A New Generation Takes On The Land Industry

Think about how much has changed from 2017 to 2018. Prince Harry got married. Elon Musk sent his sports car blasting into space. Peace talks between North and South Korea are in the works. It’s incredible how much can change in a mere twelve months.

Now think about how much can change in a generation.

The new generation of landowners and farmers are facing an entirely new world. The global market offers new clients, but also new competition. The internet and social media have created endless opportunities for marketing and networking. Solar energy and legal marijuana are new crops bringing in millions of dollars. These are just a few of the many things new farmers and landowners will face as they start their legacies in the land industry.

New Tech

The biggest difference for new farmers and landowners is the rapid increase of technology. Long gone are the days of typewriters and rotary phones. Now, drones, virtual reality, social media, and incredibly advanced farm technology are the name of the game.

In a recent Land.com article courtesy of RLI Member, Luke Worrell, ALC, talks about how technology has changed the land industry for both clients and land experts. “Now, we communicate with our clients in a variety of ways including email, text, video conferencing, and social media to name a few–we don’t simply have to rely on phone and mail marketing. We have learned the unique way each client wants to communicate and are therefore more relevant to them because we are speaking their language.”

How are new landowners and farmers adjusting to the onslaught of new technology? The answer is by applying old-fashioned rules to new platforms. Land experts are already known for their people skills. Social media lets this generation of land experts take these skills online to reach a wider audience than ever thought possible at a lower cost than possible for previous generations. Social media and online networking require a sort of fearlessness to promote yourself and reach out to new people. We can’t think of a single land professional who doesn’t already do that in real life!

The Future Leaders Committee at RLI is dedicated to finding the very best of the latest technologies, services, and trends in the industry for RLI members – just check out their new Member Technology and Resource Center. Keep an eye on them to learn about the latest in the industry!

New Clients

As the world around us changes, so do the clients we serve and their needs. Thanks to technology, clients have more access to information than ever before.

“The internet has played a huge role in redefining the ways in which land-seekers and land-sellers can connect with one another,” says Worrell. “This has created a shift in the characteristics of land buyers. Buyers are now more sophisticated because they have access to so much information! Modern technology allows buyers from all over the nation, and even the world, to learn about land for sale thousands of miles away without leaving their screen.”

Clients aren’t always within driving distance anymore. Although most clients like to visit a property before taking out their checkbook, in-person trips aren’t a must-have anymore with things like virtual reality for showing land properties. The Information Age of buyers can now find all the data they need to know from their living room.

New Crops

If you told farmers twenty years ago that marijuana would be one of the most profitable crops, they might think you’d helped yourself to a little bit of that crop yourself. While marijuana is still federally illegal, farmers in states like California and Colorado are pioneering the new legal industry.

Even more traditional crops are getting an upgrade. Pork, an American staple that has been around forever, has become more cost-effective. Vitamin-rich feed has created bigger, and therefore more profitable, pigs.

All In The Family

The good news for young farmers is that statistically, they’ve got generations of land wisdom behind them. Unlike many other industries, the land industry is one where the passion is often passed down through generations. This inter-generational business allows millennials to teach new technology to older generations, who in turn can pass on the tricks of the trade.

What Doesn’t Change

While lots of things are changing in the land industry, there are just as many that stay the same. Good people skills and a strong work ethic never go out of style.

It still comes down to the people and earning their trust,” says Allan Worrell, ALC. “Be honest. Don’t backstab. Your clients have to believe in you as a person before they would ever want to do business with you. Don’t give them a reason to question your integrity. I’m reminded of the wisdom contained within John Wooden’s famous quote, ‘There’s no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.’ If you can go to bed at night knowing that your principles were not compromised in your land dealings that day, it will serve you well in this business.”

The elder Worrell also points out the importance of getting involved with groups like the REALTORS® Land Institute. “Get involved in professional organizations within your local communities and those that go well beyond your sales territory. Organizations such as the REALTORS® Land Institute provide the education, tools, advice, and networking opportunities that are the foundation for all land professionals to become the best in the business.”

The newest generation of land experts is facing a brand-new world of technology, clients from around the world, and ever-improving crops. While new farmers and landowners will face new hurdles, they have the wisdom and support from previous generations to help them and vice-versa.

Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Time Out-Sourced

As a broker, what activities do you enjoy doing the most? Is it meetings? Researching property? Cold calling? <–(FAT CHANCE). Beyond enjoying, what activities tend to get you the most business or make you the most money? I’m sure we have many activities that we enjoy doing far more than others. I have many of them. For example, I absolutely hate collecting all of the minute information related to a new listing. Tax info, parcel numbers, future land use, water, sewer, etc. It is certainly important for me to know all of that information. But the process of collecting it is time-consuming and tedious. On the other hand, what I enjoy more than anything is riding property with a client. Not only does it teach me the finer points of the land itself, but it fosters the client relationship in a unique way. This also takes time. You can’t be in a hurry when getting to know your client. For me, it’s one of the most important things to focus on for current and future business. When considering the resources that you put towards your business everyday time is both the most demanded and the most precious. It is your most valuable and least available resource.

This is not the first time I have written about protecting your time. Visit What is Your Time Worth? Part 1 & Part 2 for some background. For this article, I will focus more specifically on saving time when doing one of the most important things in the business: PROSPECTING.

I’ve learned a lot about prospecting over the years. I’ve utilized many resources and heard from or read many different experienced brokers on the topic. A website and blog authored by Bo Barron was particularly helpful in my early days of brokerage. Most recently, I heard Michael Bull, CCIM, speak at the REALTORS® Land Institute National Land Conference. Michael led an incredible session on broker success strategies and gave me one of the best tips I’ve ever heard about prospecting in commercial real estate: “Prospecting is not part of the business. It IS the business.” With this idea as the backdrop behind spending your time wisely, let’s look at how to maximize your available time for true, focused prospecting.

Here’s a quick real world look at the aim and process of my prospecting system. I look primarily for high-quality farmland. If I can find willing and reasonable sellers who own irrigated farmland, I can usually sell it pretty quickly. Below is a rough breakdown of my process. When I first started, I did all of this myself.

Step 1. Find high-quality properties located in certain agricultural areas

  • Search aerial imagery visually
  • Look for crop circles, irrigation

Step 2. Match likely properties from imagery with tax parcel info

  • Find property on tax assessor website
  • Collect owner’s name and address

Step 3. Search public information websites to find phone numbers for owner

  • Google owners name
  • White Pages, Intellus, etc.

Step 4. Enter information into Client Relationship Management (CRM) database

  • Click, type, copy/paste, repeat
  • Ensure accuracy, categorize new prospect
  • Log task for follow up call to prospect

Step 5. Prepare form letter to mail

  • Enter address info on form letter, fold, and insert
  • Address envelope, lick stamp

Step 6. Follow up call

  • Pick up phone, dial number
  • Talk
  • Sell
  • Make money

That’s a lot of steps. And all of that work took time. Time, time, time! And on the days I had meetings or other obligations, I got further and further behind.  I felt like I was always playing catch up with my property research and other administrative tasks – and the phone calls often left undone. Then came the MOMENTOUS day I discovered the world of Virtual Assistants (VAs).

VAs are real people who will undertake just about any task that can be completed with the use of a computer and phone. They work remotely from anywhere in the world. They can’t pickup your dry cleaning or drive you to an appointment. But when it comes to administrative and electronic tasks, they are some of the best in the business. With a little training and direction, they will amaze you with their ability to complete tasks quickly with great attention to detail. A quick Google search of “Virtual Assistant” provides many different clearinghouses to choose from or you can hire a freelancing VA directly. Hourly rates vary depending on experience and skill level, as well as whether they are US-based or overseas. However, you can get solid virtual support for between $8-$20/hour. It may take some trial and error to find a good fit, however, once you get comfortable with the process you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

The one thing I will admit is that it was difficult at first to hand things off. I had a certain way I wanted tasks done and was hesitant to just let someone else do it for me. Yet before long my VA was churning out info and products for me faster than I could keep up with the important things. So now, my process looks like this:

Step 1. Open CRM and see all the wonderful work my VA has done for me.

  • Properties researched
  • Owners name, address, and phone number, already in database
  • Tasks for follow-up calls already entered
  • Letters ready to print

Step 2. Give letters to in-house assistant to collate, address envelopes, and mail

Step 3. Same as Step 7 above

The process that once took me about 30 minutes per prospect/property now takes about 30 seconds. I skip straight to the most important step of getting on the phone with people to build relationships and get busy listing and selling property.

I will also note that the combination of a VA with an in-house Executive Assistant (EA) or Administrative Assistant (AA) is an incredibly valuable combination. Whatever the EA can’t do because it requires a physical presence (such as mailing letters) the EA or AA can do. My preference is to map out the vision and set expectations for the in-house assistant and then let them use their own skills while leveraging the VA as necessary to get the job done. My focus is on the output, and I do my best not to get too involved in the process.

