BY KAREN LIBIN, KL REALTY
If you’re looking in rural Boulder County to buy a house on a bit of property or for some land to build on, you may be baffled by the seemingly bizarre price ranges. How can two pieces of property, both about the same acreage, differentiate in price by 50 percent or even higher? The answer is there are many variables that make land more or less attractive, just as two acres of Nevada desert land is vastly different than two acres of California beachfront property.
The house on a Boulder County rural property is often the least important part of the property’s long-term value. You can change a house – you can remodel it or tear it down – but you can’t change land (much) or where it’s located. With the limited amount of Boulder County rural properties, savvy buyers know this and focus on the land’s intrinsic value.
So what makes Boulder County land more attractive, thus expensive?
– Zoning: This determines how you can use the property and what you can build on it, as well as its tax rate.
– Acre Size: You can have animals on one acre, but you really need two to have enough room for a house and outbuildings. For horses, five acres is preferred. As you go up incrementally, each acre makes a huge difference – in terms of hay production, pastures, places to ride – until about 35 acres.
– Neighbors: People want privacy. Where the home and property is located in relationship to area neighbors is critical. Do you have to share a driveway? If so, that’s a drawback. The ambiance of the general area affects price too.
– Dirt Road – Some buyers find them charming and horse owners like them for riding, but others perceive them as a drawback.
– Water Rights: Not all water rights are equal, far from it. Plus, some properties have much better irrigation systems than others.
– Good Soil: For larger acreage where crops are grown, soil quality is a serious consideration.
– Trees: For both their aesthetic and cooling ability, buyers want trees. Horse owners also want shade for their animals.
– Views: Mountain, foothills, city-light, beautiful pasture views all add value.
– Streams: Everybody loves streams. They usually have old-growth trees adjacent to them and provide an added charm factor to our arid Colorado climate.
– Noise: If you’re buying out in a rural area, you want quiet, except for wildlife sounds.
– Outbuildings: Everybody loves outbuildings, especially men! They want their man-caves to putter around in.
– South facing barns, loafing sheds and outdoor arenas (for horse owners): Southern exposure in the winter ensures they’re not full of snow and ice.
– Location: The closer to Boulder it is, the more valuable it is considered.