Breaking Down Mineral Rights

Mineral rights are so complex that most of the time, people would instead hire a lawyer to deal with them. The bad news is, there is a lot of truth in that statement. Mineral rights can be tied up in tricky deeds going back generations. The good news? We’ve collected the most commonly asked questions about mineral rights to help you get a better understanding of one of the most complex issues in the land industry.

Q: What exactly are mineral rights?

A: Mineral rights are the legal rights to the minerals in a property. Whoever owns a property’s mineral rights has full legal rights to mine for and profit from those minerals.

Q: What kind of minerals are included in the term “mineral rights“?

A: There are lots of minerals that you can make a profit off if you own mineral rights. These include oil/natural gas, coal, precious metals (gold/silver), non-precious or semi-precious metals (copper or iron), and specialty earth elements like uranium.

Q: What minerals do I NOT have access to?

A: This is where mineral rights can get tricky. Sand, gravel, limestone, and subsurface water are all not covered by most mineral rights. These elements are typically considered part of the surface area of a property. Whoever owns the surface rights also owns the rights to the sand and limestone.

There have been many legal battles over what counts as a mineral. Here are just a few examples. To keep your mineral rights out of the courtroom, be sure to be explicitly clear with whoever you are buying or selling your rights to.

Q: Are mineral rights profitable?

A: Yes, but not as profitable as you might think. Private mineral rights owners received an estimated $22 billion in 2013. The government also makes a pretty penny off of mineral rights. In 2016, the U.S. government received roughly $2 billion in mineral productions (which includes oil, gas, and coal) on federal land.

However, the growing number of legal battles between states and landowners over mineral rights is starting to rack up a hefty tab. In some cases, the price of the lawyers and time in court can drain more money than the mineral rights are worth.

If the minerals in your land are oil or coal, you are competing with solar and wind energy. The rise in renewable energy sources also has the potential to lower the value of the oil or coal in your land.

Q: What are the most common ways that mineral rights are held?

There are three common ways that mineral rights are held. The first and most common is a unified estate. In unified estates, the mineral and surface rights are held together, so whoever owns the deed to the property owns both mineral and surface rights. A severed or split estate means that the mineral ownership is sold separately from surface ownership. In this case, whoever owns the surface rights does not own the mineral rights. The last type of estate is fractional. As the name implies, fractional estate is when you receive a portion of the mineral rights. Fractional estates are often used for inheritances, so that each heir can split up the profits equally.

Q: How do I know how much my mineral rights are worth?

Finding out how much your mineral rights are worth can be difficult. The value of mineral rights can vary day-by-day, because the market value of minerals is determined by calculating how much buyers would pay for mineral rights today. There’s no easy way to calculate how much your minerals rights are worth. One of the best ways of knowing the current value is to list mineral rights for sale and see how much people are willing to buy them for.  You can also list them on US Mineral Exchange.

Q: Will mineral rights increase my taxes?

Yes – if you are currently making a profit on those minerals. Unexercised mineral rights (if you are not currently making money from the mineral rights) are not taxed. If you sell those rights, you have to pay taxes on the proceeds. Income made from the minerals is taxable income.  But having valuable minerals and oil on your land can also increase your property value, which will be helpful when it comes time to sell.

Q: What are common mistakes people make when selling their mineral rights?

One is accepting the first offer on mineral rights. Don’t accept the first offer you get. Offers are the best way to gauge the price of mineral rights, so wait until you have a few offers to figure out what your mineral rights are worth and the best price for them. Mineral rights can be incredibly valuable, so take your time finding the best buyer. Another mistake is listening to rumors. Many people think the best way to figure out the value of their mineral rights is by asking their neighbors about their mineral rights and assuming yours will be similar. DO NOT DO THIS. The minerals in land range wildly from property to property.

Q: Can I buy the mineral rights to a property that isn’t mine?

A: Yes! This is becoming more common as the value of oil and minerals goes up. You need a real estate deed that details the mineral rights as well as proof of ownership of the mineral rights, a warranty deed, and legal documents. Learn more about buying mineral rights here.