As with anything you introduce into your business, all of this takes time: setup, training, direction, etc. And of course, none of this is free. A certain cost is associated with outsourcing of all kinds. You will need to make a determination on what is an appropriate level of outsourcing and cost for yourself and your business. However, in the long run, the time saved and the additional revenue generated is more than worth the time spent up front. As a suggestion, if you’re new to Virtual Assistants, start small. Outsource some non-time critical tasks on a pay-as-you-go basis, assess the results, and gradually increase. You will likely have to make yourself uncomfortable (like I did) with letting go of certain things, but once you reap the benefits, I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.

Ultimately, the buck stops with you. As a licensed real estate agent you have both a capability and a skill set that you cannot outsource. There are very specific things about your job that only you can do. Yet there are hundreds and thousands of other things that someone else can do for you at a fraction of the cost of your time. I encourage you to really asses yourself and your business to see where you can leverage other people and divert your most precious resource to the most important of tasks.

To learn more about this topic, check out McDow’s companion podcast below:

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: Caleb McDow, ALC, is a land specialist and vice president for Crosby & Associates in Winter Haven, FL. He holds a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE), the CCIM Designation, and is a licensed private pilot and drone operator. McDow joined RLI in 2014 as a Military Transition Program (MTP) member. He is an active member of RLI, serving on the 2017-2018 RLI Board of Directors and as Chair of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee. He also regularly shares his expertise on real estate issues for various industry blogs.

Effectively Networking for New Land Professionals

Networking always has and always will be a vital component to any successful real estate professional’s career. Being new to the industry can be especially daunting considering the number of real estate professionals entering the business.  To put it simply, the best piece of advice I can share is “you must be seen to be known.” In order to establish yourself in the marketplace and be successful, you need to be seen “out and about” by your existing and prospective clients at local and regional functions.  Here is an outline of several ways you can effectively network to grow and sustain your real estate business:

  1. Network with Industry Leaders Face-to-Face
    Get to know the top industry leaders and let them know you are in the business. By industry leaders I mean Brokers and Agents (within your company as well as your competitors), Appraisers, Lenders, etc. which have been in the land business for some time and are thought of as the “go-to guys.” It may be tough to get much of their time considering their busy schedules, however, try offering to take them to lunch or stopping by their office for a quick chat when you’re in the area. Be sure to have something to offer them, for example, if you stop in to see a broker you could take information on a new listing or ask them about specific buyer needs that you may have. I am always surprised how much more I learn by stopping by someone’s office and talking for 10-15 minutes in person vs. calling, texting or emailing them to check in. Always be willing to sit back and listen when they start talking, you will be surprised how much you learn.
  2. Start Using Social Media Networking
    Social media has become a huge part of the land brokerage business. It is a great way to network with buyers, sellers, and industry leaders as well as market your clients’ properties. I recommend creating a “business page” along with your personal social media pages. The business page will allow you to promote your business in a professional manner that can be easily reached by the public. A tactic I’ve found to be successful is periodically sharing items from your business page to your personal page. This will send traffic over to your business page often resulting in very credible leads. You will also find that once you’ve established yourself in the business, many of your clients will become actual friends and will likely become “friends” with you on your personal social media pages. This is a great way to stay in touch with your clients. By simply “liking” their post or wishing them a “happy birthday” you will stay on their mind and when they need a land professional they will be more likely to think of you.
  3. Attend Conferences and Industry Events
    Conferences are one of my favorite ways to network. Generally, at these conferences there are great speakers and trade shows, along with some of the best of the best in the industry. I highly recommend attending the National Land Conference by the REALTORS® Land Institute which is typically held in the Spring of each year. This premier event is attended by the foremost leaders of the land industry and is a great venue to gain expertise from the best industry speakers and teachers available. In addition, Conservation, Agricultural, and Forestry conferences are held throughout the Nation each year and provide great networking opportunities. There are also local and state chapters such as The National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and Safari Club International that host events.  All of these can be very beneficial in getting to know like-minded individuals with an interest in buying or selling land.
  4. Network in Your Local Community
    There is no replacement for being involved in your local community. If you take care of and help the people at home, they will take care of you. There are great networking opportunities in most local areas including: Sponsoring Charity Events, Participating in Church Events, Sponsoring Youth Sports teams, etc. You should make it a point to be present at many local community events such as trade shows, community cook-offs, historical society events, etc. Along with volunteering and sponsoring these events it is also a great idea to be involved with your local Chamber of Commerce. Many of the people you see and meet at these events will eventually have a need for a land professional or perhaps know someone who needs a land professional. When this happens, you want them to always think of you.

