Introduction to Buying a Ranch in Montana

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

Montana is a spectacular place that has lured generations of people to pursue their dreams of owning their own ranch. But there are some common misconceptions and factors people don’t always consider before purchasing their land.

Here, we will walk you through the steps of purchasing a ranch and highlight some things to consider before deciding to move to or invest in land in the Treasure State.

First, and most importantly, identify your “why” behind your decision to buy a ranch. What is your goal? Do you want to run cattle? Fish? Hunt? Relax and escape from the city?

After identifying your goal, make sure a ranch purchase is the right course of action to achieve that goal. Maybe you just want to spend time in the mountains. If that’s the case, purchasing a working ranch probably isn’t the right move. Simply put, do a gut check. Make sure you understand what it takes to pursue your dream. Once you do, you’re ready to find someone to help you get there.

The next step is to find a trusted broker to help you through the process. This person should be your advocate. Ask about their experience buying and selling land. Brokering land is not the same as brokering residential properties. Make sure you are working with someone who understands the area, the market and the specifics of purchasing farm and ranch land.

Once you have found a trusted broker, they will start identifying properties that align with your goals. While considering your options, it is important to think about the specifics of those properties. Consider whether you’d like to be close to shopping centers or an airport. Also, educate yourself on the climate and road conditions. Montana is home to many places that are still far off the beaten path. A ranch that tempts you in the summer with its mountain views and meandering waterways may only be accessible by snow machine in the winter. Your broker should be prepared to speak to these concerns.

When you find a property that checks all the boxes, you’ll want to agree to a selling price and start doing research. Use the due diligence period, which spans 30 to 45 days, to research the specifics of a property. Take this time to research water rights, look into any possible land leases and easements, conduct home and building inspections and research other important details.

Like we said, buying a ranch is not the same as buying a house. It typically takes at least 60 days to close. The process is more in-depth and there are more boxes to check.

If you have questions or would like to talk to one of us about buying a ranch in Montana, we welcome you to contact Nate Finch at 406.660.2601 or OR Keith Handlos at 406.925.1814or to get started.