On the Cover: M4 Ranch Group

Professionals for All Seasons
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This article is featured in the Winter 2021 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.


Anytime. Anywhere. Any season.

Four little words. One big, power-packed promise from the M4 Ranch Group.

“At M4, we capitalize on opportunities regardless of the season, the weather, the terrain or any other obstacle,” said Dan Murphy, broker/owner and one of the principals in M4 Ranch Group. “We bring a can-do attitude and get-it-done professionalism to every deal for every client, whether they’re selling a legacy property or acquiring one.”

M4 Ranch Group’s results rank at the very top of the industry without sacrificing personal service or nimbleness. The group, made up of four sales agents and a strong, multi-talented support team, pride themselves on closing deals and producing results. In 2021, M4 Ranch Group’s team fronted by four sales agents, representing both sellers and buyers in Colorado and New Mexico, will close on more than 110 ranches and recreational properties representing over $250 million in sales in 2021. 

“Our strength is focus,” Dan said. “We are based in the West—and know the West. We specialize in unique, premier properties and have a fantastic, loyal client base. We have been able to build success through hard work and determination.”

Clients have noticed. M4 has experienced success on a variety of substantial ranches in the West, including Wolf Springs Ranch at 54,000± acres, Monument Butte Ranch at 21,000± acres, Citadel Ranch at 17,500± acres, Juniper Mountain Ranch at 6,900± acres and North Mountain Ranch at 3,382± acres, just to name a few.

The industry has noticed, too. M4 has been annually recognized by the national Land Report as a National “Best Brokerage” since 2017. National RLI (Realtor Land Institute) has named M4 as a National “Top Producer.” In addition in 2020, two of M4 Ranch Group’s brokers were designated “Colorado Land Realtor of the Year” by the Colorado RLI. Also in 2020, one M4 Ranch Group broker was selected as one of the nation’s top 20 recreational brokers. 

“With a shared 24/7 commitment, our team is in it to win it,” he said. 

Results like those amassed by M4 Ranch Group don’t just happen. As the old saying, which is a Murphy family favorite, goes, “Good luck looks an awful lot like hard work.” Of course, hard work alone, while an undeniably powerful force, will only carry an organization so far. In today’s sophisticated world, where every subtle nuance and minute detail matter, it also takes a solid framework of professionalism to ensure continued success.

“Professionalism has a broad definition, but in the ranch and mountain land industry it comes down to knowledge, experience, and a willingness to go above and beyond for your clients,” Dan said. “Being a working cowboy, an avid fly fisherman, or a tested hunter alone isn’t enough to navigate an industry that is a world of its own with diverse issues that reach far beyond those of a typical residential or commercial brokerage.”

At M4, the team’s professionalism manifests itself in many ways through the listing and closing process, but it’s most apparent through their preparation, pride and participation.

Preparation

To accommodate clients anywhere, anytime and any season takes preparation, which translates into investment and planning. M4 Ranch Group has made substantial investments in rolling stock that includes everything from four-wheel drive trucks and Rangers to Can-Ams, snowcats, drift boats and snowmobiles.

M4 Ranch Group’s clients typically have very busy schedules. Those schedules don’t always align with glorious fall days. To serve not only buyers but to fully represent sellers, M4 Ranch Group has invested in the professional equipment needed allowing M4 to explore and experience the land regardless of Mother Nature’s challenges. And in the Mountain West, the ol’ girl can be an unforgiving teacher.

Early in its history, the M4 team hosted a group of buyers who were looking to purchase a private ski area. It was one of the team’s first high-level back country winter showings. With more than eight feet of snow on the ground, the conditions were seemingly perfect for a winter tour. 

Like clockwork, the clients’ private plane landed. Dressed as if they were attending a board meeting, the clients immediately climbed into the waiting Suburban that delivered them to the rented snowcat. The tour went according to plan until the end when they reached the 11,500-foot peak to watch the sunset.

