16
Sep

It’s County Fair Time – August 22 Routt Recap

Routt County in the month of August as documented by Hallie Myhre.

Like most months, August in Colorado is an excellent time for outdoor reaction. Locals enjoy the trails, rivers, lakes, and public land. For the agriculture community of Routt County, August is a busy month. Haying season is in full swing and local 4H and FFA kids are preparing for the Routt County Fair at the end of the month. The first few unofficial days of the fair consist of horse shows and the livestock begin to arrive. The end of the week is packed with livestock shows, fun rides, vendors, and a fun event each evening. The demolition derby, rodeo, and mutton busting always draw a crowd. For the first time this year, the 4H Bobby Robinson Sr. Memorial BBQ was free for the community. Although the Junior Livestock sale has shrunk in the last few years due to covid, sale prices were still high as local businesses and locals make it a priority to support the valley’s net generation of agriculture.

A popular weekend trip to Trappers Lake takes about 2 hours. The high mountain lake is known for its scenic views in the Flattops. The Lodge, a full bar, and restaurant serve great food and fun souvenirs. There are log cabins to rent and plenty of campsites to pitch a tent near the lake.

Both the ProRodeo Series and the local Gymkhana wrap up in August, so it is a great time to get in the last glimpse of high-speed cowboys and cowgirls competing at the rodeo grounds before snow flies.

I took a couple of trips east thanks to a listing near the Williams Fork Reservoir. Just a little furth down highway 40 sits the small town of Hot Sulfer Springs. The recently renovated resort and spa has over 22 different hot pools and baths at various temperatures. There is also lodging and massages available to book to make the most of your trip. In addition to the hot springs, there is great hiking, fishing, and camping!

During August I watched a couple of ranch rodeos, hiked to the upper fish creek falls, enjoyed dinner from the Meat Bar on the Yampa River, and played a slightly above-average game of bowling at the Snow Bowl!

25
Aug

Mountains and Music – July 2022 Routt Recap

The month of July in Steamboat Springs, Routt County (and beyond) as documented by Hallie Myhre.

July, the heat of summer is packed with fun events and outdoor adventures. Makes sense why this month’s video is so long.

Every weekend the Steamboat Springs ProRodeo hosts professional athletes as a part of the Mountain State Circuit, some cowboys and cowgirls in the running to make it to the National Finals Rodeo in December. It is a fun mix of locals and top rodeo athletes competing each week. Although the mainstream rodeo events are exciting to watch, many spectators’ favorite events may be the calf and lamb scramble. Kids the age of 12 and under line up in the arena, then a calf or lamb with a ribbon on its tail is released, and the first kid to grab a piece of the ribbon wins a belt bucket. It is absolute chaos and always a site seeing kids take off after the animals, no matter how muddy it is or how poor of footwear they may be wearing. Farmers’ markets are a popular event in Routt County. Local producers of all types bring their products to town. The Steamboat farmers market, each Saturday from 9-2 has over 100 booths. The Hayden farmers market is on Thursday afternoons from 5 to 8 pm and for this first time, Oak Creek has a farmers market each Sunday all summer from 10 am to 3 pm.

Each Tuesday, The Corner Slice, a New York-style pizza place hosts open mic night. Local music enthusiasts sign up to play a couple of songs for the crowd. I attend occasionally with one of my friends who, like many, go every week.

Depending on the weather, the haying season usually begins in July. Typically a hotter month with less rain, the tall grass is ready to be cut, raked, and baled. The yampa valley is known to produce some of the best hay in the country. Hay is shipped far and wide to provide feed for animals all over the county, but much of it is kept here to fuel local agricultural operations.

Cheyenne Frontier Days takes place at the end of July each year. The rodeo event, known as “The Daddy of ’em All” is one of the most well-known events in the rodeo world. Along with the rodeo, there is a carnival, wild horse races, a mustang sale, and big concerts. Names like Garth Brooks, Nickelback, Post Malone, Luke Bryan, and more have played there. This year I went up to see Parker McCollum and Ian Musick and spend some time with my Wyoming friends.

