How Social Media Management Can Benefit Your Business

We’re living in the digital age where more and more people are turning to technology for solutions. In the last ten years, social media has grown into so much more than a way to stay connected with friends and family. It’s quickly become a medium for brands to connect with and promote services to their audience.

However, as new platforms and features have developed over the last few years, many organizations can’t keep up with what all there is to offer.

What is Social Media Management?

The overarching idea of social media management is exactly as it sounds— it’s the process of managing your presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, and more.

Depending on your industry and business goals, your social media manager may only use certain platforms. Apart from monitoring your online presence and reputation, your social media manager will set up and optimize your social media accounts, create and analyze content and audience reactions, increase followers, manage advertising, and put forth content that’s tailored to connect you with your target audience. Most firms will also provide monthly progress reports showing the results of their efforts to interact or engage with customers on your various social pages.

How Social Media Management Can Help Your Business

Social media is an ever-evolving force that is relevant to business growth, and if you don’t currently have someone managing your business’ social media, you could be missing out on tons of opportunities.

Regardless of business size and budget, social media is an effective tool to achieve business goals. Here are some of the ways that social media management can benefit your business.

  1. Drive Traffic to Your Site: Social media allows you an opportunity to post content and ads that drive traffic to your website. For example, if your website already has a blog section, then sharing those posts to your social channels could draw in new followers and traffic. Additionally, they can generate leads through advertising that direct users to a specific landing page on your website.
  2. Increase Sales: Social media is an important part of your sales funnel and provides an outlet for product search and e-commerce to thrive. Nearly 4 billion people are on social media as of January 2020, with numbers only expected to increase due to Covid-19. With the right strategy in place, you could reach tons of potential new customers.
  3. Build Brand Recognition: Your target audience is likely already using social media, so use these platforms as a way to humanize your brand and build brand awareness. Engage directly with your customers and followers and post content that is likely to be shared to reach potential new customers.
  4. Learn About Your Audience: Social media offers a unique chance to learn more about your customers, what they think, and what they want. Most social media networks offer analytics that can give you insights into the people interacting with your account, allowing you to better connect with customers.
  5. Advertising on Social Media: If you’ve ever used Google Ads you already know how costly that can be.  Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, can drive traffic to your website for a fraction of the cost.  You can also use Facebook Pixel to track conversion or remarket to people that have already taken some action on your website.  Almost all platforms offer very powerful targeting and advertising programs.

Social media management is a useful and timely resource that can help businesses of every size reach their audience and make lasting connections that convert.  We’ve found that Real Estate Agents can benefit most by using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, but new platforms are constantly emerging like TikTok, which has been in the news lately.

About the Author

Kevin May is the President of LandHub.com, a national land listing firm that has embraced social media since their inception.  LandHub is an education partner of RLI and is currently offering discounted social media management services to their members. Kevin was recently featured on the RLI Voices of Land Podcast in a show titled How Agents Can Best Market Properties in the Digital Space. Kevin can be reached at KMay@LandHub.com.

rural home

What to Look for When Buying Land in the Age of COVID-19

COVID-19 real estate trends show an increased interest in owning land away from crowded cities. The pandemic’s effects on housing, work, and the economy have forced many people to reconsider their urban-centered lifestyles.

Suddenly, moving to a rural area looks very attractive from financial and health perspectives. Before investing in land, take time to consider the reasons for buying property, the type of property you would prefer, and how you plan to find the right location.

Types of Rural Land That Appeal to Today’s Buyers

Potential property owners have plenty of options when buying open space. Some rural land can even help people earn money. Consider some of these popular options before committing to land ownership.

Hobby Farm

Hobby Farm Land

Hobby farms give you acres of privacy. They can also give you opportunities to live off the land. An 800-square foot garden can provide nearly enough food for four people. You will still have to buy staples like flour and sugar, but you can get your main ingredients directly from your hobby farm.

If you discover that you like raising crops and animals, you can earn extra money from your hobby farm by selling items at local or regional farmers’ markets. Once you gain experience growing crops for your family, it might make sense to expand your garden to produce extra food that you can sell to people in nearby communities.

Timberland

Timberland can offset the cost of buying property. Shortly after purchasing the land, you can sell the timber rights to a company. The process will interfere with your enjoyment of the open space for a while, but you can use that time to transition from the city to your new community.

Make sure you consult an expert before signing over the rights to your timber. You should have a contract that clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved.

