Traditionally, the advent of shorter, colder days hails the end of the property season, as buyers and vendors alike borrow a leaf from the animal kingdom and go into hibernation.
However, there are several advantages to buying an equestrian property in winter.
1. Get the chance to settle in
It gives competitors in most disciplines a chance to find the right property and settle in before the next show season starts in the spring. “This is an ideal time to get the horses settled into a new routine and used to a new environment and pasture,” explains David Rumsey of Pelhams. “For competition riders this is the prime time to buy.”
2. See a house at its worst
House-hunting in winter gives savvy buyers an opportunity to examine a property when it is looking at its worst. “Problem areas will become apparent — for example, badly draining land or equestrian surfaces — but well-managed yards will still perform well,” says Richard Burton of Jackson Equestrian.
3. Spot eyesores
You can spot eyesores such as neighbouring buildings, while these may be screened by leafy trees during the spring and summer, says Rupert Sturgis of Knight Frank.
4. See how the weather will impact your property
Winter will reveal the impact of the land’s orientation, says Jennifer Jeffreys of Fine & Country. “Will your paddocks be permanently in shade? Paddocks on the ‘wrong’ side of a hill can remain frosted for days on end,” she says. “During the winter, it is also easier to see if your future stabling is waterproof, windproof and relatively warm.”
5. Test the heating system
Zoe Napier of Zoe Napier Country & Equestrian points out that you can check whether the heating system works efficiently and whether the house itself is warm or draughty.
6. Settle on a reduced price
Fin Hughes of Smiths Gore says: “Some sellers reduce their asking price outright [in the winter], so there may be houses which weren’t in your price bracket that will suddenly drop into it. The quicker you are to react, the less competition there is likely to be.”
Equestrian properties for sale and to rent
The full version of the article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (21 November 2013)