land real estate

Land Brokerage Relationships You Need

Land and decisions about its ownership or stewardship of it, have been a defining factor in the history of the United States. The promise of having a stake in the land brought so many to our shores. LAND, that one asset, is highly diverse, uniquely fixed, and limited in supply… 

“Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything, for ‘tis the only thing that lasts, and don’t you be forgetting it! ‘Tis the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for…”  –  Gerald O’Hara to Katie Scarlet, GONE WITH THE WIND

RELATIONSHIPS ARE KEY IN LAND BROKERAGE

As you establish yourself as a Land Broker, one of a select group of people who are willing to brave the elements and ford the streams, my best advice to you centers around RELATIONSHIPS. These important associations will help you today and over the years in your career of land brokerage. The depth they will provide to your practice will help you establish yourself as a Land Expert. Build this team and be loyal to them, and demand loyalty back! If you cannot call them when it may be inconvenient to them from time to time, find someone else to work with. As with most businesses, team effort is essential.

There follows a list of members you would do well to identify for your team in the land brokerage business. Try to find three folks you can work with in each category, but be sure to find at least one. These contacts will help you to know your market and the players in it.

LAND APPRAISER. Identify and meet with and interview this important member of your team. Talk with him or her about the average sales prices of lots and acreages. Keep track of this as you continue to keep in touch with this individual and chart it.  This information is all-important as you evaluate land in your market. This information can support that you obtain from your local MLS system (if you have one). Be sure to use the MLS to chart the land currently on the market, too. Also ask your land bankers, they know about deals that didn’t go on the market!

LAND BANK. The land bank is very important in the land business. Here’s why: Down payments and interest rates. Any property over five (5) acres (with or without a home on it) is considered “non-conforming”. Conventional lending services will make a loan on vacant land, however they want 20 to 50% down. On the other hand, the Land Bank asks 15% down on a 20-year program. (This program is based upon demographics, so your market area may not apply.) Note: Most Land Banks have in-house Appraisers. Check with your local Farm Credit and get to know those loan officers. They are a wealth of knowledge.

investment

ATTORNEY. Who can do business without a good attorney these days? Interview as many as you can find who specialize in land transactions. Talk with them about land, what they think about it, what brought them to specialize in land transactions, and how available they can be for you and your clients.

Try to identify at least three (3) attorneys you can work with and recommend to your clients. Remember, a land attorney should be very knowledgeable in subdivision laws, easements, timber contracts, mineral rights, extensive title searches, and land financing. There are definite nuances in the land business and your attorney needs to know about them and be available for consultation, even at night.

CPA/ TAX ACCOUNTANT/FINANCIAL PLANNER.   There may be tax consequences in all land contracts. These professionals can help you identify them and can be a valuable resource to you and your clients especially if they specialize in 1031 Like-Kind Exchange work. They can explain how to figure the “tax basis” in your transactions.

SURVEYOR. A surveyor is a big help in determining the “highest and best use” of a property. Do the same thing with surveyors as you did with other team members. Take the time to interview and select as those you enjoy working with and can recommend to your clients.

Be sure the surveyor is up-to-date on zoning and subdivision laws in your market area. Find at least one who not only is available, but will work with you. That is important. I call my surveyor at night if I need to.

land surveyor

ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONALS. Take the time to get to know your environmental health department professionals. Be sure to meet and spend time with the Health Department Director and Staff. At a minimum, learn from them:

  1. How to set up a septic system
  2. How to fill out septic applications; and
  3. How to understand and fill out well permits.

In addition, 1) learn how to do your own soil analysis, 2) know how to get a water sample if a property has existing well or wells, and 3) get copies of soil maps and system application forms so you will have them handy when needed. In a rural land transaction, the septic permit is all you need to close. Remember, the septic permit may take 2 to 4 (or sometimes more) weeks to obtain, so be sure to start the process as soon as you are under contract.

SOIL SCIENTIST. Soil scientists are an invaluable asset to your team because they can approve sites that a Health Department cannot. They can suggest alternative systems (probably considerably more expensive) and even override a Health Department decision.  Most counties do NOT have a soil scientist on staff, so you will need to do some detective work to find and establish a relationship with at least one. A soil scientist can teach you how to evaluate soil, a lesson well worth learning.