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: Calvin Perryman, ALC, is an Associate Broker and Appraiser with Great Southern Land. Calvin is an active member of RLI, serving on the 2018 Future Leaders Committee and as the 2018 President of the RLI Alabama Chapter. He graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Business and Economics in May of 2011. Shortly after graduating from Auburn he obtained his real estate license and has been in the real estate business since 2011.

The Top Land Blogs to Follow!

Buying or selling land can be confusing and complicated at times. It helps to partner with a land professional. You the client need to be educated about the process, intricacies around land ownership and many other facets surrounding all things LAND. There are many blogs out there that cover these topics and a lot of this information is available to you through blogs. Experts in the field often write blogs where they have an opportunity to share their knowledge….so why not take advantage.

I wanted to mention just a few, I hope you find these helpful.

 

 

Lands of America Blog

One of the leading website for rural land searches. Their post are written from many land professionals around the country and contain information you need to know!

 

 

LandThink

A great website full of information. This is the parent company for LandFlip.com a great site for searching for land and farms. The content often contains surveys from land professional across the country. Want to get land savy? Read their blog.

 

Southeastern Land Group Blog

Great content from their land agents. The content often covers topics about buying and selling land, transaction process and a wide variety of great information. One of my favorite bloggers is Jonathan Goode.

 

 

 

REALTORS® Land Institute Blog

Institute of  Land Broker professional from across the Country. Their Blog post come from members with a diverse background including Forestry, Agricultural, Farms, Ranches and a lot more!!

Land Blog.. Get the Dirt!

I had to plug my own blog. With over 35 years of experience in the timber, land management and land brokerage business, I love to share information to help buyers and sellers! My blog is narrowly focused to cover land, real estate and forestry topics!

 

Kent Morris, ALC is a Registered Forester and Associate Broker who has experience in fields such as timber appraisals, harvesting, thinnings, and timber sales. He writes articles about these fields and more in his blog Land Blog…Get The Dirt!

The Benefits of Land Real Estate Education

Some people think all they need to succeed in the land industry is a love of land and a few years of experience under their belt. Both of these are great to have, but once you start working, you’ll be faced with questions that even some of the most seasoned professionals might not know how to answer. Would you know what to say if a client asked:

  • In what ways do soil types affect land use?
  • Can I use a tax deferred 1031 exchange to my advantage?
  • How can I gain community support for land use projects?
  • What kind of returns can I expect from this property over the next ten years?
  • What are the tax results of my land real estate investment?
  • What is the highest and best use of this property?
  • What is the most efficient way to title real estate assets for a future wealth transfer?
  • What does the current US property rights system guarantee a landowner?

Gaining expertise through professional development and continuing education prepares agents to answer the tough questions before a client even asks them. But that’s not all. There are a lot of benefits of land real estate education.

The REALTORS® Land Institute is the gold standard when it comes to land education. No other provider offers as wide of a selection or as in-depth of courses as RLI’s LANDU Education Program. Here are the top four ways a LANDU Education can help you every day in your business to more confidently conduct transactions and close more deals as a land agent:

1: Expertise From The Best

If you look at RLI’s Instructor Center, you’ll see over thirty instructors with countless years of experience between them. You’ll truly be learning from the best in the business. These teachers have been handpicked and approved by RLI based on of their knowledge and expertise in their field of specialization.

2: Learn Your Way, At Your Pace

When you work with RLI, you choose the way you want to learn. There are online classes for folks on the go, independent study courses for those who to choose the pace they learn at, or traditional classroom classes for people who want to learn and network at the same time. If you want to get the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation quickly, you’re in luck. RLI’s 2018 LANDU Education Week is June 2-10 in Arlington, TX. Complete all of the course credits required to earn your ALC Designation in one place, including the three required courses and three elective courses which ensure attendees meet the ALC Education Requirements upon completion.

3: Stay Trendy

We aren’t talking about hitting the closest Cabela’s to check out their clothing line or buying the latest Yeti accessory (although they are trendy!). The land real estate industry and the technology tools available to agents are constantly changing, making it crucial to stay update on the latest trends so you have the strategies and knowledge needed to adapt. RLI offers Hot Topic Webinars throughout the year to make sure agents can stay ahead of the curve. Many of which are free for members to attend.

4: Increase Your Client Base and Referral Network

Getting the ALC Designation is a great way draw more and get referred more clients. Having the ALC shows your clients and other agents that you have the expertise and experience needed to successfully conduct land transactions. Plus, as part of a nation-wide network of ALCs, there is no shortage of referrals happening.

Even without earning the ALC, RLI’s Find a Land Consultant tool, which is an online public directory of RLI Members, is a popular way for potential clients to find you. In fact, if you Google ‘find a land consultant’, the very first thing that pops up is RLI’s Find a Land Consultant search tool. Even Google knows RLI Members are the best in the business!

