BLOG: A time to Buy Ranches…is there a season?

A time to buy Ranches… is there a season?

By Michael Landreth ALC

Well, Yes and No and Depends, it could be said.  Where are you looking to buy?  Seasons and conditions are different everywhere, locally or nationally, and must always be understood before you begin. If it is Colorado High Country you seek, you’ll need to view properties when the snow is off them, when the land characteristics are again visible and alive.  But that’s just the beginning of understanding the timing needed to search for and purchase a ranch.  Because; there IS a season for Ranch Purchases in Colorado, and it affects everything.  It plays out from June through October, when you have favorable weather and ground conditions for viewing the properties.  Here’s how it works:

In the beginning, you reach out to Specialized publications, and Specialized REALTORS®, to satisfy your curiosity and collect information on properties you may have interest in, while preparing to view some of them …

This is ideally done during the fall and winter months if your goal is to get on properties for viewings in the Spring when weather conditions are optimal and the inventory is fresh.  But it is the first step, so whenever you start it’s the right step. If you have limited opportunity to travel for purposes of viewing properties, you will want to coordinate with your broker to optimize your schedule for the proper season… meaning you will be prepared to get on the ground first thing in the spring, or as soon as you can, which leaves you open to another trip later if need be, within the same season, and before the snows.

Once you are clear on the season for your property type, start scheduling viewings with purpose, and proper timing.  Viewings shouldn’t be random, but instead bundled and coordinated, for efficiency, and clarity of comparison.  If your broker is adept at getting the essence out of the market for you, then one run through the market may be all you need.  You will generally only need to look at 2-10 properties before you decide.  It could take you two trips.  That’s if your broker knows everything you need to see, and if you have been clear about what you want.

In fact, once started you will discover there will only be a handful of properties emerging from any given market that will fit your parameters. And, once you have seen every property on the market which meets your specific parameters, there are no more.  So you are left with a handful of viable properties to work with, or reject, until a new listing appears in the market, that is. This part of the search process will take as long as it takes you and your broker to get through all the appropriate properties in the complete market.  If you are intent on a purchase, there is no reason that you can’t understand the market, and see everything you need to see, and complete a purchase in one season, It will certainly take longer if you don’t find one the first time through.

Understand, you won’t look at every property in the market… only those selected from it that stand a good chance of being what you want.  So you may discover as many as10 properties that meet your general guidelines, out of which you view 5 in person because they represent the best values of the ten.  And you will look at them when they are best looked at.  In Colorado’s high country, you will want to view it after June 10 and before the end of September.  And if one of them, or several of them are desirable, you’ve been only a short time in the marketplace to position yourself to strike a deal and complete a purchase.

However, if a property meeting your needs is not available after you have reviewed every property you need to, in the current market, then you are reduced to waiting for new listings to appear.  And that process could extend your search by as much as 2-3 years, completely dependent on the timing of new listings to the market.  Unless; you modify your parameters and review the market again, through different eyes, and with different expectations.

That takes you from Curiosity to Offer through the ranch buying season. Do beware however, that there are also serious seasonal timing considerations for diligence during the contract period if you proceed to purchase.  More on that in another edition.

{Michael Landreth, ALC, of Landreth Ranch & Land Co, and Partner at, is a Nationally Recognized expert on Colorado Ranch Properties, who works with Buyers only.}