ranch buying guide

Written by Dan Murphy


More and more people express a desire to own a mountain property as a retreat from the daily grind of city life, with hopes of building a family legacy of experiencing outdoor adventures. Yet, until recently, only the world’s most affluent could boast the ability to not only plunk down multi-millions to buy such a high-quality ranch property but also invest the significant dollars needed to maintain it. With technology now enabling people to work from anywhere in the world and with people beginning to pursue less stressful and more mindful ways of life, many who dream of owning a mountain ranch are coming to the realization that you don’t have to own a castle to live like a king.

Enter the availability and accessibility of the ranch community.

Ranch communities can now be found throughout the mountain west and can be had for a fraction of the cost of a stand-alone, single-owner property, with a reduced total cost of ownership due to shared responsibility for land maintenance, cultivation, and improvement. In today’s world, with fewer and fewer large western parcels available, a large, quality ranch can exceed even the most affluent buyer’s budget. With a growing desire to own a piece of the western lifestyle, ranch communities can deliver what few can afford: a home with a mountain stream as the front yard and a mountain range as the backyard.

Ranch communities could therefore be an option for people who want to spend less time, less money, and less commitment on upkeep and more time enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends. There are many benefits of shared cost among ranch community owners, including preserving the surrounding ranch lands, maintaining healthy meadows, fisheries, wildlife habitat, and also ensuring established access and governs caretaker needs. Owners can simply reap the benefits of ranch living (jump in the jeep, head to the ski hill, grab the fly rod and fish). As part of a ranch community, you can own more river, access more land, have more accessibility to modern-day conveniences, enjoying a less stressful lifestyle, living as part of a community on a premium piece of property without paying a premium.

M4 Ranch Group specializes in understanding ranch communities, offering premier ranch’s that range from $450,000–$2,000,000, depending on quality, location and acreage.

The Lake Fork Hunting and Fish Club is a fine example of a premium western fishing and hunting ranch just minutes from mountain town amenities. For the more remote enthusiast, The Cebolla River Ranch Club provides pristine seclusion with over six miles of exceptional private water on a deeded 35-acre parcel. For those seeking year-round outdoor adventure, locating and buying a reasonably priced, high-quality recreational ranch near a Class-A ski town is just this side of impossible. With a large demand, and a very limited number of quality ranches, these regions see the lowest opportunity for a private owner to find success. If a quality ranch is available, the pricing would likely start in the tens of millions if not higher. Due to the popularity of these regions, we are now seeing more multi-seasonal ranch clubs becoming available. Two fine examples of well-designed and constructed sporting ranch clubs near a class-A ski area are the Wilder on the Taylor and the Reserve on the East River, both located near the famous Crested Butte, Colorado.

If owning a premier western ranch is a personal goal, it is worth the time to pinpoint exactly what owning a ranch means to you and why. Identify the amenities that hold the highest value, the burdens and/or obstacles that represent the deal-breakers. Then simply focus on getting as many of your must-haves with the money you plan to invest.

Ranch communities deliver ranch living at a fraction of the cost, and labor.
— DAN MURPHY

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  • Dan Murphy

    Dan Murphy has called southwestern Colorado home his entire adult life. His dedication to understanding issues at the heart of western Colorado has been exemplified through his service in numerous arenas. Dan’s work commitment, positive outlook, and approach on wildlife and domestic issues have brought forth progressive, positive, and life altering changes. He has spent a lifetime understanding rivers, western lands, wildlife, and the issues they face. He is currently the Owner/Broker of Team Murphy Realty and M4 Ranch Group a division of Team Murphy Realty, specializing in ranch and recreational properties in Colorado and New Mexico.