The Next Generation of 1031 Exchanges

I am a big fan of old western movies. Regardless of the movie, either a cowboy or the 7th Cavalry always came to the rescue at the last moment to save the day. Predictably, one of my favorite actors is John Wayne. Whether he was chasing the bad guys in the old west, defending the Alamo, winning the Civil War, fighting the Japanese at the Battle of Midway or fighting our enemies at D Day, he always seemed to come to the rescue. That’s what I loved about him and I always wished that in some way, I could do the same.

As a tax expert, now I can. I may not be saving Shinbone from Liberty Valance or Europe during WW2 but I can come to the rescue when a property owner is going to sell a property that will create a large tax liability. That works for me. And for you.

When selling a great property, you can either pay taxes on the gains or transact a 1031 exchange to defer taxes. The first isn’t a good option and the second is not always appropriate or has limitations to be completed.

But here is where a tax expert can come to the rescue. There are numerous ways to defer taxes using the next generation of 1031s. Our Section 453 tax deferral strategies have a 20-year track record of successfully deferring taxes between 2000-2500 times with the largest transaction being $120 million with a tax deferral of $50 million.

If someone wants to transact a 1031 exchange and can complete it that’s great. To be on the safe side, we can guarantee that if a 1031 fails, the sales proceeds will NOT be sent to the seller which now creates a large tax liability but rather that taxes will be deferred, and the client now has unlimited time to find a replacement property.

Consider the following examples.

One of the main limitations in an exchange are the 45 and 180-day time periods. Supply of real estate properties can be elastic.   Sometimes there is a great supply of replacement properties and sometimes there isn’t. What if there were no time constraints to have to deal with.

What if you could sell a property today, defer taxes today and have unlimited time to find a great replacement property. Would that work? Absolutely.

But let’s take that thought to the next level. When transacting a 1031, you buy low and sell high but because of the 45-day period, you may have to buy high when market conditions may be less than favorable to your buyers. What if after you sold high, you had unlimited time to buy again so you could wait until market conditions became more favorable to buyers. Would that work?  Absolutely. And even better, while your buyer is waiting for market conditions to become more favorable, we will pay him a cash flow of 5-6% while he waits. So, using the next generation of 1031 s, you can buy low, sell high and buy better.

Say you have 4 owners of a property and all the owners want you to list their property BUT 2 of the owners want to take their proceeds and run to Vegas…not necessarily a bad strategy and the other 2 want to defer their taxes. Until you get everyone on the same page, you can’t list the property. Get your paperwork ready. The 2 that want to take the money and run can do so and the 2 that want to defer taxes can use our proprietary trust to do so. You get the listing and you owe me lunch. Preferably in Vegas.

Say that there is a property owner that has had a property in the family for 50, 60, 70 years or longer. He would like to sell but almost the entire sale will be capital gains and depending on where he is domiciled, taxes can range from roughly 25-40% so instead of selling, he decides to keep the property until he passes on and then his kids get the property with the stepped basis.

That’s not a bad strategy for everyone but you because you now can’t sell the property. Instead, what if you could explain to the prospect that you can sell today, defer taxes today, move closer to the grandkids today and receive a higher retirement income than if he sells and pays taxes first. And he can do all of this while alive.

You have a client that has transacted 1031 exchanges for decades and now that he has accumulated wealth, he would like to sell and retire. Unfortunately, he now has to sell and use the basis of the first property to determine taxes and the tax bill will be a whopper.

What if you have a 1031 Exit Strategy. That’s right. By using our trust, he can sell his property and defer taxes for the rest of his life and into the next generation if he chooses to do so.  By deferring taxes, he can enjoy the fruits of his labor by receiving a larger retirement income than if he would have sold and paid taxes first. You are his new best friend.

One last idea. Say that you come across someone that has a high end primary residential property and they want to sell. However, the sale will create a large tax liability to the sellers. You can sell their residence, defer taxes using our trust and help them buy another property any time in the future. That’s a great deal for them and you made a new friend.

These are just a few of our tax deferral strategies so make sure to call an expert in conducting 1031s to come to your rescue. John Wayne would be proud. It shows True Grit. I can’t believe that I typed that. Until the next time, Happy Selling.

David Fisher is the managing partner for Creative Real Estate Strategies, a national firm that can defer taxes on highly appreciated real estate when a 1031 isn’t appropriate or can’t be completed. He has been an RLI sponsor since 2006 and has sponsored over 40 RLI events nationwide. He can be reached at 713-702-6401 or david@cresknowsrealestate.com.

 

The Scary Side of Land

Forget goblins and ghosts – these are the really scary parts of October. These land nightmares can cost you time, money, clients, and even your reputation as a land expert. Read on to find out some of the scariest things that can happen to land professionals and to see how you can avoid falling prey.

Buying A Property From Someone Who Doesn’t Actually Own It

One thing that every land expert fears is helping a client sell a property for a seller that doesn’t actually have a clear title to the property. This can create a horror show of legal battles and thousands (even millions) down the drain.

Sometimes, a seller doesn’t have legal rights to a property because they didn’t know enough about the history of the land and genuinely thought they owned it. It is important for agents to secure a title proving ownership before moving forward with a client.

Less scary: For those of you that are newer to the land industry, a title search is the process of retrieving documents about the history of a property. Title searches are the best way to know exactly who owned the property when.

