Top Six Find a Land Consultant Profiles

ALCs have so much on their plate. Between meeting new clients, keeping up with land news, and closing deals, updating your Find a Land Consultant profile can seem like a low priority. However, those profiles could be your secret weapon for landing your next big client. The Find a Land Consultant profiles are the first thing many potential clients and other land experts see when they search your name. To get a better understanding of how to make the most out of your profile, we picked some of the top profiles to see what sets them apart.

Best Bios

Kyle Hansen, ALC, the RLI 2018 Vice National President

Kyle’s biography paints a clear picture of his career in the land industry. He talks about how he got into his current job, his involvement with RLI, his awards, and his background. He separates each topic into his own paragraph. This is a great way to make your profile easy to read, and clients will have no trouble finding the information about you they need.

Terri Jensen, ALC, RLI 2015 National President

Terri’s profile reads like a resume. She includes the need-to-knows (years of experience, places she has worked, awards she has earned) and fun facts about her (out of 18,000+ REALTORS® in Minnesota, she is one of only fourteen to earn the ALC Designation). Little facts like that are a great way to let potential clients know how you stand out from the crowd.

Best Service Specialties

Norma Nisbet, ALC

Many people use the Find a Land Consultant tool to find people with expertise in specialized fields. For transactions that require a specialized education (such as 1031 Exchanges), clients want to make sure they are getting the best in the business. Norma Nisbet, ALC, lists out all her service specialties, including commercial land, timberland, and marketing. Having an organized section lets clients find exactly what they are looking for quickly.

Best Contact Information

Jeramy Stephens, ALC

Contact info can be tricky. Yes, you want potential clients to be able to reach you, but you also don’t want your phone to be blowing up with spam calls at all hours of the day. Jeramy Stephens, ALC, navigates this by including his work e-mail, cell phone, and fax number. He also includes a link to his company’s website. By providing primarily work contact information instead of personal, you’ll be able to reduce spam calls during your down time. Once you’ve made personal contact with the client then it is up to you if you want them to have more personal contact information.

Best Photo

John Dean, ALC

Having a recent, high resolution picture makes your profile look professional and polished. John Dean, ALC, does a great job of this. When adding your photo, remember that it needs to be under 20mb and should be high resolution.

Including a photo in your profile may seem like a trivial thing, but studies show it can drastically increase the chances of people viewing your profile. In fact, a recent study by shows that LinkedIn profiles with pictures got twenty-one more views than those without one.

Best Regularly-Updated Profile

Randy Hertz, ALC

Anytime you get a promotion or an award, there are lots of platforms to celebrate on: Facebook, LinkedIn, the dance floor. You should remember to also update your Find a Land Consultant profile. Awards and promotions are a great way to show clients your hard work and talent. Randy Hertz, ALC, keeps his profile up to date with new skills, accomplishments, and roles and different companies.

We hope these six profiles will inspire you to take a second look at your Find a Land Consultant profile. And keep your eyes peeled, you might be featured in the next edition of Top Find a Land Consultant Profiles!

Want to learn more about how the Find a Land Consultant tool can help you? Find out how users find agents and more here.

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

LANDU Week header

Record Number of Land Real Estate Professionals Gather In Texas To Gain Expertise

June 11, 2018 (Chicago) – The Realtors® Land Institute (RLI), an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors®, is proud to announce a record-setting number of land real estate professionals in attendance at their annual LANDU Education Week. Fifty attendees from fourteen states gathered in Arlington, TX, last week to gain top-notch expertise through RLI’s Land University (LANDU) Education Program. Twenty-one of those students completed all six courses being offered towards the elite Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation.

LANDU Education Week“We couldn’t be happier with the turn out or more excited to be getting so much great feedback about our newly updated courses, especially as this is the 30th anniversary of RLI’s Land University (LANDU) Education Program. We are so proud of all the students that took a valuable step towards furthering themselves as industry experts by coming out to complete the course work,” said RLI CEO Aubrie Kobernus, MBA, RCE.

LANDU Education Week


Attendee Greg Good, Agent, Clift Land Brokers / Clift Land Auctions, said “The week was intense but the classes move quickly with excellent instructors engaging each class. I thoroughly enjoyed the courses and the opportunity to meet and connect with other students within our industry from across the country. It’s well worth the time and investment.”

2018 LANDU Week

LANDU Education Week attendees were among the first to experience the newly updated courses which feature increased attendee interaction as well as new takeaway resources that will help them to implement the expertise they have gained after returning to their businesses. By the end of this year, RLI’s education program overhaul will include updating a total of ten courses with fresh, relevant content and the addition of a Recreational Land Real Estate course to meet the changing needs of land professionals in the industry.

2018 LANDU Education Week

Newly updated courses that were offered at the 2018 LANDU Education Week included Land 101: Fundamentals of Land Brokerage; Land Investment Analysis; Transitional Land Real Estate; Tax Deferred 1031 Exchanges; and Real Estate Mapping Technologies & Techniques. RLI will be hosting additional updated courses online throughout the year.

