Roundtable: Advice for Buying a Ranch in 2021

With a low inventory of available ranches and sporting properties, especially turnkey ones near resorts and conveniences of town, we asked all of our brokers one question: What advice do you have for someone buying a ranch in 2021?

Federal Reserve policymakers expect the US to stage a full recovery this year. Their median expectation for 4.2% growth in 2021 fully offsets the pandemic-induced slump. This sets the stage for another interesting year for those wishing to purchase a ranch or resort property.

While our ranch brokers offered up a plethora of great guidance for buyers, some central ideas surfaced – Be patient, be prepared, and be smart in this seller’s market. 

Read on to find out how best to go about buying a ranch this year.

What advice do you have for ranch buyers in 2021?

Ken Mirr

Our advice to buyers this year is to be prepared!  With shrinking inventories, it is more important than ever to know what you want and to be educated about the specific marketplace you have in mind.

MRG operates in every corner of Colorado, and throughout the Intermountain West with brokers licensed in Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, and Idaho and markets ranches in Oregon as well.  All of these markets are experiencing the same issues so it is important to work with brokers who know the lay of the land and can guide you through the differences in state laws affecting water rights, taxes, hunting tags, fishing access, conservation easements, zoning, and leases.

Jeff Hubbard & Pat Lancaster

All macro factors indicate strength in the ranch market for the foreseeable future. Be smart, but proceed with confidence in acquisitions.

Jared Souza

Buyer’s wanting to enter the market in 2021 need to be aggressive, inventory is low across most of the west, and buyer interest continues to be strong. Proper pricing on attribute-rich properties are getting a lot of attention and are not sitting around. Buyers need to engage a broker, get qualified, and get to looking; waiting for better weather or greener grass may not be an option in some cases as you may come up a day late and a dollar short.

Tommy Latousek

There’s a lot less inventory in 2021 for buyers to review, so buyers don’t see what they want in their online search, they should identify an agent who’s active in the geography and property type that they’re interested in – such as western Colorado fishing as an example – and reach out to that agent personally. It could be that the agent knows about off-market properties that could work for the buyer.

Daniel Carter

After record-breaking sales volume in 2020, high-end ranch listings across the west were for the most part wiped out, but there are still many buyers in the market. Buyers need to be aware of this dynamic, especially in areas with high demand like Southwest Montana and in categories such as fly-fishing properties or turn-key recreational ranches. When quality new listings hit the market this spring, I expect there will be a lot of competing interest. Buyers should prepare now with their broker so they don’t miss an opportunity.

Woody Beardsley

Have fun! And don’t let the urgency and hype of Covid fear drive your decision.  A ranch is a major investment and should be considered in a long-term context.

Haley Mirr

Be patient! Inventory is low and you don’t want to rush into a property just because it fits the mold today. Take a moment to think about what you want, create a vision and do some research. The perfect ranch is out there, it might just take a few months to find it. If you are currently looking for your dream ranch, the Spring time when most new listings hit the market. To prepare, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and other ranch listing services. If you want to get a leg above other buyers, call one of our brokers to create a game plan.

Mike McGarry

Clearly identify what you are looking for, engage wise counsel, and be patient. A great exercise is to first objectively list what characteristics of a property you would consider to be unacceptable to you, and then create your list of priorities. Some important things to consider would be location, access, water, improvements, acreage, elevation, topography, recreation, power availability, conservation easements, budget, and distance from airports, healthcare, and amenities.

Mac McWhorter

The market has been strong and buyers should be ready to take action. Know your budget, and have your banker or financial advisor provide a qualification letter for sellers. Have a good initial idea of what you are looking for in a property such as the general location, intended use, proximity to amenities, access to public lands, water resources, etc. Our expertise will help buyers save valuable time, and avoid potential frustrations throughout the buying process.

Chris Corroon

As far as buying a ranch or recreational property in Utah, make sure to look beyond some of the traditional markets which might be closer to the Wasatch Front, but can also be pricier.  There are some spectacular ranch properties off the beaten path, such as in central or southern Utah with exceptional attributes. Many of those ranch properties are situated among incredible landscapes with excellent proximity to National Parks like Zion or Bryce.

For more on ranch inventory levels, check out last week’s State of the Ranch Market report. 

Want to talk more? Have a specific question about buying a ranch this year? Fill out the form, and one of our ranch brokers will give you a call when it’s convenient for you. We will also provide you with a questionnaire that helps us to better represent you.

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