This July I spent some time at Williams Fork Reservoir as I had some land listed in the area. The 33 miles of river provides prime fly-fishing opportunities for catching brown, cutthroat, and rainbow trout, and the Williams Fork Reservoir offers anglers the chance to hook into northern pike, Mackinaw, and kokanee salmon. The reservoir is open to motorized boats, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and camping. A quiet part of the rocky mountain west, the nearest town, Parshall doesn’t have much more than a post office and one bar and grill.

I personally spent some of my July free time in the high county. The Zirkel Wildnerness, in north Routt County is a natural environments that has not been significantly modified by human activity. The “Zirkel Circle” is a popular trail that goes to Gilpin and Gold lake. We decided to take our horses on the trail, we did get caught in a heavy downpour, but it was still a beautiful ride. I also took a ride to Manzanares lake with some friends and swam in the cold high mountain lake. A great way to spend July!

25
Aug

Colorado’s 35-acre rule can impact larger ranches, too

Colorado’s 35-acre rule can have unforeseen consequences when large landowners parcel off a portion of their ranch. Senate bill 35, passed in 1972, basically stipulates that subdivision of land resulting in acreage fewer than 35 must be approved by the county. I was recently part of an off-market ranch sale that took a little bit of paperwork post-closing to reach compliance with this rule. In this particular instance, the “parent” landowner sold hundreds of acres to one neighbor and kept over 100 acres that remained (in two non-contiguous parcels). This transaction did not violate any rules; the sold parcel was hundreds of acres and the remaining parent parcel was also well over the 35-acre threshold. However, the split to the neighbor resulted in a portion still owned by the parent ranch that was just under 35 acres but not contiguous to the parent parcel. That under-35-acre parcel would be referred to as an “orphan” parcel.  This orphan parcel was subsequently sold to another neighbor, but the county flagged the two sold parcels anyway. The flagged parcels would not be able to get a permit of any kind for building – a real drawback for a property owner!  We were able to get it resolved with a merger of title for the orphan parcel with the second-neighbor-buyer and everyone was compliant.  Even though all involved ranches were well over 35 acres, this particular set of circumstances bought that statute to the forefront of the transaction and highlighted how broadly reaching this simple rule can be.  

18
Jul

Riding, Ranches, and Rodeo – June 2022 Routt Recap

June in Routt County, Colorado as documented by Hallie Myhre.

June in Routt County is a favorite (even though I may stay that about every month)! The days are warm, but not too hot, and the evenings are cool. 2022 brought much-needed rain, so the valley is green, the grass is tall and the wildflowers are bright.

Depending on the runoff levels, the Yampa River usually opens up for tubing, a popular activity among all ages. I enjoyed a couple of floats from fetcher pond to the transit center. Just be careful when the water levels are low, as there are lots of rocks to bump into! The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series starts in June and runs all summer with 20 performances. The local gymkhana takes place on Wednesday nights, where local kids and adults compete in barrels, poles, and team roping. If you have a horse to ride, it’s a fun event to attend each week, if not, it’s still fun to watch!

Although I enjoy going to the rodeo every once in a while, I try to spend as much time on my horse in the mountains in the summer. Riding through aspens with Hobie (the dog) in tow is my favorite way to spend a June evening. If I had time during the day I took the dogs for a walk in one of my favorite areas. The trails behind The Sanctuary are some of the best in town. The loop around the golf course has great views of town, the dogs love playing in Fish Creek and if you can find your way, it’s possible to hike to the upper (and lower) Fish Creek Falls, just make sure you know where you are going.

June is also when the Colorado chapter members of the Realtors Land Institute get together for the Ranch Tour. Each year land brokers meet in a different part of the state to look at property, learn about the market and have a little fun. In 2022 the Ranch Tour was scheduled for Steamboat. Over 50 ranch brokers from around the west met in town and we caravaned across the county, looking at land for two days. I presented one of my listings outside of oak creek to the groups, made new connections, and learned more about ranch real estate from some of the most exceptional brokers in the business.