Although we have covered a fair amount in this article, it still only scratches the surface of everything there is to know about mineral rights. Mineral rights are complex, but understanding the basics is a huge step forward to becoming a mineral rights expert.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

 

Investing in Land Real Estate for Retirement: What You Need To Know

Choosing how to save for retirement can be a decision that takes years. After all, that’s the money that you’ll be living on during your golden years. Most people stick to 401ks and stocks, but what many people don’t know is that you can invest in land real estate to save for retirement. Investing in land real estate can be a great way to save money long-term, but with any investment, you need to know what type of land to invest in, what sort of returns you can expect, and what to avoid when investing in land real estate.

There are many benefits to investing in land real estate. One benefit is that if you invest in land in different areas, you will be protected if certain properties are hit by natural disasters or the value of one type of land real estate drops. Geographic and commodity diversity can keep your money safe even in a rocky market. Another benefit is that land real estate (farmland in particular) sometimes have higher returns than stocks do. Most stocks can be expected to produce a six to seven percent return over time), while farmland has produced a steady 11.5 percent annual return over the past twenty five years.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance investment, vacant land is a great option. It is cheaper to buy than developed land, and you don’t need to spend money doing repairs or renovations. While this is an excellent investment to make in the long-term, you will have to be patient. This investment will take time to make money. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the market to make sure you’ll be able to sell it at the best possible price. Consider looking into vacant land properties in areas that are seeing an increase in population or jobs. This land will is likely to become more desirable over time, and you’ll be able to sell it at a higher price than what you bought it for originally.

When investing or buying vacant land, you should always know who you are buying from.Be careful of people who have only owned the land for a short amount of time and seem very eager to get the land off their hands. Vacant land takes times to accumulate value, so it’s suspicious if people only own it for a short amount of time. The owners might know something about the land that makes it less valuable. This is a perfect example of why it is so important to find an agent with the expertise and experience needed to conduct land real estate transactions – like an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC).

Timberland or forestland are also excellent long-term investments. The returns for timberland real estate tend to move counter cyclically to other markets.  Because of this, it will add portfolio diversification, lowering the risk of losing money. Timber is also a hearty crop that can provide you with returns for many years.

You should invest in timber or forest land only if you are planning to retire ten or more years down the road. You’ll have to spend money to plant trees and won’t get returns as they grow, but once the trees reach maturity, they will provide steady returns.

Although investing in land real estate to save for retirement is an excellent option, there are some key factors to look out for. Keep the following in mind while you look at different properties:

-You need to know the land inside out. You need to know everything about the land you are investing in. This means zoning, mineral rights, any environmental hazards on the land, usage restrictions, access easements, taxes on the property, and the likelihood of natural disasters in the area. If you think you are asking too many questions, you are not. Even small issues can end up costing you a lot in the long term. For example, you could have an incredible property with full mineral rights, but if the soil drainage is poor, the value of the land could drop so dramatically that any other positive factors wouldn’t matter at all. Finding an ALC near you can help ensure that you see the whole picture when it comes to investing in a piece of land.

-You need to be crystal clear on the taxes. This was mentioned in the previous bullet point, but it’s so important we added it again. Some properties have taxes that are so high that the taxes eat up any returns you make on the land. Speak with your land agent about this and make sure you understand what your costs will be before investing in a property.

-Are there wetlands on the property? Thanks to Waters of the US (WOTUS) and other laws, if you have wetlands on your property, huge parts of your land might not be useable. This could cause the value of your land to drop dramatically.

Investing in land real estate can be a great way to save up for retirement. Land real estate is a valuable and limited community that, historically, continually grows in value. If you do your research and spread your investments out over a few different types of land, you could have a successful start to saving and creating a well-balanced, diversified portfolio for your retirement.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

Tips To Stay Healthy During Flu Season as a Land Agent

2018 is facing the worst flu season in over a decade, and land agents have a high risk of getting sick. You might not be in an urban area surrounded by sick people all the time, but land agents are always meeting new people and touching doorknobs or handrails that dozens of others have also touched. If you aren’t careful, you or one of your clients could catch the flu. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your clients this flu season.