Recreational Land

Recreational land has features for activities like skiing, hunting, fishing, camping, and riding ATVs. You can improve your recreational property’s value by adding features like cabins, barns, ponds, trails, and docks.

Telecommuting as a result of COVID-19 may let you continue working your usual job to earn money. Your recreational land then because an additional source of revenue that you can use to improve the property, pay taxes, save for the future or purchase other properties in the area.

ranch real estate

Ranchette

You may have a stereotypical image in your mind when you think of ranches. When you explore your options, you will discover a wide range of ranch land. For example, you could choose a ranchette where you keep cattle in a confined area. Then again, you could buy a ranchette with enough room for cattle to wander the fields all day.

Ranchettes give you opportunities to earn extra money. You can charge local horse owners to use your barn stalls. You can sell the cattle to butchers. You could even open the ranchette on the weekends to let people meet the animals up close.

Rural Residential

A rural residential home can serve as your main or secondary house. Some people choose to live in cities for part of the year. Then, they move to their rural homes to escape the pressures of city life.

You probably won’t try to earn money from your rural home, but you can add features to make it more enjoyable. Consider getting animals and planting beautiful flowers. If you want to improve the property’s value, identify some features that need improvement. You could add thousands to the home’s value over one summer.

Keep in mind that rural homes require a lot of work. Avoid overly large places that you will struggle to maintain.

Contact a Land Consultant for Help Exploring Rural Land Ownership

As COVID-19 real estate trends encourage more people to leave urban spaces, rural land could become harder to find and more expensive. If you’re interested in buying rural land, start thinking about your wants and needs now. It will take time to find the perfect property. You will also need to spend time getting financing for the property, comparing insurance policies, and other necessary steps.

You can make the process much easier by getting help from an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC). Regional ALCs may already know a few properties that sound like good matches for you. They can also help you understand your financing, insurance, and development options. You don’t have to figure everything out on your own. You can get assistance from an experienced professional who has arranged hundreds of property transactions. For more information on recent COVID-19 land real estate trends, see our recent round table discussion.

Why the 1031 Exchange Should Not Be Eliminated

Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, which allows taxpayers to defer, not eliminate, payment of capital gains and recapture tax on the sale of property, has been in the Federal tax code for the past 100 years.  Despite this longevity, there have been numerous proposals from elected officials to remove Sec. 1031 in order to allegedly “close a tax loophole” or pay for another government program.  So far, in each of these instances, this battle-tested provision of the tax code has passed the challenge of scrutiny but only after lawmakers took the time to understand its full economic impacts. Section 1031 impacts liquidity throughout the real estate market, has revenue implications to the Treasury as a result of a slowdown in transaction volume, and has a general positive impact on the US economy as a whole.

New Studies Show Potential Detriment of Eliminating 1031 Exchange

In response to past attempts to eliminate the Section 1031, a coalition was formed by industry giants to educate Congress on the full Section 1031 impact.  Two separate impact studies were conducted: one by Ling & Petrova and one by Ernst & Young LLP.  As each study delineated the financial effect of limiting or eliminating of Section 1031, the numbers articulated what pages of political soundbites might not have.  Elected officials quickly came to the realization that not only was the cost of like-kind exchanges to the Treasury grossly overstated, but that an outright repeal would devastate several important industries, harm the economy as a whole, and in the end cost the government in the long run.

Both the Ling & Petrova and Ernst and Young studies address how Section 1031 creates liquidity throughout the real estate investment market, which provides incentives and support for real estate to achieve its highest and best use.  The transactional activity from trading out of yesterday’s real estate to a new piece of real estate to meet tomorrow’s needs is a catalyst for a stream of economic activity, creating jobs and taxable revenue for realtors, qualified intermediaries, title companies, escrow, insurers, lenders, contractors, inspectors, appraisers, building supply vendors, etc. and generates revenue for local and state governments through transfer taxes, permitting fees, and increased tax basis from upgraded buildings and improved communities.

The 1031 Exchange Stimulates Agriculture

In addition to these studies, it is well known that Sec. 1031 stimulates America’s vital agricultural sector.  Farmers and ranchers use Section 1031 to combine acreage or acquire higher grade land or otherwise improve the quality of their operations.  Retiring farmers can exchange their most valuable asset, their farm or ranch, for other real estate without diminishing the value of their life savings.