30
Jun

Spring snow and rising water – May 2022 Routt Recap

Routt County during the month of May, as documented by Hallie Myhre.

May in Routt County is usually the start of spring, however, we are known to get a snowstorm, or five! The grass begins to turn green and leaves are popping up on trees, but you still might wake up to a few inches of snow on your car in the morning!

Steamboat is only a few hours from many popular concert venues on the front range. It’s common for many locals to make the drive to see some of their favorite artists on stage. Me and what seemed like a quarter of the town drove to the Ball Area to see Zach Bryan, Cody Johnson, and Luke Combs in concert. Well worth the 6 hours of driving if you ask me.

The creeks and rivers in the Yampa Valley were rushing high and fast as temperatures rose and spring storms brought more precipitation. Every afternoon there is almost always someone kayaking, boogie boarding, rafting, or paddleboarding on the A, C, or D hole in preparation for the annual Yampa River Festival.

In May attended the spring RLI (Realtors Land Institute) meeting in Durango. Members of the Colorado chapter meet quarterly to present listings, discuss buyer needs and network with other brokers in the land industry. I also attended the educational session where we learned about recreational properties, land owner tags, and more. It was a great couple days filled with great food and people!

06
May

It’s Mud Season! – April 2022 Routt Recap

A quick look into life in Routt County, CO during April as documented by Hallie Myhre.

April can be a great Month in Routt County. The ski season at Steamboat Resort wraps up mid-month. Great spring skiing conditions are always a favorite, made better by fun events and a decrease in tourists. April 1st was gaper day, a tradition at ski resorts across the country. Locals dress up in costumes that range from blow-up dinosaurs to retro ski gear and just have a good time. For the last 10 days each season, Steamboat Resort has a fun festival known as springalicious. Each day a backpack full of fun swag provided by a sponsor is hidden somewhere on the mountain. One clue is given and skiers and riders try to be the first one to the location to grab that bag full of great prizes. Each day is different, with items from Smartwool, Budlight, and the last day is usually a brand new go-pro. Closing weekend is full of fun annual events and concerts. Local teams work all winter long to create the best vessel for the cardboard classic and many skiers and riders try their hardest in the pond skim no matter the weather. Not to mention the fun to be had if you catch one of the last chairs before the mountain closes, and find a fun celebration.

Spring break for the local school district always takes place after the mountain closes. This allows for those who work at the resort to be able to actually take a vacation (or staycation). I had the opportunity to visit my brother in Croatia for spring break, it was an amazing trip filled with so many fun experiences. Mid-April usually commences the start of mud season. The change of weather and lack of visitors make it the slowest season of the year, which can be great for locals. Many businesses give their employees some much-needed time off after a long ski season. The restaurants that do stay open offer great deals to those who are in town. I certainly didn’t pass up the 2 for 1 Tuesday at Back Door Grill, where everything you order, you get a second free. There are deals like this every day at different restaurants during mud season, so it is certainly worth it to seek them out.

With the weather warming up, me and my dog Hobie took many walks along the Yampa River, it wasn’t quite hot enough to go in the water yet, but it won’t be too long. Hobie has been working hard in the office so he enjoyed his first happy hour at Storm Peak Brewery in April. Not only does Storm Peak make great beer, but it’s even better when our four-legged friends can come to enjoy the space as well.

Although there may not be a lot going on during April, there is still plenty to do. It’s a great time to enjoy what Routt county has to offer with a few fewer people around, like the hot springs, core trail, and downtown shops and restaurants. The signs of spring amid the April (snow) showers make it one of my favorite times of the year, and who doesn’t love seeing all the babies being born during calving season.

06
Apr

Powder, Lambs, and Moab – March 2022 Routt Recap

March 2022 in Routt County, CO (& beyond) documented by Hallie Myhre.

The month of March went by fast! A somewhat unexpected fact is historically, Steamboat received more snow in March compared to any other month. This season it was not the biggest snow month at Steamboat Resort. However, storms still dumped 58 inches of fresh powder which made for some awesome skiing and riding. Not to mention there were also some nice bluebird days, perfect for sitting in the sun with a drink in hand.

