Deciding to add alpacas to your life is a big choice, and along with conducting all the proper and necessary due diligence, it is equally important that your method of obtaining your alpacas is one that will work for your business plan (you DO have one, right?! That is important and will definitely help you make it with alpacas!).
As you have probably noticed by now if you've been looking into alpacas for any length of time, you can obtain one alpaca to add to an existing herd, OR you may avail yourself of significant savings by taking on multiple alpacas in one "deal." Most Sellers or breeders of alpacas call these "package deals." There are benefits and sometimes drawbacks to these package deals. On most farms, their packages are made up of a few or several closely related alpacas, or ones with significantly overlapping genetics. Close-Knit Alpacas specializes in marketing and selling for multiple farms from one source (C-K) thereby offering people packages of alpacas with the associated financial savings for taking more than one alpaca, from two or more totally different breeding programs. This provides optimum genetic diversity, but in a much more time and cost efficient way.
Close-Knit Alpacas has been in business since 2004 and has learned from experience a great deal about the ins and outs of obtaining alpacas, and I (Wren Owens) am here to help you do just that...and in the best way for your budget and circumstances. You can get some or all of your selected Close-Knit Alpacas via outright Purchase, Lease or (Close-Knit's unique, one-of-a-kind way) Adoption. Let's look at each option closely so you can decide what will work best for you.
STRAIGHT PURCHASE: Purchasing is pretty self-explanatory, but there are various ways you can go about this, as well. With what I call a "straight purchase," you are simply paying the asking or negotiated sale price in full. This is the most straight-forward, uncomplicated way to get your alpacas and own them outright. Owning the animal outright provides you with several benefits. You will have the ARI registration certificates printed in your name by the Alpaca Registry. You will have all rights associated with the animals and can show, breed and sell at your discretion. Your resulting cria will be ALL YOURS to do with as you please. You will also have all responsibilities associated with ownership, which is a significant responsibility; and you will be able to choose to insure your alpacas with a full mortality insurance policy OR not. This would, of course, be your choice completely. Further, you will know that when you no longer want any or all of the alpacas, for whatever reason, the marketing and sales of the alpaca(s), the finding of a new home, will be solely your responsibility and at your expense entirely.
Most Sellers prefer this exchange for all the obvious reasons, but they do understand that often buyers need the benefits of (sometimes quite creative) financing, or a lease (both discussed below). Remember, too, that if you have good credit with a bank you do business with, you can sometimes get a loan from your bank or utilize a line of credit you may have for the full amount needed for your purchase. This allows you to obtain your straight purchase from the Sellers and make payments to your bank. Banks can usually offer better interest rates than Sellers privately financing for you.
When purchasing, please be sure to avail yourself of the opportunity to obtain a Pre-Purchase Veterinary Exam of the alpacas so that everyone can be sure the animals you are purchasing are sound and healthy. You do not want to buy an animal with all sorts of problems, as that would not be a help to your bottom line in your alpaca business, especially if you are just starting out. You also don't want to go home from the sale, have your alpacas delivered to your farm or chosen boarding facility, and then suddenly discover a problem that was there beforehand; because not only will this add to your troubles and vet bills, but it will also strain your good working relationship with the breeder you purchased your alpaca from. No one wants that, so please be sure to get that Pre-Purchase Exam as a condition of the sale...before you pay out all your monies and obtain possession of the alpacas! It's best to do all one can to avoid any potential negatives from the outset, right?
SELLER FINANCED PURCHASE: With private financing provided by the Sellers, you can put down a percentage of the purchase price for the alpacas and pay the balance over time. This amount is usually between 20% and 50%, depending on the Sellers' comfort level with private financing, and your available funds. Many Sellers will finance for only three to six months, but many more will do so for 12 months, 24 months, 36 months and some for even longer periods. Buyers then make equal monthly payments over the term of the Agreement, or sometimes it is agreed that the Buyers may send quarterly payments (this can usually be arranged). Occasionally more creative financing plans are put together, so if you need a special arrangement, never hesitate to bring this up with the Seller or the Seller's agent. Usually, things can be worked out so that the arrangement works well for both parties. Some Sellers opt to offer interest free financing, while others find they simply cannot afford to do that and, so, finance at a nominal interest rate (often 1 over prime).
