By Eddie Lee Rider, Jr.
Crystal Ault, Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty
Crystal Ault has been a full-time licensed real estate agent in Montana since 2002. She is the Managing Broker of Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty in the Missoula and Hamilton offices for Western Montana. She currently serves on the Montana State Board of Directors where she chairs the Professional Development, and serves on the Grievance and Professional Standards Council.
ELR: Crystal, the pandemic has proven to be a boon to the land business across the country, but especially in Montana. Tell me what you are experiencing.
CA: We have a lot of buyers right now who are familiar with Montana and are making purchases during this time. We’ve seen an increase in out-of-state buyers as well as locals purchasing land. When you compare Montana land prices to similar markets like Colorado and Wyoming, we have more value and a smaller population, which is what people are looking for right now. I haven’t seen an increase in land prices yet, but the number of sales has increased.
ELR: You have some blockbuster listings. Tell us about a couple.
CA: The Krohn Lake Ranch is a piece of Montana history. The wildlife is incredible, and the property is close to historic Lincoln, MT, and an hour to Missoula or Helena. It’s literally 392 acres of paradise with a gorgeous 5000 sq. ft. log home, guest quarters, look out towers, a barn, and a large shop.
Fat Horse Gulch Ranch is 207 beautiful acres in Avon, Montana, with a conservation easement on 160 of those acres. The home itself overlooks Spotted Dog Game range. Montana wildlife is abundant around the rock outcroppings, forest, and natural springs. It’s just 30 minutes to Helena or an hour to Missoula making it an easy commute.
ELR: I am very interested in your sale of the Sundance Ranch. What a unique opportunity. What transpired on that?
CA: This historical property’s story was spectacular. The ranch was to be split up and sold, but Jill Perlemen bought it and placed a conservation easement on it. Only one large building envelope remained and outbuildings. The 3800 sq. ft. home was like stepping back in time 100 years. Rock Creek was right out the front door; there’s a bunkhouse for guests, along with a darling 2-bedroom cabin. It’s bordered by state and Forest Service land with a view of the Swan Mountain.
The best part of selling that ranch was seeing the impact of a conservation easement. Jill was able to maintain the integrity of the Ovando Valley and the community by keeping the land intact for generations to come.