Finding Out Too Late That There Is Something Wrong With Your Property

Just because a property looks perfect doesn’t mean that it is. There is nothing worse than buying what seems to be a flawless property only to find out after the check clears that there are environmental hazards lurking in your land.

Less scary: Soil tests do take time and money, but they are the best surefire way to weed out anything that could lower the value of your land. These tests can show a variety of things, from nutrient content and composition to other important characteristics such as the acidity or pH level. Nutrients in the soil can vary depending on depth and the timing of when the sample was taken so it is important to make sure you have a recent test.

Soil tests are especially important when building a structure or planting crops. You’ll want to make sure you have the right soil type for your produce.

Buying A Property With No Access

This might sound ridiculous, but there are thousands of landlocked properties with no access. As Future Committee Leaders member, Eric Leisy, ALC, pointed out in his guest post for RLI, “not having deeded access to a property can cause the value to plummet.”

Less scary: If your dream property is landlocked, you do have options. You can go to court to try and get an ingress and egress easement or purchase deeded access from whoever holds it.

“It is best to sit down face to face with the landowner that you are requesting the access easement from,” said Leisy. “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.

Buying Land Zoned Wrong

There’s a common misconception that the strictest land zoning happens in urban areas. In reality, zoning regulations can be just as strict for agricultural and rural land, especially when it comes to the livestock.

Less scary: Do your research on the area’s zoning laws. Local jurisdictions determine zoning requirements such as minimum farm size, number of non-farm dwellings, density of development, and land use.

Be sure to also check if the land is zoned as being in a 100-year flood zone. You don’t want to wake up to see the structures you’ve built on the land have floated away!

Buying Land Without An ALC

We saved the scariest for last! Accredited Land Consultants bring decades of experience, in-depth knowledge, and a network of other professionals to every land deal. Working with an ALC is a surefire way to avoid all the other land horror stories (and even some we couldn’t think of) mentioned in this article.

Less scary: Always work with an ALC! Use the Find A Land Consultant tool to find a qualified land agent in your area.

Being trapped in a land horror story will cost you time, money, and more. Be sure to keep your land and money protected by always working with a professional. Happy Halloween!

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

How to Start an Orchard

Many people think that summer is the best time to appreciate land, but orchard owners know that fall is when land is really in its prime. The leaves are changing color, fall treats are cooking in the oven, and everyone is in the mood for a big mug of warm apple cider.

Since October is an orchard’s time to shine, we thought we’d look into what makes a successful apple orchard.

Choosing Your Land

For an orchard to succeed, it needs to have a strong foundation to grow on. You’ll want to find a property with plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. Different varieties of apples thrive in different climates, so you’ll need to make sure your trees and your property’s location are a good match.

The USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a great way to gauge which types of trees would thrive in your location.

Soil drainage is also incredibly important. Be sure to get a soil test done or check out the USDA’s Web Soil Survey to make sure your property’s soil type is the best kind for your trees to flourish.

The best landscape for your orchard will also depend on the type of apples you plan to grow. If you grow apples that need more sunlight in the fall, you’ll want to plant them on a northern-facing slope. If you grow apples that need more sunlight in the spring, its best practice to plant them on a southern-facing slope.

A rolling landscape protects land from harsh wind. Too much exposure to strong winds isn’t good for any crop, but despite their sturdy looks apple trees are especially sensitive to the effects of wind. To prevent the delicate branches of your trees from snapping and the fruit from bruising, make sure your trees have decent protection from strong winds.

Finding the perfect property for an orchard can be tricky. Land transactions require specialized expertise, so Find A Land Consultant in your area before investing in this unique type of property this fall.

Choosing Your Apples

In America, there are currently 2,500 varieties of apples grown, each with their own unique flavor, colors, and needs. Here are some best sellers, according to the US Apple Association:

  • This New England favorite grows best in cool areas. Its tart flavor makes it perfect for cooking fall treats.
  • Originally developed in Japan, the Fuji apple is sweet and crisp. They also have a very long shelf life, sometimes lasting up to a full year with refrigeration.
  • Red Delicious. This American classic thrives in warmer climates. Although this type of apple has a surprising amount of online hate, it is still projected to be one of the top sellers for 2018.
  • Pink Lady®. A sweet, sharp taste with a lovely blush color. But be warned – this type is susceptible to fireblight and cedar apple rust.
  • These apples have a mild, honeyed flavor that is great for baking or dipping in caramel.

To learn about other types of apples, check out Orange Pippin. They have detailed descriptions of hundreds of apple types.

 

Tips For Planting/Caring for Your Orchard

  • Planting three varieties of apple types is the best way to get great pollination. Like people, bees are important to land real estate as an industry and its important to know they like variety in their food. Offering them a few different types of apple blossoms will keep the bees coming back to your orchard time and again.
  • Patience is important when growing trees. It can take anywhere from two to seven years for trees to turn a profit. Much like timberland, orchards take a while to make money.
  • Orchards do require upkeep. You’ll need to prune them in spring to get rid of dead wood.
  • Orchards are also especially susceptible to pests, so set aside some money for pest control.