1: Keep Tissues on Hand At All Times.

When your clients are traveling long distances to visit properties, they often leave things at home or in their car. Tissues are one of the most common things to leave behind when visiting a property, so you should come prepared. Using tissues helps prevent the spread of germs from you to your client or vice versa. You can also use them to open doors if you notice your client coughing or sneezing a lot. Plus, it never hurts to show you are considerate and prepared.

2: Sanitize Things People Frequently Touch.

This can be difficult when you are visiting several different multi-thousand-acre properties. However, if you take a few minutes to wipe down the areas that most people touch (such as doorknobs, tables, shared farm equipment, and pens), you can significantly reduce the risk of spreading the flu. A quick swipe with a disinfecting wipe can be one of your best defenses against the flu.

3: Increase Humidity in Indoor Spaces.

You might associate warm temperatures with the flu, but the infection actually thrives in cold temperatures. Cold, dry air often leads to coughing, one of the most common ways of spreading the flu. There’s not much you can do about the humidity outside, but usually you can control indoor spaces. If there are indoor spaces on your properties, add some humidifiers to keep you and your client’s lungs clear.

4: Wash Off The Germs Before And After Meeting Clients

Meeting clients on a property that many others have been to is a battlefield of flu germs. Keep yourself healthy by washing your hands thoroughly before and after meeting with a client or visiting a property. This not only ensures your safety, but also protects your clients and properties from any germs you might be carrying. A small bottle of hand sanitizer is also a great way to ward off germs. For an extra level of protection, you can also pop a Vitamin C capsule before going into virus-happy areas.

5: Take care of yourself

This one might seem obvious, but many land agents are too busy to get the good night’s sleep and fresh fruits and veggies that can protect you from germs. In stressful times, it’s natural to reach for potato chips instead of apple slices, but you could be putting yourself at greater risk of getting sick if you do. If you are working around the clock, you can still squeeze in some time to make sure your body is strong enough to fight off the flu. Here are some foods and beverages that can keep your body strong enough to ward off germs:

-Beef. Beef is an excellent source of zinc, a mineral that helps build up white blood cells. While beef isn’t the easiest food on this list to travel with (if only twelve-ounce steaks fit in our glove compartments), you can bring along some beef jerky or make roast beef sandwiches or beef chili to keep your protein levels up.

-Blueberries. If you live on or near a property that grows blueberries, you are in luck. Blueberries have the highest amount of antioxidants of any fruit you’ll find in the supermarket. They are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and other antioxidants. Blueberries are also easy to carry around and travel well.

-Garlic. Garlic might not be the best smelling food on this list, but it does have a lot of surprising benefits. This spice contains allicin, a powerful antioxidant-packed compound. If you don’t want to go meet clients with garlic breath, there are also odorless garlic tablets  that give you all the benefits without the stink.

-Lemon or honey tea. If you are feeling under the weather, drinking water is one of the best ways to help you feel better. Tea is great for easing early symptoms of the flu. The steam and heat of the tea help open up the throat and can also stimulate the cilia (the hair follicles inside your nose). Lemon tea contains flu-fighting vitamin C, and also thins mucus. Honey tea soothes raw throats and is antibacterial.

Tea is especially great for land agents because you can take it with you anywhere and it is the cheapest option on our list.

This might be the worst flu season in a long time, but these tips can help you dodge the flu and stay focused on what you do best: succeeding in the land real estate industry.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

What’s All The Buzz About Bees and Land Real Estate?

Bees in America have been dropping like flies. Since the late 1990s, beekeepers, farmers, and scientists have noticed a steady decline in the bee population across the country. Before 2006, the usual number of bees that beekeepers lost due to frost or disease was 5-10 percent. After 2006, beekeepers saw that number rise to between a 30 to 36 percent decline in their hives. Panic really set in when a US report stated that American beekeepers lost 44.1 percent of their hives between March 2015 and April 2016.