To wrap up, there are more benefits to land education than just getting a gold pin or three letters after your name – although we highly encourage you take advantage of their added power as well. You can expand your client base and referral network and learn from the best in the business about the latest need-to-know information for land agents all in a way that’s customized to meet your needs.

About the Realtors® Land Institute                    

The Realtors® Land Institute, “The Voice of Land,” continually strives to maintain its status as the acknowledged leader for all matters pertaining to the land real estate profession. RLI endeavors to remain the essential membership organization for the extraordinary real estate professionals who broker, lease, sell, develop, and manage our most precious resource: the land. The Realtors Land Institute, provides the expertise, camaraderie, and valuable resources that are the foundation for all land real estate professionals to become the best in the business. For more information, visit rliland.com or call 800.441.5263. It’s the best time to join the best!

What’s Right for Your Client?

When assisting a client with a land transaction it is not only important to be able to answer your clients questions but also, possibly more importantly, to be able to ask your client the right questions. Below is a sample scenario of a new client and a few examples of questions a land professional may ask in order to help the client determine the best decision regarding their property.

The scenario
Your client owns land composed of agricultural land, but which also has some woods and water (and you know the highest and best use is continued use of the land as agricultural land and hunting/recreational ground). Your client is reaching a time in their life to make decisions on how best to handle their land for the future and there are many options in today’s world. Some of these could include:

  • selling it for row crop land and the woods/water for hunting/recreation;
  • or, once sold, complete a 1031 exchange to purchase another income-producing property or retirement home;
  • or, keep the farm via leasing it out so that your client has an income in retirement;
  • or, work on a succession plan to keep the land in the family;
  • or, enroll the land in an exclusive ag covenant or conservation easement;
  • or, use the land to build their retirement home or cabin so they can enjoy their retirement and have a wonderful, memory-filled family retreat to pass on to their heirs.

Questions for your client when considering the above options

  • Are you prepared for retirement?
  • Do you need an additional income stream into the future besides other retirement funds?
  • Do you want to continue to farm yourself?
  • Do you have children who want to farm?
  • Do you strongly feel you want your land to continue into perpetuity as ag land or recreational land?
  • Do you already have a retirement home?
  • Do you have funds and time to build and enjoy a family retreat that can be passed on to the next generation?

Starting points
When the future of your land is in question, an appraisal or broker price opinion will provide an opinion of the worth of the land. This factor alone may assist in helping answer some of the above questions for your client. Your client may decide, based on the number of children they have, the number of acres of land and rent or income from that land, there may not be enough income to divide between the number of children and they will elect to sell the land. Or, on the reverse side, they may decide, depending on the number of children and amount of agricultural land, there would be enough income to warrant keeping the land in the family.

Then, are there children who are interested in farming or not? If yes, succession planning can be handled and there are a number of extension offices, attorneys, etc. who can assist with succession planning. If there are no children interested in farming, a professional farm manager could assist the children in managing the farm.

Should the client decide to enroll the land into an ag covenant or conservation easement? An Accredited Land Consultant (broker/REALTOR®) can assist in locating the appropriate agency/entity.

In deciding whether to add a family retreat to their land, the question again is dependent on their financial situation, age, the number of children/grandchildren they have, and so on.

Conclusion
Your client’s land is probably their largest asset and assisting your client to make an educated decision is the goal, even though it may involve tough questions. If you are interested in working with landowners, you can obtain the education, experience, connections, and expertise you need to better assist your client with the tough questions through the REALTORS® Land Institute.

Terri Jensen, ALC, is a Broker/REALTOR®, Auctioneer, and Appraiser in Minnesota and is currently VP of Real Estate/Appraisal at Upper Midwest Mgmt. Terri served as the 2015 RLI National President of the REALTORS® Land Institute, a commercial affiliate of NAR, and is still an active member of the organization, holding their elite Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation.

Ten Lessons for Land Agents from a Decade in the Dirt

This January marks 10 years that I have been in the land brokerage business. Most of the lessons for land agents I have learned came by trial and error, and some have been impressed upon me deeply. That is what happens when you are clueless about what you are getting into, as I was when jumping into this business.

After closing nearly 200 separate land transactions, you see a lot of different scenarios in our line of work. I have had some deals that were whoppers: clients dying, fraud, exhuming a deceased person to prove paternity, a murder on a listing, vandalism to a house, equipment stolen, FBI involved, lawsuits, you name it, I have seen a bunch. That is what makes this business so fun. Below are 10 of the nuggets pertaining to our business that I have plucked from the dirt and carry with me daily.

