3 Things To Keep In Mind When Buying A Ranch For The First Time

Ever since the days when Bonanza graced television screens everywhere, Americans have loved the west and loved ranches. However, buying a ranch isn't the same as buying a regular residential property. Before you start, there are some things you need to consider.

1. Decide On Your Goals First

Are you buying the ranch primarily because you want to make money? Are you buying it partially to preserve the land it encompasses? Is your goal a mixture of both? Do you want a small ranch that has the feel of the wild or do you want a full-blown working ranch? It can be difficult to make money on a ranch without a lot of effort, so keep in mind that your purchase price is only part of your final expenses. If you start with the goal of enjoying the ranching lifestyle and you have a passion for preserving the land, at least partially, you may have a more immediately satisfying experience. 

2. Don't Compare Prices

No two ranches are exactly the same. When you go to buy residential property, the realtor can give you a list of comparable homes in the neighborhood that tell you roughly what kind of deal you are getting; because ranches are so large and encompass a variety of natural resources, that isn't possible. The only way to determine if you're getting a good value is to examine it for yourself and look at everything carefully. The decision may be as much emotional as it is financial.

3. Examine All The Technicalities

There are a number of technical issues you need to consider when buying a ranch. Some of the basics you should ask about include:

  • How many animals the land will support
  • The quality and nature of the water supply 
  • The type of soil and natural grazing vegetation the land produces on its own
  • How many people it takes to operate the ranch at full capacity
  • What your gross annual budget will be each year
  • Where your livestock is going to come from
  • What type of professional support associations are in the area
  • What hunting or fishing licenses are sold with the property
  • What sort of financing is available for the initial purchase and your yearly operating costs

All of these things affect the viability of a ranch, so take your time and consult with the appropriate professionals before you green-light a deal. 

Life on a ranch is like no other -- and there are wonderful ranch properties out there! Just expect to do a lot of research and a lot of hiking as you examine the properties available before you settle on the one that's perfect for you.