To learn more about the camaraderie, expertise, and resources available to land professionals through the Realtors® Land Institute, view their member benefits.

 About the Realtors® Land Institute                 

The Realtors® Land Institute, “The Voice of Land,” continually strives to maintain its status as the acknowledged leader for all matters pertaining to the land real estate profession. RLI endeavors to remain the essential membership organization for the extraordinary real estate professionals who broker, lease, sell, develop, and manage our most precious resource: the land. The Realtors Land Institute, provides the expertise, camaraderie, and valuable resources that are the foundation for all land real estate professionals to become the best in the business. For more information, visit or call 800.441.5263. It’s the best time to join the best!


How To Protect Your Land From Wildfires

Any land expert will tell you that wildfires are an occasional occupational hazard of the job and increasingly common natural disaster encountered by landowners. Without the right protection, wildfires can be the deadliest part of working with land or owning land. Last summer, over a million acres of land and 43 lives were lost to the devastating wildfires in California. While people are still figuring out how to prevent natural disasters, there are steps you can take today to protect yourself and protect your land from a wildfire.

Take Away the Tinder

No, not the dating site. During the wildfire season, be sure to regularly sweep away fire-happy materials such as dried leaves and pine needles around your property.

Create ‘Fuel Breaks’ On Your Property

Fuel breaks, such as gravel pathways or driveways, can act as a barrier to keep fire away from your property. An easy way to add a fuel break is by replacing woodchips or dried grass that is frequently used as pathways and instead use gravel or another fire-resistant material.

Decorate With Safety in Mind

Use fireproof or fire-resistant materials whenever you can. Here is a short list of some fireproof and fire-resistant materials to consider:

  • Stone
  • Concrete
  • Treated limber plywood
  • Mineral wool
  • Potassium Silicate

These materials might not be as elegant as real wood, but they’ll help keep you safer in the face of danger.

Controlled Fires

Fire doesn’t have to be your enemy. Controlled fires are frequently used by forest management to get rid of underbrush to give budding plants more room and nutrients. Controlled fires are frequently used on properties with pine trees, as pine trees are resistant to fire.

By using controlled fires to burn away the debris, there will be less fuel for any potential wildfires to feed on. This will significantly reduce the damage to your land.

Trim Your Trees

Dead or low-hanging branches are the most venerable to wildfires. Be sure to always trim these branches, especially the trees near your house or farm. Then make sure to remove what you trim from the property.

Put Yourself First

Not to sound like your grandma, but in cases of natural disasters, you have to put your safety first. If a wildfire catches you by surprise, follow these steps after calling 911:

  • If you are trapped inside, move towards a central room away from any exterior walls that might collapse on you.
  • If you are outside, the wind is your best friend. Look where the wind is blowing. If the wind is blowing the fire away from you, run into the wind. If the wind is blowing the fire towards you, run perpendicular to the wind.
  • Get to a place that’s already burned over. The fuel has already been burned up, so the chances the fire will return are slim to none.
  • When escaping the fire, take downhill routes whenever possible. Thanks to updrafts, fire moves faster uphill.

We hope these tips will help keep you and your property safe from future wildfires. When going about your day-to-day life, remember that huge wildfires can be started by the simplest things, like leaving a campfire burning on a dry day or leaving a lit cigarette by old trees. Make Smokey the Bear proud!

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

online auction

Online Auctions: How Internet & Technology Are Changing Auctions

When you think of auctions, do you think of using the internet?  Hopefully, by the time you are done reading this article you will have a better understanding of how the internet and technology is creating a new world of “online auctions.” Before I explain how online auctions are changing the name of the game from the live auction standpoint, let’s first get Wikipedia’s definition of an auction:  “An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder.  (“Auction,” n.d.).” I like the Webster definition of auction better since I am in real estate and it explains the word auction as “A sale of property to the highest bidder.”  (“Auction,” n.d.).  With those definitions and the help of the internet, we have “online auctions.” Like many others that are reading this, I myself have always been interested in buying and selling, or just knowing the value of something! Currently, I am writing this article while watching and bidding on three auctions online. I am bidding on a 1935 John Deere Model A tractor in Arizona, while watching a farm sale of equipment line-up in Oregon and a real estate sale in Nebraska, all with the comfort of a cup of coffee.

What are Online Auctions?

When people think of online auctions, most people think of Ebay.  Ebay is an auction company in some ways, but when they have the “buy it now” option, that is not an auction because how many other people would like to “buy it now” too.  Ebay has set the stage for online auctions in the minds of people that are new to auctions.  Also, another thought that people might think of for online auctions is waiting until the last minute to bid.  Today, that doesn’t exist as much, and is referred to as “sniper bidding.”  The reason it is less popular today is because of the wide reach of the internet giving more and more online bidders stronger signals.  Sniper bidding was just someone that had the fastest internet, and if two or more bids were sent in simultaneously with one second left, the bid with the faster internet would overtake the slower internet bid.  If you are curious about your internet strength when doing online bidding, go to the website and test your strength of internet there.

