Youíve saved a little money, had it up to the eyeballs with corporate life, and really love dogs, ďLets open a kennel!Ē Sounds good, but, like most things in life, it takes planning and organization to make it work. The first item of business is to decide what type of kennel you want, how much facility you can afford, whether you want to build and start your own kennel or buy an existing kennel, with or without business. Every kennel Iíve ever seen, in over 40 years as a dog pro, has its own character.
It also takes more than loving dogs to be a successful kennel operator. You need to have a business plan. No lender is going to loan you money unless you have a plan of how you are going to spend it. And how you are going to pay it back. There are two good sources of information on actual nuts and bolts running a kennel, the American Boarding Kennel Association, and the course on Kennelsandhorsfarms.com (this site). One has a manual, and the other has and online course.
Cleanliness and security are the main basics. An owner has to feel secure in knowing that their beloved pet will be safe from escape, filth, and disease. Good fences are a must. Good door locks and proper kennel procedure are necessary. A properly run kennel doesnít stink of fecal material or urine. It always has clean water, shelter from the elements, and the dogs and/or cats are fed a good diet on a regular basis.
Often it is much easier and makes much more sense to buy an existing kennel and business. The seller will usually stay on for a short time to help you make the transition. With an existing business you can begin making a living from day one. If you want to make changes you can make them gradually while still making the mortgage payments and feeding the dogs.
A knowledgeable real estate broker, fully licensed in the state or states you are considering, is your best helper. Find a dog property specialist or a broker who understands the dog business. Tell them what you want. Is your idea of a kennel 15 runs, each opening into an acre play area, or is your idea of a kennel 150 runs, grooming shop, and employees. If you want to build your own kennel is it to be private, for your own show or hunting dogs or do you want to board or train? Zoning is often an issue. Make sure, before you set your heart and pocketbook on the line, that the zoning allows you to operate a kennel. In some areas a fancier kennel is allowed but no boarding.
When you go to look at the kennel always insist that your broker accompany you. They can make sure the home disclosures are in order, explain the operation of the kennel, compare it to other kennels, show you the area, and get the process started. The broker will have told the sellers what they need in the way of financial records to enable the buyer to get a loan.
Once you have decided on a property the next step is to present an offer to purchase. Make it a real offer; an extremely low offer will often alienate the sellers. If the offer is accepted the immediate order of business is to begin the loan application. The broker can also help smooth the way through the loan process. Once the loan is approved the inspections of the home are ordered and completed. When all the paperwork is in order the actual transition is planned.
Now you are ready to settle in, move your dogs, and live your dream.
Youíve been in the business for years, it is time to retire. Now it is time to sell your kennel.
Buying and selling specialty property is different from buying or selling a house. There are similarities but there are also significant differences.
In any real estate transaction the first decision to be made is whether you will need a broker or whether you will sell the property yourself. At first glance it saves you money if you do it yourself, maybe. If you do the FSBO route (for sale by owner) it is your responsibility to price the property so it will sell. You need to maximize your profit while setting a price that is attractive to the buyers. You need to comply with the state laws of property disclosure. You need to compose, place, and pay for appropriate advertising. You need to make yourself available to show the property advantageously. You need to make available financial data so the buyer can arrange a loan. You need to know the legalities to keep yourself out of court in case of a dispute. If you are unable or unwilling to do all of the above you need to list with a competent real estate broker.
The choice of a competent real estate broker is a process. It is state law in almost every state that any real estate broker doing business in that state must be licensed in that state. If you are choosing a real estate agent or broker you are hiring them to do a job. That job is much more than simply advertising and finding buyers. Their job is finding prospects, showing them your property, showing the prospects why they should buy your property and business. After they have physically shown the prospects your property it is their job to help the prospect obtain financing, coordinate the documents and inspections needed to get financing, orchestrate a smooth and successful transition.
There are specialty brokers who advertise nationally, BUT, they are unable to do most of the work that a real estate broker is hired to do. It is illegal for them to enter any states in which they are not licensed to show property or negotiate a sale. They canít realistically be expected to know why your property or location is better than any other. Often they havenít even seen your property. They canít be expected to do the hiring of the inspectors. In fact about all they can do is advertise your property and send prospects to you. You still have to show the property. The buyer is on their own to arrange financing. Probably most importantly the buyers are almost universally unwilling to insult the sellers by bringing up objections. If you donít know what objections a buyer has to your property you canít address the issues. The broker, that you have agreed to pay, also canít be there to do that job of intermediary.
Regional brokers are often specialists in a particular type of property. Make sure the broker is licensed in your state, interview them and make sure they understand your business. Every situation is different, kennels and horse properties each have their own distinct character. Every one is operated a little bit differently than the other. The broker you choose should understand the differences as well as the similarities. Be certain that the broker you are considering understands your business. One of the main tasks of the real estate broker is to protect your confidence. This is usually done with a signed confidentiality agreement prior to any information being given out, including town of residence. A competent broker, who understands your operation, can save you untold headaches.
Check around and see if there is an animal property specialist in your area. There is in many areas of the country. If there isnít a specialist in your area then next best is to interview agents that are willing to learn. Help the one you like the best become educated about your business. Make sure it is a broker and not just a salesman; the brokers make the decisions on how and where the advertising money is spent. This is a significant part of selling dog and horse property, the broker must be willing to advertise nationally, must have a website that is readily searchable, and must think globally.