If you have the time, patience, and love of land required to grow an orchard, it might be a great addition to your property.  There are thousands of different apple varieties to choose from, so channel your inner Johnny Appleseed and getting planting! Thinking about purchasing an orchard or starting one of your own? Make sure to find a land expert using the Find A Land Consultant search tool. Land transactions and investments require an agent with specialized expertise and experience in the field.

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

tamaya resort nlc19

19 Reasons Not to Miss NLC19

We’re getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year! At the time of publication, National Land Conference is 157 days away, but here at RLI Headquarters, we’re already excited! Last year, we wrote the Top Eleven Reasons to Attend the NLC18. This year, we’re counting up the top nineteen reasons to attend NLC19.

1: It’s RLI’s 75th Anniversary in 2019!

From our humble beginnings at the tail end of World War II to the Chicago 60 and from twelve name changes and eight different logos, there’s never been a dull moment for the REALTORS® Land Institute. At NLC19, we’ll look back at 75 years of how far we’ve come and our vision for the next 75 years. Keep reading to see what we have planned for our big NLC19 Welcome Reception!

2: Early Bird Discounts

The early bird catches the worm. Everyone, from ALCs to non-members can benefit if they register early! ALCs and RLI Members will save $100 for registering before December 1, and non-members will save $125! Be sure not to wait until February to avoid the price increase.

3: Discounts for RLI Members and ALCs

You already know that being a member of RLI or an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) comes with lots of amazing benefits. But did you know that you also get discounts on registration?  Standard registration for ALCs is $750, while members pay $800. You can save even more money if you take advantage of the early bird prices!

Psst:  Not yet a member of RLI? Join RLI before registering for NLC and we’ll take 25% off your NLC19 registration rate.

4: The Networking Event Of The Year

The annual National Land Conference is the premier networking event in the land industry. You can meet hundreds of other dedicated land professionals, re-connect with old friends, and make connections from around the country that will provide value long after the event ends.

national land conference

5: Our Partners

NLC19 wouldn’t be possible without our amazing partners! United Country Real Estate, The Land Report, Farmers National Company, Farm and Ranch Magazine, LandHub, and Peoples Company all have great services for land experts and have already committed to being partners at NLC19. We had a record-setting 30+ partners at last year’s event and expect more at NLC19. You’ll be able to check out the latest technologies and services available to help you be more efficient, more effective, and more competitive. If that peaks your interest, read on because we have a whole session dedicated to unveiling the latest and greatest tech companies in the land industry at NLC19.

6: The Beautiful Location

This year’s conference will be held at the magnificent Tamaya Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This location is steeped in the rich history of the Tamayame people, which makes it the perfect spot to celebrate and reflect on our own history. Checking out the amazing photos of this luxury resort will have you picking up the phone to make your reservation.

7: Let’s Make Deal$ LIVE!

This ever-popular Let’s Make Deal$ LIVE property marketing event will be back for NLC19! Present your properties to over 200 agents from across the country. It’s the largest opportunity in the land industry to market and discover great properties on a national stage. Be sure to let your clients know that you’ll be presenting their properties to this massive national audience of land agents with potential buyers —  talk about value your competitors can’t provide!

8: RLI Apex Awards Program

Sponsored by The Land Report, the RLI APEX Awards Program celebrates the best of the best. Awards are given to agents with the highest qualifying volume in each land segment, the highest number of transactions, and the overall Top National Producer (to view to full list of awards and apply, you can check them out here).

Need another reason to apply to the program? Through our partnership with The Land Report, our APEX Award Winners get national exposure year-round. Check out these great perks:

  • Featured in a two-part spread for The Land Report’s 2019 Spring Magazine
  • Featured in a PRNewswire national press release with Times Square photo, shot of the magazine cover, and RLI APEX Awards Winners in a picture caption
  • A full-page spread in The Land Report’s April Newsletter (which goes out to 70,000+ subscribers!)
  • And more!

Applications will be open in early January 2019. Last year, we saw over $1B in qualifying transaction volume from just 50 applicants – talk about the best of the best. Let’s see how many we can get this year!

9: Expert Speakers on Hot Topics

NLC is an event that always brings in great industry speakers, and this year is no different. Steve Apfelbaum, Principal Ecologist and Chairman of Applied Ecological Services Inc, will be talking about the keys to developing and implementing land-restoration programs.

Brand expert Amber Hurdle will walk you through her number one secret to brand clarity in her interactive session.

10: Howdy Partner Happy Hour

Join us in the Exhibit Hall for light hors d’oeuvres and drinks at the Howdy Partner Happy Hour where we will be thanking our 2019 RLI Partners for making this conference possible. Get ready to mix and mingle with fellow attendees and — most importantly at this event — our valuable partners!

11: Land Technology Accelerator Program Showcase

This short but sweet session will be a hot spot as the 2019 Top New Technology Partners, as voted by our very own Future Leaders Committee, take the stage to showcase the latest technologies available in the land real estate industry. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover new services and technologies that can accelerate success for your company.

12: Reflections: RLI’s Welcome Reception

Kick off the conference with us at the Reflections: RLI 75th Anniversary Gala Welcome Reception! Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, a bar to use your drink tickets at, and networking with fellow attendees at The Cottonwoods Pavilion for an upscale event honoring RLI’s story. Dress it up for an evening celebrating RLI’s 75th Anniversary by reflecting on where we came from and what has made our organization such a valuable place for land professionals over the past 75 years.

