Social Media Beyond Facebook Part One

A few weeks ago, Facebook’s stock took a historic plunge, losing $119 billion in one day. It’s the largest one-day stock drop in history. Younger generations are leaving Facebook for newer social media sites, while others are fed up with scandals surrounding data usage.

Although Facebook is still a powerhouse, other social media sites are on the rise. In this two-part series, we are going to look at some of the most popular social media beyond Facebook and how to make the most of them to grow your client base as a land agent.

Instagram 

Instagram is a photographer’s paradise. The land industry thrives on this platform, as pictures of beautiful properties rack up thousands of likes. Chris Miller, ALC, gave us some insider tips for having a successful Instagram account.

Make The Photo The Star

“A picture is worth a thousand words” perfectly captures how to be successful on Instagram. Wordy posts that would normally do well on Facebook flop on Instagram. When thinking about what to post, think about what draws the eye: rich colors, sweeping shots of land, and pictures of horses on ranch land.

If you need any inspiration, check out Miller’s Instagram page. It’s an excellent mix of stunning land shots, short videos of properties, and promotional material for his real estate group, American Forest Management.

“I post tract photos of lands I have for sale, I do some iPhone video clips that I create in movie maker which I share to talk about tracts or land-related issues. I also just share really good photos of land pictures or land management activities that I think interest landowners,” says Miller. “I take some great photos from the side of the road or when I am walking a tract and see something interesting.”

Consider Using Apps

There are apps to make photos better, schedule posts for you, and track all your likes and comments. Apps can take your Instagram game to the next level. Chris Miller likes the app Ezy Watermark.

“I use an app called Ezy Watermark to add my company’s logo to my videos and some photos for brand awareness as well.  However, I have heard Instagram favors photos with no text so I do not use this on every photo.”

The Repost app is also a fan favorite with land experts. You can use this app to repost from other Instagram accounts. This is great because it can save you time from having to create your own post while still staying top of mind and providing valuable content to your followers.

Love What You Do

If you always get your thumb in the way, you might want to try another platform. However, if you love photography, like Miller, Instagram might be the perfect social media site for you. “I enjoy photography, especially iPhone photography. So it is enjoyable to me to take the photos and share them and then see how people react to the photos.  I think it helps tremendously with top-of-mind awareness among your following and makes people think of you in land conversations they have or if they have a need.”

Having fun with Instagram also adds authenticity and makes your brand seem more relatable. This helps to generate trust from your audience.

Twitter

Twitter is rapid-fire takes on current news, different topics, and anything else you can imagine. RLI Future Leaders Committee Member Tim Hadley put it perfectly in his guest post for RLI: “Twitter is like a crowded club where you pop in and out of conversations and stay with the ones you find interesting.” But amid all the chaos, there are a lot of opportunities to brand yourself and meet new people.

Tweet Frequently And On Brand

The speed and vast amount of content of Twitter can sometimes feel catholic, but there’s a method behind the madness. Tweeting frequently keeps you top of mind for clients. Tweeting about topics related to land shows off how much you know about the industry and how in the know you are.

Take Mossy Oak’s twitter account for example. They tweet frequently (about two or three times a day). While they post lots of different topics (land news, hunting tips, nature shots, promotions for new merchandise), it is all tied around their brand.

Stay On Top Of The News

Who has time to read through a whole newspaper? Twitter keeps you up-to-date on not just national news, but also news specific to your interests. Check out hashtags to find content on topics you are interested in and you can even join the conversation and share your own expertise using them.

Track What’s Working

One of the great things about Twitter is how easy it is to see how successful certain posts are. Just click on your profile, click the “Analytics” button, and you’ve got a detailed report of the engagement of every single thing you’ve ever tweeted.

Hear What’s Being Said About You

Social media makes it easier than ever to keep track of what people are saying about you, good or bad. Follow your company accounts and hashtags to see what clients are tweeting about you. Google Alerts are also a great way to know when you or your company are being mentioned.

While Facebook is still a great place to network on, there are many other social media platforms that you can promote your brand on, meet other professionals on, and get your name out to potential clients through.

In the second part of this series, we’ll explore LinkedIn, YouTube, and one more surprise social media site!