A “soft close” is what most online auction companies use today. I will explain these in more detail later in the pro and con section of this article.

There are some basic tips for a new buyer or seller in the auction world, but let’s first look at the history of auctions.

Auction History & Importance

If you are new to the auction world as a buyer and seller, it is important to remember the basics of an auction before heading into a sale. Even though an auction may not be your first choice for shopping, I would urge you to attend an auction to see if you enjoy the atmosphere.  Also, by going to an auction and looking at items to buy without having a set price tag, it is quite different compared to normal shopping, not to mention the energy and rush of bidding on something and winning or losing will leave you feeling energized.  Besides, you are not going to walk into Wal-Mart and buy an antique decoration or mid-century furniture piece right off the shelf.

Going to a live auction allows a greater understanding of what goes on for an online auction.  On Wikipedia, live auctions have a long history, “having been recorded as early as 500 B.C. According to Herodotus, in Babylon auctions of women for marriage were held annually. The auctions began with the woman the auctioneer considered to be the most beautiful and progressed to the least. It was considered illegal to allow a daughter to be sold outside of the auction method.” Today, auctions are held everywhere and for everything. With the help of the internet, a buyer from Mexico can connect and purchase from a seller in Iowa, with just the push of a button. It is definitely a smaller world then we realized. Most auction companies have been around for quite a long time, and have auctioneers that know the value of items, in which that value hasn’t been registered on paper or online.

Live Auctions vs. Online Auctions

Going to school to become an auctioneer was a goal of mine, and to have the world champion chant was in my thoughts. I believe the world champion chant is not calling on the auction block at a live auction, but the brains behind and setup of an online auction, and  its’ software. It is good to know how live auctions work, and not just be involved in the technology side of online auctions.

There are many differences between live auctions and online auctions, but a lot of the auction companies are headed more online, with some companies now doing both live and online. One reason for going online vs. live auction is that all buyers have an equal playing field.

Online auctions mainly break down and remove the physical limitations of live auctions such as geography, presence, time, space, and a smaller target audience. Auctions have evolved from live auctions to online auctions with the help of technology.

I heard a week ago that 80% of homeless people have a smart phone, not a flip phone, but a smart phone. I also know that 95% of statistics are made up on the spot, but if even, let’s say, half of that is true, it is still a big number, my point here is “smart phone.”  So if 80 percent or 40 percent of homeless people have a smart phone which could give them internet access, then I would think the rest of the population in the United States would have internet by now. Anymore, a live auction is more of a one-day auction focusing on a local area, turning into a social event. I am not saying live auctions are bad or gone forever, but there is a place and time for them and now an option to do a hybrid of online and live.  Now with the help of the internet, your potential buyers are everywhere as long as they get approved to bid and have great internet connection. With an online auction, a buyer can go to many auctions on the same day, like I am doing right now, and the quality buyers are online doing their homework.

That brings us to another great point for online vs live auctions. Online auctions are mostly setup 3-4 weeks in advance before the auction closes, so it gives you a significant amount of time to research and do your due diligence before hitting the bid button or putting in a max bid.  This is great because on the same date as a live auction, you might have a wedding or a graduation party you are to attend, but you really want to buy that 1969 Chevelle SS that you already test drove or that chunk of land you looked at two weeks ago. There are auctions on just about every day of the year, making them no longer a one-day event. And there are auctions that you can bid on any time of day, and those are online auctions. So, if you are not able to make it to a live auction, go to 3-5 online auctions at the same time and day.

Every auction is different, anywhere from an auto auction to a livestock auction, or a real estate land auction to a local charity auction, or maybe an equipment auction to a storage unit auction. One thing is for sure, and that is, there will be plenty of energy and excitement at a live auction, a silent auction, or even a seal bid auction. People think that there is not as much excitement on an online auction as a live auction, but I assure you, a person can get very carried away doing online auctions as well.

Pros & Cons of Online Auctions

One of the coolest things about bidding on online auctions is that you can bid from the comfort of wherever you are using your desktop computer, laptop, your mobile phone, maybe even a watch. For example, you could be on a fishing boat or a mountain top and also be buying something on your phone. Also, folks are looking online on their phone and going home or to their office to bid on a desktop computer. The percentage of desktop vs mobile bidding is about the same right now. Online auctions are moving more towards mobile or on a watch, to not miss a bid. Once, I was bidding on an online auction and got outbid, however, I was not by my phone, but did get a notification of “you are outbid” on my smart watch. Luckily, because of this new technology, I did bid again on my watch just in time to win the auction. If it wasn’t for the notice of being outbid, I would have lost the deal. Every online auction I have been a part of, will send you a notification of being “outbid” or having the “high bid.”

Another pro of online auctions is you can put a “max bid” and walk away from the auction and it will continue to bid for you up to the max bid you set. For example, the high bid is at $100 and your max bid is $1,000, if someone else bids $200, your max bid will kick in and bid $300. My favorite thing about online auctions is that there is a “soft close” on most online auctions today. Like I mentioned before, the sniper bidding is less and less today. A “soft close” is, as the seconds or minutes are coming to a close and there is a bid right before the closing, it will add more seconds or minutes to the clock, allowing more bids to come in. A buyer should like this because of not ever having an excuse for missing an item. A seller enjoys the soft close because there will never be a missed bid and, in return, will get the best price. It is going to be interesting to see what comes next for bidding.

