RLI | Colorado Chapter

This article is featured in the Spring 2021 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.

Several things come to mind when one begins the long journey to finding the perfect property. Buyers in most markets prioritize their search based on regional needs such as traffic routes, travel times, future uses, proximity to the right schools, the best hospitals, shopping and exit strategies. 

Mountain Brokers serve many clients with the same search criteria, but above all, we face emotion, dealing more in “wants” rather than in “needs.” While the mountain buyer typically searches for value and exit strategies, many of the more typical search criteria are left by the wayside as the search climbs in altitude. The traffic counts convert to wildlife migrations, the perfect schools turn to the right stream flow rates for the perfect fly-fishing adventure, and future uses turn to thoughts of building a legacy with current and future family members.   

Colorado is much like the rest of the nation; when the real estate market sees a bump in activity, it seems like everyone becomes a licensed real estate broker. As the joke says, 

Recently while checking out at the grocery store, the person in front of me was asked for some identification to cash a check. The cashier asked the person for a real estate license; when asked why a real estate license, the cashier responded, “not everybody has a drivers license.”   

While this is an old joke, it does convey a point, that in a good market the representation sees an influx of new brokers. The mountain west sees a great deal of this as urban markets run short on inventory and brokers strive to fill shortfalls with recreational properties. Many of these are truly good urban brokers, concentrating their efforts on sales of boxes within boxes, i.e., neighborhoods, block-to-block comparison sales or on more cookie cutter homes, and benefit by working within a system where county and MLS data is readily available to discern regional values. 

The gap in knowledge is epic between the block-on-block sales compared to hay production ground, discerning senior water rights, identifying ditch riders, ditch shares, hunting season migrations, the value of conservation easements, grazing permits, AUM’s, down to what type of snow piles up year after year to what part of the access roads face drifting after a new snow.  

This is where an RLI (Realtor Land Institute) broker proves their worth, demonstrating their depth of knowledge and experiences in the field. This knowledge and experience covers a variety of topics such as wildlife, water rights, hunting regulations, conservation easements, 1031 exchanges, top surveyors, wildfires, optimal title companies and regional recreation opportunities, to name a few.

Experience matters. Therefore, training, knowledge, history, understanding and competency all matter. Currently, Colorado RLI has some of the most impressive young brokers who are not only well educated but are steeped in western experience. They are the definition of what Colorado RLI has dedicated decades to procure. Colorado RLI strives to provide an environment in which brokers can continue to learn, train, grow and share experiences while transferring western properties through a professional footprint.

Colorado RLI prides itself in building a network of brokers who have trust in one another, knowledge of the network of specialties spread across over 130 Colorado RLI Brokers. That trust in each other and a depth of professional experience in land, its attributes and pitfalls, is unparalleled in the west. This is where the client of a RLI broker benefits, by building better brokers who understand and appreciate the goals of their client and the wide knowledge base required to attain those goals. The ability to not have “all” the answers but have the sources of that expertise at the broker’s fingertips, is just a phone call away from another RLI member. Colorado RLI members rely on each other, using relationships and understanding from a “rising tide raises all ships” philosophy. 

Dan Murphy, ALC
M4 Ranch Group, Broker/Owner
RLI Colorado Chapter President


  • 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.

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