A popular weekend trip for many Routt County locals is across the border to Moab Utah. Whether it’s for hiking, biking, horseback riding, off-roading, or just the warm weather there is a rush of visitors to the area this time of year. A little under 5 hours of driving is worth it for those looking for a red rock adventure.

I took a trip to Red Cliffs Lodge for a western photography workshop. The lodge is situated on the bank of the Colorado River and surrounded by red cliffs. The amazing views and the 80-degree weather were amazing, although I did miss a great weekend of spring skiing in the Boat.

At the beginning of March, I finished up my lambing season for the year. My last ewe to give birth had a set of triplets. All three were born alive, but as life happens one of the lambs didn’t make it. There are many hard situations when raising livestock, for me, this is one of the hardest. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done, it’s just nature, but it doesn’t make it any easier. The two of the three lambs that made it are growing quickly and the ewe is having a much better time making milk for two mouths rather than three. I am looking forward to watching my lamb crop grow, a green spring, and summertime!

09
Mar

Winter Carnival + Olympics! – February 2022 Routt Recap

Life in Routt County, CO during February 2022 as documented by Hallie Myhre.

February is always a big month in Steamboat Springs! The beginning of the month starts with Winter Carnival, one of the most exciting weeks of the year. The tradition started in 1914 to create a little joy and excitement for locals during the long winter months. The event has evolved over the last 108 years but is a small sign of Steamboat’s western heritage. Schools are let out of class, downtown Lincoln is filled in with snow and local kids are pulled on skis by local ranchers on their horses. There are many events including slalom, the donkey jump, and even an event for adults, the shovel race. Locals compete in a snow sculpture contest and build intricate snow creations along the side of Lincoln Ave. The biggest event is the Night Extravaganza. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Skiers and Snowboarders show off their skills at Howelsen Hill. It’s important to mention that the mountain is completely dark and the athletes are carrying flares, glow sticks, or covered in lights. The special guest of the evening is the Lighted Man. A single man skis down the face of Howelsen Hill completely covered in lights, with a backpack that shoots full-size fireworks. Watching the lighted man during the winter carnival is not something you want to miss.

The 25th Winter Olympics took place from February 4th through the 20th. Although it is exciting to watch the Olympics no matter where you live in the world, it is particularly exciting if you live in Steamboat Springs. As of 2022, Steamboat has sent more than 100 athletes to compete against the top athletes in the World. This Year there were 13 athletes competing that had ties to Steamboat Springs, 6 of them being steamboat natives. It’s crazy to see people you passed in the high school hallways competing on the flat screen at Carl’s Tavern. Steamboat held multiple special events to honor past and present Steamboat Olympians.

Although not Olympic caliber, I personally had a few good runs at Steamboat Resort in February. There wasn’t much powder to be found but the untouched groomers made up for it. I also skied at Howelsen a few Ski Free Sundays, riding the poma is something I have loved since my first “poma trauma day”. I continued checking on ewes each day as the arrival of more lambs took place. Only a few left to round out the 2022 lambing season!

10
Feb

New Year & New Life – January 2022 Routt Recap

Life in Routt County, CO during January, documented by Hallie Myhre.

January was a great start to 2022! There were many days spent on Mount Werner at different events and skiing. The Music Fest at Steamboat is a Texas country music festival that takes place at the being of the year. Known as “Texas Week” by locals, the event attracts thousands of fans and packs in over 200 hours of music in just five days. There are great free concerts to attend, but watch out for all the warm weather drivers on the icy roads!

The Annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill is a fun event in January. Each year during the National Western Stock Show in Denver, PRCA and PBR competitors are invited to Steamboat Resort. The night before the race, the base of the ski area is lit up with hot air balloons and music. The next day the cowboys and cowgirls compete in a one-of-a-kind dual slalom race that includes a jump, roping a cowgirl, and throwing a saddle on a horse (yes, a real horse). During the stampede, the most popular event of the weekend, all of the ProRodeo competitors race straight down the course at the same time, always resulting in big crashes. After the racing, there is a free concert on the outdoor stage.

