Vail Daily column: It’s a good time to buy a ranch |

Vail Daily column: It’s a good time to buy a ranch

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I have been reading your ​comments on millennials​, and many other​ similar articles, and realize the trend for the up and coming generation is more urbanization. ​The population​ all seem​s​ to want to live close to each other and do everything together, i.e. public transportation to ride together, work out together in classes and recreation center​s​, join clubs​ and ski together, ​etc. I must be out of touch because I have always dreamed of having my own little “ranch” in the mountains. The thought of not seeing any neighbors, being able to hike or ride out my back door into National Forest or BLM public ground sounds wonderful to me. If I could have some water, a stream or pond​,​ that would be even better. And no covenants, so I can do what I want​,​ sounds fabulous to me in today’s world. Am I looking the wrong direction for my next financial investment?

Dear “Soon to be​ a​ Rancher,”

Yes​, people in general and especially​ the next generation ha​ve​ some definite herding instincts, but you are not alone in your thinking of owning your own space in the mountains of Colorado. I hear this request weekly. Actually, when a certain personality type reaches a certain age, what you described is exactly what many of them want.​ ​It may sound odd to some people that many mountain condo and homeowners are also looking for a git-a-way​.​ We ​actually​ sell many of our ranch type properties to home and condo owners in Vail and Beaver Creek,​​ because they like to have the convenience of town ​plus​ the pleasure​ of getting away to their ranch in the summe​r,​ fall​ and occasionally winter, for periods of time. I guess the type of people who already like mountain living, skiing, recreating and enjoy our international yet homey towns also appreciate solitude and open space.

If you are serious about accomplishing your dream, then there are several paths that will work to get there. I am sure you are not surprised that I will say the first thing you need is an accomplished real estate broker that understands outlying land, wells, septics, water rights and more. It is worth the time to ask around and search the Web to find the right broker to help you​ ​and find ​what will work for you. If you already have a broker that is good in town and does not know outlying property, then ask them to refer you to the best Realtor to help you. They will gladly do that for you.

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

In our valley and surrounding area, we have an interesting selection of outlying ranch properties and hybrid town/acreages. ​​We have subdivisions such as Cordillera that have a section with 35-acre parcels. There are properties up Highway 131 that have been ranches that are now divided into 40-acre parcels, as well as some smaller and many larger parcels on the way to Steamboat. In Eagle and Gypsum, there are more parcels that have been divided into small acreage subdivisions. Some of these are adjacent to BLM public ground but still have town utilities provided. These hybrid ranch properties work well for many people to have the joy and access to their own space, yet pretty easy living for working in town. Up the Colorado River​ Road​ and Sweetwater Creek, we have many beautiful properties, many on the water from small to large ranches. Even farther west, we have small, medium and large irrigated acreages for the true ranching experience. Now is a great time to buy ​since​ many previous owners are making transitions in their life and would like to sell, not to mention the still great interest rates available. I hope you pursue your dream! Good luck!

Joan Harned is an owner and 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 at, 970-337-7777 or

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