Section 1031 is also used to promote conservation and environmental policies.  Grants of conservation easements can be structured as tax-deferred exchanges, facilitating government and privately funded programs designed to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, maintain wetlands and sustain critical wildlife habitat.  These exchanges also enable landowners to acquire replacement farm or ranchland in less environmentally sensitive locations.

Section 1031 is an important tool in the agricultural and commercial real estate market and must be retained.  It creates and preserves jobs and is used by a broad spectrum of taxpayers, from middle-class Americans, to small businesses and even large enterprises, to synergistically spur on our economy.

Key Findings from Ling & Petrova Study

  • Like-Kind Exchanges Encourage Investment: On average, taxpayers using a like-kind exchange invest approximately 33% more capital than non-like-exchange investors.
  • Like-Kind exchanges provide only temporary tax deferral: The overwhelming majority- 88 percent of real estate replacement properties acquired through a like-kind exchange are disposed through taxable sales, not subsequent like-kind exchanges.
  • Like-Kind Exchanges lead to job creation:  Real Estate acquired through a like-kind exchange is associated with greater investment in capital expenditures (i.e., job-creating property upgrades and improvements) than real estate acquired without the use of like-kind exchanges.

Key Findings from Ernst and Young Study

  • Repeal of 1031 would subject businesses to a higher tax burden on their transactions, resulting in a longer holding periods (the “lock-in” effect).
  • Repealing 1031 rules would slow economic growth, shrink investment and ultimately reduce gross domestic product.
  • The study concludes that repeal of the 1031 would adversely impact the U.S. economy by discouraging investment, causing a reduction in GDP, a contraction in the economy, and would unfairly burden certain industries and taxpayers.

About the Author

Daniel Wagner

Daniel Wagner is senior vice president of government relations for The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc.  He has been a licensed real estate broker since 2004 and holds Series 7 and 63 security licenses.

Wagner serves on numerous real estate industry, and governmental boards and committees.  He is a proud member of the REALTORS® Land Institute.

farmland for sale

COVID-19 Land Real Estate Trends: Update

A panel of Accredited Land Consultants and seasoned land professionals of the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) shed light on the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on land values and land market trends across the country in a recent Virtual Round Table session. The panel, which consisted of expert land agents from across the country, mostly pointed towards a positive outlook for the land market despite volatility in other areas. 

COVID-19 land real estate trends are continually evolving. For the most up-to-date information on the land market in your area, contact a land agent near you. Opinions and advice expressed in this session are not necessarily endorsed by the REALTORS® Land Institute and information should not be construed as recommendations for any course of action regarding financial, legal, investment, real estate, or accounting matters without further consultation about your unique circumstances by a land expert in your market.

Rural & Suburban Residential Trends

Demand has been strong for housing in both the suburban and rural markets, which is impacting the vacant residential land currently on the market. Small-acreage parcels are being absorbed quickly across the country for custom homes, and large-acreage parcels being bought by builders and developers.

“With home builders still ramping back up after hitting the brakes earlier in the pandemic, and existing home inventory at just three months of supply, demand is far outpacing supply, putting upward pressure on pricing across the board.” -Matt Davis, ALC

Buyers are purchasing properties with record-low lending packages thanks to extremely low interest rates, and many banks are now offering excellent financing terms on vacant land. These conditions are creating a strong seller’s market on most land purchases priced under $1 million.

Regional Market Trends

The recreational market in the Rocky Mountains is the strongest it’s been in years.  Warm-weather states such as Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and California are huge feeder markets for high-country mountain properties. Since the majority of the occupants in these warm-weather states can now work from home, they’re choosing to leave these states and move to cooler climates.

COVID-19 land real estate trends show buyers in warm-weather climates seeking real estate in cooler-weather climates such as the Rocky Mountains.

COVID-19 land real estate trends show buyers in warm-weather climates seeking real estate in cooler-weather climates such as the Rocky Mountains.

In general, buyers are looking to relocate from the more populated cities across the U.S. into more rural areas of the country, such as Oklahoma. RLI agents in Oklahoma are currently experiencing delays in closings due to the appraisal industry being in high demand for new purchases across the state.

“The greatest impact in Montana has been on the high-end residential market in listings with more space and privacy.” -Trent Lister

The high-end real estate market ($2 million+) is in high demand in rural mountain towns such as Bozeman, MT. Buyers are looking to purchase quality homes on large-acreage parcels in search of the elbow room and privacy less often afforded by an urban lifestyle.