The end of January marked the start of lambing season. A set of twins were born on the morning of the 20th. A little ewe lamb and her significantly bigger brother have been growing quickly since. A week later another ewe went into labor on a bitter afternoon when the temperature had already dropped below 0°F. The single ewe lamb was pretty big and her momma need a little human help. Despite the cold temperature and difficult delivery, she was on her feet and nursing in no time. When she is not jumping and running around with the other lambs she is usually napping in the lamb warmer, can’t blame her! This January brought some of the coldest temperatures of the winter so far along with 19+ inches of snow. The snow-packed trees and frosty mornings make for some of my favorite winter scenery. As usual, there were stunning sunrises and sunsets. Happy 2022!

15
Nov

6 Structures to Build on a Ranch – Guest Blog

Ranching property is more than just a space for livestock or other large animals. So many land buyers recently realize that there’s so much more that they can do with their property, and they’re not wrong!

These are the best structures anyone can build onto their ranching property to make the most of it!

1. A Fun Barndominium

Barndominiums are trendy structures that create visual interest and appeal, giving you a space that renters can use for a couple of days or a couple of years. The best barndominium design ideas tend to stick to a rustic and minimal look on the exterior while allowing the interior to be spacious and more modern.

You can lean into the property’s theme for this; for instance, if you raise angora goats, you can use their wool in some furnishings. For a horse ranch, you can use a classic ranch design in your interior decorating. Consider what would make your listing stand out most on a rental site: and lean into it.

2. Fantastic Agricultural Buildings

Whether they’re silos or barns, agricultural buildings should be well built and safe for animals without impeding too much on the property itself. You can achieve this by researching how much steel buildings cost in your area and seeking a builder who’s capable of following your specifications. 

Steel lasts longer, is more resistant against the elements, and can be painted or coated to look however you want. Best of all, it will guard your livestock or harvests against whatever is happening outside.

3. Ranch Vehicle Garage

Your ranch vehicles are something that should be carefully maintained and watched over. If not, they can rust, break down, or be prone to damage. It’s a good idea to pay attention to where you store these vehicles; otherwise, you may lose money having to repair or replace them.

A good ranching vehicle garage should be well insulated, capable of handling different types of weather, and on higher ground so that any water or debris drains out. You can research how to insulate a garage so that you can build onto any current ones you have, but it’s a good idea to build one from scratch with the plan to insulate it as you go.

4. Small Rental Cabins

Smaller rental cabins can be a fantastic addition to any property. Although you’ll have to have electricity and water hooked up for modern people to be comfortable using them, you don’t necessarily have to worry about getting internet or cable out to them unless you want to offer ‘glamping’ as an option on your property.

These cabins are great for short-term rentals any time of the year, so make sure they’re well insulated and capable of being either warm or cool, depending on the season. A great investment for these small structures would be a fan that can reverse flow. This will push cool air around in the summer and warm air in the winter to stay at a steady temperature.

5. Root Cellar or Basement

This is a structure that you can build even if you don’t have a home on the property. Underground storage gives you a place to keep things at a cooler and more comfortable temperature constantly. For areas with more moderate weather, this can be a great space to store spirits or alcohol. In areas that tend to freeze, this could be a great space for anything you want to ferment or store throughout the winter.

Electricity would be a fantastic addition to a space like this. Still, it should be naturally refrigerative, so it’s not going to take up a ton of your power or increase your electricity bill by too much.

6. Storage Sheds for Rentals

Storage sheds can be an incredible way to build income without having to stress about someone else living on your land. In addition, a good storage shed will allow you to offer space for tenants to use for their items and then leave them trusting that you’ll keep an eye on them.

This setup will require code locks, electricity, a lot of building to ensure you have the best units put in, and security features so that people feel safe with their items out there with you.

Before taking this type of business on, it’s important to get to know the local laws. This means how long someone can leave their items without paying before it’s forfeited to you and what legal action you can take if someone tries to take residence in one of your storage facilities. 