13: Amazing Sessions

Every year we get rave reviews on our breakout sessions. This year will be no different! Here is just a sample of the many great topics we’re going to be covering in our breakout sessions:

  • Marijuana
  • Block Chain
  • Carbon Credits
  • Branding
  • and much more!

We’ll be announcing more great speakers as we add them so keep an eye out in your email for the latest.

14: The Cowboy Auction: Pony Up!

The Cowboy Auction, sponsored by United Country Real Estate, is always our most high energy event that will have you grinning from ear to ear! With an open bar leading up to the auction and the amazing team over at United Country Real Estate leading the charge, this event is sure to be a good time. Last year attendees bid on items such as hunting trips, autographed memorabilia, vacation packages, and more! This event helps raise money in conjunction with the Land Education Foundation (LEF) for RLI’s LANDU Education Program. Have an item you would like to donate? We are lassoing in donations now, just complete this quick submission form with your commitment.

15: A DC Update Not To Be Missed

It’s been a wild year for land laws such as WOTUS, the ongoing tariff war, marijuana legalization, and more. RLI’s Government Affairs Liaison to the National Association of REALTORS®, Russell Riggs, will update us on the latest on land laws and news as well as what to expect in the coming year.

16: Companion Trip to Santa Fe

For your plus-ones, take a trip to sunny Santa Fe for a day of shopping, food, and fun! Explore art galleries and boutiques. Finish off the day with a delicious New Mexican meal.

17: Sandia Peak Tramway Attendee Tour

The perfect way to end an amazing conference! Take a ride on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Sandia Mountain Range.

18: The NLC19 Event App

You’ll have NLC19 — and all its resources and contacts — at your fingertips! This helpful app lets you view the full schedule on your phone and build your own custom schedule based on the sessions you don’t want to miss. It also features an attendee roster from which you can search and add contacts to your phone, rate and review sessions online, view a floor plan to easily navigate your way between sessions, access speaker materials, and even participate in our NLC19 Game Challenge and win a free night at the NLC20 resort!

The app will be available about one month before NLC19 so keep an eye out for emails announcing its availability.

19: Winners Wanted: Raffles!

Our sponsors will be raffling off incredible prizes that will be raffled off to anyone that stopped by their booth in the exhibit hall during the conference. In the past, these have included a Yeti cooler, leather briefcase, iPad, subscriptions to their services, and more!

The 2019 National Land Conference will be an amazing time to network, learn, and have a great time with great people. Registration opens October 1 — we hope to see you there!

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. This will be Laura’s first National Land Conference and she can’t wait to see what its all about and meet our awesome members.

 

Jessa Friedrich, MBA, Marketing ManagerAbout the Author: Jessa Friedrich, MBA, is the Marketing Manager for the REALTORS® Land Institute. Jessa has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing as well as her MBA specializing in Marketing. She has been with RLI since March 2015 leading their marketing, branding, and communications efforts. She is excited for NLC19 to be her fifth National Land Conference she’s helped to put on for land pros!

How To Pick The Perfect Agent for Your Land

You’ve found the perfect property to buy, sell, invest, or manage. There’s only one thing missing — the agent. Finding the right agent can be harder than finding the right property. Land transactions require specialized expertise so it is important to do your research when choosing an agent. Here are some tips to find the best real estate agent to help with your land real estate transaction.

1. Go Beyond Google

Google can be a great place to start, but there are many land-specific search engines, such as Find a Land Consultant that will tailor your search for your specific need and ensure you find a qualified agent.

What’s great about the Find A Land Consultant Tool search tool is that you can pick and choose exactly what you need for your land sale or purchase. You can select service specialties, such as conservation easements, investment management, tax deferred 1031 exchanges, and mineral rights, using the ‘Advanced Search’ functionality. You can also search for agents who specialize in ranch land, residential or commercial land, vineyards, farmland, timberland, and more.

2: Expertise

Nothing beats boots-in-the-dirt experience. It’s the best way to know the ins and outs of the industry. Someone with years of experience under their belt will know what common issues to look out for and the tricks of the trade to get you the best sale possible.

Looking at an agent’s expertise and history in land, especially if that experience is in doing transactions for your type of property, also lets you know if they are the right fit for you. There are many agents who have years of experience but still may not be right for handling your transactions.

For example, say an agent has spent 25+ years strictly selling massive commercial properties, and you have a 20-acre ranch. Even though the agent has decades of experience and probably is great at what he or she does, chances are you’ll want to work with a different agent. Take a look at their website and other listings or give their office a call to get a sense of what their strengths are and if they fit your needs.

3: Designations Matter

Achieving any designation requires time, hard work, and money. Almost every designation also requires continuing education to keep up with the latest in land news, laws, tech, and more. This is a guarantee that the agent will be up-to-date on all things land.

Jonathan Goode, ALC (who, by the way, specializes in agricultural/farmland, commercial land, and appraisals, just to name a few!) knows how important designations are in the land industry.

“These agents are demonstrating that they take seriously their commitment to excellence in their profession. Having these designations may not mean much to potential buyers, but it does show that they have worked hard to gain knowledge and proficiency in the discipline of land. Agents that are Realtors® have agreed to operate by and be bound to a Code of Ethics, which helps protect landowners in land transactions,” he said in a guest post for LandThink. They are also certified to have a high level of expertise in various aspects of land due to their completion of a rigorous education program, like RLI’s LAND University.

