This article is featured in the Summer 2022 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.


The economic crisis of 2008-09 fundamentally changed the ranch industry in Colorado. The Western Slope hosted one of the most inflated real estate markets in the nation. To mitigate a complete collapse, local ranch brokers had three options: 

  1. Get out of the industry. 
  2. Broaden their market base and service a wider geographic area and/or property type. 
  3. Get more specialized and push deeper into the needs of the local market. 

Eagle Land Brokerage opted for the latter. In its immediate future, this all but guaranteed lean financial statements. However, it planted the seed for a new model of brokerage and gave birth to its sister company, Ranch-X.

Simply put, when individuals purchase a ranch, they are buying a job. The job can range from maintaining a beautiful property to substantially restoring, constructing, or mitigating the property. Ranch-X comes alongside owners to bring each property to its highest and best use, while maintaining the attributes that originally attracted the buyer to the ranch. 

Real estate is a geo-spatial asset, which implies geo-spatial problems. Therefore, the first service Ranch-X provided clients was a high-tech mapping division.

Using cutting-edge technology, Ranch-X can condense 10,000 acres’ worth of complex layers onto an 11”x17” piece of paper. We have located, documented, and displayed everything from irrigation systems to emergency access points and conservation easements. Geo-spatial data is the first critical step in any ranch project, whether that is the sale of a fifth-generation cattle ranch or improving a new asset. 

“Real estate is a geo-spatial asset, which implies geo-spatial problems.” 

EAGLE LAND BROKERAGE

Ranch-X uses these geo-spatial tools to implement long-term, strategic ranch improvement programs. In this capacity, Ranch-X serves as advisor to clients, ensuring that land professionals and service providers are operating toward a common goal. This removes the burden from the owners, who often live out-of-state, and places it on the shoulders of a dedicated local team. In this regard, we have overseen development operations, constructed property defining features, waded through complex issues, and mitigated decades worth of mismanagement.

Every ranch has unique characteristics and unique problems. Finding a remedy often requires a creative solution. For example, excessive brush and deadfall can make a property impassible for vehicles and inhospitable for wildlife. Because there was not a machine in Colorado capable of effectively clearing the brush and deadfall, we forged our own creative solution and sourced parts from across North America to build a 20-ton Hydro-axe onto an excavator. When the brush reduction and re-seeding was complete, the refurbished property not only provided substantially better habitat, but, as a bonus, reduced roadkill on a nearby highway.

Our projects often go beyond solving immediate problems to enhancing a property’s value. After looking at the multiple layers of a property (topography, water, wildlife, access, etc.), our team creates a proposal to bring the property to its highest and best use, whether that means pulling together smaller parcels into one grand landscape with lots of elbow room and “scope for the imagination,” or dividing a large parcel into smaller pieces, effectively increasing the property’s overall value in future sales. Likewise, drilling wells and installing a network of cisterns can turn ordinary tracts into high-value homebuilding sites. These recommendations, when implemented, satisfy an inventory-starved market, increase potential agricultural and crop production, and provide owners with the best possible return on their investment, a true win-win-win solution.

Because we work both the transaction (Eagle Land Brokerage) and improvement (Ranch-X) sides of the industry, we have developed a specialty for the interaction between physical characteristics and market forces. Fence construction, pond improvements, brush mitigation and cabin refurbishment, water development, subdivision and boundary line adjustments cause property values to dramatically increase. This captures the essence of Ranch-X’s goal—taking diamonds in the rough, systematically polishing them, and then presenting them to the general market or a well-satisfied owner.

Eagle Land Brokerage built its entire business model by being hyper-focused, first on the Colorado farm and ranch market, then on the properties themselves through Ranch-X. Under our brokerage model, we are not just salesmen, we are the local farm and ranch experts presenting years of work and research, often on ranches that we helped build.

Raw ground may have an inherent value, but Colorado’s legacy ranches were not discovered; they were built. At Ranch-X, we build ranches. 

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