Ranch Properties Can Do More Than You’d Expect

Although when people picture ranch properties, they think of large plots of land that cows graze on: you can make this property into anything you want. Get to know the local laws, decide what type of business works best for you: and create a property that will give you a great return.

Andrea Erickson is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the real estate industry. Andrea is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes. 

09
Feb

Property in CRP? An Overview

Property in CRP near Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Every now and then a property placed into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) comes for sale on the market. Buyers and agents alike ask what exactly is CRP? In a nutshell, a landowner enters into an agreement with the government to implement practices that conserve the landowner’s land. Most often in northwest Colorado, the landowner agrees to refrain from grazing the land. In exchange for this land-use restriction, the owner receives an annual payment. CRP contracts are 10 years in duration and the annual payment is fixed at the time of the contract.

When property that is subject to a CRP contract changes hands, the buyer usually assumes the contract. If a buyer does not assume the contract or fails to honor it, the seller is responsible for the penalties. These penalties can be steep and depend on the time of breach in the contract and the nature of the violation. So it is in the seller’s best interest to ensure that buyers are willing to assume and uphold the contract early in the negotiations. The buyer usually benefits from the annual income for the remainder of the term. The Conservation Reserve Program has been a successful partnership between private landowners and public agencies to maintain soil health, improve water quality and enhance habitat for wildlife.

31
Dec

2020 – A Memorable Year

A tree lined lane with mountain views sold in 2020 - A memorable year for real estate!

2020 was a memorable year for ranch and resort real estate sales. Despite uncertainty fueled by a deadly pandemic and a tumultuous presidential election cycle, the market roared on.  Properties flew off of the shelves as buyers scrambled for a change in scenery.  COVID-19 prompted many to appreciate the freedom of the outdoors. There was no shortage of buyers who wanted to grab a piece of the west – permanently! Every segment of the market, in Colorado anyway, morphed into a seller’s market.  Condos and townhouses, single-family homes and vacant lots, and ranches large and small offered buyers a recreation launch point and a safe place from which to work or raise a family. 

Luxury homes with high-speed internet and near good schools sold in record time; title companies could not keep up. Vacant building lots with access to public land were in high demand. Ranches of all kinds, acreages, and prices appealed to buyers in 2020 more than ever. Recreation ranches fetched the highest prices, especially those with some type of “wow” factor (spectacular scenery, thick forests loaded with wildlife, live water, public land boundary).  Cattle ranches were high on buyers lists as well, particularly those with a well-rounded livestock operation that offered good working facilities, employee housing, and irrigated hay meadows.  The level of interest does not seem to be slowing down and 2021 may repeat 2020 as another memorable year.

14
Dec

Colorado Adventure for an Educated Populace

Colorado snow capped peaks scream adventure

Colorado ranks among the top of the states in our nation for education and income. When it comes to elbow room and opportunities for adventure, Colorado is tough to top. With plenty of room to roam and recreate, it’s no wonder people are flocking to this scenic state! Here are some interesting Centennial-State stats:

37th state for density with 52 people per square mile

8th largest state in area totaling 104,093 square miles

#1 for number of fourteeners (53)

9th state for public land acreage with 26,458,890 acres

2nd highest percentage of residents holding a bachelors degree

5th richest state with a median income of $74,172 (vs. $61,000 overall U.S. income) and a poverty rate of 8.7%

Colorado residents are well-educated and healthy, and they provide an attractive pool of employees. With its central location in the United States and mountain time zone, Colorado is also convenient for adventure travel and business. Last but not least, the state is loaded with public land, an important amenity for physical and mental health when a pandemic rears it’s ugly head!

24
Nov

Surveys: A Seller Benefit

Surveys are a complex subject. Casually assumed as a buyer benefit, they are just as important to a seller. At the most basic level, a survey shows where a property is located on the planet. The level of detail shown on a survey can vary and it is often a negotiation between the parties. Surveys show a varying degree of information that is useful to the buyer but a survey also protects a seller. A survey can be a disclosure of sorts; items shown on a survey notify the buyer of issues that may affect a piece of property. Access (to the property and/or by others on the property), easements, fence lines, ditches, building locations, and setbacks can be shown on a survey.