ALC Shadow over dirt

SEPTIC SYSTEM INSTALLER. In the land business, where septic systems are common, what would your team be without at least one reliable septic system installer on board? Identify and interview several and select those you can work with and refer to clients.  From your contacts, learn the different types of systems, their costs and how they are laid out. Go to an installation site and observe for yourself first-hand how the system is installed. Support your own research with a collection of information and brochures from various manufacturers whom your installer can recommend.

WELL DRILLER/CONTRACTOR. A poorly built or maintained well can allow pollutants to enter water directly. The closer the well is to sources of pollution, the more likely the well will become polluted. For instance, if the well casing is cracked and pesticides that are being mixed near the well are spilled, the pesticides can easily leak into the well and pollute your drinking water, so it is essential to take the time to get to know a certified well-driller in your area. A good place to start to look for a well driller is your State Division of Water Quality.  Once you locate reliable resources, and identify those you will want to work with, find out about their pricing structure (most charge by the foot) and get basic knowledge like the typical depth of a well in your area, and now to chlorinate a well.

Your regional DENR Groundwater Section office, county health department or local Cooperative Extension Center can be a valuable source of information on the following topics: New well or spring construction and site selection,  well inspection and maintenance, Certified well drillers, Unused well abandonment, Construction records for existing wells ,Well water testing including— – Advice on appropriate tests to run, – List of certified testing laboratories, – Assistance interpreting test results, – Health risks. Your local Cooperative Extension Center can also provide information on:  Backflow prevention, Water pollution and health risks, Water treatment devices, Groundwater.

COUNTY/CITY PLANNING BOARDS.  Attend meetings of your local board. You will gain invaluable knowledge and insight which you can share with your clients. Get current copies of zoning laws, subdivision laws, zoning maps, flood plain maps, and other information that will be of help to you. Know of plans for the future including zoning changes and annexations, as this will help you anticipate the market. Learn how to establish a new street name and address.

MAPPING STAFF. Get to know the mapping staff in your county. They can help you to identify property, property owners, provide tax maps, topographical (topo) maps, and aerials of property. (Most counties now have GIS systems.) The mapping staff can teach you how to use these tools if you take the time to establish a relationship with them.

REGISTRAR OF DEEDS STAFF. Get to know the folks at the Registrar of Deeds Office. They will help you do your own title search and do the research to discover anything that may affect the title or value of the property including: any type of easement, encumbrances, mineral rights, timber rights, and so forth. Remember: ALWAYS get a copy of the Deed or deeds involved as you do your research. Do not rely on the attorney to do this for you. You are the expert and responsible.

TAX ASSESSMENT OFFICER.  Take time to go to meet the tax assessment officer. Such individuals are helpful in understanding what has sold and trends in sales beyond MLS date.  My agent furnishes me leads from time to time. This member of your team can be an excellent resource and most Realtors do not use them, so you can stand apart if you do.

TIMBER EXPERT. Professional Forestry services can help you as you identify the “highest and best use of the land” and a timber expert is an excellent addition to your team. That person can help you remember which tree is which, learn how to identify prized trees, learn how to “cruise” timber, provide a “certified cruise” and basically learn how the timber market works. You need to know about or how to figure board feet, how a timber contract works, and how to auction timber. TIMBER IS CASH. Your client actually can buy land with a timber contract, cut the timber, and still own the land with no out-of-pocket money. Being able to evaluate timber will help you price land.

timberland real estate

ROAD BUILDER. The construction business has become a more complicated one as environmental and safety rules proliferate and methods and equipment become more sophisticated. The increased complexity of the field makes planning jobs even tougher than before Road construction, grading, concrete work, retaining wall construction and taking preventative measures, which are cheaper than curative ones, can reduce the risks of landslides and increased soil and water erosion. Your road builder can tell you about the importance of aligning a road along a ridge, especially with a south-west aspect, and how it helps to avoid water drainage problems, avoids exposure to excess moisture and frost, and uses sunlight to keep roads dry. Ask him or her about phased construction, such as gradually increasing the width of the track, avoids having to manage large amounts of excavated material and allows for the natural compaction of earthwork by rain.  Road building is a complicated effort and you will want to add a seasoned road builder (or more) to your team. They can let you know the cost of putting in basic access roads to state-specified built roads. This will also help you on a break-up evaluation.