So, what does this have to do with the land real estate market? Losing bees could have devastating effects on our farms, economy, and day-to-day life. As food pollinators, bees play a huge part in almost everything we eat and everything that our food (cows, pigs, turkeys, etc.) eats. Without them, landowners would lose the most efficient and cost-effective pollinators on Earth, driving the cost of farming and food way up. Farmers would have to invest in expensive pollination technology. If they couldn’t afford the technology, farmers would be severely limited in what crops they could grow since bees pollinate thirty percent of the world’s crops.

The loss of bees could also be disastrous for land values. Crops, livestock, and wildlife will drop in numbers and value without the bees around to pollinate the plants and food sources of the land. Since the value of land real estate relies heavily on the profitability of the land and its natural resources, a drop in bee population could mean a huge drop in land values.

No one knows the main reason bee populations are dropping, but there are several factors scientists believe are hurting our winged friends. A growing number of varroa mites, tiny crab-like parasites, have been feeding off of drone bees and can kill off entire hives. These mites are tiny and hard to spot, which lets them destroy hives from the inside out without anyone noticing until it is too late. Another possible reason is neonicotinoids, a powerful insecticide that slowly weakens bees.

People have been scrambling to find ways to help the honeybees. Almond growers in California are trying to breed more blue orchard bees (B.O.B.s). The blue orchard bees are known for being excellent pollinators. They are more efficient than regular honey bees; a few hundred female blue orchard bees can do the same amount of work as 10,000 regular honey bees.

Although introducing a new breed of bee sounds like a great idea, there are a few drawbacks to the blue orchard bee. For one, they do not produce honey. Another is that they have sluggish reproduction rates (bee keepers have only been able to increase their B.O.B.s a factor of three to eight every year, a tiny fraction of how quickly honey bees can be increased), so getting enough for the current American demand for bees might be tough. The cost of raising B.O.B.s is also still uncertain.

Technology also offers hope for the bees. Robo-bees may sound like something from a sci-fi moive, but in Japan, they are already a reality. Japanese scientists have created a remote-controlled drone the size of a dragonfly. These robo-bees are able to pollinate lilies and are currently being retooled to pollinate other crops. U.S. scientists say a similar product in is the works right here in our own country.

These robo-bees also have their drawbacks. They would be significantly more expensive than raising honeybees, and the risk of malfunctioning could leave fields without pollination for days or even weeks on end.

While the rest of the world is trying to figure out a cure for this epidemic, there are things you can do to help the bees:

Grow flowers that attract bees.  Lavender, white clover, and thyme can all help attract bees to your farm.

-Build a hive or sponsor one. Vice President Mike Pence had a beehive in his backyard and encourages others to do the same. Don’t like the idea of bees buzzing around where you go barefoot? You can also support a hive through websites like the Honeybee Conservancy  to help give bees a safe place to thrive.

-Make your land real estate bee-friendly. Besides planting bee-friendly flowers, you can also invest in pesticides that don’t harm bees.

The decline in bee population is a serious threat to everyone. However, with a raised awareness, people are starting to understand how important bees are to our food and land real estate. Because of this, there is hope that the bee population across America will be able to grow again.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

How To Have a Great Hunt in February

 

By the end of January, most people have put away their guns and declared the hunting season over. February is one of the slower months for hunting. However, if you still have an itch to hunt, there are plenty of hunting opportunities for you in February. Here are some tips to help you have a great hunting season even after January is over.

1: Don’t Count Out Small Game

Deer season might be over, but there are still plenty of clever critters that will make for an exciting hunt. In many states, hunting small animals like rabbits and squirrels is legal throughout February. If you haven’t hunted squirrels before, it might not sound as exciting as hunting an elk or a wild boar. However, since the winter and the earlier hunting season have already claimed some of the weaker ones, the remaining squirrels will be cunning and make for a rewarding hunt. Rabbits are also a challenging hunt. They are one of the more popular small games to hunt, and it’s easy to see why. They have an excellent sense of smell and long-distance vision that only the most skilled hunters can know how to trick. If you are looking for a hunt that will challenge your brain as well as your hunting skills, small game could be your new favorite prey.