Title companies almost always require a detailed survey when issuing title policies. Because property conveyance deeds normally include a seller warranty, it is in the seller’s interest to provide a strong title insurance policy to the buyer. The survey provides important information to the buyer and title insurance company, which allows a seller to provide a stronger title policy to the buyer and ultimately protect the seller in the long run.

30
Sep

A Pandemic-Driven Market?

Rainbow over South Valley

The ranch and resort market delivered quite a surprise this summer.  The initial shutdown of everything real-estate-sales-related was ominous and fraught with uncertainty.  As the restrictions were lifted and as the pandemic spread, interest in scenic and lightly populated areas grew. When unrest in densely populated areas dominated the headlines, the interest grew into a frenzy.  The resort areas around the nation have experienced unprecedented real estate sales and northwest Colorado is no exception.  Properties in every segment of the market are flying off of the shelves. Ranches have tremendous appeal right now: they are the original social distancing venue! Wide-open spaces, private recreation, solitude and safety have always been hallmarks of ranch properties.  The cultural shift brought on by COVID-19 have pushed those amenities to the front burner for many buyers.  A strong stock market plus historically low interest rates are tipping the scales in the favor of sellers. LJ Ranch, north of Hayden, Colorado sold for full asking price after just a year on the market.  Steamboat Equestrian Estate sold after only a few months on the market with Ranch & Resort Realty and had multiple offers. Lack of inventory has been a challenge in the resort market for at least a year; pandemic-driven events have shoved ranches into the same category…..certainly an unexpected surprise. 

20
Apr

10 Signs Telling Me it’s Calving Season:

Black calf with white ear tag

  1. The number of warm days outnumbers the cold days
  2. Powdered colostrum and milk, medicine and vaccines creep into my cabinets, fridge and freezer
  3. Very pregnant cows take on an uncomfortable stance as they vigorously switch their tails
  4. Our bulls fight hard and bellow long, low groans
  5. 2:00 in the morning is as familiar as 2:00 in the afternoon
  6. The crock-pot works full time, providing meals ’round-the-clock
  7. Days-old calves run through the fields, their upright tails flying like little flags
  8. Shallow lakes form in meadows so migrating ducks and geese can take a break
  9. Neighbors call for help and neighbors come to help
  10. My hairdryer, great for warming up a cold calf, is converted to a barn appliance

11
Apr

Why are 35 and 40 acre lots Common in Colorado?

Buck and Rail fence along a mountain meadow

If you’ve grown accustomed to social distancing and are searching for your cabin site in the woods, you may have noticed that country properties in Colorado are frequently offered in increments of 35 or 40 acres.  There are reasons behind this.  Explaining 40 acre lots goes back to the original government surveys, most of which happened in the 1800’s.  Surveyors broke down sections of land into 6-mile square townships.  Each township has 36 numbered sections.  Each section is one square mile consisting of 640 acres.  Those sections are further broken down into quarters.  Each of those quarters are broken down again into quarters.  A quarter section is 160 acres and a quarter-quarter is 40 acres.  When you see a 40, 80, 160, etc. acre parcel, the legal description will often be described using this Public Land Survey System (PLSS).  35 acre lots are common because of a 1972 law in Colorado that restricted a landowner’s ability to simply split off anything less than 35 acres.  Commonly known as Senate Bill 35, it required landowners to go through a subdivision approval process for parcels smaller than 35 acres.  Parceling land into lots greater than 35 acres does not require approval (although some counties in Colorado have a higher acreage requirement), which is why we often see parcels offered in 35-acre increments. 

