Tips From Land Experts on Closing Year-End Deals

With stress running high and people busier than ever, closing deals in December can be difficult. To find out how some agents flourish during the holidays, we reached out to some of our elite Accredited Land Consultants to find out their top tips for closing land deals in December.

Be Where The Buyers Are

Did you know that 78% of people do their holiday shopping online? Every year, more and more people go online to make purchases. With such an increase in screen time, sharing your properties on social media and in targeted ads is a great way to get your properties in front of potential buyers this time of year.

“The holidays are one of the better times to market your properties as families get together, shop on their phones, and flip back and forth on Facebook,” said Drew Ary, ALC, with Ary Land & Home/ Keller Williams Advantage. “In fact, 78% of people do most of their holiday shopping online and 54% of purchases will come from smart phones and tablets. Share your property listings and do some live videos about purchasing the ultimate Christmas present! Tell them to plan for tax season and use that extra money to make the most memorable investment there is to make!”

Communicate

Communication is always important in the land industry, but it is especially important around the holidays. As the calendar fills up, you run the risk of double booking a showing, client meeting, or other events. Clear communication is important with your staff, clients, and friends and family.

“Elevated communication is key. Each day matters when it comes to deadlines, so putting together a closing schedule early and keeping everyone in the loop at each step is essential,” said Kenny Schum, ALC, from Murray Wise Associates, LLC. “Make sure you know each stakeholders holiday travel schedules and business hours early and plan accordingly.”

Know Why They Buy (Or Sell)

While the popular misconception is that December is the slowest month for real estate sales, the looming tax season and the natural desire to get things done before the end of the year creates a whole new client base. Knowing who and why people buy will help you in closing land deals in December.

“Year end is busy for real estate brokers, buyers, sellers, and investors because it is a natural deadline for decisions,” said Ben Crosby, ALC, from Crosby & Associates, Inc. “Taxes are a major reason for these decisions. Buyers either want a purchase on their books before year end or after the new year. Sellers make the same decisions based on their best tax strategy.”

Be Prepared

Knowing that this time of year is hectic can actually be your secret weapon. Use the months beforehand to plan, schedule meetings, and layout what needs to be done before the holiday mayhem hits.

“Scheduling closings during the holiday season can be tricky,” said Phil McGinnis, ALC, of McGinnis Commercial Real Estate Co.  “I prepare all year to be able to call in favors at holiday time to get my closings fit in. Lawyers, paralegals, and the whole team of surveyors and appraisers usually don’t mind helping out if they have been helped out throughout the year.

De-Stress

Holidays have a way of packing on the stress. Working around the clock while trying to juggle all your other Christmas activities can drain even the toughest agent quickly. Make sure to take some time for yourself.

The holidays can be a tough time to close deals. However, with the right mindset, preparedness, and open communication with those in your office and in your life, closing land deals in December will be a breeze!

Don’t have your Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation yet? Learn about the requirements for and benefits of earning this prestigious designation!

About the Author: Laura Barker is a freelance writer based out of California for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She has been with RLI since October 2017.

Call The Neighbors And Other Prospecting Tips

Early in my land career, I learned a valuable lesson. I got a call one day from a broker who works in my market area saying he had a prospect for one of my listings. They toured the property, submitted an offer, and we negotiated to an executed contract. About a week later I was gathering some information for the closing attorney via the property assessor website. It was then that I discovered that the buyer was the landowner immediately adjacent to my listing. The broker that submitted the offer had seen the property marketed online and was friends with the eventual buyer. He made one phone call to his friend and became the buyer’s broker in the deal. By failing to contact that individual myself, I gave up half of my commission – over $100,000.

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I have no issues cooperating with other brokers. Our land broker community is a small one and pretty tight. I have done plenty of deals that would not have happened without the cooperation of fellow brokers and I welcome their involvement. But in the case above, this buyer was someone I could easily have gone to directly.

It seems like a simple thing – get in touch with the adjacent landowners to gauge their interest in your listing. But I screwed it up. So, maybe by pointing it out, I can help someone out there avoid the same mistake. Certainly, we all have go-to buyers who we contact the moment we have a property that fits in their wheelhouse. But it’s always possible the simplest solution is literally right next door.

Since entering the land brokerage industry 5 years ago, I’ve made a few (a lot of?) other mistakes or simply failed to do some (MANY!) important things. So, I’d like to offer some tips on prospecting to help you get more deals and maintain a more consistent pipeline.

When on the phone, if they will keep talking, let them talk!