2: Some Animals Can Be Hunted Year-Round

While this does vary state by state, most states allow year-round hunting of animals that are considered pests or could harm the ecosystem of the land. Wild pigs and coyotes are some of the more popular animals to hunt year-round. Coyotes are highly intelligent and adaptable animals that have gotten a passionate following over the years in the hunting community.

Also, wild pigs can be hunted year-round in twelve states (California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin). These husky creatures have an unpredictable temper, so only go after them if you are an experienced and thrill-seeking hunter.

3: Check Your Calendar

Depending on where you live, you might have more time to hunt big game than you think. Alabama allows deer hunting until February 10th, thanks to the varying rutting seasons around the state. Hunting seasons can shrink or grow based off population, rutting season, and the needs of the land.

4: Hunt Smarter, Not Harder

Every hunting season has its ups and downs. Hunting in February is no different. Fewer hunters means less competition for you. The barren land and fallen leaves mean you will have an excellent view of your prey. The catch? They can see you just as clearly. This is the time of year to break out your best camo.

Another drawback for hunting in February is that most of the prime hunt has already been harvested. January hunters have taken out the biggest game, and Mother Nature has taken the animals not fit enough to survive the harsh winter season. You might have missed the biggest animals of the season, but there are still lots of animals out there ready to give you a memorable day in the great outdoors.

Hunting in February is for hunters who like a challenge. Even though you might not catch the buck of your dreams, there is still plenty of great hunting to be had.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

The Land Market Trends Across America

Last year was a crazy year for the land industry. An unpredictable market and multiple natural disasters made 2017 hard to follow and made it even harder to predict what would happen next with the land industry.

Even with so many unpredictable factors, The RLI 2017 Land Market Survey, shows that last year was an overall good year for land real estate. In 2017, we had stronger economic growth. After a three-year decline, prices rose for all land types, and timber and greenfield development land are expected to post the strongest growth rates at three percent. Other surveys also prove it was a strong year for land real estate. As shown in the 2017 Land Values Summary, some regions thrived (the Pacific region saw an 8.7 percent increase in average value of real estate) while other struggled (the Northern Plains saw a 1.8 percent decrease). While overall, the value of United States farm real estate is averaged at $3,080 per acre (up 2.3 percent from 2016), some states faced drawbacks because of the natural disasters causing a decrease in hunting land sales. To learn more, we rounded up quotes from top ALCs across America about how their region’s land industry was influenced by 2017.

While U.S. lands typically sold slightly faster in 2017 than in 2016, some states saw a slower sales time frame. However, slower land sales doesn’t necessarily mean a lower need for quality farm land. In Wes Des Moines, Iowa, Sam Kain, ALC, who is the Assistant Vice President and Real Estate / National Sales Manager for Farmers National, noticed a slower time frame in the buying and selling process as a result of clients wanting to get the best possible value for their land. “Buyers of farmland are being more deliberate about their decisions, but farmers and investors are very interested in purchasing the right piece of ground that makes sense for them. Lenders are being more cautious in the amount of money they will lend on a land purchase, but there is still enough capital in the country to create demand for good land,” Kain said in an article published on Farm Forum.

Although sales might take longer than before, the value of the land in Iowa has remained strong. “Values for good land have been fairly steady during the past year and have even seen a slight increase since harvest,” said Kain.

In the Midwest, Aaron Graham, ALC, the President of National Land Realty, from Gretna, Nebraska, noticed a growing concern in the land industry about how the decline in hunting could affect recreational land sales. “Although I have seen reports in our Midwest area stating land values, specifically tillable farm land, have crept up slightly, transaction volume remains a long distance from the market peek in 2014,” said Graham. “There is some increasing concern for the recreational/hunting lands sector from a recent U.S Fish and Wildlife Services report, which states that over the last five years the number of hunters across the U.S. has declined a whopping fifteen percent.”
Not long ago, the Midwest held the most expensive hunting land per acre (averaging about $2,975 per acre, according to a 2015 Whitetail Properties post). Could tillable farm land replace hunting grounds as the Midwest’s most profitable land real estate? Only time will tell.

