You might be paying as much as 30% in sale commissions on a horse purchase! There is little written on the subject; information is usually by word of mouth. There are various scenarios. Of course the best deal is when the horse is sold directly from seller to buyer and there is no intermediary and no commission. If the purchaser works with a full time trainer, the trainer will usually want 10% of the sale. If the seller also has their own trainer, that trainer can also want 10% or more because they have contributed to the training of the horse and thereby increased its value. So now we are up to 20%. If a horse dealer is involved, he also gets a percentage, usually 10% or more. There can also be a finder’s fee that goes to someone who facilitates the sale. This can be someone who hears about a horse and puts the two parties in contact with one another. It might be as simple as a phone call. This can average up to 10% as well. There is also a process called double dipping where for example, I am negotiating a sale and I ask both the buyer and the seller for 10%. This is illegal in most states. Its smart to ask up front what the commission fees are and are they already included in the sale price. Get it in writing before you make the transaction. Who you make the check out to also sheds some light on the transaction. If you make out the check to the dealer or trainer, as opposed to the owner, you can’t be sure how much the horse has been marked up. There have been some recent lawsuits involving horses whose prices have been doubled.
(Next time, THE EUROPEAN CONNECTION, how it works)
Illustration by Thelwell