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.

Handling Access Easements

So you get a call from Mr. Jones asking if you want to list his 500 acres. He tells you the property has a fully stocked 50 – acre lake that has been intensively managed for trophy bass; the property is dominated by beautiful mature hardwoods that have never been cut; there are over 75 acres of planted food plots for wildlife, also intensively managed; and the road system is extensive and   can be driven in a car. He goes on to say he wants to price it to sell fast, as he and his wife are getting too old to look after the property and are ready to move closer to their grandchildren.  You make an appointment to meet him tomorrow, to visit the tract, gather information, and do your due diligence. This potential dream listing in a great location that you know will sell quickly has you giddy with excitement!

Well, you meet Mr. Jones at the coffee shop. He jumps into your truck to ride with you to his property. After a short drive you pull up to the first gate and enter, then you go a little further and through another gate that is the entrance to his property. You enjoy your tour. The property is actually even better than he previously described. You know this will be an easy property to sell.

Then you ask him “Do you have deeded access from the paved county road to your gate?” and he answers “Well, no I don’t. Mr. Smith has always just allowed me to cross his property and we get along just fine.”

You now see your dream listing in a whole different light and it is not so good! Well, what do you do now?

Basically. you have four options.

OPTION 1- Accept the fact that you have a prescriptive easement to access the property and factor the price accordingly.

This option will pretty much limit your market to cash buyers only, as most lenders will not lend money to purchase property without deeded access. Another problem with this option is the unknown of what will happen when Mr. Smith is no longer the owner of the adjoining property being used for access. The new owner may not want you driving across his property.

OPTION 2 – Although in Alabama you cannot be landlocked, you still may have to go to court to gain some sort of access.

This will mean legal fees and other possible expenses, as well as, the court may only grant you an easement for ingress and egress (coming and going). The easement may be limited in width and not include utilities. This is a legal easement that the lenders will now finance, but the buyer may not be able to get power and public water to a home/cabin site.

OPTION 3 – Mr. Jones asks Mr. Smith to give him deeded access.

Mr. Jones can offer to pay for the survey and any other costs associated with having this agreement drawn up. This obviously is the best case scenario.

OPTION 4 – Mr. Jones offers to purchase deeded access to his property from Mr. Smith.

If you choose this option or option 3 be sure that the easement is wide enough (typically 45’-60’should suffice) and allows utilities. We recently helped a client purchase a 45’ easement for ingress, egress, and utilities that was ½ mile long, at a cost of $4,000.00. The value added to the property was far greater than the cost to purchase the easement.

So, there you have it, a quick summary on how to handle a fairly common easement issue. In closing, I have found that when you encounter potential problems like this, it is best to sit down face to face with the landowner that you are requesting the access easement from. Calmly go over the process, and explain why it is needed. Most people will respond much more positively to this type of meeting over a cup of coffee rather than getting a letter or email. You might be pleasantly surprised at the end result.

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: Eric Leisy, ALC, is an avid outdoors-man, freelance outdoor writer, REALTOR® & Land Specialist for Great Southern Land Co.

Getting to The Top: Finding The APEX of Success

The REALTORS® Land Institute recently presented the 2017 APEX Awards Program, sponsored by the internationally recognized magazine The Land Report, to identify and recognize the nation’s top producing land real estate agents. Over $1 Billion in property sales were recorded by RLI’s top 50 agents in 2017. That’s an amazing accomplishment to say the least, and this success again demonstrates the knowledge, work ethic, and power of the collective brokers within the RLI organization. Clearly, RLI partnerships are a force to be reckoned with.

At this year’s APEX Awards Ceremony, Michael Murphy and I of M4 Ranch Group were honored to be recognized with four APEX Awards, including a tie for 2017 APEX Top National Producer, a tie for 2017 APEX Broker of the Year Recreational Land Sales, both as a 2017 APEX Top Twenty Producer, and both as part of the 2017 APEX Producers Club. First, I want to pass on my deepest appreciation for the blessings our clients, our company, and our team experienced in 2017. We had “one of those years” that all of us in RLI work diligently to produce.

