Stillwater Development
Methodology, Negotiation

This important part of the process almost always starts by learning more about the sellers and their motivations. Ranch sellers are often reluctant to part with their land, but circumstances force their hand to sell a home to which they will always feel an extraordinarily deep connection. For these sellers, it can be critical that a buyer who shares their values becomes the new owner. Our approach is to understand the seller's long-term desires for the property in order to create a stewardship plan that addresses that vision.

In one such case, we met with Chuck Nelson, one of four brothers who had inherited a California ranch and the one who would have preferred not to sell it. We learned that Chuck had developed an exceptional talent in photographing the beauty of his ranch, and had even written a manuscript about growing up on it, which we helped him publish under the title “Life at the End of a Dirt Road.”

After learning that our conservation goals were aligned with maintaining the working cattle ranch lifestyle, he agreed to sell to us over other suitors. We were able to negotiate a continuing role for Chuck as a ranch docent, not only so that he could continue to enjoy the ranch after the sale, but more importantly, so that his stories and images become part of the fabric of the long-term future ownership.