Buying a Ranch in Colorado
If you are in the market to purchase a Ranch, you’ve clearly come to the right place. We would like to welcome you to review our website and think through the concepts we discuss throughout the site. Once you’re ready to actively engage in either Buying or Selling a Ranch, please give us a call and let us show you what the definition of excellent customer service is.
There is a wide range of Ranch buying opportunities in the “Ranch market”. If you peruse various websites, you will find Working Ranches, Recreational Ranches, Luxury Ranches, Sporting Ranches, Hunting Ranches, Fishing Properties and Horse Ranches for sale. While this wide selection may seem overwhelming to the prospective Buyer, we assure you that our experience will help you sort though and understand the language of buying a Ranch. Key elements underlie each and every Ranch investment. We’ve created a Ranch buying scenario below that illustrates how it all works.
Let’s call this Case Study 1. – In our example, the prospective client establishes the following criteria:
“I would like to own a Ranch that’s at least 1,000 acres that I can enjoy and spend time away from the city. The Ranch must have live water with good fishing and hunting potential. I plan to trailer our horses up to the Ranch and therefore would like to have good riding terrain. It would be ideal if we bordered BLM Land or National Forest so that we could have even more acreage to ride. Ideally, we would like to be within 2 hours of a major ski area. While we will consider building a new home, we would prefer to move into or remodel an existing Ranch home of about 4,000 – 6,000 square feet. The barn is a key issue for us. We would like to have a heated barn that has a good sized tack room, a minimum of 4 stalls with automatic, heated waterers and good turnouts. It would be ideal to have plenty of hay storage and a wash rack. An indoor arena is on our wish list but it will not be a deal killer if the property doesn’t have one. Finally, we would like the barnor one of the out buildings to have room to store our horse trailer and at least one vehicle.”
Many of the same issues that are important for the aforementioned client in Case Study 1 are important for many Buyers we work with looking to invest in a Ranch.
Let’s analyze other major issues.
Water rights: Water is a precious resource in Colorado and the West. Our climate is semiarid with 300+ sunny days per year. There are no hurricanes, few if any tornadoes (especially in the high country), little flooding and minimal humidity. We don’t have to deal with these powerful forces of nature but we do have to deal with clearly understanding and defining our water rights. For each Ranch sale we will carefully and thoroughly investigate the existing water rights. So that there are no surprises, we will find out precisely what the adjudicated water rights are to insure that there is ample water to operate the Ranch and protect our Buyer’s investment in the future. To complete the information gathering process, we will research well permits and quantify available water and any potential use restrictions. Water is a key investment criterion.
Live water: Live water is characterized by “running water” as in a river, stream or creek. Steams in the west can flow year round or intermittently.” Depending on the snowfall the previous winter, live water can be roiling in the Spring and barely trickling in the late Fall. If year round flow and fishing habitat is important to you, we will find a Ranch that fits your criteria. We will also refer “stream management” professionals to you that will help you turn a stream thick with willows and choked with deadfall into pristine fishing habitat with deep pools, riffles and structure that will support and hold your trophy trout. Live water is something most buyers want and families grow to enjoy. We look forward to fishing it with you!
Equestrian considerations: Our buyer in Case Study 1 needs a property that meets the entire family’s equestrian requirements. Given his criteria, we would spend time looking for the subtleties that make an equestrian property special. Are the turnouts large enough? Are there automatic waterers? Is there ample hay and feed storage? Is the tack room adequate? What are the ceiling heights? Is the barn heated by electricity or natural gas? How is the drainage around the exterior of the barn? Are the corrals wood or steel pipe? Is there a good process in place to manage the manure? Is the lighting bright enough? These and many other relevant issues would be investigated in order to find the perfect equestrian environment.