A lot of auction companies are also charging a buyer’s premium on top of the closing price. A buyers premium is an extra charge on top the highest bid and is often a percentage of 2-10 percent.  For example, an item sells for $100 plus a 10 percent buyer’s premium, equaling a final total of $110. This is a con for buyers and sellers both and only benefits the auction house or company hosting. A lot of times the buyers premium goes to the auction company for marketing/advertising or the use of online software. A potential buyer does not like to see buyers premiums because it is educating them to bid at least one bid less. A seller does not care for this either, making its’ item sell for one bid less, which then makes the value not a true market value. Therefore, an auction value sometimes is not a true number of what something is selling for unless you do some more research on the extra charges like a buyers premium. Today more and more items, especially real estate property are selling on auction. In fact, I bought my home on an online auction ( and had a good experience.  Also, the company I work for in real estate, Farmers National Company, did about 1,200 real estate land auctions in the last five years.

Another pro of online auctions is that most of them will allow you to look at items 3-4 weeks before the bidding, enabling you to make a wiser choice and max bid.  Having a budget or number in mind before bidding starts is very smart also. It may seem simple to have a budget and say you’ll stick to it, however, when emotions run high and the item or property you want is on the line, it becomes very easy to surpass your budget. A good example of this is buying the neighbors property, because it is next door, but values might be worth more because of location. An online auction is not as bad in that instance, but in the case of not knowing who your neighbor is or could be, might be worth more. Even though most might believe that a con to buying on an online auction is not knowing who you are bidding against, I believe it makes a person have a sharper pencil with a real value. As an auction company, it also takes a lot of time and responsibility to put on a live auction. From renting the fairgrounds to having port-a-potties to insurance to setting up two weeks in advance to buyers picking up their items two weeks after the auction. If attending a live auction, it is good to come early, allowing you to have time to browse the inventory or property longer. After the auction, the buyers pick up their own items, because they are responsible for the logistics. With online auctions, most of the time and responsibility is done before the auction closes.

The Future of Auctions

I believe that the future of auctions is just starting to get good with online auctions, and we are just now in the early stages. With mostly all folks having internet and a smart mobile phone, for the millennials and the next generation to come, it will be second nature for them to bid online for auctions. Auctions are not a last resort anymore for selling, especially now with the help of online auctions. Some used items that sell for new prices include art work, sports memorabilia, and antique items that are now selling for new records thanks to online auctions. Buyers and sellers are more educated and knowledgeable on values today than they have ever been, meaning you are going to be less able to “get a good deal” anymore. What I am saying is, the dealer price and auction price are coming closer together because there are values out there for anyone willing to do a Google search on pretty much everything that is sold. Just look at Facebook, when you sell something on its marketplace, it tells you that it was sold and for what price. Therefore, I don’t think it would be too long before Facebook would have some sort of online auction selling like Ebay, or maybe even the powerhouse of Amazon. If you search #onlineauctions on Instagram, there are only 4,500 times that have been posted, so it is just starting to get into the social media world. Online Auctions are a win-win for both the buyer and the seller making buying and selling simple and quick to get what you would not get anywhere else.

In the end, you will not be disappointed when you find your dream piece of property at the perfect price. Eventually, you will be frequently attending live or online auctions and finding the deals of the day all around you.  You can become an expert by being knowledgeable in other fields of life, by simply researching something to buy or sell in an auction. This will be extremely beneficial to your brain and your bank account, and you will fall in love with the wonderful experience, prices, and unique items, causing you to have a better view on how online auctions work. I hope these tips help you to become an avid auction-goer and expert bidder in the auction world, especially with online auctions.

This post is part of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here.

About the Author: Rodney McConnell is Real Estate Broker with Farmers National Company in Washington State, serving the Pacific Northwest. Rodney is an active member of RLI, serving on the 2018 Futures Leaders Committee and working on his Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation. Rodney is a Territory Manager with 10X Auction in the Pacific Northwest, providing online auctions.

Disney World: The Greatest Land Story Of All Time

The story of how Disney World’s land was bought is as fascinating as any of Walt’s fairy tales. Who would have guessed that buying the land for such a wholesome place like Disney World would be such a wild ride? This is the story of one of the most successful transitional land sales in American history and what we can learn from it today.

In the 1960s, Walt Disney was looking for a place to build a second Disney park. Disneyland in California was a success, but Disney didn’t like the businesses that cropped up around his theme park. He wanted more control over the surrounding land for his next park.

disney world

Disney had a laundry list of requirements for the new land. Not only did it need to be plentiful and affordable, the land also needed to have pleasant weather year round so guests could enjoy the park 365 days a year. It also had to be near a major city with strong infrastructure and highways.

