Blog by Nikki Alvin-Smith
With the popularity of ‘Airbnb’ and other resources to accommodate the needs of the adventurer and travel-minded population, it is little wonder that property ownership can offer income streams previously too complicated to contemplate including farm tourism, photography, and venue rental.
Folks love the idea of enjoying the experience of the rural lifestyle - living or spending time at a private location for an event. As a result, many are increasingly shying away from chain hotels with boring conference room décor and bland environments that provides little charm.
Property taxes, diminished large tracts of open land and the failure of land conservancy measures have resulted in a decline in the availability of spaces to lease or rent for large events and family functions. Many folks struggle to hold on to their family farms or established homes with acres of property due to the increasing pressure of development and urban living livestock restrictions.
Agri-tourism is a huge boost to the rural economy and if you have a property with a precious view or location, a unique historical claim or just a sweet spot with an established garden and some privacy, then you might be surprised at how you can leverage your property to heighten your income and offset the maintenance expenses it may entail. How can you build this better bottom line?
An added value enterprise could be just a few steps from your back door in the form of a closed open space.
There has always been a sincere appreciation and slightly romantic notion of barns. The ultimate romantic event is of course a wedding. The current market trend shows that regardless of whether the bride-to-be has an equestrian/farm background or not, her bridal vision may well incorporate a rustic environment such as a barn with rafters decorated with lights, large wide board floors for dancing and wide open spaces suitable for multiple table layout designs that cater to every guest. A barn or outdoor structure may provide the perfect venue, and wedding photos on the lawn with a horse or two grazing contentedly in the background doesn’t hurt the wedding album either.
Wedding planning events up and down the country increasingly see vendors touting their access to farm properties for the ‘Big Day’ or even ‘Big Wedding Week.’ Sometimes the access is for an entire property or more often access is just for the open space i.e. the indoor arena or renovated antique barn or even better a purpose built barn or open plan structure that is clean and light and offers a rustic atmosphere.
It is not just event wedding planners that seek property as a backdrop to showcase their wondrous events and photo shoots. There are a myriad of family occasions in all of our lives that require a venue and planners of corporate retreats also love the concept of the indoor space in a beautiful outdoor setting. Event organizers are constantly in search for the consummate location to host their affair.
Magazine editors and photographers (particularly in the fashion world) as well as videographers and photographers such as auto manufacturers are constantly on the hunt for a great setting to compose their best creations.
There is movie action to be garnered for your property too, especially if your location incorporates a horse farm or working farm, which may be used as a backdrop.
My husband and I operate a dressage and horse breeding operation on our south-facing horse farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The rolling hayfields with large open spaces and amazing views from our mountain location, plus the access to horse barns and a large indoor for wet weather set up for shooting have proved a great hit with the movie crowd.
Our readymade horse “models” and experienced horse help are on tap, too. On one shoot we were asked to advise the Specialist Researcher and Script Supervisor to ensure that everything ‘horse’ was accurate: were the horses were properly tacked up for the discipline and historical timeline, did celebrity riders hold the reins and sit correctly and were the wraps and tack correctly applied. As a horseman there is truly nothing worse than watching a movie that showcases a horse mishandled or with poorly fitting tack.
Several Casting Directors have scouted our farm and, to date, we have hosted several Director visits and two actual movie shoots. I can attest that both the movie and TV world increasingly search for the perfect location to shoot their next big box office win or show.
Smart property owners are not just utilizing their indoor arenas and buildings for use for events such as weddings (imagine your indoor arena trusses swathed in chiffon and a hardwood ‘floating’ dance floor laid out over X), but also renting the space out to dog agility and other local community events.
The need and use of open inside space is such a trend and moneymaker, folks are also adding open structures to their farms that are built by offsite barn companies for use by third ‘parties’. For example: If you have a movie director prepared to pay a fee to use a building just where he wants it and can offer a quick delivery, a modular barn build is the perfect solution.
Another friend added several smaller structures to their property and orchestrated one as a small on-site craft/art gallery, a larger structure for gatherings and events with a lovely porch overlooking the hills and some smaller cabins for renting out to guests for those events. She even had a special barn space built as a yoga retreat that had a beautiful deck for those early mornings when the sun rises as the mist clears off the mountains, and workouts can be held outside communing with Mother Nature.
There are a stunning variety of structures and designs that Horizon Structures offers for your needs. Adding a structure to your farm is a good way to rent out your property and make it more appealing to photographers and event planners. The barns and buildings are produced in the factory and then shipped to your property – fully-assembled and ready for immediate use - or put together on-site by our own professional crews, with a minimum fuss or mess.
Another added bonus is you can amortize the cost of the building against any business income that you earn from your property and possibly deduct any loan interest, if you take the financing route, given you determine starting up a small business with an LLP/LLC or Sub S status is warranted.
Many larger barn construction firms such as Horizon Structures LLC., offer financing as part of their services. We also offer a large selection of structure sizes and, as we are experienced with construction of multi-use agricultural buildings, Horizon Structures is in a unique position to address all your needs, answer a wide range of questions for different uses and help you develop your ideas. A modular option such as ours is great because you can add to it later as needs grow.
I won’t even mention the added fun that hosting an event or shoot can be for you, the property owner. Who doesn’t like to chat with celebrities, show off their horses at a photo shoot or movie production, or help a family celebrate one of the happiest events of their lives?
Perhaps it’s time to think outside and inside the box.