High Performance Building + Design
Taos, NM


Considering Building a New Home in Taos?

You Need a Builder Who Understands the Taos Real Estate Market Right Now

A New Mexico home is a major investment, and you definitely want to choose the right lot. The Taos real estate market is more friendly to sellers than buyers right now. Even so, if you have a great local guide, you can find the perfect property for your Taos new home.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Lot For Your New Mexico Home

  • Privacy and seclusion
  • Convenience 
  • Long and short view
  • Water rights
  • Covenants and restrictions
  • Utilities 
  • Access 
  • Topography
  • Wind

Taos Landscape: Different Regions Offer Different Amenities

Taos real estate offers expansive desert, forest, foothills, valley overlooks, and mountain views. And of course, there’s Taos Ski Valley, which is a distinct region itself. 

Forest and hills

Much of Taos County is covered by Carson National Forest. The hills surrounding Taos feature wildlife and alpine forests. They’re famous in Wild West lore for sheltering outlaws and offer privacy, fantastic views, and shelter from the sun. 

High desert

Want a sage-scented breeze, lots of space, desert foliage, astounding sunsets, and mountain vistas? Taos’s Mesa is the stuff of hippie lore and one of several desert communities here.

Taos Ski Valley

If your dream of a new Taos home is all about dependable snowpack and a winter wonderland, Taos Ski Valley is the way to go.

Historical Taos

If you want nightlife, restaurants, walkability, a farmer’s market, and local events and boutiques, build your new home in the town of Taos, population 6,000.

Village Life

Seeking a hip, boho village bursting with character, local food, and shopping? Arroyo Seco is home to about 900 Taos County residents, as well as a Buddhist temple and a Spanish mission that’s over two centuries old. 

Taos New Home: Utilities and Access

If you’re moving to New Mexico from a bigger city, there are some Taos real estate considerations that may be new to you. 


Taos County is largely rural. Some property isn’t set up for utilities and sewage, and realtors may not mention the costs this can add.

You may have to pay to bring electricity to your new Taos property. To get water, you may have to dig a well. Your property may need to be heated with a propane tank, and you may need to install a septic system for sewage. All of these issues are site-specific. Factors such as water table, soil conditions, and terrain come into play, and things may get expensive. 

There’s no catch-all estimate to how much these things could add to your total budget, but we can help you estimate this cost for a specific piece of Taos real estate. 


Many Taos properties have access roads. But in some cases, you will have to build your own. Other times, you will have to negotiate access rights to share your neighbor’s private road or their well. Access can be especially challenging in Taos Ski Valley.

Taos Real Estate: Best Neighborhoods For Privacy & Space

Wants lots of privacy and space, but don’t want to deal with utility and access issues? There are many pieces of Taos real estate that offer convenience and big lots. And if you’re not the best at yard upkeep, don’t worry. Most homeowners landscape just around their home and leave the rest of their parcel wild. 

El Mirador  

El Mirador subdivision encompasses 284 acres of 3-10 acre lots, in the south of Taos Valley. Nestled in the foothills of the Picuris Mountains, this community is known for protective covenants, grand views, and juniper and piñon trees. 

Estancias Atalaya 

Just east of El Mirador, Estancias Atalaya is known for luxurious, high performance homes that center around environmental sustainability. The subdivision retains rural charm, with unpaved roads and no streetlights, but you get fantastic views and full utility service. 


Beausolei means beautiful sun in French, and its name is a homage to Taos’s epic light. This yet-to-be-developed gated community in Arroyo Hondo has 36 lots, with utility infrastructure and views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, Taos, and the New Mexico plains. Because the development borders Native lands, views won’t be obstructed by future building projects. Lots are 10-15 acres, with 40 acres of common space. 

Mariposa Ranch 

Mariposa Ranch is just beside Beausolei, and has 23 lots at 10 acres each. These two neighborhoods are also located near Taos Ski Valley and the Taos airport.

Turley Mill 

This exclusive neighborhood in the Arroyo Hondo community is named for a historical mill and distillery,  located along the Taos Trail. The area is the former stomping grounds of trappers and traders. 

Other Considerations When Building a Taos Home

Water Rights

Some Taos real estate comes with water rights, and some doesn’t. If your property has a creek,  but you don’t have water rights, you can’t touch that creek. You can’t use the water to irrigate your garden or as a design feature on your property.

If you do have water rights, you may want to incorporate them into your design, via a fountain or some other water feature. 

Water rights are rare around here, and many people don’t think about them. But if you do want them, we can help you find a property that has them or will probably be able to get them. 

Covenants & Restrictions

You can build whatever you want on some Taos real estate. The downside to this is, so can your neighbors. 

Covenants and restrictions protect you when you buy a piece of property, so a neighbor won’t be able to block your view with a house, have a used car lot in their backyard, or ruin your night sky with obnoxious lighting.

But sometimes covenants can get in the way of your vision. We once had a client who wanted a pitched metal roof and were upset when we told them it was against their covenants. They came to us after they bought the property, if they’d come earlier, we would have made sure that they understood the fine print. 

I sit on the architectural review board for El Mirador and Estancias Atalaya and have built in most of the other high end Taos neighborhoods, so we know all about the covenants and can help you navigate any limitations.

Long View and Short View

When building a new Taos home, everyone considers the long view—the view of the mountains or the valley. But don’t forget the short view.

The short view is often something temporary, like how the afternoon light hits a certain part of your property or how a patch of foliage looks in fall. Or the short view may be something you create on your own, such as a garden you design around your water rights.

We’ve walked nearly every piece of available property in Taos County multiple times, in multiple seasons. We can help you envision a short view that may not be immediately obvious.

Snow Removal

Some neighborhoods have covenants governing snow removal, so you’ll need to know how snow piles on your property and have a plan to deal with it. Snow removal can be a big deal in Taos Ski Valley.

Taos Wind Is Fierce 

Wind is an important consideration when purchasing Taos real estate. Before you break ground, you need to know where the wind is coming from and how it blows across your property. You want to design to protect your outdoor spaces. Sometimes, unlucky homeowners discover their first spring that they can’t use their porch for a few months, because the wind is just too intense.

You Need An Expert To Guide Your New Mexico Real Estate Purchase

Purchasing Taos real estate can be complicated. That’s why you need a local expert to guide you through the entire process of creating your new Taos home, from purchasing property through construction. I grew up on residential construction sites in Taos County. I started helping my father in this business nearly four decades ago, and I’m eager to tackle any challenge that this raw, western wilderness throws at you.

Picture of Jed Magee


Owner operator of Magee Design Works.

Jed has become one of the premier designer/builders in Taos and has evolved specializing in high performance custom homes. Jed’s skills bring an eye for design details, a comprehensive understanding of construction and balanced approach to quality & cost.

These buidling resource articles will help answer many of the questions you will want information about before you start the design/build process.