At the top, the snowcat drove over a pine tree buried in the snow, which ruptured the machine’s hydraulic line and left it inoperable. With night falling, temperatures plummeting, no cell service and a client group dressed for a leveraged buyout not sub-zero camping, the M4 team did what they had to do.

A small contingent headed off the mountain, postholing in snowcat tracks toward the base. The party reached the trail head just as the regional search crew arrived by snowmobile. Those types of experiences coupled with a lifetime in the outdoor field have led to a very detailed set of equipment meeting the needs of touring ranches in the West.

“We’ve never made that mistake again,” Dan said. “Prompted by that experience and a lifetime of working and playing in the outdoors, we have amassed a complete set of equipment that safely and comfortably meets all the demands of touring ranches in the West.” 

Today, when M4 conducts a remote showing, which is one of its specialties, the experience is approached like scuba diving where “you are always in sight of your partner.” The M4 snowcat has two outrider 163″x3″ powder snowmobiles as well as satellite phones and cell phones to back up the team. Exit contingencies are a must.

“As they say in the military, no matter how new, no matter the cost, mechanical things break,” Dan said. “Our goal is always having the right equipment, the right tools and the right telecommunications capacity combined with alternate Plan A, B and C.”

Pride

The M4 logo is also the Murphy family brand. More than a mere identifying mark, the brand has long been a statement of trust and excellence in the West.

“M4 started primarily as a family concern, but our team and capabilities have grown immensely over the past four years,” Dan said. “Today, while our company is ‘bigger than blood,’ we still embrace the core values that provided the foundation of our early success—and are all pushing to make the next chapter in our legacy even more impactful than the previous ones.” 

It’s a tall order. The family legacy stretches back to the settling of the western frontier. The family, who has been deeply rooted in Colorado for the past 40 years, traces its lineage back to Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second President of the Republic of Texas. In 1845, Lamar swapped the western Colorado Rockies to help retire the then-Republic’s debt. The family jokes that they’ve been trading in the Mountain West for more than 170 years.

“As a company, we work to reflect the values of the traditional West,” he said. “We value relationships. We stand by our handshakes. We believe in honesty, integrity.”

When faced with a decision, the team opts to do what is right, not what is easy. And they never lose sight of the ultimate goal: establishing personal relationships that go far beyond the close of a deal.

He continued, “While we specialize in exceptional land, we’re really in the relationship business. Job one is building a relationship of trust with clients, so we can understand their goals and match them with the right property. We do that through knowledge, experience and dedication.”

The team members, whether they’re on the front lines making deals or supporting the efforts with integrated marketing that includes in-house photography, videography, design and direct marketing, cutting-edge technology backed by digital professionals overseeing website design, SEO maximization, email marketing, and flawless research and document preparation, drive toward the same purpose: taking care of their clients.

“M4 has committed to having the right people in the right places with the passion to make us better,” Dan said. “Everybody in this company is family, by blood or by choice, and we’re proud to ride for the same brand—a brand we’re all dedicated to making even more dynamic and forceful.”

M4 operates from an appreciation mindset.

“We work in some of the finest country in the U.S. and we experience the outdoors as few get to,” Dan said. “Our job, our gift actually, is not only to have the experiences, but to pass on some of that appreciation to future landowners.”

From M4’s perspective, knowing the land and the lifestyle is the most important aspect of being a land broker.

“Few careers provide an opportunity to not only fulfill your clients’ goals but to build an understanding of what those lands, those ranches have to offer,” he said. “With land, people get to enjoy it as it is, but also have the opportunity to protect and enhance that land for generations to come.

Working in ranch real estate is a blessing. One we don’t take for granted.”

Participation

The landscape and the lifestyle that have long defined the West are changing. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, idly watching the changes play out and hoping for the best, M4 team members are serving on boards, councils and associations helping shape the future through political involvement.

“We cherish the western way of life and are doing everything in our power to protect the water, land and wildlife that form its natural foundation,” Dan said. “In the process, we gather first-hand information and create a network that benefits our clients. When it comes to rules, regulations, trends and issues that impact land, we’re not guessing.”