CORPS OF ENGINEERS/SOIL & WATER/ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCIES. All these government agencies are resources for you and may well be involved in any land development project in which you are involved. Get to know them and what services they provide.

LAND CONSERVATORY. Identify the local Land Conservatory decision-makers. They may be aware of purchase programs and incentives that may purchase your listing or a part of it. Tax benefits at the Federal and State level may aid in your sale.

UTILITIES PROVIDERS. Contact the utilities providers in your area including telephone, power and cable. Know who they are, what their service area is, how they work in terms of applications and so forth, what their charges are (if any) for new service, or moving a pole or poles and possibly create a hand-out with this information you can supply to your clients.

utilities

LAND BROKERAGE TOOL KIT

These are must items to help you become a LAND EXPERT if you use them.

  • 300’ tape
  • Surveyor’s flagging tape
  • 4’ surveyor’s stakes
  • Small hand sledgehammer
  • A handful of 10-penny nail (Who is holding the dumb end of the tape?)
  • Machete
  • Really good walking/hiking shoes
  • Beverage container you can wear
  • Insect repellant
  • Professional compass
  • Hand auger
  • Scale ruler
  • Digital camera w/ extra disc
  • GPS locator
  • Calculator
  • Area maps
  • Topographical maps/ aerial maps of subject and adjoining properties
  • Septic/well permits application forms
  • Think about what else you may want to add to this list!

You also may want to contact Ted Turner.  He is the true lover of land. He now is the largest private owner of land in the United States.  He owns over 2,000,000 acres of land.  Does he know something we should know?

Now you are ready.  Happy land brokerage and good luck!

© Lou Jewell, Accredited Land Consultant 2004

Lou Jewell, ALCAbout the Author: Lou Jewell, ALC, has for over twenty-five years has provided expert experience in rural markets in Western Piedmont North Carolina and Southern Virginia. He has over 1,000 successful transactions and has developed over sixty rural subdivisions. A member of the Realtors® Land Institute since 1998, he achieved the prestigious Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation in 2004 and is one of less than 500 ALCs in the United States.

 

 

2018 Land Markets Survey

Top Four Takeaways from The 2018 Land Market Survey

The highly-anticipated Land Market Survey is out! Every year, REALTORS® Land Institute and the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group conduct this survey for land professionals across America to use as an informational resource. The land industry faced many challenges (such as natural disasters and uncertainty on the long-term effects of the current trade war) and many victories (such as the WOTUS ruling and an overall strong economy). Let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the 2018 Land Market Survey.

1. Land Prices Are On The Rise, But Slowly

Average land prices across America rose, but at a slower rate than previous years. Land prices rose 2% in 2018, compared to 3% in 2017. This slower gain could be a result of rising interest rates and depressed commodity prices.

2. The Price of Land Bought and Sold Went Down

Across all land types, the median price per acre decreased to $4,500. The amount of land being bought and sold also decreased to a median of 53 acres. However, some land types actually saw higher sizes and prices in 2018. Agricultural irrigated land, timber, recreational, and ranch land all increased in price per acre over the year, while agricultural non-irrigated, timber, residential, and ranch land increased in property size.

3. Financing Was The Number One Issue Facing The Land Industry

49% of respondents said that financing was an issue affecting the land industry. Local zoning, federal zoning, state regulations, and tariffs were also mentioned as top issues.

4. Land Is Being Sold Faster.

While some land types struggled in 2018, the median number of days a property would sit on the market decreased from 95 in 2017 to 90 in 2018.

As with any year, 2018 was a year of many ups and downs for the land industry. It’s impossible to predict what will happen next, especially in this industry. However, the data from the Land Market Survey can help us plan for whatever 2019 has in store for us and help make it the best year yet.