Navigate COVID-19 Land Real Estate Trends with an Accredited Land Consultant

If you are planning to buy or sell land, make sure to find an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) to ensure you are working with an agent that has the expertise and experience to best handle your transaction. ALCs aren’t just land sales professionals: they are the most prestigious, the most experienced, and the highest performing land sales experts in their area. Achieving the ALC designation is not an easy feat. It can take years to complete the rigorous education program and establish a proven track record of transaction performance in land before an agent can qualify. It also requires a commitment to professional growth and conducting business with integrity.

Thank you to our panelists for offering their expertise in identifying COVID-19 land real estate trends:

Moderator | Eric Zellers, Ary Land Co | KW Advantage Land | Tulsa, OK
Development/Commercial Land | Matt Davis, ALC | Cushman & Wakefield | San Diego, CA
Agricultural Ranch Land | Clayton Pilgrim, ALC | Century 21 Harvey Properties | Paris, TX
Agricultural (Tillable) Farmland | Kyle Hansen, ALC, RLI 2020 National President | with Hertz Real Estate Services | Nevada, IA
Recreational Land | Justin Osborn, ALC, 2020 Future Leaders Committee Chair | The Wells Group Real Estate Brokerage | Durango, Colorado
Rural Residential Hobby Farm Land | Drew Ary, ALC | Ary Land Co / KW Advantage Land | Coweta, OK
Ranch and Rural Residential Land | Trent Lister | PureWest Real Estate | Bozeman, MT

The REALTORS® Land Institute Announces 2021 National Leadership

September 16, 2020 (Chicago, Ill.) – The REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI), a commercial affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®, proudly announces its 2021 national leadership. Luke Worrell, ALC, was elected by membership as their 2021 RLI National Vice President. Luke joins the 2021 RLI National Board of Directors as a member of the Executive Committee alongside 2021 President Renee Harvey, ALC, of Century 21 Harvey Properties in Texas; 2021 President-Elect Dean Saunders, ALC, of SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler in Florida; and 2021 Immediate Past President Kyle Hansen, ALC, of Hertz Real Estate Services in Iowa.

As Vice President, Luke will serve a four-year term on RLI’s Executive Committee, making him the Institute’s 2023 National President. Luke has an extensive record of service to RLI, having served as Chair of both the Education and Budget and Finance committees, and most recently serving on the 2020 Board of Directors as Treasurer. Additionally, Luke has served as the President of the RLI Illinois Chapter. He has been a member of RLI since 2009 and earned the elite Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation shortly after in 2012.

Luke brings a wealth of industry and community leadership experience to his new position with RLI. Among his many accomplishments, he has twice served as President of the Jacksonville Area Association of Realtors; is the current President Elect of the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club; is the 2021 Chair of the Illinois Farmland Values and Lease Trends Conference; and served a six-year term on the board of directors for the Morgan County Fair Board. Luke was the winner of RLI’s 2018 Rising Star Award, an annual honor conferred on an aspiring leader.

The election also adds two At-Large Directors to the RLI Board for a two-year term. In an effort to give members a stronger voice into the direction of the organization, three elected At-Large Director seats were added in 2017. RLI is proud to announce the election of Drew Ary, ALC, of Keller Williams Advantage in Oklahoma and Geoff Hurdle, ALC, of Hurdle Land and Realty in Tennessee, onto the 2021 RLI Board of Directors. Drew Ary served as Vice Chair of the 2020 Future Leaders Committee and has served on the ALC Accreditation Committee since 2018. Geoff Hurdle has served the past two years as President of the RLI Tennessee Chapter.

RLI Chief Executive Officer Aubrie Kobernus, MBA, RCE, released the following statement upon the election announcement: “Alongside the RLI Board of Directors, I congratulate Luke Worrell, Drew Ary and Geoff Hurdle on their new leadership roles. I look forward to collaborating with them as we solidify RLI’s vision of becoming The Voice of Land and further our mission of offering all land professionals the expertise and camaraderie that are the foundation for becoming the best in the business.”

Click here to download the press release (PDF).

Hay bales on late summer farm land

Why Late Summer is the Best Time for Buying Farm Land

Farmers used to say, “If you are going to buy a farm, do it at the end of summer.” That simple country wisdom comes from years of dependence on the rhythms of Mother Nature. Experience had taught them that a farm–or any kind of land, really–will give you a better picture of its potential and the opportunities and challenges it poses at the end of the growing season but before frost. If you’re looking at buying farm land, here are some things to look out for as the seasons change.