When I first started cold calling, many of my calls lasted less than 20 seconds. I would get someone on the phone and ask if they wanted to sell. If they said “no”, conversation over. Move on to the next call. Over time, I realized I was doing it wrong. I began engaging people in conversation – even if I knew they weren’t sellers. I learned about people. I built relationships. And pretty frequently, I got a tip on a family member or friend nearby who owned land as well. By making the phone call less about a “yes” or “no” and more about gathering information, I was able to make my calls more productive and, frankly, more enjoyable. It was also a great way to set myself up for doing what I recommend in the next tip.

When prospects tell you “no”, call them back later

At this very moment, I am working on a rather large deal that is the result of consistently calling back a “no”. I’ve been following up with this guy for over 3 years and he is finally ready to sell. In fact, on my most recent follow up with him, he told me he still wasn’t a seller. Then he contacted me a week later and wanted to move forward. The point here is that people change. Regular follow up is VITAL to make sure you get to them when they are ready. Many things can make a landowner change their mind: a bad crop year, a death in the family, birth of grandkids, or whatever. The answer may be “no” today, but is likely to change to a “yes” at some point in the future. You want to make sure that when “yes” arrives, you are the only person that owner will think of.

Flag down the tractor

This tip falls a bit more under the heading of canvassing than prospecting. But when done well, it leads to more effective prospecting. Have you ever been out looking at land (in my case row crop farms) and seen someone plowing or spreading fertilizer? Next time you do, park your truck on the side of the road and see if you can get his attention. He might be a contractor, or a farmhand, or maybe even the owner himself. But no matter what his role or position, you’re bound to get some great information from him if you simply engage him in conversation. Using this technique, I’ve gotten names, addresses, and even cell phone numbers of quality prospects. It may sound a bit weird or make you uncomfortable, but the tractor driver generally welcomes the company. He likely spends most of his day alone in that tractor cab. Give him the opportunity to talk, ask the right questions, and before you know it you’ll be listing that $10MM property that you got from the guy on the tractor.

There are millions of different tips and tricks to effective prospecting. I’ve written in the past on outsourcing your time and using good software to boost your prospecting efforts. But there is no substitute for getting on the phone or talking in person with people who own property. In my opinion, this is far and away the most directly effective method for listing and selling property. First, call the neighbors. Then, call EVERYBODY ELSE.

This post is part of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here.

mcdow, calebAbout the author: Caleb McDow, ALC, is a land specialist and vice president with Crosby & Associates, Inc. in Winter Haven, FL, with a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) and is a licensed private pilot and drone operator. McDow joined the institute in 2014 as a Military Transition Program (MTP) member.  He serves on the Institute’s Future Leaders Committee and regularly blogs on real estate issues. Caleb McDow can be reached at 352-665-6648 or caleb@crosbydirt.com

Checklist for Success

How many of you are the backbone of your Company’s entire operation? In fact, you are probably your entire operation: a solo agent prospecting for new leads, writing offers, conducting listing appointments and buyer consultations, negotiating contracts, giving sellers marketing updates, ordering surveys, determining utility locations, marketing your listings, handling your social media and overall, handling the entire transaction from listing to closing. In fact, you probably have to make your own coffee and try to manage a database and a family. WHEW, it’s a lot!

Have you ever felt as if you’re juggling too much, perhaps, you’re even struggling to keep up? Ever wished that you were in a position to hire an assistant to support you with the never-ending stream of administrative tasks? Have you determined that you’re not quite ready for that next step but desperately need some help staying organized and efficient? I feel like this is an incredible place to start. Not only will it help you stay organized, it will create a workflow that can be duplicated and passed on. Now is a great time to consider implementing systems and processes that can later be handed off as you grow. In order to do so, you have to write down what has to be done before you can hire someone to do it.

In order to move from a solo agent to a team, you must build systems that will keep your company operational and functioning in a smooth, systematized and efficient manner. In addition, when you finally hit your breaking point and hire an admin, you can share these systems and train your team by simply going over your documented processes. If you’re a real champion and want to grow your business exponentially, I would personally recommend going through the utter discomfort of hiring a business coach. I would recommend someone like Mike Ferry Organization, Tom Hopkins International, or my personal favorite, Icenhower Coaching and Consulting.

A coach can help you organize your business, determine when to hire staff members and how to grow. It is uncomfortable; however, I want to illustrate the type of systems the discomfort introduces. Below you will find Ary Land and Home’s Listing to Contract Checklist. My team and I have developed this over time while working with our coach (Icenhower Coaching and Consulting). See below.

