I have finally decided to sell my outlying ranch property — but it is now the dead of winter and you can’t see the dirt anywhere! Is it possible to sell an Eagle County ranch this time of year? Am I better off to wait until spring to sell it? What has been your experience?
Dear Winter Ranch Seller,
I will give you the facts, as I see them, thorough my 27 years of real estate, including selling many ranches on the Western Slope and then you can decide.
• There are as many or more qualified buyers here in the winter as the summer. Think about how many planes, commercial and private, that frequent our Eagle County airport and Vail-Beaver Creek Jet Center. Vail is known for its premier skiing worldwide — not our wonderful summers.
• Many winter “guests” fall in love with our area and like to look at property on an off day of skiing. Once winter guests are here, they often cannot believe how beautiful our county is, and they start to think about owning property here. They may call and talk to a real estate broker and decide that they can take a day off of skiing and look and see what they might choose to own here. Some have always wanted to own a “piece of the West,” and a ranch has great appeal.
• It is important for a buyer to see the ranch they will buy in the winter (wind drifts, ice dams, accessibility, etc). If you truly want to own a Western ranch, then you need to know what it will look like in the winter, as well as summer. There are usually a lot of summer pictures that have been taken, but to truly know what it is like in the winter, including the roads to the property, you need to see it in the winter.
• If it is a very large purchase (such as a $23 million ranch we sold), then they will want to see it now, in the winter, but they may not close until they also see it in the summer. If they want to see it both times of year, then it is better to start now.
• Some buyers are considering a purchase for winter recreational use, snowmobile, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, sledding etc. As you would guess, the clients that come in the winter actually like winter and winter sports. We often have the criteria given to us from clients that they want to be able to snowmobile on any ranch they would consider buying.
• You never know when your buyer will show up, so why not start working on selling it now. This is the one thing we have learned in decades of selling that we may guess the profile and timing about the client that will buy a certain property, but we are continually pleasantly surprised with who and when a client will buy a property.
If you have definitely decided to sell, then I would not miss the winter season in our resort community. Consult with your ranch broker and see what they advise. Best of luck to you!
Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.