In the south, Texas is struggling to keep up with a new demand for affordable housing. However, the new affordable houses that are available on the market are selling at lightning speed, which could be good news for the future. “The Northeast Texas housing stepped back because of the supply constraints for homes under $300,000, however, the new homes have continued to catch up on demand. Express homes are being constructed and sold in our area. The resale of homes and supply of listings fell, but the average home sold in less than a month,” said Wendy Johnson, ALC, with United Country Real Estate-Texas Landmark Properties, from Royse City, Texas.

Johnson has also noticed a conflict of interest between buyers and sellers. “Owners are selling off tracts or all of their land to developers, and to buyers wanting smaller tracts of land. However, buyers are looking for land to build their homes on that provide ponds, trees, etc., which is a challenge. The rising land cost in many areas has significantly increased, for example, in McKinney, Anna, Caddo Mills, Royse City, Rockwall, Blue Ridge, Farmersville, and surrounding areas.” According to the latest RLI + NAR Land Markets Survey, residential transactions are expected to go up four percent in 2018, with recreational and commercial closely behind at three percent.

Despite Hurricane Irma’s devastating effects on the state, Florida’s land industry is flourishing. “In Florida, the recession is a distant memory.” Says Caleb McDow, ALC, who serves as a Vice President for Crosby & Associates, Inc., from Winter Haven, Florida. “Land is in high demand for both commercial and residential development. Demand is also high for agricultural land. We consistently have more buyers than sellers, which is resulting in higher land prices and lower returns for agricultural investors.”

Despite the Southwest facing some of the worst of the natural disasters of the last few years, including devastating wildfires, irrigated land values and the housing market are holding their own. “The Southwest’s land market is experiencing a few different markets in and among itself right now,” says Justin Osborn, ALC, who is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker for The Wells Group Durango, from Durango, Colorado. “Due to the arid climate, irrigated land continues to be in high demand, especially if it’s turnkey and income producing farm ground. The strong housing market has greatly affected development parcels near city limits and caused those to also be in high demand the past eighteen months. Recreational properties still take some time to move, but those that have live water and border public land will obviously sell faster than those that don’t. The market for large acreage dry land parcels continues to still be quite stagnant.”

Even in states whose land industry was rattled in 2017, there is still a lot of good news that can be taken into 2018. Overall agricultural land value has increased, land sale volumes are rising at a healthy rate, and an overturn of the controversial Waters of United States (WOTUS) rule is expected. No matter where you are from across this great country, 2018 is shaping up to be a great year!

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

2018

What’s Coming Up For RLI in 2018?

Happy New Year! We here at RLI hope you have a safe and successful 2018! The first few days of the New Year are a great time to work on your New Year’s resolutions and plan for the future. In the spirit of the holiday, we wanted to give you a sneak preview about what the REALTORS® Land Institute has in store for 2018.

One thing to look forward to in 2018 is a new and improved LANDU Education Program. After a conducting a deep dive review of all the LANDU courses, RLI hired an expert instructional designer to update the LANDU Education Program material. “The updated courses will begin being taught in 2018, with the goal of rolling out six updated courses at LANDU Education Week in June 2018,” said Amanda Jenkins, RLI’s Education Manager.  “RLI recognizes that in order to continue being industry leaders in the land real estate education arena an entire revamp of the LANDU curriculum is necessary. We’re excited to be working on this project with our subject matter experts and a knowledgeable instructional designer. We will be introducing new and improved courses in 2018 – keep an eye out!”

The 2018 LANDU Education Week, which will be held in Arlington, TX, from June 3-11, is a great way for agents aspiring to be ALCs to finish all the ALC education requirements in one week. The three required courses for the ALC Designation and three elective will be held at the event.