 

Date Completed Date Requested
Admin intro call to sellers – immediately after listing signed
Receive signed listing agreement
Create PROPERTY FILE CHECKLIST
Obtain all signed & completed sellers disclosures
Obtain showing instructions from agent/sellers, Gate Code? Combo?
Verify Aerial is accurate with salesperson
Put seller on MLS listing auto-alert email drip for LAND OR HOME to buy
Put seller on MLS auto-alert drip- MLS status changes 1 MILE RADIUS FROM LAND
Ask Seller for utility companies, call and get sizes of lines in front of prop
Order preliminary title report, HOA Documents & CCRs if HOME
Order Signs? Let Trish know what’s used for sign inventory
Add sellers to admin weekly update call list
Add sellers to agent’s weekly update call list
Ask to Enter listing into MLS as incomplete for agent to proof
Assign lock box to MLS listing
Add client to CRM database
Add new listing to Team Scoreboard
Submit listing contract/disclosures in to DotLoop for compliance
Get MLS listing edits/approval from Agent
Upload MLS Client Detail Report to property file
Email MLS Client Detail Report to all team members
Add/Enhance Listing on LandWatch LOA and LandBrokerMLS
Calendar Listing Expiration Date
Prepare property flyer
Create “Just Listed” Facebook & social media posts
“Just Listed” mailers/flyers created & ordered
Add clients as friends on Facebook/Social Media
Claim listing on Zillow/Trulia & set up reporting
Sign up at property
Flyers delivered to property
LISTING GOES LIVE ON MLS  
Send Thank You/Gift Card to Person who Referred Listing
“Just Listed” email to neighborhood & SOI
“Just Listed” posted on Facebook & social media
Call to sellers for PRICE REDUCTION APPOINTMENT?
Weekly Activity Report Call to sellers
Email Activity Report to sellers
ONCE OFFER(S) RECEIVED  
Prepare summary(s) of key offer terms to present to sellers
ONCE OFFER ACCEPTED – Start Property File Checklist  

 

*Please note that you need to go through the checklist, there are some things that will not apply to your situation.

Can you picture yourself using this checklist? Can you imagine what it would be like to know that all of your files are “where they need to be?” Fundamental organization and structure is essential.

The main goal in writing this Blog is to help novice agents understand that developing routines and establishing work flows is essential to running a successful real estate company. Even though you may feel like you are too far gone, YOU CAN turn chaos into order and whip things into shape. These processes will 1) make your life as an agent easier and less stressful, and 2) create and maintain seamless systems that can be duplicated to keep the business running so that you can focus on growing your business.

With that said, I urge you to sit down and go over the above Listing to Contract Checklist and make it yours. Don’t stop there, make a Contract to Close Checklist, a Seller Closing Checklist, and a Buyer Closing Checklist and just keep going. Don’t make the checklists just to make them, make sure you implement them and go over them weekly. Make a checklist of what needs to be done on every file and eventually you will be able to hire someone that can make sure the items are checked off for you. I know it will be painful and you will grow to the extent of pain you can handle!

On another note, if you are looking to hire someone and you are not sure exactly what they are supposed to do, keep reading. Below is a sample Listing Manager’s job description.

  • Oversee all aspects of Seller’s transactions from initial contact to executed purchase agreement.
  • Prepare all listing materials: pre-listing presentation, Listing Agreement, sellers’ disclosures, comparative market analysis, pull online property profile, research old multiple listing service (MLS) listings and etc.
  • Consult & coordinate with Seller’s all property photos, surveys, repairs, cleaning, signage, lockbox, access requirements & marketing activities.
  • Obtain all necessary signatures on listing agreement, disclosures and other necessary documentation
  • Take property phone calls and monitor Agent emails.
  • Coordinate Buyer showings & obtain feedback.
  • Provide proactive weekly feedback to sellers regarding all showings and marketing activities.
  • Coordinate all agent meetings and remind Agent of important dates.
  • Input all listing information into MLS and marketing websites and update as needed.
  • Submit all necessary documentation to office broker for file compliance.
  • Input all necessary information into client database and transaction management systems

Again, when I got into real estate, I knew how to sell Farms. I did not understand how to run a business. None of this comes natural to me, however; it has changed the way our business operates. In fact, I no longer say “only I can do it” or “no one will do it as good as me.” That is a scarcity mindset and you have to realize that if you are saying that right now, it’s because “how to do it is not written down,” as our great leader, Gary Keller, would say. It took me a long time to realize this and if it weren’t for Kasey Mock taking the time to explain how important a business foundation is, I sure wouldn’t be where I am at today. With that said, my challenge to you is to start to document the things you do and create checklists to make sure they are done on every file. Make it a priority! Call me if I can help!

This post is part of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here

About the Author: Drew Ary, ALC, is an agent with Keller Williams Advantage. Drew has a vast knowledge of raw land, land with improvements, and farm and ranch properties. Above all, he has a passion for selling land and farm and ranch properties by bringing buyers and sellers together through honesty and integrity. Drew spent 10 years in the real estate auction world with roles as a Closing Coordinator, Project Manager, and a large portion as the Director of Farm & Ranch Sales. Drew moved to traditional real estate with Keller Williams Advantage at the beginning of 2017.