He looked at land in California and New York, but the properties were too small or the land was too expensive. Finally, Disney found exactly what he needed near Bay Lake in Orlando, Florida.

Florida had everything Disney was looking for in a location. The landowners at the time were happy to sell their swamp land, which they thought had little to no value. So, Disney and his associates bought the land through shell corporations with names like M. T. Lott (you can’t make this stuff up!).

The reason Disney used shell companies was that he knew the prices would skyrocket as soon as he was revealed as the buyer. If land sellers knew a millionaire wanted their land for a project that would be even bigger than Disneyland, they could set their prices as high as they wanted.

disney world castle landAs more and more land was bought under shell companies, locals became suspicious. They didn’t believe someone named M.T. Lott was actually buying up the land. Rumors swirled about who could be buying up this land. Some people believed it was NASA buying land to support the nearby Kennedy Space Center. Other names floating around were Ford, the Rockefellers, Howard Hughes, and of course, Disney.

Disney successfully bought 27,000 acres of land for cheap via his shell corporations. He might have been able to buy every single acre like that had he not slipped up in an press conference when editor Emily Bavar asked him point-blank if he was the one buying up the land. Disney was so caught off guard by the question that it was clear he was the buyer. As soon as it was revealed who was buying the land, prices shot up. Some land even skyrocketed up to $80,000 an acre!

When the Florida government found out who was buying all the land, they gave Disney the right to make decisions about zoning. This pleased Disney, who didn’t like to answer a lot of outsider questions. The Disney team transitioned the land by adding dirt to the swamp land, making it easier to build and walk on.

Today, Disney World takes up twice as much land as all of Manhattan. A sizeable amount of that is undeveloped. As per Disney’s request, around a third of the land is protected wetlands.

The Orange County Appraisers office has appraised Disney World’s property value to be over 1.3 billion dollars.

There are so many amazing lessons we can take today from this transitional land story. Here are just a few:

  • Transitional land can be extremely profitable.
  • Even land that some consider ‘low-value’ can become profitable when put to its highest and best use.
  • When selling land, it can pay off to do a little digging to find out who your client is!
  • Have a clear list of what you need out of a property.
  • The perfect land for you might not be in the first place you look.
  • Prepare yourself for tough questions ahead of time if you have to do a press conference.

Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction. In the case of the transitional land sale that turned into Disney World, we hope this wild story reminds you to always dream big. If you are interested in learning more about transitional land real estate transactions, check out our newly updated Transitional Land Real Estate LANDU course by checking our Upcoming Courses page.

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

land brokerage crm

Driving Efficiencies with CRM in the Land Brokerage Industry

When we decided to focus our customer relationship management (CRM) consulting practice in the commercial real estate sector some 13 years ago, we were excited about the opportunity that was before us in that there were very few, if any, true CRM offerings in the space. Since then, the market for commercial real estate solutions has matured and now the broker who specializes in office, retail, industrial, and multi-family properties has a list of products from which to choose coming in all different pricing levels and feature sets.

As we took a look more closely at some segments WITHIN the commercial real estate space, we saw an opportunity to refine our focus in the land brokerage community. While there are similarities between land brokerage and general commercial real estate brokerage, we found there are enough differences to substantiate an application specific to the land brokerage community.

In talking to land brokers from all across the country, they’ve found themselves having to “make due” with solutions that were either designed for residential brokerage or overbuying a solution that was engineered more for office, retail and industrial leasing and investment sales.

The land brokerage community has grown into a “not so small” group of professionals and the data that each of these brokers possess and track continues to grow. With that being the trend, tracking all of this information with crude tools like spreadsheets and notepads is started to cause some pain points and limiting the growth potential of many brokerage firms across the country.

If you are in the land brokerage business, you are most likely tracking contacts, companies, phone calls, emails, property listings and the deals you are pursuing with each at the very minimum. Where and how you track them differs wildly but make no mistake, you are tracking this data; or should be.  For some, you are tracking it on sticky notes around your desk or on notepads or Excel spreadsheets. While convenient and super easy to capture this information using those manual methods, your ability to “leverage” that data in the future is negated.  You essentially get “one time” use out of that data. Imagine another broker who captured all of that information in a centralized cloud based system that allowed them to quickly search for that data for repeated use where ever they may be, whether it be out in a field on their mobile device, behind their desk and computer or at a client site on their computer.  For those who work in groups and have a need to share information across your brokerage, imagine the benefit of such a shared system where you can turn your data into true business intelligence.

No longer do you have to work for your data, the data starts to work for you.

Simply follow up tasks that we all know we need to track and monitor but don’t because of the manual effort to do so can be automated.  Here are two simple examples for you to consider:

Prospecting / Business Development – you are a disciplined broker and know that for future growth, you always need to be prospecting and working on new business relationships.  Putting your networking hat on, you start to establish relationships with new contacts in your local marketplace, the interest level of which varies greatly.  Some may want to do business with you right away where others may need more nurturing over the course of time.  Engaging with those that are ready to do business now is the easy part.  What are you doing to stay in touch with those that are not ready to engage with you today (which by the way is the vast majority of your prospects).  Without a systematic method for following up with these prospects, the hard truth is that many of them fall through the cracks and never turn into business.  There now exists a solution that can help you with this and the good news is, it has been tailored for your industry and your brokerage.