In 2017, the M4 Ranch Group Team was able to close over 95,000 deeded acres in 35 transactions. You, the top professionals in this industry, clearly know that just does not happen every year. You also know it has a much better chance of happening when you build the right platform, establish the right avenues for success, and most importantly, associate your company with the right performers in the industry.

We at M4 Ranch Group have worked tirelessly to do just that, working daily towards building a platform that couples time-proven tools with the newest technologies. We are both challenged and excited with learning new technology as well as with refining the ancient art of human relations. Being successful in this business is a never-ending quest for knowledge from understanding the details of an ALTA survey, easements, and water rights to understanding the history of a property and the biology of its wildlife.

M4 Ranch Group has been fortunate to capitalize on the neverending opportunities for education through our RLI Colorado Chapter. In our RLI Chapter, we focus on the needs of the industry, the needs of our chapter as a group, and the everchanging needs we as professionals face daily to better ourselves and our companies.

Each of us in the industry knows that “we only eat what we kill.” This industry makes no payment for a second place finish. If the transaction does not close, we don’t get paid. Our success at M4 Ranch Group in 2017 is without fail directly tied to the strength, intelligence, and the never-quit attitude of Team.

While Michael and I were recognized by RLI for the fantastic success in 2017, that success would not have happened without the back up of our partner, Michelle Murphy, as well as the rest of our amazing team. If there is one path to success, it is to build on peoples’ strengths within your organization and allow them to flourish in their niches.

We are all faced with what seems to be insurmountable challenges in the industry, including marketing, meeting our clients’ needs, and budgeting so that we get the most bang for our buck. Marketing alone presents an almost-bewildering array of decisions, from a virtually limitless list of print opportunities to working every technological angle to develop the highest web rating for listed properties, from full page banner ads and web listings to drone tours, from multi-page brochures to 3-D property imaging, from the highest standards in mapping to the local chambers of commerce. It seems no one person or firm has the perfect answer here. I do know that those who rise above never quit, and they never take the easy path. Nevertheless, many of these top firms are very humble in their success. If not, they only have to wait for a down year to regroup with humility!

It is easy to get tied up with statistics: where did we get the most results, what drove the most traffic, tracking web hits, social media clicks, direct leads, direct mail, etc. We can be consumed with questions. “Are we in the right market?” “Did we spend those dollars wisely?” “Will this work?” However, in the midst of our continuous data gathering at M4, we have recognized that the single biggest avenue for success has been relationships. In particular, we can attribute success after success directly to the personal relationships built within our RLI Chapter.

Without these friendships, partnerships, and working relationships, M4 Ranch Group would not have seen the success we experienced in 2017.The bottom line is that the RLI Colorado Chapter is, simply put, something special. The Chapter is built on the philosophy of “A Rising Tide Raises All Ships.” If you don’t have the answer you do have someone to call within this group who does. The level of integrity is extremely high. You just flat out can trust those you work with, something not said often in many industries, and sometimes even less in ours.

Building on the past outstanding years of effort from National RLI we are entering into a new era. With the appointment of Aubrie Kobernus, CEO, and the drive and tenacity she and her team bring to the table, this organization is rising at a rocket rate. The rest of National RLI and the nation’s chapters are working daily to build that same level of integrity into everything from the ALC Designation and LANDU Education Program to the National Land Conference. RLI continues to work to help each of us better understand the strengths of those we work with, better understand the knowledge base of our partners, and better understand how they can share that knowledge base to help us all succeed.

Knowing the professionals in our industry is a major key to success. That’s one of RLI’s main benefits. We at M4 Ranch Group are honored to work with each of you, we are honored to call many of you friends, but most of all, we are thankful.

This article originally appeared in the 2018 Summer Terra Firma Magazine, the official publication of the REALTORS® Land Institute.

