Accredited Land Consultant Pin

Promoting Your ALC Real Estate Designation

No matter the industry, separating yourself from the competition is a critical component that can’t be overlooked. We RLI members know what an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) is, but does the public? I don’t believe they do. Isn’t our duty to educate the public? We are the elite members of the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) and we need to inform the public about WHO we are, not just WHAT we do.

I would like to share some ideas/thoughts that fellow ALCs have shared with us which are working well for them.

Don’t market specific properties, market yourself! Tell the public who you are, how you got to be an ALC. Let them know about the rigorous requirements you had to meet to obtain the designation and how you can use your expertise to assist a client with their current real estate needs.

Educate everyone around you. Let your colleagues, clients, friends and family know what RLI is and how this amazing group of land professionals have helped you in your career. Let clients know that you have a huge network of experts to assist you in meeting their needs. Let them know having your ALC designation, sets you apart from the other millions of real estate agents. Get them to ask themselves, why use anyone else?

Establish connections. Develop a sold group of bankers, accountants, attorneys and financial advisors that you trust. Help the client with full process of their land sale or purchase. It’s more than just buying and/or selling; it’s helping them understand each step and how it will affect them financially.

Write land articles, blogs, post videos etc. These are great ways to position yourself in the industry as the expert you are and share your knowledge and expertise. It helps build a brand with the public that you are the go to person for all their real estate needs. Be the star you are!

These are just a few things that you can do to promote your ALC designation and set yourself apart as being the one they will come to when they think about selling or buying real estate.

I will leave you with this thought. Another MN ALC gathered some data and found out these staggering facts. There are 23,565 licensed real estate agents in the state of Minnesota and of those agents, there are only 13 are ALCs–in the whole state of Minnesota! I am proud to say that I am 1 of those 13 ALCs and I need to educate the public to again get them to ask the question………WHY USE ANYONE ELSE?

Quick fact: According to a recent Nielsen study, only 33% of buyers trust what a brand says about itself; however, 92% believe what their peers say about a brand! What does that mean to you? If you are an ALC you are the best recruiting tool to motivate and promote your peers to grow and join RLI. As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers. The more RLI members, the more networking, awareness about the ALC, and organizational growth there will be–which benefits all ALCs!

wendy forthun, ALCWendy Forthun, ALC, is an experienced broker and 1 Stop Realty’s Vice President. Wendy joined RLI in 2006 and earned her Accredited Land Consultant designation from RLI in 2013. She has successfully marketed her esteemed designation to help grow her business.

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Top Land Real Estate Blogs to Follow

With easy access to the internet, staying up to date on the latest trends in the industry has never been easier. However, it is important to find credible blogs–like the RLI Blog–from which to source your information. Here are a few of our favorite land real estate blogs to follow for news, advice, and insights. If we could, we would put our RLI Blog on here, but if you’re reading this you’ve already found us–congrats, you’re off to a good start! Now, here’s our list of the top land blogs to be regularly checking:

  1. The National Land Realty Blog
    We are a fan of this blog for a few reasons. The site is laid out to make finding blogs you’re interested in easy. Visitors can choose from categories like Hunting & Fishing, For Land Professionals, Conservation, Land News, and Featured Properties; there’s even a way to browse by state. Not to mention, the content is credible, relevant and there is a wide variety of topics covered. Plus, the authors are land professionals–just like you–who are experienced in the industry and are able to give valuable insights.
  2. Mossy Oak Properties
    If you’re in the land business, you need to be reading this blog. Between advice from How to Buy Land and How to Sell Land to Land Market Information and Life on the Land, this blog covers almost every aspect of a truly passionate land professional’s life. We wouldn’t be adding this on our list if the content wasn’t both credible and relevant.
  3. Lands of America Blog
    This blog is a helpful resource for anything related to buying and selling land. Whether looking for market trends, information on hot industry topics, or just good to know information, this blog has it all when it comes to land. As a leading listing site with insights into all kinds of valuable data, these posts are jam-packed with useful information making them a must read.
  4. LandThink
    If you are active on social media, you’ve probably come across a post or two from this awesome blog page. They offer posts covering a wide range of topics from niche areas of the industry to bigger picture topics. They also offer insights gathered from survey results they’ve accumulated to give information on the latest industry topics. With a clean look, easy navigation, and great information, its easy to get lost in their sea of posts about the land real estate industry.
  5. Land Blog… Get the Dirt!
    This one is a favorite, not just because one of our own Accredited Land Consultants runs it, but because it comes from a firsthand account of on the job experiences. If you’ve ever had a client ask questions like When is the best time to sell my property?, What do I need to know about due diligence? or How do I chose the right REALTOR® to sell my land?, then you’ll love reading through these gems to see just how an expert land consultant answered.
  6. Southeastern Land Group Blog
    If you’re looking for a blog where learning takes many forms, look no further! This blog not only has valuable written content, but they also have a steady stream of videos that keep industry professionals and their clients informed. While they don’t post as frequently, the content they do publish is high quality and there is no lack of quantity in their archive to explore. You know the content is good when it is coming from experienced professionals.