Finding Your Niche

The word “niche” has several definitions, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll be using the definition from dictionary.com that means “a distinct segment of a market.”

At National Land Realty, we have land professionals across the country who have their own “niches” or specialize in certain areas of the land industry such as forestry, auctions and prescribed burns, among many others. This not only helps them serve their clients better but gives them the opportunity to help other agents help their clients in that particular area. It also helps them stand out amongst the competition!

If you’re a land professional who doesn’t already have a niche, don’t worry, there are many areas you can choose from. The list is truly endless, but what it’s really about is finding something you’re passionate about. As corny as that may sound, there is so much truth in it. Finding what you enjoy, what you see yourself still being passionate about five years from now will make all the difference.

Finding your niche also depends on the area you live and serve in. For example, timber properties are mostly found in the Southeast region of the U.S. Therefore, you probably wouldn’t want to specialize in forestry if you’re a land professional based out of Arizona.

Here are some other examples of areas to specialize in:

  • Pond management
  • Wildlife management
  • Farm management
  • Agriculture
  • Solar development
  • Commercial development

If you’re ready to find your niche, start by jotting down areas you’re experienced in or have had a close interaction with. Think about any subjects you’ve taken classes on in the past that you found interesting or feel knowledgeable in. It’s really just that easy to get started!

National Land Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage company specializing in farm, ranch, plantation, timber and recreational land across the country. NLR currently represents land buyers and sellers in 20 states. To learn more, visit www.nationalland.com.

Using Video to Close More Land Deals + Better Serve Clients

We’re living in the golden age of video. Video editing software is cheaper and more user-friendly than ever before, millions of people head to streaming sites like YouTube every day, and smartphones have basically become tiny video cameras you can take anywhere.

Land experts are (or should be!) making the most out of the advancements in video, too. Video is used for everything from taking stunning shots of properties to reaching clients on a more personal level. We reached out to a few expert Accredited Land Consultants (ALCs) to find out how they use video to close a deal.

Drones

Drones are taking the land industry by storm. They can do everything from watering crops to monitoring livestock. Drones also make excellent videos. You don’t have to worry about getting your thumb in the way of a shot or your hand shaking as you hold the camera. Drones also give you incredible birds-eye shots of properties that you can’t get anywhere else.

Drew Ary, ALC, with Keller Williams Advantage in Coweta, OK, likes how efficient and high-tech drone videos are.

“Taking multiple 5+ second Drone videos during a listing appointment and using the DJI app to patch them together to make a 30-45 second video of the property immediately after flying is the quickest route to getting a John Hancock… what a way to show a client you are on the cutting edge of technology,” says Ary.

The Personal Touch

Video allows clients to connect with you on a personal level. It’s one thing to read an article about an agent, it’s a completely different thing to see and hear them deliver the same message.  Wendy Johnson, ALC, with United Country Texas Landmark Properties in Royse City, TX, uses the personal touch of video marketing to connect with clients for long-lasting relationships.

“Video marketing is providing me a good return on investment. I receive leads that I have been able to convert to listings and buyers,” says Johnson.

Johnson’s video of a Texas ranch shows off the gift of personal touch. Everything from the instrumental music to the smooth shots of every corner of the ranch pulls you in and makes you want to learn more about the listing.

“I believe because of the content marketing that a video can offer. I am able to utilize it in selling my properties as well as to engage an audience which can facilitate long-term relationships, which builds trusts and confidence in both myself and clients,” says Johnson.

Beyond Properties

Videos showing off your properties are great, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. About Me videos on your website are a great way to let your clients know a little more about you and your business. A great example of this is a promotional video like the one Drew Ary, ALC, created. Ary talks a bit about his experience in the industry while you look at sweeping views of Oklahoma land.

You can create:

  • How-To’s/Informative videos (Great content for social media. It shows off your expertise. For example, RLI has videos explaining our education program and member benefits.)
  • Promotional videos of your brokerage
  • Compilation videos (Show off your most successful sales!)
  • Videos that tour the neighborhood of the property
  • And much more! Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Video is king in 2018 and is looking to keep its throne in 2019. It’s easier than ever before to create videos, and thanks to social media and sites like YouTube, more people are tuning in. Making the most out of video is a great way to expand marketing and reach new clients like never before.

About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Answering Common Questions About the ALC Designation

The Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation is one of the most prestigious and difficult to earn designations in the land industry, so it makes sense that those pursuing it have a lot of questions both leading up to and while going through the process. Every week, we get calls concerning how to earn the ALC, so we thought we’d dedicate a post to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What exactly is the ALC?