Want to learn more about the current state of the land market? On January 23, Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton, a research economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, hosted a survey going into the nuts and bolts of the Land Market Survey. The live webinar quickly sold out, but don’t panic! You can still watch the recording for free on our webinar archive page. The recording will be posted the week of January 28th.

We wanted to give a big thank you to everyone that participated in this year’s survey. We had the highest participation rate ever!

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.

What does RLI Have In Store For 2019?

The start of a new year is a time for fresh ideas, getting motivated, and setting new goals. If your New Year’s Resolutions include growing your career, networking with other land professionals, and learning more about land, check out what the REALTORS® Land Institute has in store for 2019.

2019 National Land Conference

The biggest networking event in the land industry is right around the corner! Join hundreds of other land professionals in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 3-6, for four days of networking, amazing speakers, Break Out Sessions, and more!

This year’s opening keynote speaker will be Dr. Mark G. Dotzour, a real estate economist who worked as the Chief Economist of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. His research has been used in The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, USA Today, and more. He will be informing attendees about how current economic conditions are impacting the land industry. You’ll also hear from expert industry speakers like Steve Apfelbaum, Amber Hurdle, John Newton, and Russell Riggs on topics such as the ecological value of your land, personal branding, the New Farm Bill, and the latest on land laws.

In addition to gaining expertise from these amazing speakers, you’ll be able to:

You can reserve your spot for NLC19 here. We hope to see you there!

Updated Classes

Our classes have been upgraded to include the most up-to-date information and the latest industry best practices. In addition, our new VILT (Virtual Instructor Led Training) courses foster engagement with and hands-on participation in the course content as well as networking with fellow participants. We are still rolling out these new classes, so if you don’t see a class you’d like to take, check back later in the year on our  , and we’ll most likely have it scheduled.

LANDU Education Week

LANDU Education Week is an amazing opportunity to finish all six required courses for the Education Requirement towards earning the Accredited Land Consultant Designation in one week.  This year’s LANDU Education Week will take place in Denver, CO, from June 2-11. We sold out quickly last year, so be sure to register early! We’re still polishing the final details, but will be opening registration in early April.

Great New Webinars

Want to dive deeper into the Land Market Survey? We have two free webinars coming up that go into the nuts and bolts of the survey’s results. Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton, a research economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, will lead the Digging Into the Land Survey: Top Market Trends webinar on January 23. Then, Jay Wittistock will take a closer look at land surveys in general with The Dirt on Land Surveys on April 10.

Didn’t get to watch a webinar live? No problem! You can watch recordings of them here.

With all these great events, classes, and webinars coming up, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the REALTORS® Land Institute. We hope it is for you, too!

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.

Dealing with Holiday Stress As A Land Agent

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, but especially for land agents. Many clients have a tight deadline to get deals closed before the end of the year or even before tax season. With tensions running high and a seemingly endless to-do list, it can be easy to give in to the stress of the holidays. However, there are a few things you can do to deal with holiday stress.

Communicate

Strong communication is always key in the land industry. With so much happening around the holidays, one of the best ways to reduce stress is clear and constant communication to make sure all projects are headed in the right direction.

“As always communication is key, staying in contact with everyone involved in a transaction especially during this busy time of the year can make for a less stressful transaction,” said Calvin Perryman, ALC, with Great Southern Land.

Know Your Calendar and Everyone Else’s

It can be hard enough to keep track of what’s going on in your life, let alone everyone else’s. Keeping your calendar updated with the schedule of those you work with and for is the best way to make sure you don’t miss an all-important meeting or double book yourself.

“When closing a land deal around the holidays it is always best to make sure everyone is on the same page with their schedules,” said Perryman. “Make sure everyone knows when the parties will be out of town, when the attorneys’ offices will closed, and let everyone know your holiday schedule as well.”

 

Turn Your Ride Into Fun

Long car rides can drain you of your energy. To make them more enjoyable, try listening to some great land podcasts to learn on the go. Let’s Talk Land by Lou Jewel, ALC, features great guests and explores a wide variety of topics. Another great land podcast is The Land Show, co-hosted by Jonathan Goode, ALC.