About the author: Dan Murphy has experience running restaurants, a guest resort, owning and operating a respected outfitting business in Colorado for twenty years, and as a current owner of M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC. His company specializes in ranch and recreation properties in Southwestern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

What Investors Want

Often times, investors looking to purchase farmland are looking for large, contiguous tracts with significant scale. Investors are not emotional and don’t have to buy the piece next door. They aren’t driving by the showplace farm their entire lives on the way to the co-op knowing they will do whatever it takes to buy that piece if it comes to the market. Investors typically are focused solely on the financial returns of the investment. Therefore, they are naturally more conservative than the farmer buyer, who may look at a potential transaction as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

It’s important to know the various types of investors. A public REIT (real estate investment trust), family office (family-controlled investment group), intuitional investor, or land fund all bring different things to the table. Depending on where you are located, laws may not allow for corporate ownership of land. Understanding the investor’s structure and long-term goals are important.

Farmers looking to sell their land to an investor buyer are likely looking for a leaseback provision and, sometimes, a buyback provision as part of the sale agreement.  It can be tough for everyone to get what they want in this type of negotiation. Recognizing that the investor has the ability to look at land anywhere in the country is critically important.

You aren’t in the same negotiating position selling to an investor as you are selling to the neighboring farmer. It’s wise to help the investor structure the deal so it works for them, as well. This often means the purchase price and rent need to meet their return thresholds. If a seller wants to include things like a buyback provision, the investor generally will want some upside for including that provision.

In an ideal world, we would only sell farms to other farmers and we wouldn’t need investors. The current environment may make investors a key component to allow farmers to keep farming, and they can make great long-term partners for farmers wanting to expand acres and operation.

While a few investors make uninformed buying decisions, most are shrewd and sophisticated. They want to put together a fair arrangement with the farm operator. Being incredibly transparent is the key. Investors generally want a sustainable cash rent figure and can quickly see through inflated rents.

Negotiating these deals can be tough. Attempt to understand both the farmer and the investor’s point of view. If they can agree on a fair rent number that meets the investor’s return thresholds, you can usually put a deal together. This often translates into a lower sales price than the public auction might bring. Ultimately, the question farmer’s must ask themselves is, “Do I want to maximize the sales price or continue to rent the land back?”

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

Steve Bruere, RLI Member, is the president of Peoples Company, an Iowa-based land brokerage with a diversified offering of land management, land appraisal, and land investment services in 20 states. He is also a member of RLI’s Future Leaders Committee

NLC18 Land Tech Accelerator Program Winners

Every year before RLI’s National Land Conference, companies submit applications of their latest and greatest land technology in the hopes of winning the Land Tech Accelerator Program. The Future Leader Committee then votes on the best of the best. The winners get to pitch their ideas at NLC. Learn about winners from NLC18 below.

Landhub

Landhub.com, which connects land buyers and sellers via its website and social media, was recently named as one of The Realtors® Land Institute’s Land Tech Accelerator Company for 2018.

We recently caught up with their President, Kevin May, and asked how his site can help our members sell more properties.

Q: How exactly does LandHub help connect Land Buyers and Sellers online?

A: We have embraced social media marketing to help market our clients’ properties on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram and we are even posting local Craigslist ads for them.  We’re investing heavily in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as Google and Facebook ads.

Q: Can you explain how the current offer for RLI members works?

A:  We are currently offering TWO FREE MONTHS of our UNLIMITED LISTING PLAN which includes:

  • Unlimited Listing Uploads to LandHub.com
  • Free Promotion on all our Social Media Channels:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram
  • Craigslist Property Ads in Your Local Market
  • Free Social Media Analysis

LandHub is launching a brand-new site this year and will be increasing its monthly rate but will grandfather in existing RLI Members for the rest of 2018.

Interested RLI Members can SIGN UP HERE!

Q: And how exactly does the social media analysis work?

A:  Our free social media analysis is a 20-page document that analyzes our clients’ current online presence and brand, including website and all social media profiles, and makes recommendations on how to improve them.  It’s an in-depth study we normally charge $200 for and RLI members are finding it to be a very useful way to jumpstart their online branding and marketing.

Q: What other services do you offer our members?

A:  We are investing heavily in SEO to drive traffic, and a lot of that has to do with creating content and backlinks.  We allow our RLI members to submit a blog post to our Land News section that gets emailed in our Sunday Land News newsletter and includes their bi-line and a link to their website, plus promotion on all our social media channels.

Q: How has 2018 been so far and what does the future hold for LandHub?

