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Buying Ranch Land in Western Colorado

Buying ranch land in Western Colorado is nothing short of a dream come true. At Eagle Land Brokerage, we have Class-A ranches that are sure to bring you closer to the land, and to God. However, what factors should you consider when buying ranch land? We have four components to buying your future homestead with Eagle Land Brokerage.

Land: The Golden Opportunity

Did you know that rural land prices have been steadily rising since 2010? In fact, there was a 0.7% increase in rates back in 2016. Also, the running average for cost per acre averages around $4,100 per acre. That’s double the cost of land per acre in Texas! As the population rises in Colorado, rural land prices may continue to increase significantly. Therefore, there is no time like the present to buy your ranch!

If you’ve been hearing our Lord in Heaven call your name westward, then now is the time to turn your dream into a reality. First and foremost, one indirect benefit from COVID-19, is that interest rates have been steadily dropping. Secondly, purchasing your ranch can bring tangible rewards from agricultural industry, and not to mention the mental rewards of toiling on your own land. That’s why at Eagle Land Brokerage, we consider land the golden opportunity.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Ranch

Just like with many facets in life, don’t judge a book by its cover. Meaning: Don’t just settle on a ranch for its sweeping views and beautiful landscapes. While that can be an important factor in purchasing a multi-acred ranch, we’ve compile four contributing factors that you should consider before reaching out.


Contact your local wildlife experts on how to handle wildlife conflicts.

It’s no secret that many people are fleeing city life to find their pocket of paradise in Colorado. Yet, securing your slice of Heaven on Earth requires sharing your space with wildlife. Sure, we love to see majestic elks, mule deer, and sometimes even Moose (depending on the location of your ranch) graze in our fields. We have a saying in Colorado, “Where there are deer, there are mountain lions.” Buying multi-acred ranches in Western Colorado means that you also should consider your comfort level with top predators like black bears and mountain lions. Moreover, if you plan to add livestock to your ranch, you will have to consider adding fence designs that adequately contain livestock without excluding wildlife.

Water Rights

Montrose Riverbend Farm for Sale

Determine water rights before purchasing land.

As we discussed in our article, Water Rights in Colorado, water rights are very complicated. When looking to purchase a large parcel with “live” water (running water), you’ll want check whether you have senior or junior rights to the water. One question you should ask our experienced agents is, “Does this parcel have senior shares, or junior shares, or both?” Essentially, all water in Colorado is public. Most ranches already have established shares, which may be considered senior shares for irrigation. You’ll want to do more research on the the Prior Appropriate Doctrine, which enforces a first-in-time, first-in-right policy.

The first-in-time, first-in-right policy could impact the sources of water. If there is ever a serious water shortage, whoever is the senior right holder will have priority access. Therefore, newer–or junior–water shares must wait for the senior share to be fulfilled before they could access the water source. It’s important to understand the status of your water rights prior to purchasing a large lot of land.

Mineral Rights

Another complex factor to consider are the mineral rights. In summary, a mineral owner has the right to extract and use the minerals found beneath the surface of your ranch. All the mineral rights of Colorado cover a wide range of hydrocarbon products including crude oil, natural gas, gold, silver, and coal.

Essentially, mineral rights are automatically included as part of your land transaction, unless the previous owners had separated the rights by an owner/seller. An owner can separate the mineral rights by:

  • Selling the land, but retaining the mineral rights.
  • Keeping the land, and selling the mineral rights to another.
  • Selling the land to one person, and the mineral rights to another.

It’s most likely when purchasing your ranch, that the mineral rights will be included. However, if your lot backs up to historic mines or sources of minerals, it may be worth inquiring about the mineral rights before purchasing your dream land.

The Amount of Deeded Land

Buckhorn Mountain Ranch has sweeping views

At Buckhorn Mountain Ranch, approximately half of the land is deed owned and the other half is leased by BLM.

One last factor to consider when buying a ranch on the Western Slope is how much of the land is deeded, or you will privately own. In Colorado, we have an abundance of BLM (Bureau of Land Management), national forests, and national parks (We have 4!). Therefore, it’s important to know how much of your ranch that you actually own and how much of it is leased by either state or federal agencies.

For example, let’s look at our Buckhorn Mountain Ranch listing. The Buckhorn Mountain Ranch spreads across 6,633 deeded acres of stunningly beautiful high desert land at the base of Storm King Peak. The ranch also encompasses 6,003 acres of leased BLM land for a total of 12,636 acres (+/-) under its control. This can be a great way to maximize your acreage for less money. On the other hand, you may prefer to have 100% deeded acreage. Either way, Eagle Land Brokerage has the perfect ranch waiting just for you.

Open Fields, Open Mind

At Eagle Land Brokerage, we understand that deciding on a ranch can take a lot of research and determination. We know we haven’t covered all of the factors to consider before purchasing your desired property. That’s why we’re available to take any questions you have regarding any of our listings. Feel free to call our office–(970) 249-4300–during standard business hours, or complete our contact form online.

We’d Love to Answer ANY Questions You May Have About Our Listings!