The land business is about people. About 20% of what we do is about land, and the other 80% is dealing with people. To succeed in the long term as a land broker, you need to be good at the land part, and exceptional at the people part.

The time to do business is when people are ready to do business.

Don’t let your lows be too low or your highs be too high. The land business, as with all sales and service industries, has natural cycles and potentially sharp peaks and deep valleys. Understanding these trends helps you develop an even keel emotionally, and allows you to weather storms and take success with a measure of humility.

“Want to” is the glue that holds deals together. When I am evaluating the likelihood that a deal will come together, I try to measure the motivation. If there is a strong “want to” by both parties, the better the odds that the deal will happen. No “want to” almost always equals “no deal”.

Marketing does not equal selling. No amount of marketing a property to the general public can replace your being able to hand deliver a packet of information directly to the person most likely to buy it. Having those contacts and the strong relationships to make that happen takes time to cultivate. Be intentional about building relationships.

They don’t give out big commission checks as participation trophies.

Always be honest.

You always reap more than you sow. Everything you do in this business has the potential to come back to you in spades; good and bad. Momentum breeds momentum, and inactivity breeds inactivity.

Your reputation gets to the room before you do. How you treat people, how you conduct business, and how hard you work will be talked about in a room before you ever come through the door. One of my favorite principles for this come from ancient King Solomon, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”-Proverbs 22:1

The team you work with will make or break your business.

The land brokerage business has opened many doors for me that I never anticipated. I am grateful for the opportunities and income it has afforded my family. Joining the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) has been one of the best parts of the journey so far. I value the relationships and knowledge that have been a part of being associated with this great group of land professionals. Earning the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation has been a source of pride, and has made me better at what we do. I would encourage everyone that wants to make a career out of being a land broker to join RLI and work toward the elite ALC Designation. The benefits are well worth the time and money invested in the process.

Many of you reading this article have been at this far longer than I, and have many more insights into what it means to be a true land professional. I look forward to learning more and getting better if the good Lord gives me more time. Thanks to all of you who have invested in and helped us “youngsters” get started in the land brokerage business. We are standing on the shoulders of good men and women that gave us an example and an opportunity.

Jonathan Goode, ALCJonathan Good, ALC, is a licensed land broker and partner with Southeastern Land Group serving Alabama and Mississippi. He co-hosts the weekly radio program and podcast “The Land Show” to share his love of the land with people across the country.

What Does It Take to Be a Successful Land Real Estate Agent?

The land real estate business isn’t for everyone. It’s a field that requires enormous amounts of self-motivation, individuality, and hard work. It’s a field where working around the clock isn’t exceptional – it’s expected. That might seem overwhelming for some people, but all that work also has a lot of benefits. Meeting interesting people, the satisfaction of closing a big sale, and having the great outdoors as your office are just a few perks that come with the job.

To learn more about success in this field, we chatted with some of RLI’s top Accredited Land Consultants (ALCs) to learn about what it takes to be successful in the land real estate business.

Determination.

One thing that all land real estate experts need to succeed is determination. Land real estate can be impacted by lots of different things, many of them (like natural disasters) are out of your control. You need determination to get through the bad days and make the most of the good days. “I believe our success has been more about investing in ourselves, our careers, and our professional practices and never giving up on an opportunity. It all starts with being involved and taking advantage of the education offered through organizations like RLI,” says Drew Ary, ALC, a land specialist with Keller Williams.

Having determination to make the most out of any situation is a gateway to another key to success: a strong moral code. Having a strong moral code will give you stability in the dynamic world of land real estate and help you end the day feeling good about what you’ve done. “The Real Estate business can bring many highs and many lows. It is the kind of job that can leave you feeling incredibly accomplished and fulfilled one day while lost and struggling the next.  At the end of the day, it is your moral compass and how you treat people.  I’ll never shoot 100% or close every sales pitch but if I can lay my head down at night knowing that I was honest, genuine, and gave people my best, I can sleep easy and find confidence in that,” says Luke Worrell, ALC, with Worrell Land Services, LLC. If you don’t have the ability to make it through the tough days, land real estate might not be for you.

Grit.

Another factor that leads to success in land real estate is hard work and grit. Some people think that hard work means clocking in for a nine-to-five job, but land real estate experts are always working. Weekends, late nights, and holidays are all times that land real estate pros are still hard at work. They know that there is a direct correlation between the work you put into your job and what you get out of it. “The work you put in is directly related to the amount of money you earn, the freedom you have, and satisfaction you gain to
live your life your way,” summarizes Wendy Johnson, ALC, with Keller Williams Realty Rockwall.