Financing is a wonderful way to get started and have the alpacas you want and feel you need for your breeding program or other alpaca venture (fiber farm?) without having to have all the funds in hand at the time of sale. Financing has helped many people get going, and comfortably.
Seller Financed Purchases also involve the use of a Promissory Note for the financing. This agreement is separate from the Sale Contract or Agreement for Purchase and lists the alpacas financed as collateral for the loan from the Sellers. It also more specifically outlines the terms for payment of the loan being given to you by the Sellers. It's a pretty straight-forward document and is a legally binding contract in and of itself. If you were financing for someone you barely knew, wouldn't you want and need this, too? Of course you would. I never advise anyone to finance for anyone without this very important additional document.
If the terms are realistic and reachable by you within your well-thought-out comfort zone and budget, and you are a person who has no challenges with honoring contracts and keeping your word, Financing is a God-send. It can be, and usually is, a win/win for everyone. When people do not, however, keep their word and honor their contracts due to whatever hardship or situation that may pop up "down the line," this can often cause serious consequences to not only you, but to the seller who sold you the alpaca, and to the animals themselves. It's best not to enter into a Financed Purchase unless you are confident of your ability to pay as agreed.
Until you have the alpaca paid for in full, you also will have certain very specifically outlined responsibilities and promises to keep with regard to how and where the alpacas are cared for. You must consult with the sellers, too, on all aspects of the animals' care and health, breeding and showing. If you wish to show the alpacas, you may but the Sellers will have to provide you with a "Permission to Show" form that you will present the various show organizers when registering the alpacas for shows.
With Financed Purchases, the Sellers hold onto the ARI registration certificate for each alpaca financed. It will not be put into your name until the outstanding monies owed are paid in full. You will, however, be given a copy of the pedigree for your use and reference, sales and marketing purposes, regardless.
When you obtain your alpacas via Financing by the Sellers, any and all cria that are born to the dams financed are most often not registrable or signed off on by the Sellers (to your ownership and name) until you have paid the balance due them in full. Sometimes, though, they will allow you to sell the offspring as long as all or at least some of the monies obtained from such a sale are given to them toward your balance due. This is a very fair and reasonable arrangement and one most people fully understand and have no problem with agreeing to. Occasionally, a Seller may be okay with releasing a male cria that will not become a stud but will only be a "fiber boy," though. Just discuss this with the Sellers at the time the cria is on the ground and you know what you have there and what you'd like to do. Sellers are usually very open to these friendly discussions and stay relatively open on these things. Crias sired by Studs and Junior Herd Sires that you breed and created the offspring with, however, cannot be registered unless the Seller financing for you for that alpaca agrees to sign off on the registration. The Alpaca Registry has pretty well regulated all of this and has strict policies about who can "sign off on" the crias, and it must be the owners of the dam and sire. Until you have finished paying for your alpacas, you do not have this right or ability.
Almost all alpaca sales contracts for Financed Purchases include an obligation by you to insure the alpacas with full mortality insurance coverage. This provision is in place so that, should something happen to the alpaca and it die, the sellers who financed for you will still receive the outstanding monies owed, paid out of the insurance monies paid after the adjuster investigates the cause of death and the "whys" of it all.
Lastly, with regard to Seller Financed Purchases, even though there are "ties" to the Seller until the balance is paid in full, you have committed to the "ownership" of all the responsibilities and obligations any other "owner" has to the alpacas. You are responsible for all veterinary exam and treatment costs, care, housing and boarding expenses, costs to insure and transportation costs, as well. You are responsible for the marketing of the alpacas, also, and should you decide to sell any or all of the alpacas being financed, you may usually do so but ALL monies obtained from such sales will be payable to the Sellers up to the amount you still owe them. Any amounts received or negotiated for the sale over and above what your outstanding balance to the Sellers is, belongs to you.
LEASING ALPACAS: Some breeders offer the option for Lease of their alpacas, usually when they don't really want to sell their alpaca but could use some space on their farm for awhile. Leasing is not all that common, but it is offered by a fair number of breeders today.