What to Look for in Late Summer and Early Fall

In late summer, the density of the foliage will show where the soil is rich as well as where it is thin and marginal. Whether it’s a stream, stock pond, spring or irrigation well, in most years you can get a true picture of what kind of water supply you can count on at that critical time between the end of a long hot summer and when the fall rains begin.

autumn meado

You will be able to see if there are overgrown areas that you want to reclaim or bring back into production, and the crisp cool days between the first frost of the fall and the last frost in spring are the best time for that kind of work. As fall progresses, foliage will thin and visibility will improve, allowing you to do more work in less time and prepare those areas for the next season.

“The years teach much which the days never knew.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If soil needs to be tilled in the fall to prepare for the next crop year, you’ll have plenty of time. You’ll also have good visibility into areas where you may want to maintain or create wildlife habitat. In most areas of the country you can plant late-season food plots and get a good start on a long term wildlife plan.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The years teach much which the days never knew”, and so it is with buying farm land late in the annual cycle.  You see the whole picture then: it’s the sum of the good days and bad, the rain and the sun. The way the land reacted to the previous growing season is a great indication of how it will respond to your efforts in the future.

About the Author

Richard ThompsonRichard Thompson is Executive Vice President of Sales at United Country Real Estate. He  began his career as a United Country sales associate in 1975. He later owned and operated an award winning franchise for another national franchise company before joining the United Country management team in 1988. As Executive Vice President of Sales, Richard utilizes the broad range of experience he has acquired in his 38 years in the industry to develop and execute the company’s growth plan.

vacant land real estate

Why You Should Invest in Vacant Land

“The wise young man or wage earner of today invests his money in real estate.” -Andrew Carnegie

Investors looking for relatively secure opportunities should consider devoting some of their money to invest in vacant land. Vacant land investing can give you several ways to profit. Some people purchase land, wait for the value to increase, and sell the property at a higher price at a later date. Others who invest in vacant land generate revenue and seek enjoyment from the property while they wait for the property’s value to increase. There are also many different ways to invest in land.

No matter how you decide to invest in vacant land, you should consider the details before you spend money on any property. Developing a plan with the help of a qualified land professional will make it easier for you to generate higher profits.

The Value of Vacant Land Can Grow Quickly

“Don’t wait to buy land. Buy land and wait.” – Will Rogers.

People have been moving from urban to suburban areas for generations. As families accumulate more wealth or move into retirement, they often want to get away from crowded urban areas so they can enjoy the privacy of suburban and, even better, rural homes. As more people move to the cities, the boundaries of suburbs will continue to reach out further causing a demand for vacant land to build homes on in the future near the outskirts of large metropolitan areas. Even with the recent pandemic there has been an increase in the demand for rural residential land and hobby farms.

The COVID-19 pandemic may accelerate the trend away from urban lifestyles. Anyone living in New York City during the pandemic, for example, has seen the challenges of surviving in a crowded city. As resources become increasingly scarce and increasing numbers of contagious people make going out in public unsafe, more and more people are wanting to get out of urban centers.

The sudden interest in rural land should increase property values. If you already own vacant land, you can profit from the growing interest in hobby farms and recreational land.

Not everyone will want to live in rural areas exclusively. Those who can afford to purchase rural retreats are more likely to do so now that they’ve seen the difficulty of living in cities during a pandemic.

Developing Vacant Land Can Increase Its Value

“Landlords grow rich in their sleep without working…” -John Stuart Mill

Undeveloped, vacant land becomes an undeniable investment opportunity when you’re willing to spend time and money adding buildings, infrastructure, and other features. For example, you can increase the value of vacant land by installing the utilities that most people look for when buying homes. A piece of land that no one wants becomes much more desirable once you add electrical lines, water, and sewage.

Other features that may increase the value of vacant land include:

  • Houses and cottages.
  • Barns and sheds.
  • Ponds and lakes.
  • Meadows and trees that attract wildlife.
  • Tree Stands.

Vacant Land Can Generate Revenue Before You Sell

“The best investment on earth is earth.” – Louis Glickman.