01
Apr

CRP Land – Benefits Landowners & Natural Resources

Rainbow and green pastures

Although much less common in and around Steamboat Springs, much of the land in Moffat County to the west is enrolled in the program.  CRP is the USDA’s acronym for Conservation Reserve Program.  It was established in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan to prevent soil erosion, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat by establishing and maintaining land cover.  The program is completely voluntary and has grown to be one of the largest private land conservation programs in the nation.  The program is administered by the Farm Service Agency.  Participation generally requires removal of environmentally sensitive lands from agricultural production, so landowners are compensated annually for the loss of production on those lands.  Typical contracts last 10 to 15 years and are usually transferred upon sale of the land.  In order to qualify for the program, several factors are taken into consideration: wildlife, water and soil erosion benefits mentioned above as well as air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion and overall cost.  The program has been successful in reducing water runoff and sedimentation which improves the health of ponds, lakes, streams and rivers.  More than 20,000,000 acres of topsoil is protected and has a direct impact on our nation’s natural resources. 

28
Feb

Top Selling horse – $225,000

Christy Belton at Cowgirl Cadillacs booth

Wickenburg, Arizona was the epicenter for fancy horses this past weekend.  The Cowgirl Cadillacs horse auction (only in its 2nd year) was a success with the top horse fetching $225,000 (nope, not a typo)!  The auction dubbed “horses from ladies, for ladies” and is a tip of the hat to remarkable women who defied societal norms in America’s early western history.  Every horse offered at the auction was offered by a woman who lives up to the example set by those early female trailblazers.  It seemed only fitting for the female ranch brokers of Ranch & Resort Realty and Mason & Morse Ranch Company to partner-up and sponsor the event.  Several of my horse-friendly ranches were on display and we had a constant stream of horse owners and bidders come by the booth to talk ranch real estate.  Steamboat Sandblasting provided us with Cowgirl Cadillacs etched glass ware.  Despite the unusual Arizona downpour, the event was well attended and exciting.  People from all over the west, particularly the snowy west, attended the auction. It was held at the Rancho de los Caballeros guest ranch and golf club in the High Sonoran Desert near Phoenix.  The top selling horse was Blue Chip Investment, a 9-year-old blue roan gelding.  A registered Friesian/quarter horse cross, “Chip” was 16.1 hands and extremely well trained.  The average price for the 50-horse auction was just under $30,000.     

19
Jan

Property Taxes in Colorado Simplified – Part 2

Old fire truck in front of pond

As mentioned in part 1, Colorado has some of the lowest residential property taxes in the U.S., making home ownership attractive. Taxes on vacant land with the agriculture tax classification are also extremely low.  Following is a study on how property taxes are determined in Colorado.

The assessor establishes the value of properties based on comparable properties that have sold in a 2-year period prior to the appraisal date. Taxing authorities that provide services establish their mill levies (a mill is 1/10th of a penny or $1 revenue per $1,000 of assessed value) based on the total of all property value in the service area. Property tax is calculated by multiplying the market value by the tax rate (7.15% in 2019 for residential and 29% for non-residential) and the mill levy. For example, a residence valued at $1,000,000 multiplied by the 7.15% tax rate would result in an assessed value of $71,500. Various entities have taxing authority such as the county, the school district, the community college, water district, fire services, library, museum, social services, etc. In this example, the total mills levied by all of the public service providers for area of the home is 58.079.  This number multiplied by the assessed value and divided by 1,000 results in the tax due of $4,152.65.  Another way to calculate would be to apply $1 per $1,000 in value.  In this example, it would be $71.50 x 58.079 total mills for $4,152.65.

Non-residential properties are calculated with the same formula, but the tax rate is 29%. A $1,000,000 commercial property or non-ag vacant land parcel in the same service area as the residential property above would be multiplied by 29%. Assessed value would be $290,000 and the 58.079 mill levy multiplier would result in a tax due of $16,842.91. When a residence is constructed on a non-ag parcel of land, the tax rate of the total assessed value decreases from 29% to 7.15% and it is not uncommon to see the tax bill decrease.  

Land with ag status is valued based on the agricultural earning capability of the land.  Market values do not come into play on these types of properties and the savings on non-residential parcels with ag status can be significant.  A vacant parcel of ag land that would sell for $1,000,000 may only be taxed at a couple hundred dollars a year.  Once a residence is put on the land, the residential tax rate (7.15%) is applied to the total assessed value of the land (ag or non-ag) and improvements. 

Property taxes collected in each county stay in the county and do not fund state services.