Lehigh Valley, PA, Residential, Rural & Horse Properties
Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd.
Office Phone: (610) 849-1790
Cell Phone: (610) 393-9424http://activerain.com/brigitam
Tips On Buying an Old Farmhouse
You have been out looking at many different homes, new and old, in the country. You drive up to yet another home. This one is out in the country with a few acres around it. This is an old farmhouse dating back to the 1800’s and is surrounded by a few large shade trees and has a wrap around porch. It looks like a painting by Norman Rockwell. You love the place already. Just before entering the home, you stop a moment on the porch and imagine yourself sitting on a swing on a warm summer night enjoying the sound of the crickets.
As you walk through the home, you feel like you belong there. It has a nice homey, comfy feeling. The longer you stay there, the more you feel like this is THE home for you. But, gee. It’s an older home. What do I need to check before buying it?
Here are some things you need to look, and look out, for:
Is it in a floodplain? The old farmhouses were usually built on flat ground. Sometimes they were near creeks, streams or rivers. Check to see if the home has ever flooded. If it is in a floodplain, it is almost guaranteed you will get flooded in one way or another.
What is the layout like? Old farmhouses usually lacked closet space and had small rooms, excluding the kitchen. Even though the kitchen may be large, see if there is enough room for counter space and appliances. Realize that back then there were no such things as a refrigerator or oven. They used a fireplace to cook. You also need to consider if the ceilings are high enough and the doors wide enough. These would be difficult things to remedy.
How’s the water and the plumbing? Old farmhouses usually have springs or wells for a water source. Check out the plumbing in the home to see if it has been updated. The old plumbing may have lead in it. Test the water for contaminants. If the tap water is discolored or has grit in it, it may mean that a pipe is deteriorated, which may mean a costly repair.
Farmhouses usually have septic systems. See how old the system is. It may not pass current percolation and design standards if it is old. It is possible the old systems may not be grandfathered for new owners. If you add on to the home, you may be required to replace the septic system. Check to see if the septic pipe runs straight into the creek. This will definitely need to be worked on.
Is the structure sound? Redoing foundations is difficult and costly. Also check the roof and gutters. Plus, the flooring should be checked.
Is the fireplace original? It is required that chimney flues be lined with heat-resistant tile or an equivalent, for safety reasons. If the older flue cannot be retrofitted, then it needs to be torn out and built from scratch.
How is the electric and HVAC? Old wiring needs to be replaced along with anything less than 200 amp service. If the home still has a fuse box, you must replace it with circuit breakers. If you are considering putting in duct based heating and air conditioning, it may be a huge expense. It is difficult to retrofit old plaster walls with concealed ductwork and wires.
How well insulated is the home? The old wood frame farmhouses were built without insulation. They were not air tight. The older windows and doors are not energy efficient and would need replacing. It is possible the attic has been insulated, but chances are slim that the walls and the floors have been upgraded.
What is the heating like? Back in the days of old, wood-stoves were used to heat the home. Check if there is any other source of heat in the home. You may want to consider converting the wood-stove to a coal stove.
What is the exterior maintenance? The exterior may need constant painting or repair unless it has been updated with no maintenance siding.
Have a home inspection done. A home inspection will give a thorough check of the home, inside and out, including the basement or crawlspace and the roof. You will be informed of any problems, small and large. Also, have the home inspected for bugs and critters. Country homes are known to be homes to different visitors from the wild. Farm buildings are not included in the inspection.
Before buying that old farmhouse, understand what you are getting yourself into. It may be more costly than you think. Check every little thing out and see if the farmhouse is a place for you. With your added touches the country home will express your personality. They have been around for a long time and with your extra touches, it will become yours.
8 Tips on Moving With Your Horse(s)
Moving your horse(s) can be stressful on them, but there are many things you can do to make the process as painless as possible. Here are some helpful tips to help ease the transition.
1. Check your trailer. Make sure it is safe for the horse to travel in. Check the floor boards to be sure they are not soft and beginning to rot out. Tha last thing you want to happen is your horse to travel the “Flintstone Style”. Don’t laugh, this has happened with some serious consequences. Next, make sure your trailer, and tow vehicle, is in good overall repair and has been properly maintained. There is enough stress with your moving. You don’t need added stress with an accident happening, particularly with your horse.
2. Get veterinary records. If you are moving to another area, be sure you have the proper paperwork for your horse, especially if you are moving to another state. You should have a current negative Coggins (not more than a year old), and a current vet’s certificate stateing that the horse is in good health. The Certificate should be obtained no more than a week before traveling. Also, make sure your horse is up to date on it’s vaccinations. Check with the state you are moving to to find out which ones are required.
3. Keep medications and food on hand. You should make sure that if your horse is on any medications and supplements, that you have them with you. Also, bring at least 2 weeks worth of grain and hay with you. This way, when you arrive at your new home, you do not have to worry about finding a feed store or farmer. If you are moving for a long distance, do not grain your horse until after you have arrived at your destination. Hay your horse ONLY the night before and the morning of the trip.
4. Prepare a first aid kit. If anything should happen on the trip, you should be prepared. Ask your veterinarian as to what you should include in the first aid kit. Also, include your veterinarian’s and farriers phone numbers in your kit even if you know the numbers by heart. In a panic situation, it is possible the numbers will be forgotten.
5. Wrap the horse’s legs for the trip. The horse’s legs need to be protected. As the saying goes, “No foot, no horse” is true. If the legs are severely injured, you may have to put the horse down.
6. Make frequent stops along the way. You should stop every couple of hours and check on your horse to be sure it is fine. Offer it water and make sure there is enough hay for him to munch on. If you are traveling for more than a few hours, take your horse off the trailer ever few hours so it can stretch it’s legs.
7. Find a new veterinary clinic and emergency hospital. Before moving, ask your veterinarian to recommend a doctor in your new location. Have all the research done before your move. Find one that you will be comfortable with.
8. Prep your new home for horses. Moving, especially long distances, is stressful to any animal. Upon your arrival, make sure you set out hay and water for your horse, and bed it’s stall. Do not grain your horse until you are sure it has calmed down and settled into it’s new surroundings. Make sure it is comfortable and check on it often.
These are basic tips to follow. Each horse will react differently to the move.
Once you have unpacked and settled in, go ahead and enjoy your new home and go for that ride. It will do you both some good. Getting back to a regular schedule is the best thing for your horse