The Accredited Land Consultant Designation is given by REALTORS® Land Institute to those land experts who have completed RLI’s rigorous and strict education, experience, and ethical requirements.

Having that gold ALC pin shows clients that you have an unparalleled level of expertise and experience in the land industry.  In addition to their impressive resumes, ALCs are also highly respected for adhering to the ALC Code of Conduct and the NAR Code of Ethics.

Becoming an ALC doesn’t just mean bragging rights for your clients. It opens the doors for additional networking opportunities and discounts on everything from the National Land Conference to classes.

Your wallet will thank you in the long-term, too. Did you know that according to a recent RLI survey, the average ALC earned $373,925, which is approximately $100,000 more per year than the average earned by non-designee respondents? Knowledge is power, and in this case it’s the power to better serve your clients which in turn means more business and more clients.

What are the requirements to get the ALC?

Required Courses (56 hours — Must take all three):

Specialty Courses (32 Hours – Pick two courses):

Elective Courses (16 Hours – Pick one or pick another from Specialty Courses)

Other requirements include:

  • Experience. A minimum of 2 years of experience in land sales or brokerage or a minimum of three years of comparable real estate experience.
  • Volume. A minimum of 5 closed land transactions totaling $10,000,000 OR 25 separate land transactions of which no more than 20% involve residential parcel sales (more specific details on the different types of land sales here)
  • Knowledge. Pass the cumulative ALC Exam.
  • Application. Submit a comprehensive portfolio
  • Recommendation. Submit recommendation letters and approval by the RLI Board of Directors.

Who is the main contact for me during this process?
If you have any specific questions about the above requirements or your qualifications, please reach out to Aubrie Kobernus at akobernus@realtors.org or 1-312-329-8837.

There’s a final exam? Do I have to remember everything from every single class?

The final exam only covers the three required courses that you completed and will be using to apply towards the education requirement. These include the Land Investment Analysis, Land 101: Fundamentals of Land Brokerage and either the Tax Deferred 1031 or Transitional Land Course depending under which requirements you began your coursework.

If you took the 1031 Class before the education requirements changed, no need to panic. You can still take the cumulative exam that features the 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges course instead of the Transitional Land Real Estate course.

Do I have to be a member of RLI to become an ALC?

You don’t need to be a member of RLI while you are working towards the education and transaction requirements (although you do get a discount on classes if you are!), but you do need to be an RLI Member when you submit your final portfolio and for as long as you hold the elite ALC Designation.

If you have more questions about RLI membership, we’ll be posting an article called ‘Answering Common Questions About RLI Membership’ in October. Keep an eye out for it! For now, make sure to check out our RLI Member Benefits.

I have another designation and/or prior education in the field, is there any way I can skip some classes?

There is! RLI has a Fast Track program where people with the following designations or education will qualify them to opt out of taking all courses under the education requirement other than the three required courses.

  • CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member)
  • SIOR (Industrial & Office REALTOR®)
  • CRE (Counselor of Real Estate)
  • AFM (Accredited Farm Manager of ASFMRA)
  • ARA (Accredited Rural Appraiser of ASFMRA)
  • RPRA (Real Property Review Appraiser of ASFMRA)
  • AAC (Accredited Agricultural Consultant of ASFMRA)
  • MAI (Member, Appraisal Institute)
  • CAI (Certified Auctioneer Institute)
  • CPL (Certified Professional Landman of AAPL)
  • SR/WA (Senior Right of Way Professional of IWRA)
  • AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners)
  • Those who hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, with a major in real estate, development, forestry, or a program related to a land business specialization, may also apply for consideration for Fast Track to the ALC Designation Committee. Fast Track will only be granted to the applicant upon approval by the ALC Designation Committee.

You will need to provide proof of your designation before being approved for Fast Track option.

Achieving the ALC Designation isn’t easy, but nothing worth getting ever is. The ALC Designation is highly respected and sought after all across America. Our numbers are growing every day. Will you be the next one?

If you have more questions about the ALC, contact us at 1-800-441-5263 or rli@realtors.org.

About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Want to Sell Your Listing Faster?

Do you have an amazing property that’s been sitting there for weeks and you’re not getting any real movement? The amenities the property offers are everything any landowner could want, but you’re starting to think the listing may need a little tweaking? Here are some things you can do to boost your listing and get it to the finish line faster!

1. Maximize Your Social Media Reach

You may have already shared the property on your personal and business Facebook pages, but don’t forget to also share it on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Remember that each platform has a different audience, so you’ll be able to reach all kinds of people – some that are more visual (Instagram) or others that just want a quick read (Twitter). You can even post a short video clip on Instagram of things such as the water running through a creek on the property or a prescribed fire that just took place. And don’t forget you’re also able to post multiple pictures and videos in one post on Instagram!