Regularly checking in on the latest posts from these industry experts can help keep you informed, provide new knowledge, and even help you to answer your clients most common questions with a fresh perspective. Make the most of these blogs by commenting and starting a discussion–you never know where the conversation will take you!

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Optimize Your Find A Land Consultant Profile

If you are a member of the REALTORS® Land Institute, you have a member profile that is seen by possible clients every day. The RLI Find a Land Consultant Tool was recently updated to make finding land consultants easier and faster than ever before. This is great news for you as an RLI member because this is an additional opportunity to put your best foot forward for potential clients–but only if your profile is updated! So, here’s how to optimize your profile to bring in new clients.

The Complete Package

You already know that you are a potential client’s best option for buying/selling their land. Now, you need to make sure they do too! The first step to an effective profile page is making sure all profile information–including a professional head shot image–is filled out in its entirety. Not only does this give the readers more information to make their decision upon, but it also adds credibility. It shows you care about your image and that you are making an effort to put your best foot forward for them!

Think about when you are looking to make an important decision. What do you consider that influences your choice? For most people its goes something like: How easy is it to find the information? Is the information useful? Is the information credible? Is the information appealing? and so on…

Completing your profile also has the added benefit of making you easier to find. The more information available for clients to find you by, the more likely you’ll be found. It seems common sense but most agents don’t realize how important adding information like specialties, countries served, designations, etc. is to having an optimized profile. Also, never bypass the opportunity to add a profile image. Putting a face to a name makes you more credible, trustworthy, memorable and personable–all key aspects to gaining clients!

Regular Updates

Now that you have added all the information your potential clients need to find you and make an informed decision, make sure to keep it updated. There is nothing worse than searching for something and thinking you’ve found it only to realize it wasn’t accurate. In this industry, no one has time to waste so don’t frustrate potential clients from the start. Get a new cell number? Change companies? Have a more recent head shot image? Update your profile right away! One way to keep your profile updated is to set a calendar reminder for every six months to check and update information.

That’s it. Having a complete and current profile really is that easy and won’t take more than fifteen minutes to set up. The digital age is here, if information about you and your company can’t be found online, you’re missing out! RLI members can start optimizing their profiles at any time by logging in to the website and navigating to My Member Profile. Need assistance? Contact the Institute at 800-441-5263 or rli@realtors.org

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16 Ways to Use a RLI Membership in 2016

There’s no doubt 2016 will bring new challenges and new opportunities to land professionals. From legislative changes to shifting industry trends, land professionals will need to be prepared to adjust and adapt in the New Year. Institute members can take advantage of the Institute’s many member benefits to help them reach their professional potential. Here are 16 of the best ways to use a REALTORS® Land Institute Membership in 2016:

  1. Take advantage of member rates with savings of up to $150 on all LANDU courses.
  2. Join the nearest RLI Chapter to start networking and learning locally.
  3. Post and search property listings on TheLandConnections.com at no cost.
  4. Network and learn at the 2016 National Land Conference: THE BEST STOP HERE!
  5. Take advantage of discounts on industry services with the Member Advantage Program (MAP).
  6. Read Institute communications to stay current with industry news, trends and more.
  7. Use the Find A Land Consultant tool to find other members and ALCs near you.
  8. Join a Committee and help write the Institute’s history and build its future.
  9. Showcase your properties during a Let’s Make Deal$ remote marketing session.
  10. Email your properties to other members with the Institute’s e-Properties platform.
  11. Attend the 2016 LANDU Education Week plus in Little Rock, AR, at a discounted rate.
  12. Enhance your marketing with the Member Marketing Kit.
  13. Network with ALC Allies to learn how to achieve the designation and make the most of Institute benefits.
  14. Connect with the Institute on its social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  15. Contribute a piece to the Institute Blog and share it to promote yourself.
  16. View white papers written on the hottest industry topics by RLI members and ALCs at no charge.

For more information on any of these benefits, please contact Institute Staff at 800.441.5263 or rli@realtors.org.

Happy New Year!!

