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Ranch Realtor Roundup: Distinctly Montana Magazine

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Live Water Properties Broker Craig Janssen was featured in Distinctly Montana’s Ranch Realtor Roundup: A DM Roundtable interview.

Ranch Realtor Roundup A DM Roundtable

Yee-hah! Ranch sales are on the giddy-up again this year. Who is buying, why they’re buying, and is there an end in sight?

So what does the ranch market look like to you this year? Is it different from 2013?

Craig Janssen We are excited to see increases in buyer activity in all price ranges. Over the past few years we have seen good activity in the largest sized and consequently highest total priced properties. In the past six to nine months we are finally seeing buyers interested in smaller acreage deals and subsequently smaller price points.

What does the demand for “working” ranches and recreational ranches look like?

Janssen Very strong cattle prices along with demand from ag producers who sold in the Bakken area in ND are keeping working ranches in high demand. High quality recreational properties that are well priced are seeing strong activity, but places that are overpriced or lesser quality are not receiving much attention.

There are the buyers coming from? Are they from the U.S., or are you seeing more foreign buyers?

Janssen The majority of our buyers are from the U.S., but we are consistently seeing more interest from overseas. Wealthy foreigners see real estate in the U.S. as a safe investment and are attracted to the stability of the tax code and the state economies of mid-western and the mountain west states.

What would you say are the key elements buyers now look for in a ranch property?

Janssen Quality fishing, hunting, location, privacy, easy access, income, great views.

What does the presence of surface water on a ranch do to its value?

Janssen Great trout water certainly increases the price per acre, often causing it to double, triple or more. Typically any water feature will increase value significantly.

Do you see any impact of climate change on ranch sales?

Janssen It may be adding to the value of irrigated farm land because producers see value in more consistent and predictable production. Drought leading to poorer production in other parts of the world could be helping our land values but that is hard to quantify.

As a ranch realtor, what are the three most important things you believe a ranch buyer should be considering before buying?

Janssen #1, Narrow your search by price, area, size, and property use. #2, Build relationships that help to understand value, i.e. broker, appraiser. #3, Build relationships that help to enjoy and get maximum benefit from the ranch, i.e. habitat and stream consultants, farm and ranch managers, area conservation groups, and an accountant experienced with all the benefits of ranch ownership.

Where do you see the market for Montana ranch sales headed over the next three-five years?

Janssen At Live Water we are optimistic and confident that the ranch market will continue to steadily improve over the next three to five years. While we do not expect large appreciation, we do expect healthy growth.

To read more about this interview click here. Distinctly Montana’s 2014 Summer issue in also available as a digital issue at

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