The Scary Side of Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buying A Property With No Access

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

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

“It is best to sit down face to face with the landowner that you are requesting the access easement from,” said Leisy. “Calmly go over the process, and explain why it is needed. Most people will respond much more positively to this type of meeting over a cup of coffee rather than getting a letter or email. You might be pleasantly surprised at the end result.

Buying Land Zoned Wrong

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

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

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

Buying Land Without An ALC

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

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

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

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

Gathering and Verifying Comparable Sales for Rural Land

As a rural land appraiser, comparable sales are the “life blood” of my business. Of the three common methods for appraising – cost, income, and market data – I tend to use the market data approach the most often both as an appraiser and as a real estate broker. This method allows me to gather reliable and verified comparable sales which are both vital for pricing and appraising properties.  Here are a few ideas on how to do this in your rural land markets:

Sources for Comparable Sales

Networking with Market Participants

Talking with local market participants has proven to be the best way I have found to locate sales. Whether you are at the local restaurant eating lunch or at an agricultural trade show, you should always keep your “ears to the ground” for recent land sales. You may hear these sales in conversations with farmers, foresters, buyers, sellers, bankers or other individuals.  When you hear mention of a sale that you do not have in your database, be sure to listen closely and ask questions if the timing is right always being courteous of others’ time and privacy. If someone seems as if they don’t want to talk about the sale, respect that and try to do further research elsewhere such as utilizing probate records or having conversations with other brokers or appraisers involved.

Company Sales

My best sales are by far the ones where one of our company’s representatives (myself or another broker) is involved.  These internal transactions can almost always ensure that great data will be gathered to verify a sale considering that we should have all of the maps, closing statements, contact information and other necessary data readily available.

Multiple Listing System (MLS)

MLS is a great tool to utilize in your search for comparable sales in more populated areas (considering I appraise and sell land in rural south Alabama, I do not have the opportunity to utilize it often).  Further detail verification of the transaction and property will be necessary since MLS’s are geared towards Residential Real Estate but it’s an excellent “starting point,” if available.

Other Appraisers and Brokers

It is imperative to keep a good working relationship with appraisers and brokers in your market area if you want good data on comparable sales. I have made many great friendships by sharing and receiving comparable sales with other appraisers. I met several of these appraisers at various American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) events. After meeting other appraisers in my area, I always try to follow up by phone call or email to remind them to let me know if I can ever help them with comparable sales in my area. Many of these appraisers have sent work to me when they were either too busy or had a conflict of interest. “Friendly Competition” in the appraisal world is something that we must continue to work towards.

Verifying Comparable Sales

It is always best to speak with someone directly related to the transaction to verify a comparable sale. Of course, if you live in a “disclosure state” you can find items like: purchaser, seller, closing date, legal description and purchase price on the deed at the local probate office. However, in most cases there are other items that make up the purchase price that must be researched further. When verifying comparable sales, I almost always start at the probate office to verify that the sale actually closed, print a copy of the deed so that I have it for my records, and look up the property on the county tax map to verify its location. I will then try to contact someone directly involved with the transaction to determine items such as: improvements located on the sale and their contributory value, timber value, long term leases and their contributory value, equipment or livestock included with the purchase, just to name a few. I find it is most beneficial to speak with buyers, sellers, and agents involved with the transaction. More times than not there will be two sides to the story which you must reconcile to determine the true makeup of the items involved with the sale.

Comparable sales research is something that will make you a better real estate broker or appraiser. I believe you never can know “too much” about your local land market. Knowing your market will help you competitively price land which is ultimately helps it sell quicker, this “hands on” approach of digging through sales will likely introduce you to valuable market participants with great lead potential that you otherwise might not have met in your everyday professional 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: Calvin Perryman, ALC, is an Associate Broker and Appraiser with Great Southern Land. Calvin is an active member of RLI, serving on the 2018 Future Leaders Committee and as the 2018 President of the RLI Alabama Chapter. He graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Business and Economics in May of 2011. Shortly after graduating from Auburn he obtained his real estate license and has been in the real estate business since 2011.

How to Start an Orchard

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

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

Choosing Your Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing Your Apples

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

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

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

 

Tips For Planting/Caring for Your Orchard

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

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

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

Adding Recreational Value to your Property

The majority of the buyers in my market are typically looking for properties with two characteristics: timberland for an investment and hunting for recreation. However, there aren’t many properties that ideally fit both characteristics. Sometimes I scratch my head, wondering why there aren’t more people willing to play the role of a developer and convert timber tracts into recreational retreats for profit. While it’s rare for an established hunting retreat to hit the open market, the properties that do, usually justify their price premium and get purchased quickly.