New Listing Checklist – you get a new property listing which kicks off a series of tasks that you need to complete to start driving demand to the new listing; ordering signs, creating a new listing site, creating an email to send out to brokers or investors, creating the target broker and buyer list, etc. Using manual methods to track these tasks, you either enter them into your calendar one at a time at best.  Considering the “static” and repeatable nature of these tasks, there is an automation opportunity whereby when a new listing is entered into your CRM system, these tasks could automatically be assigned and scheduled and the progress of those tasks can be managed and viewed to make sure nothing “falls through the cracks”.

These are just a couple examples of how technology can be used to truly leverage the data you already possess allowing you to perform at an efficiency level that could only be dreamed of in the past.

Wes Snow AscendixAbout the Author: Wes Snow is co-founder and President of Ascendix Technologies based in Dallas, Texas with international offices located in Kharkiv, Ukraine.  Ascendix has been enjoyed a successful 22 year existence in the CRM space and is the author of real estate based solutions AscenidxRE and AscendixRE Land.  In addition to productivity tools for the platform like Ascendix Search, Ascendix also provides professional services/consulting for various CRM implementations across the globe.

location intelligence

Location Intelligence: Now Critical for Land Real Estate Professionals

As an industry, real estate has been relatively slow in adopting new technology. Until a few years ago, if you asked a fellow land real estate professional if they were using new technology in their business process, often, the answer would have been a “not really” or “sort of.” In real estate circles, technology often has the reputation of providing more than what’s been needed to support clients. In other words, a luxury.

The slow uptake of land development tools can also be attributed to the technology of the time not being very user-friendly, too complex, or too expensive. Since many tech companies designed their products without enough input from land real estate professionals, users would often find the software “too difficult.” Moreover, some early technology products were focused only on making land data available online—without adding any value to it.

Today, it is a different scenario altogether. Technology’s social status in the real estate industry has changed from being inessential to being indispensable. That’s because technology is now dedicated to empowering land brokers and developers with tools that allow them to run their businesses more efficiently and successfully without a dramatic change in how they work.

The advances in location-driven technology truly has the potential to change the rules of the game for land brokers. From being a business based on relationships, land real estate has evolved to become a business based on data. And data, as you might guess, is the new oil (i.e. the most important resource).

Consider this as an example: You want to analyze your market area and swiftly zero down on undeveloped tracts of land that meet your land acquisition target criteria. So, how do you do that? With the help of a mapping software application, you can gain instant access to the most up-to-date and unique datasets. Parcel boundaries, owner information, property characteristics, points of interest and so much more are now at your fingertips, ready to be overlaid, queried and analyzed on a map giving you and your team a clear picture of the target opportunities.

Let’s take another example. A client has expressed a desire to buy a ranch or a vineyard property. How do you ensure your presentation clearly establishes you as an expert of specialty land and allows you to prove it on the spot? The same mapping software allows you to populate your map with highly valuable data, including:

  • The elevation and slope of the site to ensure proper water drainage and whether the slope is a S. or S.W. facing slope
  • The water, mineral, and surface data, to critically evaluate agricultural possibilities
  • Accessibility to major roadways
  • Zoning and taxation regulations of the area

A mapping software application allows you to confidently share your new insights with clients in a presentation—in an instantly ready and visually-appealing digital format—complete with attractive point of interest logos, drive time analytics, and more. Clients will greatly appreciate your ability to visualize the property’s potential—and you’ll appreciate how easy it was to deliver it to them.

There’s also an important and often overlooked benefit that’s emerging as a direct result of the land industry embracing location intelligence: democratization. In other words, easy access and affordability now make it easier for all (not just the few) to enjoy the power and resulting confidence that comes from making data-driven decisions. This confidence also spills over to your clients, allowing for deals to speed along to a close.

The good news is, this technology is not just available to the bigger brokerages. Easy access to cloud-based mapping software applications has levelled the playing field for smaller land teams, while bringing about much-needed transparency to the industry. So much so, even the traditional players have started to bank on the power of location intelligence to stay competitive. While there will always be value in your local market knowledge, success in today’s market requires technology.

This growth in the use of location intelligence and the tools that enable it suggests a historic shift in the land real estate industry. It’s now much more difficult to imagine the future of land development without it.

As mapping software applications grow in popularity, we’ll see them become even more advanced in terms of their analytical abilities. Matched with continuing efforts to simplify the processes and automate tasks, this technology will become a very common solution for even the most traditional real estate professional.

