When you are preparing a Montana ranch for sale there are a number of things that will create value and allow a seller to get the maximum price. There is always a range of prices in pricing a Montana ranch for sale and I prefer my clients to be on the upper end of the range. That means the ranch has to have the amenities, activities and has to be clean and well kept. Now everyone feels their property is the best and I understand that because I think my ranch is the best. I always suggest having a friend come over that will shoot straight with you. Let them walk around and notice the things that you don’t notice because you have been looking at it for 20 years. Go visit several neighbors. How does your property stack up against them. You want to evaluate the land from a buyers perspective because that normally allows you to sell your Montana ranch for sale quicker, easier and for the best value.
Here are a few things I always look for and discuss:
A general cleanup of old equipment, trash, tools, hay, fences and all the other things that ranchers use. It is your first impression on a potential buyer and many times determines how hard they look at everything else. If you look organized and all your equipment is in a nice neat row and looks like everything is in its place, people believe you have taken very good care of everything. I’m not talking about new, I’m just talking about well cared for. Funny thing about most my clients is once this step is done, they usually feel very good!
If you have a great deal of timber, consider thinning it to make it look good to a purchaser and it can be a nice source of income to put in your pocket and to show potential purchasers of the ranch the income that can be generated. Do a selective cut and try to do it far enough in advance that any wildlife effected is back to normal.
Pictures and more pictures. A Montana ranch for sale that can show great pictures of scenery, wildlife, sunsets, etc..are great to be able to show potential purchasers. You are trying to paint them a picture of the great life they are going to have on their new Montana ranch. Pictures of large bull elk, mule deer, herds of whitetail, pheasants help sell a ranch to recreational buyers. Pictures should be taken of every species you have on the ranch and every beautiful setting you have. If the sun rises or sets over something majestic then having multiple shots of those moments is helpful for the buyer to see what they are going to see.
Grazing conditions should be monitored in pastures so that it shows you are being a good steward of the land. Many times the owners of a Montana ranch for sale are ready to retire and they may be tired of the day to day upkeep but you will sell your ranch for more if you push to the end. A good plan that can be shown of how you rotate livestock and the weights that you gain during the year shows again good stewardship of the ranch and that you want the future buyer to be successful as well.
Fix all big things in the home and make it look as presentable as possible. A new coat of paint, new fence go along way. Make sure all the big things are taken care of. Owners very rarely get full value for the home is sold with the Montana ranch but buyers will use it as a negotiating tactic if there are problems. Make sure you can show good easements and access to the property. Sometimes, there are just verbal agreements or old agreements that may not have been put in writing. Get these taken care of if you can so these don’t enter into the negotiations.
All buildings and roads should be in good shape so that can not be used against you. Mostly, people are looking for structurally sound but they also don’t want to see something that is going to become a maintenance issue for them. Culverts in place, foundations solid, rotted wood replaced go along way to keeping you in the top part of the price range. Trim and clear your roads where you have good access to the entire property and where someone can get their vehicle through the entire ranch. This can be a deal killer if someone can’t see the entire property. If it is unimproved property know where the utilities are located, what the situation is to bring them to the property and an approximate cost. Your utility provider should be able to give you the going rate at bringing utilities to the land. This way you know the situation and can provide to interested parties.
A lot of buyers of a Montana ranch for sale are purchasing it for the recreational use. Improvement of wildlife and fishing is a big plus that goes a long way towards interesting potential buyers. If you can show bigger fish or bigger horns than the competition you will be in the upper range of pricing of any other Montana ranch for sale. This isn’t necessarily always that hard. If you have a pond or lake you can feed the trout to where they can make the buyer salivate. Being able to show large trout from a fish stocked pond or lake can be a real selling point. Trout can be fed with pellets to add weight. The trout are actually pretty efficient in turning feed into poundage. If you have a river or stream that is going to be more difficult because you will have to prove to FWP that there is a need but they are reasonable in bringing a fishery back to its past glory.
Flood control that you can show that you have worked on and that you believe will work is good from a liability standpoint and again showing you are trying to convey a property that is in good shape. You don’t have to prepare for a 100-year flood but showing how you move water during the wet part of the year is a good thing and has the buyer feeling good about you and the ranch.
The last thing I love to be able to show and tell is the history of the Montana ranch and the surrounding area. A good buyer wants to carry on your legacy on the property and be able to add their chapter to the history books about your ranch. Seldom will they ever change a ranch name which means they value the history of the Montana ranch for sale. Being able to tell your story and how you lived on the ranch will be something potential buyers will want to hear.
We are presenting your life’s work and I want to present in a fashion that leaves you feeling good, the buyer feeling good and maximizing the value of your asset. If we do that, everyone walks away feeling good about all parties involved and satisfied with the transaction.
I also encourage you to contact your CPA in advance of getting it ready to sell so you can know what the tax consequences are and can possibly minimize taxes that have to be paid. I have seen a one-hour meeting save hundreds of thousands of dollars. The other thing I like to recommend to my clients is to involve me years before the sale. There is a range of what any land will sell for. If I’m involved early enough we can position your Montana ranch for sale to appeal to a number of segments besides just a neighbor. Recreational properties are going to bring higher dollar per acres because someone is not basing their purchase on cash flow. If we can show a Montana ranch for sale that has abundant wildlife then the recreational buyer many times will pay top dollar.
If you are looking to buy or sell a Montana Ranch you want us in your corner. We represent both buyers and sellers and are interested in your bottom line both financially and emotionally. Please feel free to Contact Us to discuss your needs.
If you found this article interesting and are a buyer you might check out Buying Montana Ranch, 13 Things to Ponder, Ranches for Sale in Montana, Things to Consider when Buying a Montana Ranch for Sale, and our guides to Finding Hunting Land, and Buying Hunting Land. We hope to have brought you value and would love to hear your thoughts! You can also check us out on our Facebook page.
Buzz Tatom is a ranch owner and has built, run and sold numerous businesses in his career. This gives him a unique background in helping Montana farmers and ranchers navigate the life decisions that we all have to face. Whether it is passing the ranch on to the next generation or planning for eventual sale, his talents and contacts help save clients money and navigate complicated transactions.
He still owns the 5T Ranch in Texas but now calls Big Sky, MT home. His background in Texas included finding run down ranches and rehabilitating them into show place properties. From building lakes, stocking fish, to managing for wildlife he has a proven record of increasing values of properties that have given families great memories and returns.
His successful business background allows him to have good knowledge in contracts, dealing with people and has a wide variance of knowledge from his experience in dealing with oil and gas companies on his properties to manufacturing background to knowing who to call to get answers.
He has a BBA from Texas Tech University and got his MBA from Southern Methodist University. While at Texas Tech, he played football and was a 3 year starter as a Tight End. He bought into a Printing company at the age of 24 and grew it ten fold by the time it was sold in 2011.
Buzz teaches part time at Montana State University and loves mentoring students. He has been married to the love of his life, Kathy Tatom, for 25 years and has one son(Tate) and 2 daughters(Sayler and Emmy).
His hobbies include hunting, fly fishing, improving the 5T and following his son Tate in his golf career at the Air Force Academy. His life is divided between family, volunteering, teaching part time at MSU and Church.