2. Use Descriptive Language

The title is the first thing a person sees when looking at your listing, so make sure you’ve got a good one! Go back and re-check it to make sure it’s clear and concise and is a good description of the property. Use words that are strong and describe the property well. (It sounds so simple, but it’s something that’s easily forgotten!) So, if you have a property with 50 acres of timber, you’ll want to use the word timberland in the title and description. Missing little things like that in your listing can have big consequences, so make sure you’re using your words wisely.

3. Use Technology Tools

There are a multitude of tools at your disposal nowadays. Thank goodness for the age of technology! Of course, you’ll already have numerous pictures of the property, but don’t forget about other visual elements you can add to your listing such as property highlight videos with drone footage, panoramic images, interactive tours of the property and 3D virtual indoor tours of any homes that may be on the property. Just remember you want to cater to all types of buyers and different kinds of situations, like buyers that are located out of state who want to look at the property in person, but perhaps can’t at that time. That’s when tools such as our new interactive touring technology, Land Tour 360™, come in handy.

These three tips won’t guarantee 100 percent that you’ll sell your listing faster, but they will definitely help it go farther, reach as many people as possible, and help you sell it faster!

National Land Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage company specializing in farm, ranch, plantation, timber and recreational land across the country. NLR currently represents land buyers and sellers in 20 states. To learn more, visit www.nationalland.com.

Land Lingo

For those just starting out in the land industry, all the lingo might sound like a foreign language. Here’s a quick guide for those new to land real estate (or those who just want a refresher!) on some of the most common terms in land real estate.

1031 Exchange: When you sell land, you have to pay taxes on your gains. This can cause a problem for sellers, since taxes on selling land can be massive. A 1031 exchange allows you to delay paying capital gains taxes if you reinvest the proceeds from the sale in a like-kind type of property.

Agritourism: This is any type of activity which brings visitors to your land. This can include:

  • Fishing
  • U-Pick
  • Wine Tasting
  • Guided tours
  • Horseback riding
  • On-sight sales

ALC: This is an acronym for the elite Accredited Land Consultant Designation, a prestigious designation through REALTORS® Land Institute. To get the ALC, land experts need to complete RLI’s rigorous education program, have a proven track record of transaction performance, and pass the summary exam. It’s not easy, but nothing worth getting ever is!

Conservation Easement: This is a legally binding agreement that prevents certain developments or land uses on a property in order to protect the land’s natural resources. You’ll see these a lot in areas with endangered wildlife.

Google Earth/Google Maps: Google Earth and Google Maps are two free online programs that allow you to measure a lot’s dimensions, create online tours, and download all the data you need on land from around the world. Seth Williams from REtipster has an excellent video series of Google Earth hacks. Check them out here.

Land Values: In the simplest terms, land values determine how much a plot of land is worth. There are dozens of factors that impact land values, ranging from land use to the state of the market to current land laws.

Mineral Rights: If you own the mineral rights of a property, you have ownership over the property’s underground resources, such as oil, natural gas, iron, and even gold! Having mineral rights gives you the right to mine for and profit from these minerals.

Perc/Perk Test: This is shorthand for a percolation test. A percolation test evaluates the rate that water drains through soil. These tests are incredibly important when it comes to determining the highest and best use for a property. The rate that water drains through soil impacts what crops can grow on the land and what structures the land can hold.

RLI: This is the abbreviation for REALTORS® Land Institute, the industry’s leading land real estate organization. RLI provides the education, networking, and resources to help land real estate professionals become the best in the business.

Tax-Assessed Value (TAV):. This is the amount that seller’s property taxes are calculated on. These numbers are available at your county’s courthouse and are updated every few years.

Title: A title is a bundle of rights tied to a property. These rights can be divided up and held by different parties. For example, someone could own the mineral rights to a property without owning the property itself.

Topography Map: These maps are very similar to your run-of-the-mill maps. The only difference is that topography maps details the physical features of the land (the topography). This can help land experts get a sense of what they could best use the land for, based off an area’s elevation and physical make-up.

Transitional Land: This is a land type that is transitioned from one use to another to increase profitability and land value. For example, if a plot of land is perfect for ranching, but is currently just vacant land, someone could purchase it and invest enough money to transition the land into ranch land. This person can therefore then sell the land at a much higher price.

This is just a sample of the varied vocabulary of land experts. The longer you are in the land industry, the more you’ll learn! Interested in becoming ana land real estate expert? Check out our LANDU Education Program Upcoming Courses.

 

About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Lessons from Land Legends

To quote the legendary John D. Rockefeller: “The major fortunes in America have been made in land.” The people on this list have made their fortunes in different parts of the land industry, ranging from oil to transitional land to ranches. Let’s look into the secrets to success from America’s greatest land legends.

