Horizon Structures Presents Series: Top Ten Tips For The First-Time Horse Barn Buyer

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by Nikki Alvin-Smith

 The first-time horse barn buyer has an enormous amount of choices from which to select the new structure to house their beloved equines. This time of true excitement is one to be enjoyed and revered and moderating this enthusiasm can be difficult to manage for even the most stoic horse aficionado.

By following these top ten tips, pitfalls and nuisances can likely be avoided and the final purchase result should be a happy and pleasurable experience. This author has built or had built many horse barns during her career as a professional horsewoman, and seasoned advice is always a good place to start. So enjoy this quick read that will set you trotting down the right track.

1.Cut Your Coat According To Your Cloth

The lure of building a large fancy horse barn is very real, with its promises of a possible income stream for boarders – just one of two you tell yourself to make ends meet, or its appeal to show your friends how serious and professional you are as an equestrian.

In fact the more barns you look at the harder you will find it to keep your feet solidly planted on the ground well-earthed to your budget constraints.

When you make plans based on what you have versus what you would like to have, you will be comfortable with the level of financial pressure you have placed upon yourself. Notwithstanding, a good financing deal that can leverage the spend and help manage the cash flow should not be overlooked. But tailor the barn to be of the best quality you can afford that will do the job required without going ‘barn mad’.

2. Choose A Sturdy Well-Crafted Barn

 Design of the barn should address key points of safety for both horse and human use and be composed of good quality materials crafted with care and craftsmanship.

A talented team of carpenters that exhibit due care and attention to the details of the build and have high quality materials with which to work, together with a properly drafted and executed building plan that they follow, will produce a durable horse barn that will stand up to the abuse that Mother Nature and the horses themselves dish up.

Express and implied warranties should be documented by the construction company in hard print and evidenced clearly in the purchase contract.

Select a construction company to work with that has a solid history of professional experience within the equine industry and one that offers transparency including references and testimonials that you can approach personally to verify. Consider the selection of a construction partner the same way you would about buying a horse; never get on one you haven’t seen ridden that behaves well and as expected and promised!

3. Know The Real Cost

Modular construction building offers huge advantages over a site build in many aspects of barn building. Aside from the obvious ones of factory-controlled environment for the building process resulting in a better overall job and known timeline, the less mess no stress factor should not be overlooked.

But its major pivotal play is the ‘to the penny’ quote that will include freight/delivery charges and full set up.

Don’t get scammed into accepting ‘estimates’ especially those quoted as ‘time and labor’, as you might as well sign a blank check and hand it over if you fall into this construction jungle. Do get a detailed list of all materials and set of plans as part of the contract and do read the terms of the contract and make sure you understand them. And of course, do get a contract!

4. Get What You Pay For

Don’t part with any monetary deposits or sign on any dotted lines until you are happy that you have successfully compared like to like and that these ‘known’ ingredients that compose the structure are listed and documented accurately.

For example, if an on-site builder promises you a 20-year warranty shingle roof and you keenly choose the color, don’t compare that against the price of a metal roofed barn of the same size, even though the floor plan may be the same. Do not accept clauses in a contract that denote the builder may substitute materials and assure yourself that all material components are of same or similar quality.

Be aware that dimensions detailed on the plans (and make sure you get plans!) are exterior dimensions so actual use area within the building will be slightly smaller to allow for walls, pillars and interior kickwalls.

5. Put It In The Right Place

Where the barn is sited is almost as important as how the barn is built. How that site is prepared is also an essential part of the equation.

If the barn is sited in an area of poor drainage, its constitution will be severely impacted over time as it will be inherently flawed by its poor site.

Enjoy these ‘tongue-in cheek’ notes in this quick read on critical mistakes to avoid when choosing your building spot.

How that site is prepared is also an essential part of the equation. The integrity of any building is only as good as the ground on which it stands. So follow the builder’s guidelines for site requirements and research the best site carefully taking professional advice if necessary.

Before you buy a barn or start your building plans do address any local building codes, permits required or variances that may be needed. Your local Building Inspector can be very helpful in this respect, and even if an agricultural exemption applies to your property for the build, it is smart to touch base and discuss your plans before they are finalized.

6. Don’t Forget The Overhang

The addition of an overhang can add presence to the structure and ground it to the landscape, but more importantly are the functional benefits this relatively inexpensive upgrade provides for daily use.

7. Little Things Make A Big Difference

From high-quality hardware to functional accent pieces like cupolas, the seemingly smaller parts of the horse barn build make a major difference in the use of the barn.

Make yourself a list of needs and wants and scan the list of upgrades with a keen eye to the real life benefits they may provide. A window box for example may look lovely, but will you be too busy to tend the flowers you purchase each year to plant in it. While on the other hand choosing windows that include screens will definitely improve life in the barn for both horse and human.

Be certain to review the features that are included standard in the build you are considering when comparing prices between modular construction companies.

8. Time Is Money

 Busy horse owners don’t want to be faffing about for endless weeks and months waiting for their horse barn to be completed. This is particularly true if the property has recently been acquired and a move of home is involved, or horse boarding expenses and livery facility timelines are a factor.

Large modular building companies address this problem with great competence by offering ‘in stock’ often discounted barn options in various styles, available for immediate purchase, delivery and set up. As the leading modular barn building companies also have a nationwide footprint, there is no reason to settle for what is on offer locally either. You can even put down a deposit and request a ‘hold date’ pending your site being readied and in some instances the modular company will help you navigate site preparation and permits too.

9. Avoid Last Minute Changes

 Once you have set your plans into action and the barn construction has begun, try to avoid last minute changes. The ‘work order’ changes can be expensive and these are a good way to get off budget track and spend more than you anticipated.

10. Remember To Enjoy The Process

 You don’t have to do a deep dive into construction processes to buy a barn but it can be rewarding to garner a good understanding of the basics involved. Knowledge is power, and doing some due diligence will not only help satisfy your emotional contentment with the purchasing process, but also yield ideas to inspire you on what to put where, how and why, and what you can expect from the end result.

Never be shy to ask the construction company staff, especially a modular firm with an experienced and professional team on hand, for ideas on where you can save money or for ideas to solve issues you may have with the site or to customize the design.

Buying a horse barn is a fun and exciting time. Remember to enjoy the ride, something easily accomplished if you don’t get on the wrong horse.

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Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high-res photos.

 About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com

Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Media Contact: NAS@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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Grand Prix Dressage
Competitor/Coach/ Clinician|

Please visit https://www.horseinakiltmedia.com/to learn more about her affordable services.