Since 2008, property markets have been recovering but at different rates, whilst some property owners have seen record growth in their areas, others are wondering how their property is still worth less than it was at the peak, in 2007.
That said, whatever position you are in, as a property owner, you will always be thinking of ways to add value to your house or yard.
Owners often ask me if their investment into equestrian facilities will increase the value of their property by the amount of expenditure. This can be difficult for an agent to advise on, because there are so many factors to consider. EWW’s Editor, has asked me to write about five things that add value to an equestrian property.
My first tip, even if you are not selling, is to always have in mind who is the most likely type of buyer for your property, so that you can plan improvements accordingly. If you’re unsure? Ask an agent to come out and see your property before you undertake works, at Savills we’re happy to come and meet you and see your property to give you advice about how to add value.
If you’re based near a train station which commuters use and have a great school on the door step but only have 2 acres, then creating a family home with enough equestrian facilities to support children at pony club is likely to be the optimum. Those with an equestrian business such as a livery yard, with 100 acres next to a racecourse or competition centre, might find that securing planning permission for private gallops or an indoor school would be a worthy investment.
Below are five ways which can help to add value –
- Secure planning permission
Gaining planning consent for additional accommodation for a groom, granny or a tenant will add value to your property, applying for residential consent isn’t always straightforward but if you think you have a good case then it’s certainly worth getting some planning advice. Many of us dream of having an all-weather riding surface, whether it’s indoor or outdoors. This requires planning permission and will add value to some equestrian properties.
Tip – planning approval is valid for three years unless varied by the conditions of your permission, so you don’t have to build the facilities straight away. You can often make a start to the works to ensure the permission doesn’t lapse.
- Buy in more land
Buyers are often focussed on how many acres a property has, if the property doesn’t have enough land for their requirements, they will simply dismiss it before viewing. Increasing the size of your land holding can help your property appeal to a wider range of buyers, many see it as important for privacy whilst others need extra land for grazing. The rough rule of thumb is an acre per horse, so if a buyer is looking for ten stables they’re likely to want ten acres too. So if your neighbour is looking at downsizing or wants to raise some capital, why not get an agent to make an approach on your behalf.
Tip – If you have the opportunity to buy a paddock next door but don’t have a use for extra land, then you can let it out to a neighbouring farmer for or get a contractor to make hay for you.
- Keep your property well presented
Keeping your property tidy and well presented is an easy way to add value. Think of show homes, where developers pay interior designers to dress the property before sale. Making a good impression with swept yards, a mown lawn and well maintained fencing is important. Regular maintenance of the windows and doors on the house, as well as keeping the stables doors and facilities in good order will add value as it will show the property has been looked after.
Tip – spending a little each year on maintenance will mean that you don’t have to undertake a huge makeover when you do come to sell your property.
- Keep facilities versatile
It is rarely advisable to spend money on specialist facilities if you plan to sell your property in the short term. However, investing in specialist facilities for your and your horses own benefit, is, in many cases worthwhile in terms of the time and effort they can save you and the benefits they may bring, but it’s worth being realistic that the added value to the property’s selling price may be less than the expenditure needed to create the new facilities.
One of my key messages to clients if they are thinking of selling in the short or medium term, is to try to make their facilities as versatile as possible. A replica Hickstead bank is not likely to add value to a dressage or polo buyer when you come to sell.
Tip – Even when choosing to invest in something that will appeal to most disciplines such as an all-weather manége, there are factors to consider; think about where to site it, in the garden just in front of the kitchen window might be the ideal place for you but it might be off-putting to a buyer. Similarly, consider what size ménage is most flexible, a 60 x 20 dressage arena wont necessarily be wide enough for a show jumper.
- Get the basics right
Investments into the basics will be valued by the widest range of buyers, properties which have good drainage enabling all year turn out and off-road riding will get a big tick. Safe horse-friendly fencing instead of barbed wire is something else buyers will be able to cross off their list. Furthermore, services including hot and cold water, in-field troughs, power sockets and lighting will also be attractive to many equestrian buyers.
Tip – Eco-friendly adaptations, such as a bore hole to provide a private water supply for troughs will reduce the property outgoings.
To get further advice on planning or for a market appraisal of your property, please contact Louise Elliott at Savills – firstname.lastname@example.org
EQUESTRIAN PROPERTIES OF THE MONTH
Priors Field, Surrey
The owners of Priors Field have secured planning permission to create a new equestrian centre. There are existing outbuildings and facilities, which are in need of refurbishment. These include a floodlit indoor arena, nine loose boxes, additional outbuildings including further stabling and storage, two all-weather training rings and extensive areas of hard standing.
Curls Farm, nr Bristol.
Curls Farm is a superb equestrian centre located in the Chew Valley and set amongst 85 acres of pasture. It boasts both and indoor and an outdoor school with good road links making it very accessible.
Rectory Farm, Dorset
This charming recently refurbished Listed house has wonderful equestrian facilities including American stables and a manége , it is set in 52 acres, near to the Jurassic Coast.