Make Health A Priority

While trying to juggle everything else, people tend to think their health is the first thing they can let slide. Actually, a lack of sleep and poor diet lead to weaker concentration, poor memory, and can cause your stress levels to skyrocket. Be sure to use plenty of hand sanitizer, eat leafy greens, and squeeze in at least six to seven hours of sleep whenever you can. We know that a good night’s sleep can be rarer than spotting Santa Claus around Christmas, but sleep is always a good investment, especially around the holidays!

 

While trying to juggle work, family, friends, and everything else that comes along with Christmas, you can be left feeling exhausted and miserable at what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. We hope these tips help you get organized and healthy for the upcoming holidays.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to learn more about land? Once the holiday stress settles, be sure to check out our upcoming LANDU Education 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.

 

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.

November 2018 Land Sales Summary

Based on data shared through the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program, there were 162 properties listed as sold by REALTORS© Land Institute Members in November 2018, an increase of 6 percent over the previous month. This represents approximately $90 million and 21,000 acres of land and rural real estate sold across 131 U.S. counties and 25 states. November 2018 sales activity by REALTORS© Land Institute members participating in the program decreased by 14 percent compared to sales volume from the same period in 2017.

Pat Karst with Wabash, Indiana-based Halderman Real Estate Services & Halderman Farm Management and Travis Hamele with Portage, Wisconsin-based United Country – Hamele Auction & Realty jointly recorded the most individual sales during the month.

Listed as sold on November 12, John Pearson with Pearson Real Estate Company, Inc. registered the month’s largest sale by overall size. The 6,442-acre Flying T Ranch (East Unit) is located in northeastern Wyoming’s Campbell County. The ranch includes about 12 miles of the Belle Fourche River, with most of the river flowing past the ranch headquarters and through the east pastures of the ranch. Of its total acreage, 4,641 acres are deeded, with the remainder held under State and BLM land leases.

The LandGuys’ Scott Whittington, ALC, notched the most expensive sale with the November 1 purchase of the Atherton Grain Facility in Illinois’ Bureau County. The silo is licensed to store up 4.5 million bushels and includes 20 grain-storage tanks. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Bureau County ranks seventh in the state for the size of its overall ag economy, with corn grown for grain and soybeans being the county’s biggest crops. __________________________________________________________________________________

The Lands of America Comparable Sales Program includes almost 260,000 individual sales records dating back to March 2000. The program was put together to offer one centralized, nationwide location to assist in valuating properties. Sales information is shared on a voluntary basis by individual program participants. Please click here to learn more about participating in the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program.

Land and Congress: Just The Facts

It seems like the more news there is, the harder it is to find out the facts. Important news about land legislative issues, such as tariffs and WOTUS, can get lost in a sea of opinion pieces. Let’s take a look at the simple facts surrounding five of the most pressing issues in the land industry.

Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule

WOTUS is one of the most controversial land legislative issues in the land industry. This law was written to clarify water resource management but sparked a debate about property rights.

“Many (wetlands) are already covered under the Clean Water Act,” said Russell Riggs, RLI’s Government Affairs Liaison for  the National Association Of REALTORS® (NAR) and Senior Regulatory Representative for NAR, in an interview with REALTOR® magazine. “This expands it beyond navigable waterways to little streams, ditches, and isolated wetlands that were never really intended to be covered by the Clean Water Act. WOTUS would sweep in thousands of smaller water bodies under the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and now you’re talking about all kinds of different permitting, regulatory burdens, as well as infringements of property rights.”

Many land organizations, including RLI, opposed the rule and have been avid advocates for its repeal and reform. In response to the land industry, the Trump Administration put the rule under review. At time of publication, WOTUS has been revived in 26 states.

Russell Riggs will be speaking on key land legislative issues at the 2019 National Land Conference in Albuquerque, NM, giving an update on the latest legislation affecting the land real estate industry.

