Buying a ranch near a resort town usually comes from a compromise between one of the parties wanting a ranch or more land and the other party wanting more amenities. Parties also being known as husband and wife. That being said, there are several things to consider when buying a ranch near a resort town. Most things are positive, but you do need to consider several things.
Ranch values that are near resort towns are influenced by proximity to the resort. The ranch will likely not be able to pencil as a working ranch from a strictly agricultural standpoint. Agriculture is greatly influenced by what your original investment in the land is. Ag is all about the inputs and it is unlikely that a newly bought cattle ranch that is 5 minutes from a ski resort is going to make it strictly on cattle ranching.
Another factor is the existence of tourists. More crowded roads, crazy drivers and possible trespassing issues can play into the equation. You have people that don’t live here that are on vacation and don’t know the area. Lots can happen with those ingredients. Of course, if it is a highly sought-after tourist area the value of your ranch is going to likely appreciate at a much faster pace than most other ranches. You can overcome the trespassing by clearly marking the property with notice and enforcing the no trespassing signs. Word gets around fast and tourists will be warned to not go on that property.
Ranches near resort towns come with much better amenities. Most ranches aren’t able to have choices of super high-end restaurants, shopping, concerts, etc. There is a real distinction between resort towns and normal ranching communities. Therefore, I said in the opening paragraph that buying a ranch near a resort town is many times a compromise so that both husband and wife get what they want.
Ranches near resort towns may not be able to pencil agriculturally but they usually have great opportunities for additional income. Horseback rides, small cabins to rent or allowing someone to fish on property are just a few examples of income possibilities. Many ranches are ideal for wedding venues and destination weddings have become a hot market. Many times, the income possibilities from being close to a resort town dwarf the income ranchers can make off the ag part of the business.
Ranches near resort towns lend themselves to consideration for Conservation possibilities. Both from an aesthetic standpoint of conserving land near a resort town to preserve the reason people are coming here in the first place but also from a financial standpoint. By doing Conservation Easements, you can preserve the land and get a substantial tax write-off by giving up the potential development of future possibilities of the property. This is only one facet of Conservation Easements but if your property is highly valued due to close proximity to a resort town it can be a good tool to keep it how you want it into perpetuity and to potentially keep it in the family.
One other thing to consider when buying a ranch near a resort town is the infrastructure that a resort town has that will likely positively affect your ranch. For instance, ranches that are near ski resorts are going to have their roads plowed and good access year-round to their property. Most ranches are remote and if an accident or medical need comes up you are likely going to have much better care and access in a ranch near a resort town. These are some of the things to consider when buying a ranch near a resort town. I should know, this is exactly how I ended up in Big Sky! If you are discussing a ranch but the wife wants the amenities, then this may be your best solution. If you are beginning this type of journey, please reach out! I have a great personal history in doing it successfully. After all, I’m still married!
Buzz Tatom is an Advisor/REALTOR® for Engel & Voelkers in Montana. He specializes in farms and ranches. A ranch owner himself he knows the complications that a buyer or seller will go through and is able to help navigate the complicated process. Give Buzz a call or fill out his contact form and put him to work finding you the right property so you can start building memories with friends and family!