If vacant land already has some desirable features, you can use it to generate revenue while waiting for the property’s value to increase. You could earn money from land with fertile soil and a water source by renting or leasing your land to farmers. You can also make money from transitional land by:

Pay careful attention to a property’s features before you buy it. Without trees, water, and other desirable features, you probably can’t make much money from it while you wait for the value to increase.

vacant land

Use a Qualified Land Agent When Investing in Vacant Land

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” – Mark Twain.

It’s often challenging to determine which pieces of vacant land make suitable investments. Ideally, you want to get a return on your investment as quickly as possible, but with land you usually make more when you play the long-game. At the same time, you don’t want to sell too early and miss the opportunity to boost your profit.

You can make money from vacant land while you wait for the value to increase, but that depends on whether people find the property attractive. Without fertile soil, water, electricity, trails, and other features, you might not earn enough money to cover property taxes and additional costs. You can also enjoy the land while you own.

You can significantly improve your chances of success by working with an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC).

Don’t make the mistake of assuming any real estate agent can provide the same services as an ALC. ALCs don’t get their credentials until they have an exceptional level of experience in the land industry doing land transactions. They also need to complete a rigorous education program and pass exams to hold the designation.

Before you start investing vacant land, find a land consultant in your area who can help you focus on finding properties that match your needs. Your ALC may already know about a few properties that you can purchase within the next few weeks.

land survey

Everything You Need to Know About Getting A Land Survey

Before purchasing or selling land, you should have a professional survey the area. A land survey tells you a lot about the property. Without a land survey, you can’t make informed decisions that will help you understand what the property offers and its full value.

The Top Benefits Of A Land Survey

Crucial information that you will learn from a professional land surveyor about a property includes:

  • A property’s precise boundaries.
  • The specific locations of structures, additions, and improvements.
  • Any slopes or other geographic features that could affect the land’s use.
  • The location of easements and utilities.
  • Whether any of the land is in a floodplain.

How Land Surveyors Do Their Jobs

Surveying land means taking extremely accurate measurements over long distances. Today’s surveyors use technology to improve accuracy and save time. Surveyors often choose their tools according to the project’s needs. Popular tools include:

  • Theodolites, optical instruments used to measure angles.
  • Altimeters that measure slopes.
  • Total stations, electronic distance measurement devices that also help when leveling surfaces.
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that can use satellites to take extremely accurate measurements.
  • 3D scanners that can capture changes in elevation.

Modern land surveyors also use software developed to combine information from several devices. The software makes it possible to create detailed land survey reports that are easier for ordinary people to read.

land survey

Why You Need The Benefits Of A Land Survey

Some of the benefits of having information from land surveys are pretty obvious. For example, you need to know the precise property lines before you can determine a plot of land’s acreage and value. Some of the benefits, though, aren’t so obvious to people looking to buy or sell land.

Deciding Whether Land Fits Your Intended Use

A property’s features determine what you can do with the land. If you want to start a vineyard, then you may need sloped land that drains well.

Even the direction of the slope can matter. People who want to start orchards, for instance, need to pay close attention to whether sloped land faces north or south. When growing apples during autumn, you want trees to grow on a northern-facing slope if possible. During the spring, your trees will get better light on a southern-facing slope.

Knowing Where You Can Build Structures on Land

Building structures like houses, barns, and sheds can improve the land’s usefulness and value significantly. You can’t, however, just start building a large structure without knowing things like the land’s slope and the location of underground pipes and utility lines. The moment you break ground, water could come gushing from the hole making a costly mess. Suddenly, you have to delay your plans and spend money repairing the broken pipe.

A land survey provides the information that you need to choose the right locations for your structures. What you learn about your land could help you save money and finish your construction project faster.

How To Find A Credible Land Surveyor

You can’t accept anything less than perfection from your land surveys. A survey that doesn’t correctly identify the location of underground electrical wires could have serious consequences when you start adding structures to your property. Inaccurate measurements could also lead to lawsuits with neighbors who want to protect their property lines and leave you short-changed on your acreage.

Don’t take any chances when hiring a local land surveyor. Instead, talk to a qualified land expert who can recommend credible land surveyors in your area.

Qualified land consultants work with qualified land surveyors frequently to ensure the land transactions the handle go smoothly. They know who you can and cannot trust to do a good job. Also, they know enough about land surveying that they can spot the difference between decent and excellent surveyors as well as work with a surveyor to make sure all of your needs are best met.