Hunting, fishing and recreational Ranches: In the last several years, there has been a growing trend for Buyers to specifically request Hunting and Recreational properties. Some have grown weary of leasing a Hunting property as they find that their “lease” experience has diminished over the years. Frequently, Owners sell too many memberships in such leases, neglect improving the hunting or fishing habitat or simply cash in and sell their Ranches.
As an avid outdoorsman, I take great pleasure in finding quality Hunting and Fishing properties for my clients. As part of our evaluation process we will spend time hunting and fishing the property. Additionally, we will walk the property and take note of the existing wildlife habitat. Finally, it’s a good idea to engage outside contractors to help you plan how to create world class wildlife habitat in the future. Surprisingly, even life long hunters can sometimes underestimate the factors that are vitally important in buying a productive Hunting property. We encourage Buyers of this type of property to speak with Wildlife biologists, Game wardens, local hunters and neighbors. Finding and developing good wildlife habitat is as much art as it is science. We will help you connect the dots to insure your property becomes a premier recreational property.
Nearby Amenities and Services: As is the case with many Buyers, our friends in Case Study 1 are seeking certain amenities that are compatible with their lifestyle. In their case, they would like to ski in the Winter, so it’s important that their Ranch be located approximately two hours from a major Ski area. By clearly listening to our clients needs, we will help them find the Ranch dreams are made of. Other nearby amenities and services that are frequently requested are Schools, Churches, shopping, Banking, fine dining, grocery stores and gas stations. At Beacon Mountain Farm & Ranch we have developed an excellent resource guide titled “Buyers Guide to Ranch Real Estate” that is packed with questions you should ask yourself as well as ideas that help you develop a sound buying strategy while avoiding common pitfalls.
While our Buyer in Case Study 1 didn’t specifically ask for the following, they are issues that need to be reviewed and analyzed. Important Ranch considerations include:
Mineral rights: Defined as “Rights to subsurface land and profits. Normally, when real property is conveyed, the grantee receives all rights and title to the land including everything above and below the surface, unless excepted by the grantor.”
These rights include oil, gas, metals, etc. Many Buyers are surprised to find that on occasion, the Seller doesn’t have full Mineral rights or isn’t willing to part with those they have. The State of Colorado requires that Mineral rights are disclosed in each contract. With Beacon Mountain Farm & Ranch as your Exclusive Representative, you can rest assured that you will clearly understand the Mineral rights associated with your chosen Ranch so that you are not surprised as closing nears.
Fencing/Cross fencing: In the West, fencing is used to keep livestock on your property and to delineate property lines. If you’re planning to have livestock, you need to insure that your fencing is in serviceable condition. There is nothing worse than finding that 50 head of your cattle are two miles down the road from your property line. Depending on how you intend to operate your ranch, cross fencing can be a valuable enhancement to a Ranch and its operation.
Good cross fencing insures that you can efficiently move your livestock from one pasture to another so that you do not overgraze. On large working ranches, fencing is sometimes the official property line on a recorded deed. While not always perfectly accurate, fencing makes an acceptable property line as long as you and your neighboring Rancher agrees with its placement.
Surveying a major Ranch can be costly but we recommend that new owners take that step to insure they have truly accurate property lines.
As we tour Ranches that make our Buyers “interested” list, we will ride, walk and potentially fly over the property.
As part of our “maintenance” and “deferred maintenance” analysis, you will know exactly what condition the fencing and out buildings are on your selected Ranch.
Other investment criterion that we will discuss includes but are not limited to the following: Condition of the Ranch home, ideal building sites for a new home, 1031 exchanges, Conservation easements, Ranch equipment, irrigation, pivot sprinklers, animal units (carrying capacity), Ranch revenue generation (many options here), hazardous waste issues, deed restrictions, zoning issues, Ranch Management, National Forest proximity and much, much more.
If you’re ready to let us help you navigate the incredibly interesting waters of Ranch Real estate, please visit “Contact Us” on the Beacon Mountain Farm & Ranch Home page. We look forward to working with you to find that once in a lifetime Ranch!