4. Marketing and Visibility

How an agent markets their property is important. Check out their websites and other listings. If you see their listings have been sitting on the market for a while, chances are yours won’t be flying off the shelves.

You’ll also want to think about their visibility. Do their listings show up during Google searches, or do you need to dig through pages before you find them? Do they have an active and engaged following on their social sites? Is their website updated regularly? Do they use drone video and high-resolution photos to market the properties?

“Pay close attention to how well an agent markets their listings online,” says Goode. “Recent statistics show that over 80% of buyers preview properties online before getting in their car and driving to look at land. You will get an idea about how much effort an agent will put into advertising your listing. Will your land be visible to potential buyers? It needs to be in this market so that ALL possible buyers are aware that you have a quality piece of land for sale.

5. Ask Questions That You Couldn’t Find Answered On Their Website

Most agents have almost everything you need to know on their website. You can find:

• how long they’ve been in the industry
• testimonials
• credentials
• specialties
• location
• listing examples
• And more in just a few simple clicks.

If you aren’t able to find those answers online, ask when you call them. You’ll also want to ask questions about your specific property and what their rates are.

The right agent will get you the best price for your land and smooth out the complicated process of buying and selling land. There’s a whole world of agents. Make sure you work with the best in the business – Find A Land Consultant near you to get started!

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

national land conference

Answering Common Questions About RLI Membership

“Why do I recommend land professionals join the REALTORS® Land Institute? Simple, it makes you money!” –  George Clift, ALC, Clift Land Brokers

We got such great feedback from our article Answering Common Questions About the ALC Designation that we thought we’d do a follow-up article about RLI Membership. We get dozens of calls every week about membership benefits, costs, and networking. Membership numbers have been on the rise, so we thought this would be the perfect time to answer the most common questions about an RLI Membership.

Q. Why should I become a member?

Becoming a member of RLI unlocks a lot of great tools and discounts for land agents. Membership includes:

  • Savings of $200 per LANDU course with exclusive member rates (excluding chapter and Land 101 independent study courses).
  • A personal profile in the Find a Land Consultant online search tool/member directory to be found by clients and other agents.
  • Access to a national network of over 1,300 land professionals.
  • Access to exclusive resources like a contract library, technology + services recommendation center, and a marketing kit filled with tips and advice.
  • Ability to apply for the prestigious APEX Production Awards
  • A subscription to the biannual Terra Firma Magazine.
  • And more! Check out the full list of member benefits on our website.

Q. What EXACTLY are the costs of becoming and staying a member?

The cost to become a member can vary depending on the month you join (we’ll go more into that in the next question), but a full year’s membership costs $445 plus a one-time $75 application fee. The annual renewal fee is $445.

 Q. Why does it cost different amounts to join at different points in the year?

If you looked on our website, you might be confused as to why joining in September is so much more expensive than joining in August. Our pro-rated dues schedule determines when your membership will expire and when you will need to pay renewal dues.

If you join between January 1 and August 31 of each year, your dues will be prorated through the end of the current year. If you join between September 1 and December 31, your dues will be prorated to include the rest of the current year as well as through December 31 of the following year.

The one-time application fee of $75 doesn’t change.

 

Q. I’m working towards my ALC Designation. Is it more or less expensive to be a member?

We’ve run the numbers. Long answer short, having an RLI Membership while working towards the ALC Designation will more than pay for itself in savings on courses. Plus, you get the added benefits of an RLI Membership.

If you are working towards the ALC with a membership, the total cost of six online courses ($535 per each of the five 16-hour courses plus $750 for the 24-hour Land Investment Analysis) at the member rate (a savings of $200 per course) equals $3,425.

For the course work alone, they average ALC applicant will save about $1,200. Take out the cost of membership and the one-time application fee and you’ll still come out ahead in savings plus you’ll be able to take advantage of all the other property marketing, networking, and resources that are included as RLI member benefits.

Even when you add in membership costs and the one-time application fee, getting the membership will save you money in the long term.

Note: class prices are subject to change. For the most recent course pricing, see the individual course registration pages.

Q. How does RLI promote its members and give them exposure to get more clients?

We’re dedicating an entire October blog post to all the ways RLI promotes its members, so we’ll save the in-depth descriptions for that, but here are some of the main ways that we promote our members:

  • Ads in top industry publications, including The Land ReportLAND Magazine, Farm and Ranch Magazine, NAR Commerical Connections Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Open Fences Magazine, and the TerraStride HuntStand app.
  • Host the Find A Land Consultant search tool
  • Write guest posts for top industry websites such as LANDTHINK, Land.com, and National Land Realty that highlight the benefit of working with ALCs and RLI members.
  • Run digital ads on Facebook and other industry websites
  • And so much more. Keep an eye out for our October article covering the many ways RLI promotes its members!

Additionally, we encourage all of our members to harness the power and prestige of the RLI brand by promoting themselves as RLI Members. We even have a member logo for our members to use on their marketing materials to help create awareness in their local markets.

 

RLI Membership is an endlessly helpful tool for land experts that continually provides value to its members. If you don’t believe us, ask the members themselves! These glowing reviews are just a few examples of how land experts used their membership benefits to become the best in the industry. As George Clift, ALC, once said “Why do I recommend land professionals join the REALTORS® Land Institute? Simple, it makes you money!”