REALTORS Land Institute 1031 Exchanges

An Alternative to the 1031 Like-Kind Tax Exchange

It was a brutally cold, windy and overcast morning in the Dakotas Territory. The year was 1871. Every living creature exhaling air was immediately turned into vapor from the freezing temperatures. We were soldiers in the 7th United States Calvary Regiment and this particular morning, we were not singing “Garyowens”. Thousands of settlers were flocking to the territory and our job was to protect them. At this moment, many of the settlers were being threatened by the bad guys and we were preparing to ride to their rescue.

Commanding F Company was the American icon Capt. John Wayne. His Second in Command was WWII hero Lt. James Stewart. Work with me here. We were divided into two wings. One the left wing, 1st Squad was manned by the great Virginian Sgt. Randolph Scott and 2nd Squad was led by the incomparable Sgt. Errol Flynn.

The right wing was led by the 3rd Squad’s fearless Sargent Glenn Ford, who later helped defeat the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway, and the 4th Squad was led by Yours Truly right out of “The Point.” Again, work with me. The battle lines were drawn and we were ready for action. Captain Wayne gave the order and the bugler belted out the Calvary charge. The horses leaped into action, our swords at the ready and at that very moment….my alarm went off and it was a Wednesday morning in 2015. Another missed opportunity to ride to the rescue. Or was it?

Scrutiny Looms Over Section 1031s

Section 1031 is beginning to receive scrutiny by Congress and that’s probably not a good thing. All of the appropriate organizations including the Institute are lobbying Congress to leave 1031 exchanges alone–and for all the right reasons. But this is Congress, and that means that this will probably become a huge political football. I have no inside information but based on being in practice since the late 70s, my gut feeling is that 1031 exchanges will be modified to some extent. Perhaps, the first 500k in capital gains can be passed on to a new replacement property or something along those lines may be the final result.

Can You Help Your Clients Without Using 1031s? Yes!

So, assuming that Section 1031 is changed in some fashion, how can Institute members ride to the rescue to still help their clients defer capital gains taxes, state taxes where applicable, depreciation recapture, the Obama care tax and possibly the alternative minimum tax when selling a clients’ property. Actually, there are options now and you don’t even need a 1031 to defer taxes. Let’s turn a negative into a positive.

Imagine not having to deal with a forty-five day identification time limitation or loan to value ratios. What if you could sell a client’s great property now, defer taxes and at any time in the future, you can buy any property that you would like for your client AND while you are looking for that property, your client can receive a check every month for roughly five to six percent of the sales proceeds while those proceeds are still tax deferred. Do you think that this might give you a competitive advantage over other brokers that are unable to provide this opportunity?

Imagine working and taking constant risks for thirty or forty years or more and when you’re finally ready to retire, you have to write a check for twenty-five to thirty percent of your liquid assets to the US Treasury before you can retire. Well, fortunately you don’t have to but when selling your clients properties, they do have to write a check to the US Treasury for twenty-five to thirty percent of their sales proceeds and for many, that’s THEIR retirement plan. You can still defer those taxes for your clients and keep more of their hard earned sales proceeds in their pocket and send less to Washington, even if a 1031 isn’t appropriate. Do you think that this might give you a competitive advantage over other brokers that are unable to provide this opportunity?

Another tax deferral strategy that might face Congressional scrutiny in the future is the stepped up basis. I have met a number of older land owners who intend to pass their property on to their heirs instead of selling their property because of the large tax liability that the sale will create, and because a 1031 isn’t appropriate. That’s not necessarily a bad strategy unless you make a living selling real estate.  If you do sell real estate, it is possible for the land owner to sell their property and defer taxes and turn an illiquid asset into a lifetime retirement income. When the land owner passes on, the income can be passed on to the heirs. And you just sold a great property.

The great thing about the REALTORS® Land Institute is the sharing of ideas and strategies and that’s why Institute members and Accredited Land Consultants (ALCs) tend to be more successful and have higher incomes than non-members I certainly hope that Congress doesn’t make changes to Section 1031 but if they do, we can still ride to the rescue of our clients without having to be John Wayne or….even me. Let’s turn a potential negative into a positive today by recognizing there are other ways to defer our clients’ taxes than a 1031. You will sell more real estate and keep more of your clients’ hard earned sales proceeds in their pockets and sending less to Washington. Happy selling and deferring taxes!

David Fisher, Creative Real Estate Strategies

David is a Partner at Creative Real Estate Strategies, a 2015 Silver Partner of the Institute, and has been in the industry since the late 70s. His years of experience help him to assist land brokers in helping their clients defer capital gains tax, state tax and depreciation recapture taxes on their client’s sales proceeds when either their clients are unable to complete their 1031 or the client would like to sell and retire but still defer taxes. By understanding these tax deferral strategies, brokers have been able to sell more real estate. David can be reached at 713-702-6401 or at David@cresknowsrealestate.com