Find a land consultant in your area to help you hire a professional land surveyor who knows how to provide the detailed, accurate services you deserve for your money.

rural home

Will Americans Trade-In Their Urban Lifestyles For Rural Ones In The Wake Of COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic will encourage a lot of people to rethink their urban lifestyles. In a time when social distancing and self-isolating play crucial roles in health, consumers living in urban centers find it nearly impossible to follow the rules for safety and are realizing they are at a much greater risk of being impacted by such an outbreak. The COVID-19 pandemic will, however, only add to subgroup of the population moving away from large, crowded cities to homes with more open lands in rural areas.

In fact, in a recent Virtual Round Table discussion about COVID-19’s Impacts on The Land Market, Accredited Land Consultant Lisa Johnson with Horsepower Real Estate out of Junction City, OR, predicts that there will be a lot of demand and says that right now there isn’t a lot of inventory to meet it. “We’re still seeing a lot of people calling from the larger metro areas… that, whether its 5 acres or 100 acres, they just want somewhere to go.” Read more insights from Lisa in the COVID-19 Impacts on Rural Residential Hobby Farms RLI blog post.

New York City at the Epicenter of a Pandemic

It didn’t take long for New York City to become the COVID-19 pandemic’s epicenter. Millions of people commuting on a public transit system and passing each other on crowded streets helped the virus spread quickly.

Millennials Were Already Moving to Suburbs

Fear of future pandemics will likely encourage more people to leave cities and settle in suburban and rural areas. Those moving away from cities, however, are not starting something new. They’re continuing a trend.

Drew Ary, ALC, with Ary Land Co in Coweta, OK, said in the COVID-19’s Impacts on The Land Market Virtual Round Table that he is seeing a similar trend in land sales with “an increase in anything outside of 45 minutes of a major metropolitan area.” He also noted that the inventory and interest rates are low and thinks “we’ll continue to see an incredible increase in demand for these types of properties. Read more insights from Drew in the COVID-19 Impacts on Rural Residential Hobby Farms RLI blog post.

As Millennials get older and start families, many of them realize that they cannot continue to afford living in large cities. The median home cost in New York City exceeds $680,000. In LA, the median home cost is nearly $690,000. Few families can afford to spend that much money on housing. A growing number of Millennials and other young people see suburbs, mid-sized cities, and rural areas as cost-saving alternatives with other perks of their own.

Knowing that they will have to spend half a million dollars more on housing to live in big cities, a lot of people don’t mind moving. Moving to smaller cities, suburbs, and rural communities often means that they can purchase larger homes, access better public education, and avoid higher rates of crime – not to mention improve their mental health. Add the fear of another pandemic, and it becomes easy for people to reconsider living in places like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

rural home

Technology and Remote Work Opportunities May Influence Decisions

Improved technology and a growing number of remote work opportunities may also influence people when they decide where to live. Living in New York makes sense when it’s the only place where you can find a job. When work becomes decentralized and remote, though, employees can effectively make more money by living in cheaper areas.

Data from the Pew Research Center show that internet access has grown considerably in rural and suburban areas over the last two decades. In 2000, only 42% of people in rural places used the internet. During the same year, 56% of suburbanites accessed the internet. In 2019, 85% of people in rural communities and 94% of people in suburbs said that they use the internet.

Despite improvements in technology, many business leaders have shown reluctance to remote working. The pandemic has forced them to reconsider this outdated idea, which could lead to a significant paradigm shift that embraces the value of working remotely.

Companies have already undertaken the hardest parts of setting up remote teams. Stay-at-home orders meant that businesses had to review and adopt software applications designed for remote workers. With these technologies now in place, some companies may decide that it makes sense to keep their employees remote to decrease overhead instead of bringing workers back to their offices. By keeping workers at home, companies may have to spend slightly more money on technology. However, in return, they can save a lot of money on overhead costs associated with real estate, energy, and insurance.

The combination of better internet technology throughout the country and an increase in remote work opportunities will make it even easier for ambitious people to move away from crowded cities.

rural home

Are Employers and Employees Rethinking the Future?

No one knows how people will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once researchers develop a vaccination, employers and employees might go back to life as usual. Alternatively, they could be reconsidering their urban lifestyles as a way to prepare and protect themselves from future potential outbreaks as the world economy continues to globalize. If they feel less certain about the future, there is a good chance that many will leave crowded urban areas for places that offer more room to spread out.