We’ve been growing rapidly and gaining market share in a very competitive landscape.  We recently hired Luke Hoene as a Senior Sales Associate.  Luke spent several years at one of the nation’s largest land-listing firms and knows the industry inside and out, as well as all the major players.  We are also building a brand new, state-of-the-art website set to launch soon which will bring even more tracking and analytics to our clients, as well as, a detailed buyer profile to make meaningful connections.  We’ll also be rolling out new social media management programs next month, which RLI members can get at a discounted rate.  We are land marketing specialists and our ultimate goal is to create a hub that connects land buyers and sellers while offering a breadth of services they both want and need.

Contact:

Kevin May, President

LandHub.com

844-4-LandHub

Kmay@LandHub.com

www.LandHub.com

Farmland Finder

“A rising tide raises all ships.” This is one of my favorite quotes and it’s exactly what FarmlandFinder has the potential to do for the land real estate industry.

FarmlandFinder is an online search portal for agricultural real estate. We have a process that involves automation and a dedicated team of professionals that tracks land that is for sale and aggregates auction and listing results. Website visitors can find this information with just a few clicks. We’re bringing a sense of transparency and ease of searchability into the rural real estate industry.

This ubiquitous access to information will increase the amount of engagement within the industry. When everyone has the ability to access land sale data with ease, I anticipate that we’ll see new business models be created in the land investing space that leverage predictive machine learning analysis, blockchain technologies and land-acquisition automation.

Unlike traditional listing websites, we don’t charge broker’s for placement of their listings. We believe that leads to an imbalance and unfair ‘pay-to-play’ model that simply isn’t the best experience for brokers looking to sell or landowners looking to buy. Our belief is that finding information should be ridiculously easy and free.

What we’ve found is that people like to know as much as they possibly can about a property, without having to talk to a person. They’re not looking for some misleading land value estimation tool… they’re looking for real data and the facts. That’s exactly what FarmlandFinder provides.

We’ve also learned that once somebody’s done their research and they’re ready to buy, sell, rent or invest – they want the help of an expert. That’s why we provide brokers and agents the opportunity to connect directly with our website visitors, in real-time. We call these experts PRIME AGENTS and if you’re interested in being featured as the local expert in your area, let’s talk! I’d be happy to help.

At FarmlandFinder, we’re just a group of humans trying to help other humans build the life they want. That’s why get excited about a frictionless future where everyone has access to all the information about land sales. We get excited about an industry-wide user experience that is pleasant for folks on all sides of the transaction. Most importantly, we get excited about creating a life-improving platform that helps you.

That’s who we are. That’s what we believe. And we’d love to provide you value, in any way we can.

I’m Steven and you can reach me at steven@farmlandfinder.com or give me a call on my cell at 712-720-3076. I’d be happy to learn more about you and see how I can help!

 

REALSTACK

REALSTACK  is a digital marketing and software firm serving the land and outdoor lifestyle industries founded in 2012.

Today, REALSTACK is quickly becoming a leader in the rural land and outdoor lifestyle markets by providing sales driven digital marketing services and software. Ultimately, sales for our clients is what drives the marketing strategy and continual improvement. That drive and continual improvement led us to build a powerful internet marketing platform for land brokerages to help sell more land faster.

 

Interested in submitting your land tech for NLC19? See if you qualify here (Land-Tech-Accelerator-Program) and fill out the application. Good luck, and happy inventing!

Land Lingo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Lessons from Land Legends

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

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller

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

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

What can we learn?

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

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

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

What can we learn?

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

Ted Turner

Ted Turner

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

What can we learn?

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

J. Paul Getty

J Paul Getty

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

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

What can we learn?

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

Walt Disney

Walt Disney

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

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

What can we learn?

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

And One To Watch: Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezoz

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

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

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

Gaining Community Support for Land Use Projects

Working on large land use projects can have many upsides. You get to work with big name clients and, many times, the job comes with a bigger paycheck. However, working on large land use projects can also have its drawbacks. These projects tend to attract controversy and resentment from the surrounding community; and community resistance can slow down construction, and in some extreme cases, can even shutdown projects entirely. If you want to gain community support for your land use project, good communication and planning will be your secret weapons.

