Farm House Hacking

5 Replies

So I'm working on doing some wholesaling for my first couple of deals, but long term we want to do buy and hold rentals. I know house hacking is a good way to get started, but we have 4 dogs (mainly large dogs) and a horse and there's no way we could live in town (I am trying to sell the horse). Has anyone house hacked a working farm? We're in San Antonio so most people want to be in town, but there are quite a few large ranches outside so there might be a market as well as a rodeo that goes from March-November in the small town just north of us in Bulverde, Texas. Is this even something I should consider or probably just a dead-end?

@Stephanie Bureau :  I haven't done it, but I am from East Texas.  I know people that had land and rented it for peoples cows, etc.  I believe you could also go the route of agriculture exemption with some ideas.  I have thought about this myself.  If you could rent it to other horse owners and throw up a stable, etc. I believe it would allow some cash flow.  My boyfriend's colleague grew up in Colorado and would rent to others for the use of the ranch.  I don't know how you would come up with the costs on this other than to see if someone else is already doing this concept.  You would want to do better than the competition if you located in an area that someone else is already offering this concept. I think it could be a great niche!  I am interested to see if others have done this before. 

Growing up we rented stalls on our farm but it was just a small side thing. I feel like renting a small cabin would be a little bit more stable (no pun intended) than renting stalls. Right now we live on a farm for free and we do all the chores and maintance

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I live in Colorado and have horses and dogs.  I've done both - rented out horse property to others, and rented horse property from others.  And I've done both in the last 10 years or so - all because of the crazy market here in Colorado.  So I've got a few experiences to share and my perspectives.

First, my experience of renting out my horse property to another.  I rented it to an equine vet.  He was going thru a rather ugly divorce.  His credit was not the best, due to the divorce, but he was an established vet in the area.  We actually did a lease-to-own.  He totally trashed the place and decided not to exercise his option.  I guess I was lucky that we were under a lease-to-own agreement, because I got to keep the option amount, the damage deposit, and all those extra $ on to of the monthly rent, but what a mess.  He was there for 2 years.  He literally did not clean a stall the entire time he was there.  Truly sad that his own horses were standing in such filth.  When I took the property back, there was over a foot of PACKED manure in the stalls (I'm not exaggerating - it was packed from wall to wall, and I even had rubber mats in the stalls).  Just one example of how bad it was.  Even though I'm one, I think many horse people are just plain crazy.

Second - my experiences of renting horse properties.  I have to say that I'm very appreciative of the fact that other people are willing to rent out horse properties.  We were in between selling (the above mentioned property) and looking for the right opportunity to buy my next primary home (horse) property.  It was so difficult to find horse property to rent.  We ended up in a couple of really nice places, and we were careful to care for the property as our own.  Both owners remarked how unusual that was for them.

I, personally, would never own rental horse property again.  If you go that route, I would suggest a lease that spells out absolutely everything.  Seriously, horse people are a special breed, and I think many just have way different values than non-horse people, and not necessarily in a good way.

Feel free to PM me if you have any further questions!

Cool idea. The Bulverde area is nice but pricey. Tejas rodeo has some fun rodeos and roping practices. Check out Pipe Creek and Bandera too. Lightning ranch had weekend rodeos but just sold. Plans for a covered arena in the works. Maybe see what they have planned. They did have some small cabins too. Just a thought. 

We are in the Grey Forest area in an old house with a couple acres. Great for dogs and workable for our horse. Horses might add some liability but may be worth it. Let me know if I can help in any way. Also, we are always looking for rentals if you find some deals. 

     Maybe even a vrbo model in the hill country for those looking for a taste of the country life. I have thought of something like this with a simple chicken coop and a goat or two. People could have the experience of finding their own natural eggs if so inclined. I think it would be cool for city folks that want to show their kids another way of life. Just some ideas. Vrbo may be a bit more work but maybe a better return. ??

Good luck!

@Tanya H. I would agree with you renting horse facilities out can be a nightmare. Its very hard to trust people to treat it as you would treat it. I grew up on a horse ranch. My mother made the stable her business when I was younger. While we had good boarders a couple bad apples got her frustrated out of that part of the business.  Another instance was a horse property I leased while I was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. I loved the property and cared for it with pride as if it were my own. After I moved out the next tenants trashed it. They screened as good tenants but didn't have the respect for the land or horse facilities. A small farm or ranch that you own and build up is something to take pride in. From what I've seen over the years people who lease hobby farms often don't have that same respect for the land. 

Property management of a hobby farm takes on a whole new level of involvement or a serious contract like you said. You have to make sure the tenants are taking care of a lot of things that don't apply to most homes. Things like manure disposal, water drainage, out buildings, land management, and much more.  A working farm is a different story. People who lease land/farm that they make a lively hood off of can be much more trusted to properly care for that lease.  I don't think I would like to lease out hobby farms only working property.

Get away cabins in the Texas Hill Country would be a good use of the back forty on a ranch that had some unused land. That would be a great way I think to house hack a ranch anywhere from Bulverde up to Kerrville. That part of the Hill Country pulls people from San Antonio for weekend getaways and vacation tourists can make their way out there for a wine tour or two.