If this pandemic has you thinking about moving to a more rural area to put some land between you and your neighbors, as well as allow you to source your own food, make sure to Find A Land Consultant and use the Land Connections property listing site to help find the perfect property to meet your needs.

Farmland

The Basics of Farmland Investing

Despite concerns in other areas of the economy surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, now is still a good time to invest in farmland because the market is neither too saturated or thin. In fact, many investors are moving to investing in farmland as a safe haven. Plus, farmland has consistently yielded returns greater than 10% over the last five decades – so it is a proven good long-term investment.

If you’re interested in investing in farmland, you will need to learn the basics first though so you can make smart choices.

Top Reasons to Invest in Farmland

Investors point to a lot of different reasons when they explain why they choose to put money in farmland real estate. Some of the most popular reasons include:

  • The option to hold onto land until it becomes profitable to sell.
  • Transitioning the land to suit an emerging, high-profit market like organic produce or hemp.
  • Making money by leasing it to farmers.
  • Adding diversity to investment portfolios.
  • Scarcity. They aren’t making any more of it.

With the right approaches, farmland investing can give you an exceptional, one-time profit or provide a long-term source of income. Either way, it’s a relatively stable option that fits well into most portfolios.

What to Consider Before Investing Farmland Real Estate

Like any investment, buying farmland real estate comes with some risk. That means you should do some research and hire an expert land agent in your area before you invest in farmland. Learn about the following factors to make sure you choose land that’s likely to increase in value.

The Land’s Previous Uses

A piece of land’s previous uses can play a crucial role in your investment. If a former owner used chemical fertilizers, you might find it challenging to qualify for organic farming. If the land has sat unused for a decade, you may need to add a lot of nutrients to the farmland soil before you can grow crops.

The Soil’s Acidity and Nutrients

Crops only thrive when they’re grown in the soil with the right acidity and nutrients. Before you invest in farmland, get a soil test that measures the acidity and amounts of nutrients like:

  • Aluminum
  • Calcium
  • Lead
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur

Without the right levels, you will either need to grow different crops or amend the soil before planting.

farmland soil

The Farmland’s Soil Drainage

Most crops grow best in soil that drains quickly. For most plants, you don’t want standing water that contributes to rot, blight, and mold.

You can test soil’s drainage by digging a shallow hole, filling it with water, and returning the next day. If the hole still has water in it, then you probably don’t want to invest in the land.

Surface and Mineral Rights

Buying farmland always gives you rights to the land’s surface. You may not, however, have mineral rights. If a previous owner sold the land’s mineral rights, then the mineral rights are not included in your investment.

Owning mineral rights doesn’t matter for some land. If the company that owns the mineral rights decides to extract oil, natural gas, coal, or other commodities from the property, though, the excavation process will disrupt farming and can even limit the amount of land available to farm.

Determine How Your Investment Will Affect Your Taxes

Investing in farmland could increase your tax burden. In most cases, you will need to pay property taxes. You may also need to pay state and federal taxes on income that you earn from the land.

farmland investing

Ways to Get Started in Farmland Investing

If you have a large amount of money, then you can start investing in farmland almost immediately. You just need a qualified land agent to help you find farmland real estate that will earn money.

Most people, however, don’t have thousands of dollars to buy acres of land. That doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from investing in farmland real estate, but you may need to take some additional steps.

Know How Much You Can Spend

You need to determine how much money you can afford to spend on farmland. Even if you need to borrow money, a sizable down payment should increase your profit potential.

Find a Funding Source

Traditional lenders often charge high interest rates that make it difficult for farmland to earn profits. If you get a low interest rate, then a conventional loan might work well for you. Keep in mind that you have alternatives, though.

Crowdfunding gives you a low-cost way to access the funds you need to purchase farmland real estate.

You could also co-invest in land with friends, family members, or business partners.

Use a Qualified Land Agent Before You Invest in Farmland

Make sure you use a qualified land agent when investing in farmland. Land transactions require specialized expertise. One mistake could make it difficult or impossible for you to get a healthy return on your investment.

Find a land consultant in your area and make sure the agent has experience in farmland transactions. Accredited Land Consultants, agents who have earned the ALC Designation, are know in the industry as the most experienced and educated agent in the industry for assisting with land transactions.

There are plenty of good reasons to invest in farmland, but you may need help from a land agent, lawyer, and CPA to make sure you choose a piece of land that will give you a strong return for your money.