The 2018 Farm Bill

On September 30th, 2018, the 2014 Farm Bill expired. The Farm Bill expired because Congress couldn’t reach an agreement on the many influential land legislative issues that this bill governs, such as:

This bill covers dozens of incredibly important and complex land legislative issues. Changes made to this bill will impact every corner of the land industry. Landowners, investors, and consumers will all be impacted. It’s important that your representatives in D.C. hear what you have to say about the Farm Bill. RLI has a strong voice in D.C., thanks to our member-driven Government Affairs Committee and by keeping members informed on the latest land laws in blog posts, social media, and D.C. Updates.

Update: The Farm Bill Passed

Tariffs

Tariffs are a tax a country puts on a product made abroad. The intention is to motivate Americans to buy local products at a cheaper price. At the time of publication, there is a ten percent tariff adding up to $200 billion on Chinese imports. President Trump is expected to raise tariffs in the future.

In retaliation, China imposed tariffs on American products, including soybeans, pork, milk, fruit, and many other crops. Soybeans, in particular, have struggled. The Chinese tariffs have driven soybeans prices down and some soybean farmers are struggling to pay the bills.

“Farmers see that pain right now,” said American Soybean Association CEO Ryan Findlay in an interview on CNBC. “You have to have the prices to pay the bill — and the prices aren’t there right now.”

During a record production year, many farmers are storing soybeans in the hopes that the trade war will soon end.  The long-term impacts, good or bad, are unknown right now.

Bailout

To help ease the economic stress of the ongoing tariff war, the USDA authorized a $12 billion bailout plan for farmers.

Farmers who met the criteria would receive incremental payments from USDA programs. The first $6 billion was distributed in late August. Additionally, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) set up the Food Purchase and Distribution program to buy $1.2 billion in American goods that were impacted by the tariffs.

Endangered Species Act

In an 8-0 vote, the Supreme Court ruled to limit which habitats can be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The central point of the debate was if lands where endangered species weren’t currently living, but might one day, protected under the law.

“Only the ‘habitat’ of the endangered species is eligible for designation as critical habitat,” the chief justice said highlighting how the scope of the law as written now is limited. “Even if an area otherwise meets the statutory definition of unoccupied critical habitat because the secretary finds the area essential for the conservation of the species, [the law] does not authorize the secretary to designate the area as critical habitat unless it is also habitat for the species.”

Staying up to date on land news is tricky, especially when so many key land legislative issues are always being updated or debated. We hope this article offered a no-nonsense look at the current state of several pressing land laws. If you’d like to get more involved with the Advocacy side of RLI, consider applying for our Governmental Affairs Committee and make sure to check back regularly to our DC Updates page for the latest news about the latest legislative issues affecting the land industry. Remember – your voice deserves to be heard in Congress!

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.

Top Five Land Podcasts

Between filling out endless paperwork, driving between properties, and finishing continuing education hours, how is the average land agent supposed to keep up with the latest in the land industry? There are a lot of great ways to stay in-the-know, such as following land experts on social media to reading top land blogs like ours. However, the most convenient way to learn about land is increasingly becoming podcasts. You can listen to them anywhere, and most of them are free! To help you sort through the hundreds of land podcasts, we’ve picked our top five favorite podcasts for land agents.

Let’s Talk Land with Lou Jewel, ALC

Best For: All Things Land

The question isn’t what topics are covered in Let’s Talk Land — it’s what topics aren’t covered? Lou Jewell, ALC features a new guest every week to talk about everything from land values to evaluating soil to land laws. As a LANDU instructor and the author of An Insider’s Guide to Land Investment, Jewell brings decades of experience to the table. Each guest brings a unique insight to the podcast, making each episode distinct.

Highlights:

  • Investing in Land with Tom Martinez, Investor
  • What’s My Land Worth? With Ron Loftis, Realtor® and MAI Appraiser
  • Curtis Seltzer Author Books on Land

Listen to Let’s Talk Land here.

Successful Farming podcast

Best For: Anyone Who Buys Or Owns Farmland

This podcast focuses on the day-to-day logistics of buying and owning farmland. Host Jodi Henke takes an in-depth look at topics such as seed treatments, soil health, and harvest safety. In between informative discussions, Henke chats with guests about topical issues such as women in farming. The Successful Farming Podcast is the perfect balance between educational and fun.

