saddle
*QHN File Photo

Job availability and resources have driven people to move for hundreds—if not thousands—of years. A major resource for horse trainers is being within driving distance of major show facilities, like Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth or the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Ok. Many major facilities where shows are held are within a 30-45 minute drive for trainers that live in the North Texas area. For example, at least once a month there is a cutting horse show in the heart of the cutting horse capital of the world, Weatherford, Texas where many cutting horse trainers and competitors reside.

Water & Mineral Rights, and Tax Exemption

When purchasing a property, the title company will do a search to determine if there are any clouds on the title. A cloud in real estate is something noted in the chain of title, previous owners, if there is anyone besides the buyer that will have rights to use the property in any way. People that can have rights to property’s include the city, county, previous owners, oil companies, water companies and more.

Water is the most important factor when considering purchasing horse properties. Take into consideration the location of the well, how deep the well is and when the well was dug. The Texas Water Development Board is the state agency that manages water resources for the future of Texas and the local extension service can be a great educational resource.

The county tax appraisal district is the most helpful when determining tax exemptions. The most popular tax exemption known is the agricultural exemption, the requirements to qualify for a tax exemption vary from county to county. Most importantly, there is a minimum amount of acreage requirement, usually 10 acres to qualify for the agricultural property tax exemption.

The county states the land must be dedicated principally to agricultural use with some sort of production and income. This includes crops, livestock, poultry, fish and exotic or wild animals to produce human food or other commercial items of value. Lastly, the owner must be able to prove that the property has been used for agricultural production for the last five to seven years. Taking the time to see if a property could qualify for the agricultural property tax exemption is well worth the time and effort, since savings can be up to $20,000 per year. Exemptions like this significantly increase the value of a property.

4-Rocking-W-Ranch-facilities-Sunset web

Buying a property is no simple feat. It is important to have a close relationship with the people you will be working with to ensure as smooth of a process as possible. This team includes realtors, lenders, title companies, escrow officers and more.

It is also important to have people working with you who know the area and market extremely well. This ensures your best interest and protection as a buyer or seller.

To determine the value of horse properties, consider the structures, condition of property, location of property, and type of exemptions and restrictions that are on the property. The most important factor is determining a buyer’s highest priorities and what they are willing to pay for those priorities to be met.