Tara Bleakley is Data and Analytics Director for Digital Map Products, a pioneer in geospatial mapping technology and location intelligence. Bleakley has 20 years of experience in the building and real estate industry, including GIS analysis, land evaluation, property owner map analysis and business development. She can be reached at

Drone news

The Latest On Drones

New Drone News

Drones have been around a while now. We are long past the days when legal battles were being fought over whether a drone could be used for commercial real estate purposes. We now have a system put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that allows for reasonable licensing and operation of drones that seems to be working well. The rules have seen a couple of tweaks since they were first published. And there are numerous cities and municipalities that have enacted more specific and restrictive laws to better manage drone operation and use.

All of that is old news. However, there is no shortage of new… news. Drones continue to be used in more creative and innovative ways. Many start-up companies are conceived with new ideas on how to employ drones more effectively to solve real-world problems, save time or money, and complete ever day tasks more safely and efficiently.

Unless you’re combing the internet daily for the latest on drone development and employment you might not have seen some of the recent stories. I’d like to save you a bit of time and give you a few recent articles for your enjoyment and professional development:

Drones: A Life Saving Technology

Whether in search and rescue, first-responder services, or delivery of critical medical supplies, drones are saving lives. A recent report published by DJI asserts that drones saved 65 lives last year alone.

Drones Save Lives

Drones Spark Software Startup

Drones are sometimes a bother to people on the ground who are not familiar with their operation and impeccable safety record. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and developing software to help ease the bystanders’ discomfort of drones.

Drones article

Drone Divisions = Innovation

Start-ups aren’t the only companies in the drone game. Well-established companies are exploring new technologies and ways to integrate them. Ford has even established a drone division and is investigating, among other things, lighting technology for drone identification.

Ford drone division

Drone Defense Systems Popping Up

Amid concern for bad actors with drones, some are developing anti-drone systems. In Tampa, FL a company called Sierra Nevada is developing a mobile drone defense platform for a U.S. Department of Defense customer.

counter drone system

Drones Save Puppies, Too!

Finally, who doesn’t like a feel-good story about a drone saving a puppy?

drone saves puppy

The drone story is no longer about when and how we can use them. These days, the story is more like “what will they think of next?” And that question continues to be answered with more and more interesting and creative solutions. I tend to view the current drone world like the early days of the Internet or the introduction of the smartphone. I don’t think we’ve really even scratched the surface of the total drone capability universe. When it comes to drone technology, development, and news, it’s not so much keeping up as it is hanging on for dear life.

This post is part of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here.

About the author: Caleb McDow, ALC, is a land specialist and vice president for Crosby & Associates in Winter Haven, FL. He holds a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE), the CCIM Designation, and is a licensed private pilot and drone operator. McDow joined RLI in 2014 as a Military Transition Program (MTP) member. He is an active member of RLI, serving on the 2017-2018 RLI Board of Directors and as Chair of the 2018 Future Leaders Committee. He also regularly shares his expertise on real estate issues for various industry blogs.

A New Generation Takes On The Land Industry

Think about how much has changed from 2017 to 2018. Prince Harry got married. Elon Musk sent his sports car blasting into space. Peace talks between North and South Korea are in the works. It’s incredible how much can change in a mere twelve months.

Now think about how much can change in a generation.

The new generation of landowners and farmers are facing an entirely new world. The global market offers new clients, but also new competition. The internet and social media have created endless opportunities for marketing and networking. Solar energy and legal marijuana are new crops bringing in millions of dollars. These are just a few of the many things new farmers and landowners will face as they start their legacies in the land industry.

New Tech

The biggest difference for new farmers and landowners is the rapid increase of technology. Long gone are the days of typewriters and rotary phones. Now, drones, virtual reality, social media, and incredibly advanced farm technology are the name of the game.

In a recent article courtesy of RLI Member, Luke Worrell, ALC, talks about how technology has changed the land industry for both clients and land experts. “Now, we communicate with our clients in a variety of ways including email, text, video conferencing, and social media to name a few–we don’t simply have to rely on phone and mail marketing. We have learned the unique way each client wants to communicate and are therefore more relevant to them because we are speaking their language.”

How are new landowners and farmers adjusting to the onslaught of new technology? The answer is by applying old-fashioned rules to new platforms. Land experts are already known for their people skills. Social media lets this generation of land experts take these skills online to reach a wider audience than ever thought possible at a lower cost than possible for previous generations. Social media and online networking require a sort of fearlessness to promote yourself and reach out to new people. We can’t think of a single land professional who doesn’t already do that in real life!

The Future Leaders Committee at RLI is dedicated to finding the very best of the latest technologies, services, and trends in the industry for RLI members – just check out their new Member Technology and Resource Center. Keep an eye on them to learn about the latest in the industry!

New Clients

As the world around us changes, so do the clients we serve and their needs. Thanks to technology, clients have more access to information than ever before.

“The internet has played a huge role in redefining the ways in which land-seekers and land-sellers can connect with one another,” says Worrell. “This has created a shift in the characteristics of land buyers. Buyers are now more sophisticated because they have access to so much information! Modern technology allows buyers from all over the nation, and even the world, to learn about land for sale thousands of miles away without leaving their screen.”

Clients aren’t always within driving distance anymore. Although most clients like to visit a property before taking out their checkbook, in-person trips aren’t a must-have anymore with things like virtual reality for showing land properties. The Information Age of buyers can now find all the data they need to know from their living room.