Leasing allows people to take physical custody of another farm's alpaca(s) for one year terms...sometimes for longer (2 years at a time or so). You would pay the Leasing Farm that owns the alpaca a Lease Fee that is usually a fraction of the value of the animal as determined by its owner. In Lease Agreements, you agree to care for the alpaca being leased as outlined specifically by the owner of the alpaca. You pay all vetting and transport for the animals being leased, too, and usually must insure the alpaca (sometimes for half its value, along with the owner).
Leasing the alpaca allows you to breed the alpaca to other alpacas of your choosing, at your expense. For example, let's say you lease a top quality female from a farm for $1000 for the year, and she is "open" at the time you do so (not pregnant). You can select the ideal herd sire of your choosing to have her mated with, but if you don't own the Stud, then you must pay for the breeding fee yourself and any and all transport costs or other costs associated with getting the female bred. About a year later, when your cria is born, you own that cria...not the farm leasing you their alpaca.
Leasing is a relatively inexpensive way to obtain your alpacas without having to buy them outright and have long term responsibilities for that animal. Leasing is ideally suited for someone who would like to interject another line (genetically) to their breeding program without needing to buy that line into their herd. It's a temporary thing!
ADOPTING ALPACAS: Close-Knit Alpacas is the only farm in the U.S. (that I am aware of) that offers the "Adoption Option." The reason this is possible is due to a close association with a 501-c-3 non-profit charity called The Kiva Connection ("Nature, Art and a Healthier You" www.kivaconnection.org), founded in October of 1998. Kiva provides a location for people who are sincere seekers of personal growth and healing to spend time alone in the woods camping or staying in a little cabin off the grid, safely and quietly, to work out their personal challenges and make a plan for what's next in their lives. Nature therapy, if you will. These "seekers" may be someone coming out of a 12-step program or rehab, or a person recently divorced, or having just left an abusive relationship and going through a major transition in their life. Opportunities for animal therapy are provided by Kiva, as well, via the farm that also resides on the 120 acres utilized by both Kiva and Close-Knit Alpacas and known as Moon Ivy Hill.
Adoption is sort of like a very long term, inexpensive "lease" of the alpacas. You pay the suggested donation, or Adoption Fee, amount associated with the Kiva owned alpacas boarding on the Close-Knit Alpacas farm, and commit to giving the animals a "forever home," taking physical custodianship.
You will never own the alpacas, but will own any and all offspring sired or birthed by them, in exchange for giving the animals this forever home and quality care as outlined in the Adoption Agreement.
Kiva holds onto the ARI certificates and agrees, in writing, to sign off on the registrations to you for all offspring of the adopted alpacas. I, Wren Owens, am the Executive Director and Founder of Kiva and am the steward of this program and the Kiva animals; so, in Adopting, you and I can work closely together throughout the years. I will be here for you to answer all your questions, advise you in all matters relating to the alpacas and their health and care, help you prepare your farm for the alpacas and will provide input and any suggestions when asked. Either I, or another Kiva board member, will effectuate the ARI registrations by signing off on the cria.
If, for any reason ever, you find you can no longer keep the Adopted alpacas on your farm and continue to give them this "forever home," you must return them to Kiva at your expense (all associated costs to do so). You can see the clear advantages of this opportunity, including no need to worry about having alpacas on your farm that you must find new homes for when you can no longer keep them. Kiva asks for a minimum commitment of three to five years, but expects a "forever" (til the alpaca expires) home is being given the animals. If for any reason the animals are not properly cared for or are ever discovered to be neglected in any way, Kiva will immediately regain physical custody of the animals, enforcing its right to possession of its wholly owned alpaca(s).
If the Adoption Option appeals to you, please inquire about this and more details will be provided, along with a copy of the Adoption Agreements utilized for the adoptions of both male and female alpacas.
So, there you have it! There are several very good and viable ways for you to obtain your dream of adding alpacas to your life. Please take some time to think through them all and feel free to contact me anytime to discuss these options further, so I can perhaps help you determine the best way for you. In the meantime, "Love Living...Get Close-Knit!"
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