Communities have rallied against land use projects since real estate agents, developers, companies, and governments started proposing them. Knowing how to handle opposition is becoming increasingly important, especially in areas where land is both highly valued and extremely limited such as New York or California. Small towns have also had to struggle with choosing between new land projects and historical or well-loved buildings. No matter where you are in America, you can use these tips to gain community support for your land use project.

Create A Website

When people Google your project, the first thing they should see is your website not an angry blog post about your project. For this reason, it is important to start building SEO as early as possible. Lay out the need-to-know facts about the project and be sure to include some positive things the community will get from your project. Will the project bring more jobs to the area? Will it increase foot traffic, bringing more customers to local stores and restaurants? Brainstorm ways the community will benefit and lay them out on the website.

Listen To The Community

Organizing a small meeting where members of the community can voice their concerns allows you to understand where the opposition stems from. In many cases, most of the anger from locals comes from feeling like their voices are not being heard. Seeing you make an effort to understand their concerns can do wonders for your project’s public image. The other benefit is that the community will be able to hear the facts directly from you. You’ll be able to correct any misinformation or rumors.

Some public affairs firms, such as GCA Strategies, warn against huge town-hall style meetings. According to their article, the company believes that “large audiences usually have too many issues to address in depth, and time is typically so constrained that people become frustrated because they cannot fully express their fears or concerns.” Consider having limited-seating, smaller meetings to make sure everyone feels their voice is heard. Think focus group instead of free-for-all.

Another option is making an appearance on local podcasts, radio shows, or news programs to talk about your land project.  This way, you can still get your message out to locals while having total control of the situation.

Keep A Cool Head

Staying calm in the face of conflict is the single most important factor in gaining community support. With social media at our fingertips at all times, it’s easier than ever to share your thoughts with the whole world. In times of stress, it can be tempting to vent your frustrations on Facebook, but this can have huge drawbacks if the wrong person sees it. Remember, anything you say reflects not only on you as a professional, but also on the land use project you are trying to get approved.

Social media slips happen to the best of us. A good way to prevent them is to follow SPACE guidelines:

S – Stop: Type it, but don’t post.
P – Pause: Wait an hour before posting. Ideally, sleep on it.
A – Assess: Ask yourself about your intentions behind the post.
C – Confirm: Ask a close friend who isn’t involved with the project their thoughts on the post and if they think it might cause trouble.
E – Execute: Send the post only if it passed the other steps.

Gaining community support for land use projects isn’t always easy. Social media and misinformation can spread like wildfire and be difficult to contain. However, if you approach the situation with a cool head and make it clear upfront the ways the community can benefit from your project, you can overcome even the greatest of hurtles.

This article was originally posted on Landthink.com. 

Praising the Appraisal Process

Trying to understand the appraisal process can feel like trying to find the Loch Ness Monster – impossible! An appraisal is an educated opinion based on dozens of different factors that are always changing. Since there is very little data available about most plots of land, most appraisals rely heavily on educated guesses and predictions of the market. This uncertainty makes some people uncomfortable. However, as a land professional, it’s important to know what goes into the appraisal process and what impacts value. Let’s take a look into the ever-changing and often infuriating world of appraising land real estate.

What exactly is an appraisal? According to the Appraisal Institute, an appraisal is a professional opinion on the value of a property. The word ‘opinion’ here is very important. Since land values, market condition, and demand for land types and uses is always changing, it is hard to find solid data to base an appraisal on.

Not only are the factors of an appraisal difficult to track, there are also so many of them! Here are just a few that impact land value:

  • Current market conditions
  • Income potential
  • Current land use
  • Soil type
  • Structures
  • Environmental hazards
  • Climate
  • Surrounding area/neighborhood
  • Local and national land laws
  • Location
  • Water/lack of water on a property
  • Access to mineral rights

We need a nap just after typing that list!

With all this in mind, what is the best way to go about getting an appraisal? There are dozens of methods out there, ranging from the income approach to the sales comparison approach. There are many blogs that suggest ‘do-it-yourself’ equations to figure out your land’s worth. We STRONGLY recommend against this. As you’ve seen in this article, appraisals are extremely complex and require the help of a professional (such as an ALC). While it is impossible to find an exact value, here are three tried-and-true ways you and a land professional can use to get the most accurate value of your land possible.