New Crops

If you told farmers twenty years ago that marijuana would be one of the most profitable crops, they might think you’d helped yourself to a little bit of that crop yourself. While marijuana is still federally illegal, farmers in states like California and Colorado are pioneering the new legal industry.

Even more traditional crops are getting an upgrade. Pork, an American staple that has been around forever, has become more cost-effective. Vitamin-rich feed has created bigger, and therefore more profitable, pigs.

All In The Family

The good news for young farmers is that statistically, they’ve got generations of land wisdom behind them. Unlike many other industries, the land industry is one where the passion is often passed down through generations. This inter-generational business allows millennials to teach new technology to older generations, who in turn can pass on the tricks of the trade.

What Doesn’t Change

While lots of things are changing in the land industry, there are just as many that stay the same. Good people skills and a strong work ethic never go out of style.

It still comes down to the people and earning their trust,” says Allan Worrell, ALC. “Be honest. Don’t backstab. Your clients have to believe in you as a person before they would ever want to do business with you. Don’t give them a reason to question your integrity. I’m reminded of the wisdom contained within John Wooden’s famous quote, ‘There’s no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.’ If you can go to bed at night knowing that your principles were not compromised in your land dealings that day, it will serve you well in this business.”

The elder Worrell also points out the importance of getting involved with groups like the REALTORS® Land Institute. “Get involved in professional organizations within your local communities and those that go well beyond your sales territory. Organizations such as the REALTORS® Land Institute provide the education, tools, advice, and networking opportunities that are the foundation for all land professionals to become the best in the business.”

The newest generation of land experts is facing a brand-new world of technology, clients from around the world, and ever-improving crops. While new farmers and landowners will face new hurdles, they have the wisdom and support from previous generations to help them and vice-versa.

Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Land – The Original American Dream

Land has always been a staple of the American dream. From the Homestead Act of 1862 to the ongoing battle for Amazon’s second headquarters, Americans have held the desire to own and prosper from their own land close to their hearts. While owning private property today is different in many ways than land ownership in the 1800s, many of the same benefits still remain. Owning private property comes with a lot of hidden benefits that are good for you now and for years to come.

Before we dive into the benefits of private land ownership, let’s distinguish what exactly separates private property from public. Private property is land that is owned by individuals or corporations. The owner of a private property has the right of use, lease, and occupation over the land.

Public properties, on the other hand, are owned by public authorities. This land does not belong to any one person. That means the use and occupation of public land is decided on by committees and political groups instead of individuals. Owning private property makes it much simpler to decide what to do with the land. Let’s take a look at some other benefits of private land ownership.

Your Land, Your Choice

The most obvious (and biggest) benefit to owning private property is the freedom to do what you want with your land.  Of course, you still have to follow local and federal law, but how you use the land is largely up to you. This is a huge benefit if you’ve been eyeing some land as a potential transitional property. While sales can be extremely profitable, attempting them with public land can be difficult and can take years. Since public land doesn’t belong to one person, there will be lots of debates, meetings, and compromises over the best use of the land. There will be so many voices that yours might get lost.

Supply and Demand

Land is a limited resource. You can’t just create more land. That’s why land real estate in areas like California and New York are so expensive. There is only so much land to go around, and everyone wants some. Even when the market is bad, people will still need land to grow crops, raise livestock, and build homes.

In the current economy, you might not even be thinking about putting your private property on the market. Especially since owning property now can be seen as insurance against the next economic depression. Plus, keeping your land in good condition ensures that future generations will have a limited resource to profit on in tough times.

Long Term Increase

Historically, some investments in land have had better returns than the broad equity markets. Farmland investments averaged 10-13% total returns over the past two decades. It is also an excellent way to diversify your stock portfolio. Farmland values do not always mimic the market, so if other stocks plunge in value, you won’t lose all your money. People who invest all their money in a certain market or stock tend to risk losing it all when the market turns.

Tax Benefits of Private Property

Depending on the type of land you own, you could be entitled to certain tax benefits. For example, with vacant land, you can elect to add your expenses to your land’s cost bases. This will significantly decrease your taxable gain.

Here’s a great example of this theory in action from

Jean purchases a vacant lot for $10,000 in 2009. During 2009-2013 she elects to add $5,000 in carrying costs to the lot’s cost basis. In 2013, her adjusted basis in the lot is $15,000. She sells the lot for $20,000. Her taxable gain is only $5,000 ($20,000 sales price – $15,000 adjusted basis = $5,000).

Although private land ownership comes with tons of benefits, it has been on a slow decline for years. This is a result of many factors. Some people are wary of investing in land real estate after the housing crash of the early 2000s. Huge companies like Google gobbling up thousands of acres of land also doesn’t help. We hope this article inspires you to take advantage of the many benefits private land ownership has to offer. If you are interested in owning your own piece of land, make sure to Find A Land Consultant to assist with your purchase. Land transactions require the specialized expertise of an agent with education and experience in the field.

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