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller might be the biggest land legend of all time. Even though some of his business practices were considered less than ethical, you still have to admit this oil tycoon’s thinking was revolutionary for the time. Rockefeller was the king of cutting costs. He bought his own tracts of white oak timber to build with, knowing the long-term value of owning timberland would be worth the short-term cost. Rockefeller was notoriously stingy, except when it came to investing in land that he knew would bring him profit for decades.

Rockefeller also believed in waste not, want not. He found ways to make a profit on the byproducts of oil, such as using the tar for paving or selling Vaseline to candle makers. He was thrifty in a time when other refiners were dumping their gasoline and other byproducts in the river. His planning for long-term value made him one of the richest men in American history.

What can we learn?

Think long term for gaining profit. Rockefeller knew buying timberland property might not be cheap in the moment but would pay for itself over time. Thinking about the big picture can lead to big profits.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Most people only know of the original John D. Rockefeller, but his son is just as fascinating. While his money was made primarily through his father’s business, the younger Rockefeller had a passion for land. He donated land for multiple national parks, including Grand Teton, Acadia, and Yosemite. He used the shell company Snake River Land Company to buy up land for the Grand Teton National Park. When he reached a stalemate, he wrote a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt saying “it will be my thought to make some other disposition of it or to sell it in the market to any satisfactory buyers.” He eventually won the land. For his dedication to land, both the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Highway and Rockefeller Memorial were named after him.

What can we learn?

The land industry is not for the meek. Rockefeller, Jr. was not afraid of opposition and fought for what he thought was right. He may not have made money in these deals, but he cemented his reputation as a land legend, which is more valuable than any paycheck. He is also a perfect example of having the kind of passion for land that it takes to make it in the industry.

Ted Turner

Ted Turner

You might know him as the founder of CNN, but did you know he also owns two million acres in ten states? The “Mouth of the South” uses much of the land to raise bison for his restaurant chain. His other ranches rake in a profit from hunting, fishing, and ecotourism.

What can we learn?

Turner uses his land to earn multiple sources of income. He also has a good sense of land use and a knack for finding a property’s highest and best use to ensure he is using certain plots of land for whatever use is most profitable. How else can you make money off your land?

J. Paul Getty

J Paul Getty

When he was just ten years old, J. Paul Getty’s father, George Getty, bought the mineral rights for 1,100 acres of land. Smart move. The land was soon producing 100,000 barrels of oil a month.

When he was twenty-one, J. Paul Getty’s father gave him ten thousand dollars to expand the Getty family’s Oklahoma oil field holdings. After careful deliberation, he bought the Nancy Taylor N. 1 Oil Well. Site. He struck oil. The 40% commission he got made him a millionaire!

What can we learn?

Mineral rights are just as valuable today. Before buying land, make sure any mineral rights you could be entitled to are included in the sale. Imagine what would have happened if George Getty had bought the land without the mineral rights?

Walt Disney

Walt Disney

The story of how was bought is crazier than Space Mountain! Disney secretly bought up 27,000 acres of land dirt cheap under shell corporations with names such as M.T. Lott. When locals found out who was buying all their land, prices shot up, in some cases to $80,000 an acre!

Even though it got expensive towards the end, the Orange County Appraisers officer estimates that the land value of all Disney World is now worth over $1.3 billion.

What can we learn?

The sky is the limit when it comes to transitional land. Figure out the highest and best use for your transitional land and profits will follow.

And One To Watch: Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezoz

According to Forbes Magazine, he’s currently the richest man on earth, with a net worth of 140.8 billion USD. So far, his money has come from his business, Amazon, but many land experts are curious about what he’ll do when it comes to the second headquarters for Amazon. He might pull a Disney and transition low-value land into some of the most expensive land real estate in America. We’ll just have to wait and see!

These land legends come from different places and periods in time, but they do have a few things in common. All these men are out-of-the-box thinkers, hard workers, and take advantage of everything land has to offer to them. We hope these stories will inspire you to become the next land legend. Interested in buying or selling land real estate? Make sure to Find A Land Consultant that is qualified to handle your transaction.

About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Choosing (And Using) The Right Client Relationship Manager (CRM) Software

Picture this: It’s Friday afternoon, 3:00pm. You are scheduling your next week’s business activities, setting priorities, and putting a plan in place. You’ve had a pretty successful week – got a contract on a large listing, met a new prospect who is likely a buyer for a couple of projects, went to a successful networking event, and called 25 new prospects on big land tracts. You’re feeling good. But as you begin to plan, you look down and see business cards scattered on your desk, a wrinkled legal pad with half-legible notes, and a desk calendar sprinkled with coffee stains. You breathe a deep sigh and wish that you were better organized.

