Top 5 Factors Before Owning a Ranch in Colorado

Today let’s zero in on must-know elements of owning a ranch in Colorado. No matter the size of the ranch, the decision to become a ranch owner will affect your investment portfolio. A new Colorado ranch may also affect your lifestyle.

Work with a Ranch Real Estate Agent

Plan to work with a real estate agent who specializes in Colorado ranches. A ranch broker knows the ranch real estate market intimately. This person will help you reflect on the unique ranching opportunities available to you. Our company, Harrigan Land, brings decades of experience and compounding knowledge that all began with our love of the great outdoors.

Consider These 5 Factors Before Signing

Consider these 5 factors when assessing ranch properties in Colorado. Be prepared. That means not assuming unrestricted usage, especially if you’ve never owned a ranch. The complexities of big acreage real estate may restrict usage and rights. Here are the Top 8 necessary elements to study and reflect upon.


Do you know exactly where you would like to own a ranch in Colorado? Think about which section of the state you prefer to invest in: North, South, East, West, central. Now narrow it down to the mountains, the foothills, or the plains.

Will you live on your ranch, or will you be hiring a ranch manager? Would you like to be close to a bigger city or outside of a small town? Do you want to be close to friends or relatives?

Now, do you mind having neighbors? Or are you looking for a large ranch for sale bordering BLM or other government land or conservation areas?
In addition, do you need easy access? Are you commuting? Do you need to be near an airport, regional or international? Would you like to have paved highway and county road access? Or would you happily navigate gravel roads to gain a bit more privacy?

Does the weather matter? Could you handle the snow and cooler temperatures of the mountains? Or would you rather be in lower elevations and areas with moderate winter weather? Would you like to be near skiing and other popular outdoor recreation like white water rafting?

As you can see, there are significant factors about the location to consider. Thinking about these elements ahead of time will help narrow down the options for the Colorado ranches for sale to best fit your requirements.


Most large ranches in Colorado offer a variety of best uses. You may be looking for a recreational ranch or hunting ranch. Maybe you’d also like to fish. Ask about ranches that are suitable for these activities. Other ranches feature existing equestrian facilities, ski runs, and ATV roads that increase the scope of recreational activities.

Other ranches may be used solely for livestock purposes. Cattle need pastures but raising cattle means you would need specific facilities. Will you be carrying on agricultural production activities? Smaller ranches are used as retreats and may come with beautiful homes and getaways.
So, what would you like to do on your ranch?


Are you willing to build a home or improve ranchland facilities to fit your purposes? Building and remodeling take time, manpower, and money. Is the ranch already fenced? Does it have roads where you need them? What about residences and facilities for production, livestock, or horses? What would you need to build?


Every one of the ranches in Colorado have legal constraints. It is important to learn the specific restrictions tied to any ranch investments to make sure they do not interfere with your purposes and goals. Consider federal, state and local laws and subdivisions covenants.

Restrictions may affect sections of large Colorado ranches. For example, there may be a previously awarded easement for hunters or skiers. In Colorado, ranchers often lease sections grazing. Acreage also could be under a contract with the government not to plant fields.

Colorado also features ranch subdivisions. These were originally large ranches partitioned to accommodate estate homes and possible equestrian facilities, for example. So, these types of branches will have subdivision covenants. Because of the possible layers of restrictions on properties in Colorado, it behooves all buyers to do due diligence. Again, this is where the specialized ranch broker can make a big difference in successful transactions.

Below are common carve-outs, usually set up long before and transferred with the sale of the ranch. Buyers need to find out if the exact ranchland they are interested in commerce with rights or restrictions.

  • Water rights, access to irrigation ditches, wells, lakes and ponds, riverfront, or seasonal water
  • Mineral rights
  • Easements through the ranch
  • Conservation easements, restrictions, land trust
  • Current leases involving tenants, property, livestock, grazing
  • The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) keeps track of all lands surveyed in the western part of the United States. Does the survey point out any issues with the property you are interested in? Be sure the legal description is right.


Buyers looking for Colorado ranch real estate want to see the ranches for sale now or soon. Guides might want the best river ranch or hunting ranch for sale before the season for fly fishing or hunting begins. A horse rancher may want something before a planned event.

A business could be looking for a corporate retreat space before slow season. And individuals often want to bring family and friends for summer vacation, skiing, or holidays. Another group of investors look to hold the acreage and build in the future or build and separate off parcels for conservation easements.

Real estate transactions often come with specific time restraints. While the investment budget does often cut out listings, a precise desired location does too. It helps to have time to wait for the ranch of your dreams to become available.

Western Ranch Real Estate Brokers

Ask the Colorado ranch brokers at Harrigan Land Company to take you through these deliberations. Call our specialists at 303-908-1101. Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and the surrounding areas.

We have over 30 years of experience throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and New Mexico. We know these states well, including some “undiscovered” places. We are offering best hunting ranches for sale along with other premier properties
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