If you have more questions about membership, contact us at 1-800-441-5263 or rli@realtors.org. Ready to join RLI? Simply fill out the online membership application today!

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

Tips on Generating Multiple Incomes From Your Property

This article was originally posted as a guest post on LANDTHINK‘s blog.  

“Buy land, they aren’t making anymore.” Mark Twain’s quote isn’t just hilarious, it’s true. Land is a limited resource. People get so caught up in trendy stocks that they sometimes forget the fundamental value of land.

What makes land such a unique investment is that you can use it to generate multiple streams of income. Before you read on, take a look around your neighborhood. Are there already seven other U-Pick operations in your area? Do all your neighbors grow and harvest the same type of timber at the same time? If lots of other landowners are doing it in your area, you might want to explore other options.

Having multiple streams of income is all about out-of-the-box thinking.  Here are just a few ways you can make more money off of your land.

Agritourism 
Agritourism can be a great way to make a little extra money on the side. Agritourism is any sort of activity that brings tourists to your land, and the opportunities are endless! Each land type offers its own unique range of ways to make extra money.

  • If you own an apple orchard or grow sunflowers, consider U-Pick or hosting different fall events. These could include hay rides, festivals, or selling fall treats like cider and pumpkin pie.
  • Ranchland? Consider horseback riding or boarding horses.
  • If you own a vineyard, you could do tours or host samplings. Maybe you could pair different wines with cheese or fresh fruit from your land!
  • Farmland? Host a corn maze or pumpkin patch activities in the Fall to attract visitors.

Air B+B/Rent Out Land For Campers
You might not view your land as the ultimate romantic destination, but other people might. The rental industry is booming, and there are tons of people looking for a country getaway. Websites like Airbnb.com allow you to list your guest room or cottage for the price of your choice.

If you don’t want people in your home, you could also rent out your land to campers. Camping can be profitable as long as you’re okay with a little wear and tear from people sleeping and eating on your land. One investment we’d suggest if you go this route? A Porta-Potty.

Lease Out Unused Land
You can lease your land to farmers who need extra land. This is especially helpful if your soil type is good for what farmers grow in your area. While this can be profitable, leases can get tricky very quickly. You’ll want to work with a land consultant to make sure you are getting the best possible deal for your land.

Host Events
The average couple spends thousands on a wedding venue, and rural and country weddings are a current trend. If you have a picturesque property or rustic barn, you can host a variety of events on your land to bring in extra income.

Make Energy
Renewable energy is a great idea if you don’t mind a few eyesores, like overhead power lines or turbines. Harvesting wind or solar energy on your land can make some extra money. You can either sell the power or use it for yourself to slash your energy bills (the latter more applies to solar energy). While this can be a great way to generate multiple incomes, having energy on your land could limit what you can do on that part of the property. Make sure you know all the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision on this one.

If you are interested in learning more about whether or not solar power is right for your property, don’t miss the REALTORS® Land Institute’s September 2018 Hot Topic Webinar on Solar Panels: A Good Idea for Your Land?

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of ways to generate multiple incomes from your property. We hope this article inspired you to find one perfect for your land!

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.

Using Video to Close More Land Deals + Better Serve Clients

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

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

Drones

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

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

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

The Personal Touch

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

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

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

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

Beyond Properties

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

You can create:

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

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

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

Timberland is Timberland… Right?

The majority of our market in the Southeastern United States consists primarily of timberland. One of the biggest problems I encounter with both Buyers and Sellers of timberland is that they don’t understand the value components of timberland tracts and what questions to ask to determine them on a tract by tract basis. A bigger problem is that many times, neither does their agent. Understanding what to look for in timberland enables you to be a smarter seller, buyer, or agent.

What makes a good timberland tract? A combination of important factors come into play with timberland: soils, site preparation, stocking/ stand density, and as always with real estate: location.

Soil

In regards to soils, you want to ensure that the soils are capable of growing the species that perform best on that site and grow at a rate competitive with other species/products in your timber market. And while you can take actions to enhance your soil’s growth rate like fertilizing or mechanical site prep applications like bedding, the better your soils are to start with, the faster you’ll see results from your timberland. Learn what site index rating the property has for the species you intend to grow or the species it’s already stocked with. The site index correlates closely with the yield of your forest. It acts like a score; that score is the height of that species at a certain age. The higher, the better. A site index score of 70 for loblolly pine in a plantation setting, the most common species see in timberland in our market, indicates that under normal conditions, a dominant and codominant loblolly pine would be 70 feet tall at 25 years old. Always remember that Site Index is species and age-specific and can vary greatly by both, so before using a tract’s site index rating to make a financial decision, be sure to confirm what base age is being used.

Site Preparation

Regarding site preparation, an analogy I use frequency is a vegetable garden. Which grows best – A garden that was tilled and sprayed or removed competing weeds, etc. or one that was planted directly into the soil without any site preparation? The prepared site of course. Timberland is no different, especially in a plantation setting. Reducing the initial competition through chemical and/or mechanical site preparation applications can greatly affect the long-term yield of timberland.