Highlights:

  • Anatomy of a Seed Treatment
  • Fall Soil Health Practices
  • Disease and Insect Challenges

Listen to the Successful Farming Podcast here.

The Commercial Real Estate Show (Land/Development Sector)

Best For: Commercial Land Agents

Do you sell commercial land? This is the podcast for you. Host Michael Bull, CCIM, is always on top of breaking land news and laws. He and his guests chat about the role of appraisals, highest and best use for land, and economic updates. On the podcast’s website, you can choose from twelve different ‘sectors’ (themed podcasts on topics such as restaurants or multi-family units), but the Land and Development sector has the most relevant information for land experts.

Highlights:

  • Roles of Appraisals in Commercial Real Estate via Appraisal Institute
  • Highest and Best Use for Land and Development via Metero Forecasting Models
  • Forestry, Timber, and Land Investing via Columbia Timber Co.

Listen to The Commercial Real Estate Show here.

AgriTalk

Best For: Agents Interested In Land Laws + Farmland Market Information

When it comes to farmland market information, AgriTalk is the place to go. They talk about exports, trade, wheat prices, and more. The hosts break down complicated topics such as the ongoing tariff war and make them easy to understand. Not only is the podcast educational, the hosts are also a ton of fun to listen to. They make you feel like you are hanging out with your friends and chatting about land.

Listen to AgriTalk here.

The Land Show

Best For: Land Agents in the Southeast

While this show focuses primarily on issues facing landowners and buyers in the Southeast, this podcast tackles topics that everyone in the land business should be aware of. Co-hosted by RLI Member Jonathan Goode, ALC, this podcast gives listeners an inside scoop about forestry, wildlife, leasing, land values, and more.

Listen to The Land Show here.

Podcasts are a great way to learn more about land on the go. These five are just a few examples of what podcasts have to offer land agents. There are hundreds of amazing land podcasts out there — so get ready to crank up the volume and make your next long drive even more productive!

Looking for more land education? Check out the RLI’s for a wide range of designed to help land real estate professionals increase their expertise and grow their business.

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.

Upgrade Your Land Listings

There’s nothing more frustrating than having an incredible land real estate property and watching it just sit on the market. To figure out the secret to creating a listing that will get attention, we looked at the listings of successful ALCs to figure out what made those listings stand out from the crowd.

1. Put The Important Stuff First

In the age of social media, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Many listings only get a few seconds to make an impression. Make sure to put the most important information at the very front of your listing so that it catches the buyer’s eye.

2. Have A Checklist

Recently, a broker we knew contacted us because he’d found the perfect property. It had the acreage, price range, and structures he’d been looking for.

There was only one problem.

The listing didn’t include the location or any contact information.

Even the most experienced brokers can sometimes forget to add important information to their listings. Having a checklist can prevent these slips from happening. As a general rule, be sure to include:

  • Land type
  • Acreage
  • Price
  • Property features/type
  • Water availability and utilities
  • Location
  • Contact information

3. Get Social

There are lots of great and free tools to monitor which of your social media channels gets the most engagement. Each social media platform has a different target audience and finding out where your buyers are can be a huge time saver. Instead of spreading yourself thin, figure out which platforms work the best for you and focus your energy on that. Be careful though, you should only be doing about 20% selling on social and 80% providing educational, informative, and entertaining content, or you’ll scare aware your audience and there will be no one left to see those listings.

4. The Perfect Length

Similar to our first point, people don’t have a long attention span. If a description goes on and on (and on and on and… you get the point), people might lose interest. On the flip side, you don’t want a description to be so short that you cut out vital information.

There is no one “perfect length”, but looking at successful listings on The Land Connections, we found anywhere between eight to fifteen sentences was a length where you could fit in all the necessary information without going on too much. This listing from Bob Regester, ALC is a great example.