The countdown for the 2018 National Land Conference has begun with only 60 days to go! On March 12-14, ALCs from across America will gather in Nashville, TN, to share ideas and learn from the best in the land real estate business. In addition to the annual Cowboy Auction, expert guest speakers, and Let’s Make Deal$ LIVE, there are also some great new additions to the NLC18 line-up. There will even be new sessions, including the Land Tech Accelerator Program and a pre-conference tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. NLC18 is bound to be a conference you don’t want to miss!

NLC18 will also include the first ever RLI APEX Awards. Sponsored by The Land Report, this awards program will celebrate the best of the best land real estate professionals. Prizes will be awarded for top sales, performance, and highest dollar volume in closed land transactions. Here’s a full list of the APEX Awards. Interested in applying? If you meet the qualifications (more about those here), you can submit your completed application to Aubrie Kobernus, CEO at akobernus@realtors.org by the Friday, January 26 deadline.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to get more involved with the REALTORS® Land Institute, there is an easy way that also gets you recognized as an industry expert! We’re always looking for expert ALCs and RLI Members to share their wisdom through guest posts. If you want to have your writing featured on the industry’s leading land real estate blog, please contact Jessa Friedrich, Marketing Manager, to submit your article.

We have a lot of great things lined up for 2018, and hope you do too! Happy 2018, from all of us here at the REALTORS® Land Institute.

 

 

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

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

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

Determination.

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

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

Grit.

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

Adaptability to Tech.

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

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

Expertise.

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

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

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

What Does the Decline in Hunting Mean for Recreational Land Real Estate?

There’s nothing quite like hunting; the rush of adrenaline when you hit your target, teaching little ones how to spot a deer, and spending time in the great outdoors. Hunting also has surprising benefits for the environment. Hunting licenses and fees are the main source of income for wildlife agencies, and hunting can prevent overpopulation.

However, there has been a significant decrease in hunting over the years. Over the last five years, the number of hunters has decreased by 15 percent. What does this mean for recreational real estate and the future of hunting?

One of the biggest reasons for the decline in hunting is our country’s changing landscape. With the human population growing every day, prime land real estate started going towards building homes and stores instead of hunting grounds. Many old hunting spots that families have loved for generations have closed and been replaced by a mall.

 

http://longilbert.com/blog-and-updates/2017/4/14/what-is-the-cost-of-a-hunting-license

Another reason that less people are hunting is the cost. The rising price of ammunition, licenses, and permits are driving away hunters who can’t afford the price hike. As you can see from this chart from longilbert.com, the cost of hunting licenses is massive for non-residents. $250 license fees are pricing some people out of the sport. Even local license costs are skyrocketing. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission has proposed a fee increase that will raise resident license prices from $7 to a whopping $27. That’s a 26 percent increase!

Millennials haven’t been picking up the sport as much as other generations have. The biggest deterrent is that they don’t have anyone to teach them. “You don’t just get up and go hunting one day- your father or father-type figure has to have hunted,” says Mark Damian Duda, an executive director of the research firm Responsive Management. Hunting is a sport which requires a lot of teaching and expertise. With a growing number of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers hanging up their hunting vests, Millennials are left without anyone to introduce them to the sport.

There are a lot of downsides to the decrease in hunting. The group that suffers most from the lack of hunting is, surprisingly, the environment. Hunting can prevent over-population, which can wreck an ecosystem and leave animals starving as they compete for food. Hunting fees and licenses are the main source of income for many wildlife preserves and recreational land real estate. This income pays the employees, maintains the grounds, and funds projects to help the wildlife. Without this income, many parks are struggling to pay their bills.

Does the decreasing number of hunters mean the end for the sport? Not at all. There is still a very active hunting community and positive trends that show hunting increases in certain states. The same study that showed overall hunters decreasing also showed a 9 percent increase in hunting participation from 2006 to 2011. The number of paid hunting license holders has actually increased in certain states. In Texas, the number has jumped from 1,060,455 license holders in 2015 to 1,148,765 in 2017.

