There was a silver lining in Heather Fogarty's frustration with trying to describe or search for a horse property on the Multiple Listing Service that is the industry's main method for seeking or selling real estate online.
Looking for a property with a set number of stalls, pasture space or a certain type of arena? Good luck finding that on the MLS, says Heather. So she set about solving the problem by creating Horse Properties International, an online tool for buyers, sellers and realtors to narrow their search or target their audience.
"When you have a client that wants a six-stall barn and a dressage arena, for example, there's no way to find that," Heather explains. "You have to go through a lot of properties that may or may not have those features. It's really a guessing game while looking through hundreds of properties."
Heather finally got fed up with the MLS's inadequacies in an equestrian context and that's when Horse Properties International was born a few months ago.
"Horse Properties International is designed for realtors, buyers and sellers to find, buy or sell horse property," Heather explains. "Be it a property simply zoned, for sale, or a rental, we are dedicated to assisting you in finding the perfect fit. Luxurious equestrian estates, ranches, equestrian land or specific amenities can be found on this site, and you can count on us to bring you together with the buyer or seller."
The Horse Properties International site was an instant hit, Heather reports. "People were like, 'Oh, finally! Something that caters to the needs of horse people'."
Highly-customizable search functions make the site simple to use. Those seeking a horse property for sale or rent complete a form that allows them to narrow their search based on several horse-related criteria. Searchers can look for anything from a home with existing horse facilities to raw land zoned for horses. They can even search for a home in a horse community with shared or club facilities. Beyond the equine-related details, filters for properties for sale by agent, owner, short sale, lease-to-own and several other categories enable further refinement.
From the listing agent's perspective, adding a property to Horse Properties International is similar to adding something to the MLS except there are all kinds of categories allowing for an accurate description of its horsekeeping amenities.
A Powerful Tool
Horse Properties International is a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool. The site is search engine optimized to show up in responses to any online queries regarding horse properties anywhere in the world. In addition to the benefits of being included in a searchable database, HPI's "share" feature packages details in a way that doubles as the property's own website, a must-have these days in any corner of the real estate market. "We can host virtual tours, videos to supplement the photos and descriptions for Premium Property listings," Heather explains.
Sellers have the option of a free "basic" listing or a "premium" display listing for $9.99 per month. Basic includes a profile page for each property, three photos, description, realtor profile and a contact form for getting in touch with the page's visitors. The premium package adds to that with a photo gallery, more description details, a Google map of the property's location and the ability to add meta information for quick search engine ranking, a high profile video, flash virtual tour gallery and the ability to create printed fliers.
Both packages provide realtors an opportunity for branding their services and exchanging contact information with prospective clients.
HPI defines "horse properties" broadly. These can include homes, estates and raw land in areas zoned for horses, with or without existing horse facilities; communities that may not be zoned for horses but feature an equestrian facility; and season rentals, often near multi-week show facilities, like Thermal.
It's all about getting horse properties in front of horse people and Heather. a realtor herself, is thrilled with the early reaction. In addition to a great response from her many friends in the Southern California equestrian scene, HPI has received inquiries involving for-sale and rental properties around the world. Her new international connections have already had inquiries from
Heather is encouraged by the "very broad base of people" who have already begun using Horse Properties International. Promoting the site and tweaking it further to best serve its previously un-served constituency will keep Heather plenty busy going forward. So maybe it's a good thing that she scaled down her horse sales business. These days, Heather's daughter, 11 year old Anna, is carrying on the riding legacy with her pony Burbeary under the capable tutelage of the hunter/jumper training team at Newmarket.
For more information on Horse
Properties International, visit
www.horsepropertiesinternational.com or call Heather Fogarty at 619-249-1374.