Stocking/Stand Density

When it comes to stocking and density, understanding your goals is key. Some saplings, speaking primarily of pine here, are genetically designed to grow fast but not necessarily clean, meaning more limbs and wider growth rings, both of which can affect the stand’s ability to grow lumber grade logs and poles (in pine stands). These stands will be more prone to produce products that are pulp and chip-based throughout their financial lifetime, also known as a “rotation.” Regardless of the source/type of seedlings you have, stand density can also affect the quality of your timberland. Wider spacing equals fewer trees. That helps them grow in diameter faster, but may limit vertical growth and the natural pruning that occurs in a properly stocked stand. Beyond that, a more simplified explanation can be fewer trees potentially equals fewer harvests and less money over the lifetime of the stand.

Assuming all things being equal between two tracts of timberland, location can be the most important factor in determining which is more valuable. Logging and hauling costs are the first expense that comes out of the gross income generated by a timber sale. The closer your proximity to mills that process the products your timberland will produce, the less it will cost to harvest that timber and the more competition you’ll see for that wood, both of which yield a higher net income to the landowner. The net income from a timber sale is also known as “stumpage”. Stumpage is the rate most experts are quoting when asked about current timber prices. Location can also determine what types of weather you can perform harvests in, which affects when you can bring your timber to market. Tracts with logging limitations due to weather concerns, such as wet natured or floodplain tracts, can be restricted to selling during the dry season vs tract with dryer ground or abundant road frontage that can be logged year round. Being able to sell your timber in a wet weather market can allow you to take advantage of huge swings in timber prices because when supply is limited, demand rises, and prices along with it. I’ve witnessed timber prices go as high as four times the norm due to wet weather logging demand.

I’m often asked how “the timber market” is doing or “isn’t timber down right now?” It’s important to remember that timber is a commodity and there is no single “timber market”. Every species can produce several product classes, each has their own market with contributing or limiting factors, and the current value of each product class is driven by supply and demand. One market may be down while another is up. Arming yourself with a true expert in timberland is imperative to ensuring your maximum yield is reached as a buyer or seller of timberland.

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.

Clint Flowers, ALC is a top producer with National Land Realty, a member of the REALTORS Land Institute of Alabama, and a member of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee.  He was a NLR Top Producer Nationwide in 2016 and 2017. He also won the 2017 APEX National Broker of the Year award for Timberland.

How To Increase The Equity Value Of Your Recreational Land

My days are spent working with buyers and sellers of recreational and tillable land. So when I was approached about writing an article about recreational land it was a no-brainer. My fellow Minnesota agents and I do seminars every year at our state’s Deer Classic and the topic is “Land Buying & Selling 101”. During each seminar, we do a Q&A and we typically find many of the questions are about building equity in a current property or future property.  Although I live and work in MN, this information will hold true for many recreational properties and almost any place whitetail deer call home.

In my opinion, the cheapest and most effective thing you can do to grow equity and value to your property is purchasing some trail cameras. Buyers are always asking me to see trail camera photos from the property for sale.  When we check the analytics of our listings, it is proven that a listing with good trail camera photos vastly outperforms a listing without them. In addition, I personally advise my new buyers to go buy a thumb drive and save trail camera photos from day one, even if they have no plans of ever selling. It is great to be able to show a buyer 2-10 years of trail camera photos and allow them to see the quality and quantities of deer using the property.

The next low cost and high return item would be “road appeal”.  Much like curb appeal on a house, that first impression of a property will have a lasting effect. Start at the entrance of property; even if your property is not completely fenced, installing a simple yet sturdy gate that is lockable with a chain and adding a “no trespassing” sign, will add appeal for a buyer.  This low-cost item gives buyers a good sense of security and sets the tone of what they are going to see when viewing your property.  If you have spent any time on a farm you know there is a good chance of coming across an old junk site.  Removing these items can be time-consuming but in the long run, it will be build value in your property and make it more marketable when it comes time to sell. Clean up any trails you have on the property so when touring the property it is easy to navigate.

A property that is mainly used for whitetail deer hunting in a managed neighborhood is highly sought after. Creating a so-called managed neighborhood will take a great deal of work as well as time but will give you an abundant return.  I’m not going to discuss how a so-called management group should be run as that is an entire article in itself.  Ideally, you want your property to be in the center of this management group. Reaching out to all the neighboring landowners of your property is where you start.  Once you get them on board with a management plan ask them to reach out to their neighbors and so on and eventually you will have a large area of landowners all working towards the same management goals.  Sounds easy, but I can tell you it is not. This will take a lot of time and you will most likely have some people that will not want to participate and that is ok. The goal is to try to get as many on board as possible and work on growing the group.  This typically will take years, but keep in mind the value you are adding to your property.

The next few items are more labor-intensive and cost more money to complete and maintain. If you watch any hunting show or spend any time around an avid hunter you know that food plots are a huge factor when it comes to hunting whitetail deer these days. Just remember when it comes to food plots bigger isn’t always better.  Making sure you locate the food plot to maximize the hunting and access on the property is more important than the size of the plot. Having several well-placed food plots and keeping them maintained every year will be not only be a great increase in value, it will also help make memories when hunting season comes around.  In my opinion even more important than a food plot is water on a property. Not all properties will have flowing water on them.  Even those that do may not have the water in ideal locations for hunting. If your property is lacking a water source I personally would add this feature before I would add a food plot.  This can be as extravagant as hiring an excavator to install a pond in a location for natural run off to hold water or as simple as taking a 55-gallon drum and cutting it in half and digging it in the ground.  I personally use a product made by a local company that holds 100 gallons of water and has a trough for the water to sit in and allows all kinds of wildlife to drink from it. I have 5 of these on my property and they are all located in great travel and staging areas I hunt. I do have to fill them a few times a year but since they are mobile they give me the option to relocate them.  Since they are portable I can make location changes based off of my hunting observations. I can’t do that with a pond made by an excavator.