The local food movement has also helped the hunting community. With a focus on shopping local and knowing where your food comes from, this movement has introduced people to hunting as a fun and sustainable way to get your dinner.

Recreational land real estate is still going. In last year’s RLI survey, sales of recreational land actually increased. Recreational and residential land real estate sales accounted for 50 percent. While interest in the sport may waver, prices per acre of land real estate remain high. The average price for hunting land real estate in the Midwest is $2,975 per acre.

While hunting is experiencing a dip in popularity, there are still many loyal fans of hunting who want to bring it back into popularity. There have been efforts by local governments to make hunting affordable and accessible again. Ryan Zinke, the United States Secretary of Interior issued orders to overturn a ban of lead ammunition and issued an order to increase hunters’ access to public land. In the community, many youth groups are teaching young people about hunting and nature. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched the Youth Hunting Program of Florida to teach young people how to hunt safety.

Hunting is going through some changes. Most of them are positive. A new movement and generation are learning about the benefits of hunting and how it can help the environment. Local government are now realizing the effects of price hikes on hunting and are taking steps to change it. With a new focus on sustainability and teaching the next generation, hunting is sure to remain a classic American pastime.

Accredited Land Consultant land transaction expert

Why You Need an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) for Your Next Land Transaction

If you are buying land real estate, you’ve probably heard of Accredited Land Consultants, commonly known as ALCs, before (and if you haven’t, then you definitely need to keep reading!). You might know them from their little gold pins or the three letters after their name. But do you know what actually separates ALCs from the thousands of other land consultants? Can they help you get a better property for a better price? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become an ALC and how working with one can help you buy land better.

If you are new to buying land real estate, here’s a quick summary of what an ALC is. An ALC is a land professional who has gone through a rigorous process of earning the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation through the REALTORS® Land Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®. Becoming an ALC is hard work: you need to complete 104 hours at of intense Land University (LANDU) courses through the REALTORS® Land Institute, have extensive experience and a history of successfully closed sales, as well as have your portfolio approved by the Accredited Land Consultant Designation Committee and RLI Board of Directors before you can wear that little gold pin. This may seem like a lot of work just to add three letters to the end of your name, but the experience and resources an agent gains from becoming an ALC is incredibly helpful to you as you go through the process of buying land real estate. Especially since land transactions require expertise outside of what a residential or commercial agent usually has under their belt.

One of the hardest parts about buying land real estate is dealing with the complex rules and regulations that are attached to the land. Titles attached to properties can be decades old and so complicated that people have to hire attorneys to sort them out. The boundaries of properties can change without the buyer even knowing. Between mineral rights, conservation easements, and deeded accesses, even the most experienced land buyer can be overwhelmed by it all – check out these tips for buying land.

That’s where an ALC comes in to ensure you have the whole picture before buying or selling a land property. Many of the courses required for the ALC Designation are about the most difficult aspects of buying land real estate (for example, Tax Deferred 1031 Exchanges, Basics of Eminent Domain Law, and Mineral, Oil, and Property Rights). ALCs spent hours studying the details of these laws so that their clients are as informed as possible about the property they are buying or selling and the transaction as a whole.

Another common issue with buying land real estate is how rapidly things can change. Tax and property laws vary across the nation, while advancements in technology are coming out faster than ever before. Trying to stay up-to-date of the latest laws and technology can be exhausting and time consuming.

ALCs can help. ALCs are connected to a network of other ALCs across the country with specializations in a wide variety of fields. This access to hundreds of other experienced ALCs will ensure that you have the most up-to-date information about the laws surrounding the property you want to buy. It also gives them a wider network of possible buyers for their clients’ properties.

Buying land real estate is a complicated process that requires years of training and a sharp eye for detail. Working with an ALC saves you time and energy while also giving you the experience, know-how, and network of other professionals that will help you get the best land for the best price.

To find an ALC near you, check out the REALTORS® Land Institute’s Find A Land Consultant tool.