Adaptability to Tech.

For land real estate experts, technology can be a double-edged sword. Sure, it’s great for finding new clients and properties, but who hasn’t watched hours go down the drain because you are trying to keep up with e-mails, calls, and social media? The trick is balancing the benefits of technology with the benefits of in-person interactions.

“Technology has changed the real-estate landscape in a big way, making consumers far more independent than in the past. However, I still believe that buyers and sellers prefer a personal connection with a real-estate professional. This has essentially shifted the focus of our job from that of a sales person to that of a trusted counselor. Millennials generally prefer to text in the beginning, but given the vast array of real-estate professionals from which to choose, most buyers still want to hear the sound of a voice before they make a final decision on who to trust. I always prefer to get a buyer or seller on the phone—or better yet in person. Technology is an excellent way to view through a window, but face-to-face is what finally opens the door,” said REALTORS® Land Institute Member Kem Winternitz, ALC  of Timberline Realty in an interview with Lands of America. If you can make technology work for you instead of the other way around, you may just be able to make it as a land real estate expert.

Expertise.

An extensive knowledge of land real estate is key for success. Getting hands-on experience or working with people who have many successful years in land real estate under their belt is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the industry. And the more you know about the field, the more you know about your clients and their needs. “A really great land broker needs to be able to share his buyer’s vision in addition to truly understanding the highest and best use for all properties. The phrase “boots on the ground” never meant more than it does in land brokerage,” says Winternitz.

In addition to utilizing all the technologies that are available today such as mapping and marketing, a land broker must literally put his boots on the ground. He or she needs to be familiar not only with the property itself, (property corners, boundaries, utilities, rights, etc.) but also the general area, elevation, terrain, soil capabilities, animal-carrying capacity, water features, game management units, and so on in order to understand fully what they are marketing and to answer the buyer’s questions completely. Outstanding land brokers develop gut feelings and a natural instinct about land parcels that only comes only with experience,” says Winternitz.

If you have determination, a rock-solid work ethic, an ability to use technology wisely, and a good knowledge of land real estate (or the willingness to learn – check out the LANDU Education Program) , you might just have what it takes to succeed in land real estate!

Top Tips For Land Agents to Beat Holiday Stress

Few people understand how tough it is to be in the land real estate business during the holidays. You don’t just have a nine-to-five job, you’re working around the clock. You have to work around the schedules of the clients, which in many cases means early mornings, late nights, and weekends where you are barely home. And while December is notorious for being one of the worst months to sell land real estate, many people use the holiday free-time to look around for properties. Putting all this together can make the most wonderful time of the year into a nightmare.

So, with an increase in work and the holidays right around the corner, how is a successful land real estate agent supposed to stay on top of their work and also enjoy time with their friends and family? Below, we’ve rounded up some great ways to handle the holiday craziness.

Want to learn more about how to stay sane during the crazy holiday times? Be sure to check out RLI’s ALC-to-ALC teleconference ‘Being Your Best-Reduce Stress, Maximize Productivity, Stay Healthy’. A recording will be made available to everyone after the event. In the meantime, here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Focus on your target audience.

You don’t want to spread yourself too thin during the holiday season. So instead of reaching out to every type of client that comes your way and running yourself ragged, try to focus on serious potential buyers and the projects you already have. This way, you can focus all your energy into projects that will have the best payout for you.

2. Budget

The holidays can be a stressful time on anybody’s wallet, but it can be especially hard on those in the land real estate business. Since income is tied to sales instead of a 9-to-5 paycheck, it can be hard to figure out how much money you’ll have to spend on presents and other holiday fun. If you haven’t tried budgeting before, now is a great time to start. Once you figure out how much you usually spend a month, you can get a conservative estimate about how much you’ll have leftover for the holidays. Here’s a link to learn more about budgeting.

3. Take Control of Your Time

Anyone who tells you “It must be great to be able to pick which hours you work!” has never worked in land real estate. You might not have to clock in from 9-5 Monday through Friday, but the hours can be grueling. Add on top of that family events, mass, pageants, shopping, and you’ve got a tight schedule.

While a huge part of working in land real estate revolves around the clients, there are some things you can do to reclaim your time. Scheduling meetings with clients as early in advance as possible will let you plan other things around it. And if you aren’t typically the most organized, now’s the time to change that (at least for the holiday season). You can use a physical planner or an online one, like Google Calendar. Seeing your time laid out in a planner is a great way to stay updated on what needs to be done and when.

