The Best Counties to Buy Land in Colorado

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The Best Counties to Buy Land in Colorado

Bart Waldon

Colorado’s diverse and dramatic landscape, spanning plains, mountains, valleys and plateaus, offers bountiful opportunities for land buyers seeking property for agriculture, recreation or long-term investments. Recent statistics from the USDA’s Colorado 2020 Annual Bulletin show roughly 31 million acres dedicated for agricultural purposes in the state with average land and building value at $1,590 per acre. For those considering purchasing vacant plots, parcels or ranches in Colorado, key factors determining ideal locations relate to intended land use, availability, pricing and development momentum in surrounding areas. This article explores top Colorado counties for land buyers by weighing essential dynamics like soil quality, access to water and mineral rights, proximities to national parks or cities, potential for commercial developments nearby and more.

Best Colorado Counties for Ranching & Agriculture 

For buyers focused on using land for livestock ranching or crop cultivation, trademarks of promising Colorado counties relate to fertile soil, adequate water access and large plot availability, including:

Mesa County 

With over 23% of land dedicated for farming and ranching uses, possibilities abound in Mesa County stretching along the Western Slope. The Colorado River and tributaries like Plateau Creek supply irrigation essentials while inconsistently alkaline soils still nurture grain crops with proper amendments. Buyers find the largest plots of land for sale near City of Grand Junction hubs.

Morgan County 

Buyers flock to Morgan County’s western plains northeast of Denver seeking vast acreage and affordable per-acre costs compared to metropolitan area options. Rich soil springs from alluvial deposits delivered by the South Platte River - ideal for sugar beets, corn and wheat. Grazing lands dot the landscape as well for those maintaining cattle herds or horses.

Weld County 

Weld County, with 6,000 diverse farms spanning 2.5 million acres, lives up to its reputation as a national agricultural powerhouse. Fertile soils nourish dairy operations, cattle feedlots, corn/soy crops and produce, thanks partly to South Platte River irrigation access. Farmland near rapidly growing Greeley area offers commercial development opportunities too.

Best Colorado Counties for Recreational Land Investments

For buyers prioritizing land’s short-term vacation rental income or long-term investment upside over agriculture, areas surrounding renowned ski resorts and national parks reign supreme for recreational property appeal, including:

Eagle County

Properties near world-class Vail and Beaver Creek resorts offer premier seasonal rental income potential plus impressive views. As Vail Village, Avon and Edwards build out, vacant land in Eagle County gains in property value year over year. Invest now before inventory shrinks.

Pitkin County 

Few mountain settings parallel the majestic Roaring Fork Valley landscape enveloping Aspen. Though Aspen land listings fetch premium pricing, adjacent lots in Redstone, Carbondale and Woody Creek emanate stable, upscale appeal. Enjoy observing value increases over time.

Grand County

Grand County presents a dual opportunity through Rocky Mountain National Park and ski resort proximity. Winter Park, Fraser and Granby plots draw outdoor enthusiasts as primary or vacation home buyers. Rental vacancies are rare given superb ski conditions and family-friendly amenities coupled with relative affordability versus luxury resort areas.

Best ‘Up and Coming’ Colorado Counties for Land Investments 

Spotting bargain land buys in Colorado counties showing early signs of property development momentum makes solid investment sense too, namely:

Chaffee County 

Chaffee County stretches across gorgeous high country between Salida, Buena Vista and Collegiate Peaks. With plentiful open acreage abutting national forest plus proximity to Denver/Colorado Springs metro influx, property values are rising steadily. Enjoy stunning mountain vistas as you watch land appreciate.

Rio Blanco County 

Opportunistic buyers seeking sizable land tracts at reasonable per-acre prices find promise in Rio Blanco County an hour west of Rifle near White River National Forest. Oil and natural gas discovery creates property value upside as Meeker builds out.

Best Practices When Buying Colorado Land

Whether seeking land for agriculture, recreation, development or investment goals, best practices to secure ideal parcels in Colorado counties with growth potential include:

  • Research county zoning ordinances determining land usages in specific zones or districts before purchasing plots. Also assess utility access availability.
  • Inspect boundary lines and confirm total acreage via surveys. Verify mineral/water rights transfer with sale.
  • Evaluate adjacent property current use and demographic/development changes in surrounding areas.
  • Drive/hike the land at varied times and weather conditions to grasp full terrain, views and access challenges.
  • Negotiate fair market value prices accounting for location appeal, intended use and development projections over 3-5 year time spans.

Colorado’s wealth of ranches, farms and vacant recreational/investment land for sale offers something for buyers at varied budgets if you do diligent research. Partnering with area real estate professionals accelerates education on zoning codes, utility hookups, mineral rights and best regions to purchase land aligned with your goals. Enjoy the rewarding search for ideal Colorado land.

Final Thoughts

From the Western Slope's rich agricultural lands to the unmatched alpine vistas surrounding world-famous ski resorts, Colorado offers diverse counties to match land buyers’ priorities. Whether seeking acreage for grazing cattle, sowing crops or making a long-term real estate play near booming Front Range cities and mountain towns, follow best practices like thoroughly researching zoning restrictions, confirming water rights and mineral rights transfer and evaluating adjacent parcel uses. Also account for both current property valuations and projected value increases over 3-5 years based on area development momentum. Partnering with area real estate professionals helps newcomers identify counties where their intended land goals align with growth opportunities. Through smart analysis and due diligence around local dynamics, buyers find Colorado offers the ideal frontier to stake claims matching their budgets and dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Colorado counties are best for buying agricultural land? 

Top counties for crops and ranching include Mesa, Morgan and Weld Counties due to fertile soils, irrigation access and large plot availability found in these rural regions.

What Colorado counties make most sense buying land as a short-term rental investment? 

Land investments around posh ski resorts in Eagle, Pitkin and Grand Counties promise superb vacation rental income amid premium winter recreation settings plus consistent property appreciation.

What factors indicate good Colorado counties to buy land for future development?

Look at population and job growth around metro areas like Denver, upcoming transportation projects that will connect outlying counties better, and business investment in the county promising more activity.

What characteristics make for smart “up and coming” Colorado land investments?

Favorable signs include proximity to expanding Front Range cities like Fort Collins or Colorado Springs, open land availability before massive development, plus outdoor recreation appeal driving second homebuyer interest.

Should I verify zoning rules and water rights before buying Colorado land? 

Absolutely research county zoning ordinances and confirm legal water rights for irrigation, fire prevention, etc. before purchasing land even under contract contingencies. Know what is allowed.

What resources help newcomers learn the best areas to buy land in Colorado? 

Partner with savvy area real estate professionals to gain market insights. Also talk with county/city planners, local contractors and Title companies to grasp regulations, trends and development timelines around desired locations.

What tips help negotiate fair prices when buying Colorado land?

Research recent land sale comps and projected valuation growth around 5 years out based on nearby rising buyer interest and area enhancements in infrastructure compelling demand. Account for topography challenges too needing remediation on the land which may warrant asking price reductions.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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