While with NOLS in East Africa, Dan learned quickly that the effort to protect native wildlife depended on an understanding of “if it pays, it stays.” For instance, if the locals realized more value from the rhinos’ existence than from their death and the ensuing sale of their horns, people would work to protect the animals. In Dan’s opinion, the same holds true for undeveloped land and natural resources.

“People have to understand and respect land’s inherent value—all of its life-sustaining and spirit-lifting qualities—as well as its monetary value if our cherished lifestyle is going to be maintained,” Dan said. “M4 exists to help determine and celebrate the true value of western lands. Those values can be found in new and exceptional ways.”

To that end, the M4 team act as concierges of conservation and restoration. Using their boots-on-the-ground knowledge, they help landowners see what the land can be rather than what it is. In application, that can mean restoring degraded streams and fisheries or reinvigorating wildlife habitat. Eventually, it can also mean protecting the land in perpetuity with a conservation easement, a voluntary tool that can carry significant financial benefits. 

Through their collective efforts, the M4 team has prompted the restoration of miles and miles of streams and thousands of acres of habitat. The result? The value of individual ranches has increased as has the volume of habitat that is essential for the region’s wildlife.

“Stewardship is a long-term commitment that allows a family’s legacy to be passed through time—and we’re proud to be part of that,” Dan said. “Our time on earth is limited, but we can leave it better than we found it. It’s our responsibility and our privilege.” 


Listing Showcase

Here are the highlights of just a few of the premier properties in the M4 Ranch Group’s current inventory. For more information, see M4RanchGroup.com or call (970) 944-4444.


1. Taylor Canyon Ranch

Location: Colorado. Archuleta County, near Pagosa Springs
Deeded Acreage: 2,215±
Water: ponds, springs and 11.5 CFS senior seasonal water rights
Wildlife: resident elk, mule deer and turkey as well as visiting mountain lions, black bear and bald eagles
Viewshed: 10 different mountain peaks, ranging from 11,289 feet to 12,769 feet
Residences: 10,308± square-foot main residence (six-bedroom, nine-bath) and two additional homes
Infrastructure: nine miles of crowned and enhanced main roads, 31 miles of secondary roads, large workshop, underground utilities including a six-inch water line
Nearby Amenities: Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek Ski Area, Navajo State Park (New Mexico)

2. Suckla Ranch

Location: Colorado. San Miguel and Dolores Counties, near Egnar
Deeded Acreage: 8,200±
Water: irrigated land and ponds\
Wildlife: elk, mule deer, bear, mountain lions, antelope, mountain sheep, turkey, bald eagles and wild horses
Residences: 2,808± square-foot ranch house, additional cabin and bunkhouse
Infrastructure: quonset shop, workshop, combination hay shed, equipment shed, tack room, working corrals, worker’s cabin/cook shack.
Nearby Amenities: Dolores River, Telluride, Telluride Ski Resort, Canyonlands National Park

3. Flying W Ranch

Location: Colorado. Rio Grande County, near South Fork and Del Norte
Deeded Acreage: 1,583±
Water: 2.5± miles of the Rio Grande River (both banks), designated as Colorado Gold Medal Waters by Colorado Division of Wildlife, 1.5± miles of Pinos Creek. 15 CFS of surface water rights, of which more than 6 CFS are senior water rights.
Wildlife: trophy trout, mule deer, pronghorn, waterfowl, a great blue heron rookery, visiting moose, elk, mountain lion, bobcat and lynx
Viewshed: 360-degree views of the San Juan, La Garita and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, with several 13,000 to 14,000-foot peaks visible from points throughout the ranch. 50 miles of the Rio Grande River corridor.
Infrastructure: single lane steel truss bridge, large metal shop, corrals, center pivot sprinklers 
Nearby Amenities: Rio Grande (Golf) Club, Wolf Creek Ski Area, Great Dunes National Park, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Steam Railroad, Creede Repertory Theatre and Pagosa Springs


M4 Ranch Group
(970) 944-4444M4RanchGroup.com

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