Does this sound like you? Perhaps it’s not as bad as all that. However, I think we can all admit that we have been there. Things get busy and we run our business with pen, paper, and our own brains. But in the long run, all 3 of those things will fail you. There should be (and is) a much better way.

Client Relationship Manager (CRM) software is the extra brain that every successful business operator needs to keep their business at peak efficiency. A CRM is far more than a list of clients. Used properly, a CRM is your contact database, your personal assistant, your calendar planner, and your goldmine of information. It will remind you to follow up with a new client, call a prospect you should’ve heard from by now, or get in touch with a past client at regular intervals. We’ve all got way too much flying around in our heads to remember it all. Handing off a lot of that responsibility to a CRM is a great way to free up brain space and time in order to focus on the most important aspects of your business.

Many of you are already using a CRM at peak efficiency. Great! Stop reading now and go make it rain. But many of you are not using one well, or worse, not using one at all. I submit that in today’s market with all of the available technology, speed of information, and industry competition, it is more important than ever to be the person most engaged with every prospect you want to do business with. Your CRM will keep you honest and consistent with that engagement.

I’d like to offer three tips for choosing a CRM as well as three tips for using one – and using it well.

CHOOSING A CRM

Tip 1: Keep it simple.

Many CRMs have intricate functionality and can perform high-level categorization and analysis on your contacts, prospects, and pipeline. These features are great. But make sure you will actually use them before you select a CRM that does so much. You might get bogged down in all the functionality and lose sight of the goal.

Remember that the CRM is supposed to serve you. Not the other way around.

Tip 2: Don’t break the bank… at least at first.

Do you want to spend thousands of dollars on a CRM? There are many available. Do you want to get one for free? A few of those exist as well. If you’ve never used a CRM before, start with a free one (Zoho and Insightly are free for 1 or 2 users). You might not get every bell and whistle but as discussed above, you don’t need them. Once you are accustomed to using a CRM effectively you can always upgrade. And you’ll be far better prepared to select among alternatives since you will have some likes and dislikes from your free experience.

Tip 3: FORCE yourself to use it.

When first starting out with a CRM, you will be tempted to use all of your old methods as a crutch. As you encounter frustrations and growing pains, you will tend to shy away from the CRM – only using it when it’s convenient. This is no good. Select a system, spend a few days playing around with and getting used to it, then COMMIT. If you encounter issues, use the help function. Or use Google. Figure it out as you go along and deal with the pain up front. You want to get that machine good and oiled up so that it’s smooth sailing once you’re past the indoctrination period.

USING A CRM

Tip 1: Do it right from the beginning… or at least from right now.

If you’re just getting started or only have a couple of years in the business, make this a high priority for yourself. Properly creating, growing, and maintaining a quality database can be tedious, but it’s far more tedious to get 10 years down the road and try to do it all at once. Maybe you’ve been in the business for many years and use a spreadsheet, a notepad, or even a Rolodex (anyone??). All of that should be converted into a digital CRM. YES, it will take time. YES, it will be painful. But the benefits you will reap when it is complete far outweigh the work of getting it done.

Tip 2: Once you figured out the basics, try a new function or capability.

Once you have pushed through the transition, you should be pretty comfortable with the functionality – at least the basics. When you’re feeling foggy, learn something different about the software and find a new way it can help you. You may discover that it can tell you something interesting about your business operations. What’s your average time from listing to closing? How often do you really call that important client? How many new calls do you make on a weekly or monthly basis? By exploring different functions you will more deeply understand your contacts, your process, and your overall business.

Tip 3: Change to a different software after 3-5 years.

OK, this may sound crazy but I really do believe it is beneficial. As technology continues to develop, newer, better, and less expensive options will always be available. If you shop around every few years you may find a product with functions you’ve always wished your current CRM had. Furthermore, moving to a new system will force you to look at your information and clean it up. It’s kind of like moving into a new house.  You might finally decide to throw away that box of stuffed animals you’ve had since you were six. By cleaning up your database once in a while, you will keep it streamlined and relevant – making it more useful in your business.

A well-maintained and properly utilized CRM can make a struggling business good and a good business great. With very little effort, anyone can introduce a much higher level of structure to their business, keeping the pipeline full and the clients happy.

About the author: Caleb McDow is a land specialist and vice president with Crosby & Associates, Inc. in Winter Haven, FL, with a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) and is a licensed private pilot and drone operator. McDow joined the institute in 2014 as a Military Transition Program (MTP) member.  He serves on the Institute’s Future Leaders Committee and regularly blogs on real estate issues. Caleb McDow can be reached at 352-665-6648 or caleb@crosbydirt.com