Get The Tax-Assessed Value of Your Property

You can access these in the public tax records. Tax-Assessed Values (or TAVs) are determined so that counties can figure out how much to tax different plots of land. They are done every few years. Since these numbers are used for taxes, TAVs are a great resource for appraisals. Remember that the TAV is used for tax reasons, so you still need to factor in current market conditions.

Best For: All land.

Land Survey

Done by a professional, this will help you know what parts of the land you own. This is great for lands where the boarders are unclear or deeds have gotten blurred over time. A land survey will also show you the buildable land and topography of a plot. Knowing what land uses are possible, and what the land’s highest and best use is, are key for determining value.

Best For: Large parcels of land and land with unclear boundaries

Land Value Estimation

Raw land is the hardest land type to value. It’s a blank canvas. The value will change based on what the buyer/owner does with the land. The land use and structures built on the land can wildly change the value. For example, imagine a plot of land that has the perfect location, soil type, and structures to be a vineyard. If the buyer uses it as a vineyard, the value of the land could be much higher than if the buyer decides to use the land for a completely different use, such as hunting. This method can give you a base price of the land.

Best For: Vacant Land/Transitional Land

There’s a reason appraisals should be left to the professionals. It takes years of experience and a solid understanding of market trends to even begin to understand land value. While we don’t recommend you trying to appraise your own land without the help of a professional, we hope this glance into appraisals makes you appreciate all the work that goes into it. Make sure to to help with your next land transaction.

Five Questions To Help You Find the Perfect Plot For Your New House

If you think finding the perfect house is hard, try finding the perfect land for that house. Finding a property that is in your budget, near your place of work, has passed all the necessary tests, is zoned for the type of house you want to build, and is not cluttered with restrictions can drain a person. We’ve created a checklist of questions to ask to make sure you get the perfect plot to build your dream house on.

1. Is The Lot Buildable?

You’d be surprised how many people don’t ask this question. It’s easy to assume that if vacant land is being sold in a residential area, it is automatically buildable, but that’s not true. Be sure to run a soil test to make sure the (especially recommended if your lot is located near gas stations, body shops, or anything where toxic liquids might be present). Read through all the paperwork that comes with the land to make sure there are no hidden non-building clauses.

2. Are The Other Houses In The Area Within My Building Budget?

If you want to build a $3 million home in a neighborhood of $1 million homes, you are going to run into serious trouble. Building houses with values different than the neighbors can throw the local land values out of whack.

In an article in U.S. News, Neville Graham, a real estate agent with Partners Trust, recalls a client having her construction loan denied because the $2.2 million building and land cost was far more than the average $1.5 million houses in the neighborhood. The client had just finalized buying the land, but now can’t do what they hoped with it. That’s a true land horror story!

3. What Utilities Do I Have Access To?

Different properties have different rules about what utilities you have access to. This includes:

  • Water
  • Power
  • Wi-Fi
  • Gas
  • Waste

There’s nothing worse than someone who buys their dream property, but finds out too late that they don’t have legal access to necessities like water and power.

4. What Are The Zoning Restrictions? / Is This Neighborhood Under Consideration For Re-Zoning?

Local governments establish zoning ordinances to regulate land use and determine school districts. If zoning regulations are changed, they can drastically change what you can build on your land. Zoning restrictions are also important for families wanting to get their children into the best local public schools. Keep a close eye on the local news and government to get a sense of changing zoning laws.

5. Is The Property Close to X?

Location, location, location! We went in-depth into this popular saying in our previous residential real estate article, but it’s so important we had to add it to this list as well. X stands for whatever matters most to have near you. For some people, it’s their place of work. For others, it’s schools for their children. Nature lovers often put gorgeous views above all else, while culture vultures will prioritize being near great restaurants, theatres, and museums. It all depends on what is most important to you.

While finding the perfect property is difficult, knowing which questions to ask will make the whole process a lot smoother. Another way to make the land search easier is by working with an Accredited Land Consultant (). ALCs know everything there is to know about land, and you can use the Find A Land Consultant tool to find one in your area.

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.