A good trail network will allow you access in and around a property.  The extent of the trail network needed will depend on the topography and makeup of the land. I personally deal with the rolling bluffs of Southeast Minnesota so creating access from the bottom to the top is almost a must if you want to get the most for your property.  Most landowners do not own excavating equipment so I highly suggest asking around to find out who others have worked within the area to do such projects. It is in your best interest to do your research and get references prior to hiring someone.  A quality bulldozer operator can accomplish a lot in a short time. Most first time buyers are nervous about what it will cost to create a good trail network.  I have even encouraged sellers in the past to invest in a trail network as it I knew it would make their property more marketable and they would see the return on their investment.

Hunters from Minnesota we are used to hunting in extremely cold weather.  In my opinion, the old saying “you’re not a real hunter if you sit inside a blind” has gone out the window in the last decade. Box blinds are here to stay and the more hunters that hunt out of them the more buyers want them on their property.  As an example, our state’s Deer Classic event this year included at least 7 different manufacturers of enclosed deer stands. If a manufactured stand is not in your budget you can also build it out of lumber, just make sure it is clean, sturdy and safe. From there adding quality sturdy ladder or hang-on stands will also increase your property value. Stands are something every hunter wants and if you have created a great location for them and they’re of good quality you will always get your money back out of them plus you get to enjoy them while you own the property.

“Has this property been surveyed?” is almost always asked when I’m showing a potential buyer a property.  In my territory, the land is not flat and often times you can’t see from one corner to another.  Spending the money to hire a professional surveyor to mark your property boundary corners as well as points between the corners will make a buyer more comfortable when purchasing your property.  It also allows you to easily establish or maintain your property line. This can also be helpful when doing any logging, adding a trial system, food plots, water locations or even hanging stands and posting your property.  With anything, I would suggest getting a few quotes on this project and asking around on who someone would recommend. If you are not in a time crunch to get this done I would recommend asking the surveyors what time of the year they are least busy as they may give you a better price during their slow time versus their peak time. In my area, the downtime is during the winter.

These next three improvements are much more expensive but can add some serious value to your property. They are not going to be good for all buyers and will require more thought than the previous improvements I have mentioned.  These three items, in no particular order, are 1) adding a driveway, 2) bringing in power and 3) drilling a well.  A couple questions you need to ask yourself or your group of owners are “Will this improvement be something almost all future owners of this property see value in?” and “Could it be any cheaper to do it later versus now?” Adding a driveway that is easy to travel won’t get cheaper with time and will always make the property more enjoyable and user-friendly.  Bringing power to the property will also be worth your investment. This can become costly if you are having the power brought in a significant distance.  However, I have talked with clients that had power brought to their property for almost free and I have met clients where it was going to cost them $10,000 or more to get power to their property. So this one can get tricky, if the cost to bring power to the property is extremely high and you are not going to use it for a length of time it might not be an investment you will want to add to your property. The last of the three items, drilling a well can vary in cost all over the country. Personally, I know the cost is pretty significant in Southeast Minnesota.  However, when I tell a buyer there is a well on the property they all understand what cost went into it and they see the value. I do not see the cost of these three items getting any cheaper by waiting.

Now we are going to talk about the biggest decision that can add value but at the same time affect the marketability to the greatest number of future buyers of your property.  I get people all the time that ask if they will get their money back out of a cabin if they built one.  My advice is to keep it simple, yet clean and functional, don’t get elaborate or install high-end finishes if you want to make sure you get your money back out of it. It is best not to overbuild as it will limit future potential buyers. As soon as you make a cabin or house addition to a property you immediately take some future buyers off the table. The goal is to not eliminate too many of the remaining buyers by building something that is either too personal or elaborate that it would shrink your potential buyer pool so small you will not see your return on your investment.  Don’t get me wrong if you want to build a custom log home on your reactional land and you enjoy it for 20+ years, go for it. You will get your return out of the use and enjoyment.  If you have a short-term plan for the property then stick to something simple.

As you can see there are many different ways you can increase the equity in your recreational land. These improvements may take years or even decades and can vary drastically in cost but they are all great ways to increase the equity value of your property while enjoying it.  I will leave you with the one thing I always ask while giving my seminars. “In a show of hands how many of you have ever made any memories on your 401k or stocks or bonds?” No one has ever raised their hands, but I can promise you every single landowner in America has made memories on a piece of land they have invested in. Owning land is one of the best financial investments you can make in your lifetime and the memories you make on it while you own it will be your favorite return on investment.

About the Author: Bob Stalberger, ALC is the Land Specialist in Southeast MN for Whitetail Properties Real Estate. Stalberger is the Realtors Land Institute Minnesota Chapter President and a recipient of the Apex Awards 2017 Top Twenty Producer. Bob specializes in selling hunting and farmland and has been an ALC since 2016.