Slash J Slash Ranch at Lake Granby

Grand County| 920 Acres| $9,900,000| Granby CO

Slash J Slash at Lake Granby Huge Price Reduction Was $10,900,000 Now $9,900,000.
This exceptionally beautiful and rare 920-acre historic ranch is located in the resort community of Grand Lake. If you have been searching for the quintessential family legacy ranch, “Slash J Slash” ticks all the boxes. Multiple living quarters for friends and family located at the headquarters. Currently equipped for an equestrian and cattle operations with numerous outbuildings and a hay barn. There are several building sites hidden in the aspen and pine groves that offer spectacular snow-cap and lake views. Senior water rights are included with the ranch and add significant value for development potential. Elk, Moose, deer and antelope call this spread home.

This listing gives you all the information you need about the property: the price, the acreage, water rights, local wildlife, location, and more. This listing also comes with a property map and plenty of photos of the land.

Here’s another great example from Bart Miller, ALC. While it is shorter, the listing still contains all the information you need.

Golden West Equestrian Center

Jefferson County| 5 Acres| $1,995,000| Golden CO

The 4.88 acres of Golden West Equestrian Center is a profitable & well-established boarding, riding & training center. The facility maintains approximately 90 percent plus occupancy. The center boasts a 90 x 160 indoor arena, a 160 x 220 outdoor arena and a barn that contains 25 indoor stalls (16 with runs). In addition, there are 52 outdoor pens with shelters, two round pens (50 and 60), numerous turnouts, hydroponic fodder system, clubhouse and trailer parking. There is also an on-site veterinary clinic. An added bonus is a 164-acre open space park, available for riding, just across the road from the center.

5. Great Photos

You already know that great listing photos are a must. While many people focus on the quality of the photos, they sometimes forget to include pictures of things buyers would want to see. Here are some photo ideas to keep in mind for your next listing:

  • Pictures of structures of the land
  • Long distance shots
  • Pictures of water sources on the property
  • Video or drone tours of the property
  • 360 virtual tours
  • Pictures of unique aspects of the land (vineyards, bee boxes, etc.)

There’s no one perfect way to do a listing. Some people like to bullet point the factors of their property while others like a more structured layout. No matter how you like to create your unique listings, we hope this article can help make your listings more appealing.

if you want even more tips on how to create a winning listing, check out this post by our partners at Lands of America on maximizing your listings.

For more posts that help land experts take their career to the next level, check The Voices of Land Blog.

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.

 

October 2018 Land Sales Summary

Based on data shared through the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program, there were 153 properties listed as sold by REALTORS© Land Institute Members in October 2018. This represents approximately $84 million and 23,000 acres of land and rural real estate sold across 114 U.S. counties and 21 states. October 2018 sales activity by REALTORS© Land Institute Members participating in the program decreased by 5 percent over the previous month and 19 percent compared to sales volume from the same period in 2017.

The Land Guys’ Scott Whittington recorded the most individual sales during the month, followed by Raborn Taylor III, Pat Karst, and the team at United Country Real Estate and Auction.

Listed as sold on October 1, Dave Banzhaf, broker/owner of Englewood, Colorado-based Beacon Mountain Farm & Ranch, registered the month’s biggest land deal with his sale of 7,000-acre Reyher Farm. The farm, straddling portions of Bent and Prowess counties in southeast Colorado’s agricultural belt, is set up for cattle grazing, alfalfa pellet production and farming of crops including corn. The well-irrigated acreage includes a cattle-feeding facility with a 22,000-head capacity plus alfalfa pellet mill capable of producing six tons of pellets per hour.

The month’s biggest sale by value was that of Hidden Lakes Farm in northwestern Illinois. Offered through the Land Guys’ Scott Whittington, the sprawling tract features a mix of hardwood timber, thick regrowth, and brushy cover, and beautiful, grassy upland habitat. It also includes some 150 acres of lakes and ponds stocked with a variety of popular fish species.

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The Lands of America Comparable Sales Program includes almost 260,000 individual sales records dating back to March 2000. The program was put together to offer one centralized, nationwide location to assist in valuating properties. Sales information is shared on a voluntary basis by individual program participants. Please click here to learn more about participating in the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program.