4. Sleep

Sleep is the one thing that everyone thinks they can skimp on. Some people carry their lack of sleep like a badge of honor. Even though it might make you feel good to say “I’ve been working so hard, I only slept two hours last night!” getting no sleep can take a serious toll on your work and your health, which will hurt your career. Also, skimping on sleep is a guaranteed way to make your body more prone to catching a cold, which is the last thing you need during the holiday season.

5. Limit Time on Tech.

Do you ever feel like you spend all day answering texts and e-mails, but never actually get anything checked off of your to-do list? Even though it’s a necessary part of any job, technology can be a huge time waster. The real time-suckers are those e-mails that don’t require an instant reply. Try putting those aside to focus on projects that need your full attention and see how much extra time you have at the end of the day.

6. Eat Well.

We know this is tough to hear during the season of roast turkey, gingerbread cookies, and eggnog, but you’re going to need all the energy you have to make the most out of this time of year. Sugary treats can keep you up at night, limitng the time you have for the all-important sleep, and fatty foods can zap your energy. Does this mean you can only eat salads during the most delicious time of the year? Of course not! Making a few changes each day (switching soda for water, getting a side salad instead of fries, keeping healthy snacks with you) can make a huge difference. You’ll notice an increase in your energy and focus (and maybe even how your favorite pair of pants fit) in no time.

7. Remember What It’s All For.

Between all the stress, hard work, and tension that comes with the holidays, sometimes it’s easy to just want them to be over. But it’s important to keep in mind what makes the holidays so special. Think about your favorite part of the holidays. Is it eating a good meal with your family? Going to church Christmas morning? Unwrapping presents first thing in the morning? Whatever it is, remind yourself of those special moments whenever you can. Putting some pictures of good family times from previous Christmases around your work space can help bring holiday cheer into your day.

8. Cut yourself some slack.

Everyone has to make sacrifices during the holidays, especially people who work in land real estate. Maybe that means spending less time at work or having to skip a Christmas party with your friends. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do everything that everyone wants you to do. Remind yourself that no one is able to “do it all” during the holiday season.

 

young professional

Young Professionals: Earning The Elite ALC Designation

Starting out as a young agent in the land real estate business is usually an intimidating challenge. When I obtained my real estate license five years ago, I started researching ways to gain knowledge and experience in land sales. I quickly found there are plenty of places to learn about the real estate business in general but very few opportunities to learn specifically about the land aspect of real estate. I found the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) and learned about their Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation. I soon figured out this was an organization I needed to be a part of and the ALC was a designation I sought to obtain. Having the ALC Designation is an honor for anyone and it can really set you apart from your competition.

“Receiving my ALC Designation took my career as a land broker to a whole other level!”

Here is why…

  • Education: The knowledge I gathered from taking LANDU courses offered through RLI helped me greatly. The course content is second to none and the instructors offer “real life” situations where you can put this knowledge to work in the field. The lessons you learn and the people you meet can help you many times over and many years down the road.
  • Networking: Networking with other RLI members and ALCs has led to several opportunities in my real estate career. I have had numerous referrals and joint listings that I can directly tie back to the connections I made at either State RLI Events or at the National Land Conference. I believe meeting another agent at one of these events and getting to know them better on a personal level makes it much easier to be able to put a deal together with them down the road.
  • Credibility: Being an ALC sets you apart from the rest of the “pack” of real estate agents. It gives you credibility when talking with clients and prospective clients. For instance, where I work in Alabama there are over 26,0000 real estate licensees and brokers and of those real estate licensees only 19 are ALCs. This gives a young agent who holds their ALC a real advantage over most of the real estate agents in our state. In 2015, I got the chance to interview with a prominent family for a listing on a ±380 acre timberland listing in Central Alabama. While in the interview, they asked what made me different from the rest of the agents that they had spoken with. I explained to them that I had recently received my ALC Designation and that the work and education that it took to get there gave me the specialized expertise needed to conduct their transaction. A few days went by and they called me and told me I had the listing. Since then, I sold that tract, along with several other properties for the family, and helped with a couple of consulting and appraisal jobs.

“I honestly believe the ALC Designation helped me land what could very well be a career-long client.”

I owe much of my success in my real estate career to the education, networking, and credibility I received through RLI while obtaining my ALC. I truly believe that ALCs are the “Best of the Best” in the land business and the ALC Designation is something that everyone in the business should work towards.

About the author: Calvin Perryman, ALC, is an Associate Broker and Appraiser with Great Southern Land. Calvin is an active member of RLI, serving on the 2017 Future Leaders Committee. He graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Business and Economics in May of 2011. Shortly after graduating from Auburn he obtained his real estate license and has been in the real estate business since 2011.