This article is featured in the Summer 2021 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.
One of the single most important aspects of buying a ranch is communication. One of the best ways to foster such communication and accomplish your goals is to find a quality ranch broker. This quality ranch broker will understand your goals, lifelong aspirations, and vision, then take that knowledge to connect you to the right ranch. In your search for this ranch broker or brokerage team, you are searching for the right drive, set of strengths, knowledge, and depth to not only get you on the right property but help you navigate any issues along the way to a successful closing.
Dedicated ranch brokers strive to be knowledgeable, working every day to know the next landowner and what opportunities are on the market. In today’s very popular ranch buying market, they are concentrated on what might be coming on the market. Success for a ranch broker is defined by the phrase “you eat what you kill.” Thus, making each and every transaction extremely and equally important. I grew up in the outfitting business with my wife and I owning outdoor adventure companies in Alaska, Montana, Colorado, and Texas. The mantra of our company was no matter how tired you are, to this client, this is always their big day. The ranch company is very similar, no matter the size of the deal, to that particular ranch buyer; many times it is the culmination of a lifetime’s efforts. That ranch acquisition, big or small, is a lifetime of effort, a lifetime of goals, a chance to build a family legacy, and the investment they have strived to afford. It comes back to the saying “never judge a book by the cover,” and for a land broker, truer words have never been spoken. When you take on the responsibility to work with clients who often become friends, that effort to pursue selling a family legacy or helping the person trying to establish one, each transaction, marketing effort, and every tour is a chance to make an indelible impact on a life, a dream, a reality.
Many dedicated ranch brokers, young or old, represent a lifetime of achievements and a lifetime of commitment that led to a much better understanding. An understanding of a multitude of issues faced in not only finding the right ranch but in helping you to secure that ranch and its assets. The list of complexities is long, but they quickly become less daunting when you have the right person who brings knowledge of key points such as water rights, conservation easements, mitigation benefits, river restoration, grazing improvements, big game licensing, wildlife herd migrations, regional regulations, to mineral rights and historic drought conditions.
One of the biggest laughs we have in this business is the line “I have a guy.” If one thing is a standout of a dedicated ranch broker, it is the fact that broker is the source of the source. No ranch broker has ALL the knowledge, and a good one will let you know when they do not have that knowledge; that is when the line “I know a guy” comes to life. Having a broker who is smart enough to tell you “I don’t know” is more important than the broker who thinks they have every answer.
As I was writing this article and looking at what characteristics really build a good-to-great land broker, I realized how tied this language, this thought process, this determination is to RLI (Realtor Land Institute). RLI is built on producing better brokers, better people, and better results. As owner of M4 Ranch Group and the current president of Colorado RLI, I am so fortunate to not only see my agents, my partners and even my son strive to be great in this business, but I get to see truly dedicated men and women who care deeply about this business. They care deeply about their relationships and their integrity coupled with the continued pursuit of quality education, always striving to be better, to know more or to “know a guy.”
Dan Murphy, ALC
M4 Ranch Group, Broker/Owner
RLI Colorado Chapter President