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Mountain Ranch for Sale and the Factors Buyers Should Consider

30 Jun
Buzz Tatom June 30, 2017 0

When a buyer contacts us asking to look at a Mountain Ranch for sale we try and get the picture they have in their mind of what their mountain ranch looks like. Believe it or not, there are a number of factors involved in choosing the right mountain ranch for sale. This article outlines some of the decisions we help walk our clients through when choosing a mountain ranch for sale. Okay, let’s get started!

Why a Mountain Ranch for Sale?

The first thing most people need to be educated on is the fact that most mountainous terrain is owned by state or federal governments. It is actually somewhat rare to actually own a mountain or a big part of a mountain. This goes back to the fact that when settlers came west the property most people wanted was the productive ag land either for farming or ranching. The mountains did not give as good of an opportunity for making a living as the valleys that had good grass and water. Thus that land was kept mostly by government entities. There are exceptions to that rule with mining and timber and governments having sold some property to the general public. So a lot of what is being bought is land surrounded by mountains or a portion of mountainous terrain that then leads to more public land that goes even higher.

Use of a Mountain Ranch for Sale

We then try and get an idea of what they want to do with this mountain ranch. Is it being bought for recreation? Are we looking to hunt, wildlife viewing or fly fish? If it is hunting, then what species do we want to hunt. Elk and mule deer are going to be in higher altitudes, while pheasant and whitetail are going to be in more riparian areas around river or creeks. Waterfowl, of course, prefer water but crops will also play a factor in waterfowl. Antelope are going to be in flatlands and low hilly areas. If it is fly fishing are we looking for river frontage, private spring fed creek or ponds. Are there a certain species of trout the new owner wants to catch? Are we looking for quantity or quality of fish? Do we want on-site fishing vs great rivers in the area? If it is wildlife viewing what kind of species do you want to see? Some wildlife can be dangerous for humans or pets. Are you comfortable with grizzlies, black bears or moose and how would your pets react?

Recreation or Investment

Another decision in picking out a Mountain Ranch for sale is whether this is purely a recreational property or whether you are going to need income from the property. Many times it is for purely recreational use but sometimes the owner needs income to support the purchase. If income is a factor then you need to know possible lease income from farming or livestock. Do you want to raise horses or run cattle yourself? Are you wanting the farming to accentuate the wildlife? Is there marketable timber and what kind of cutting technique and what might that do to the wildlife or hunting?

Location of a Mountain Ranch for Sale

Location is also an important factor to consider when deciding what mountain ranch for sale to purchase. Do you want to be remote where it is a real getaway? Do we want to be within a couple hours of a major airport that has service to where you fly out of? Or do you have a private plane that needs a certain length runway? We find most clients want to be within an hour to an hour and a half. This way they can go pick up guests and it is easier for them to get in for a few days at a time and more often.

Living Space on a Mountain Ranch for Sale

Is this mountain ranch somewhere they are considering using as a full-time residence? Is it a year-round property or is it something that normally has only been used during the summer? If they aren’t going to be living there and it is a sizable mountain ranch most likely it will need a ranch manager or caretaker. Is there a home for a ranch manager or will you need to build one? Speaking of homes do you want one already pre-existing and is it the right type. Many mountain ranches for sale have modest homes that the farmer or rancher lived in and some have very large homes or lodges built for the showpiece property. Or do you want to build your dream home or lodge for your new property? Under most situations, the builder of the large dream home on a ranch will usually not get back the money they put into it once they sell. The adage one mans dream home is another mans million dollar teardown comes to mind.

Other considerations are how close to services such as schools, grocery, hospital, shopping, entertainment and other things play into considerations on purchasing a Mountain ranch for sale. If this article finds you at the start of trying to find your perfect mountain ranch I would suggest Contacting us for buyer representation. When making this big of an investment you need someone that can look out for your best interest only. If you want some further more in-depth reading I would suggest Montana Ranches for Sale Real Estate Report 2017 or Things to Consider when Buying a Montana Ranch for Sale.


About the Authors


Montana Ranch Real Estate

Buzz Tatom

Partner at Venture West Ranches

Buzz Tatom is a ranch owner that 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 a ranch on to the next generation or planning for eventual sale, his talents and contacts help save clients money and navigate complicated transactions.


Connor Mayberry

Digital Marketing and Content Manager

As the Digital Marketing and Content Manager, Connor writes and creates content that compliments the Montana farms and ranches for sale on the website. Check out our articles page for more articles about Montana ranches.

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