Timber real estate investment trusts (REITs) and investors are realizing that recreational value on many properties is now exceeding the timber value, which in turn justifies selling the property for a substantial profit. While there are many different ways to add recreational value to a property, I’ve decided to focus on one particular property, as it’s a great example. The main goal behind the property is continuing to operate a pine plantation for investment purposes, however, have the means to hunt, fish, and enjoy the property recreationally year-round. Here are some ways this property was able to achieve this goal:

1. Created Food Plots

While it does take some time and money to prepare a food plot, the end result will benefit wildlife and keep them on your property.  This requires cutting timber, removing the stumps, liming and fertilizing the soil, and figuring out what and when to plant. The majority of these food plots are on the edges of hardwoods. This one, in particular, has been low fenced to keep the hogs out.

2. Built A Dove Field

Having a great dove field is a great way to host guests, family, and friends for entertainment. It’s a fun social event you can put on several times a year. This dove field has all the makings for being successful including a fake power line and trees for the birds to roost, water to drink, sand/gravel, and approximately 12 acres to plant.

3. Created A Duck Impoundment

Since this property sits along the eastern flyway, this duck impoundment is ideal to attract passing ducks. This impoundment is planted in June and the water level is manually controlled through a flashboard riser. The owners are able to enjoy it from early teal season in September, all the way to the end of the season in February.

4. Created Quail Habitat

This required thinning the trees back to 35-50 trees per acre. A skid steer with a grinder ate up a lot of the long-abandoned understory before Garlon (Triclopyr) was sprayed to prevent hardwood growth. These fields were burned using prescriptive fire in late February. Continuing to burn every one or two years will keep this stand clean and provide great habitat for all wildlife.

5. Building A Fishing Pond

This pond was started almost a year ago. The owners were able to reach a mutual agreement with a local contractor and the Department of Transportation. The agreement allows the two parties to have free rights to the dirt in order to finish converting a nearby roadway from two lanes into four. Once completed the landowners will have a 17.5 acre stocked pond to enjoy year-round fishing.

6. Starting A Garden

Establishing a garden requires a lot of work. However, it is very enjoyable to be able to eat what you have grown. This garden contains a mixture of fruit trees including blueberries, blackberries, peaches, limes, nectarines, oranges, apples, pears, and grapes. It also has a seasonal section that is currently planted in corn, squash, cucumbers, peppers, okra, bush beans, cantaloupes and watermelons.

While there are certainly several other recreational aspects to add to a property, I thought this property did a great job of highlighting many of them and a great example of maintaining a timber investment and year-round recreational enjoyment.

Interested in becoming an expert in recreational land transactions? Check out the RLI’s Recreational Land Real Estate LANDU course.

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: Tommy Stroud Jr., ALC, is a broker with National Land Realty Tommy has served on the REALTORS© Land Institute Future Leaders Committee since 2016. He holds the esteemed Accredited Land Consultant Designation (ALC) and has an active real estate license in the states of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. Tommy lives in St. Simons Island, GA, with his wife and two children.

tamaya resort nlc19

19 Reasons Not to Miss NLC19

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

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

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

2: Early Bird Discounts

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

3: Discounts for RLI Members and ALCs

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

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

4: The Networking Event Of The Year

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

national land conference

5: Our Partners

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

6: The Beautiful Location

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

7: Let’s Make Deal$ LIVE!

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

8: RLI Apex Awards Program

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

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

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

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

9: Expert Speakers on Hot Topics

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

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

10: Howdy Partner Happy Hour

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

11: Land Technology Accelerator Program Showcase

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

12: Reflections: RLI’s Welcome Reception

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

13: Amazing Sessions

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

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

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

14: The Cowboy Auction: Pony Up!

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

15: A DC Update Not To Be Missed

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

16: Companion Trip to Santa Fe

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

17: Sandia Peak Tramway Attendee Tour

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

18: The NLC19 Event App

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

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

19: Winners Wanted: Raffles!

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

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

About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017. This will be Laura’s first National Land Conference and she can’t wait to see what its all about and meet our awesome members.

 

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

How To Pick The Perfect Agent for Your Land

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

1. Go Beyond Google

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

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

2: Expertise

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

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

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

3: Designations Matter

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

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

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

4. Marketing and Visibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What You Need To Know to Make Taxes Less Taxing

This guest post was originally posted on National Land Realty‘s blog.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be construed as professional tax advice, always consult with your tax or financial advisor for additional information on how this will impact your personal or business tax situation.

As Margaret Mitchell wrote in Gone With The Wind: “Death, taxes, and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” Land experts know how draining taxes can be.

The taxes associated with land sales are complex, and as soon as you feel like you’ve got a good grip on them, tax laws change! Even with the many changes that happen, there are some things that are set in stone. In this article, we take a look at the backbone of land taxes.

1031s Are Your Best Friend

Instead of paying taxes on the sale, 1031 exchanges let you invest the proceeds of your sale into a like-kind property. You can defer paying federal and state capital gains taxes.

If you’ve sold land before, you are probably familiar with using 1031s for land sales. But did you know that you can also sell conservation easements, water rights, development rights, and more while deferring taxes as well? This can save you hundreds or even thousands in tax dollars.

Although 1031s are an amazing resource for land buyers, there are strict rules about which properties do and do not qualify for this program. Be sure to check with a local land expert to see if your property qualifies before selling. You can also get started by reading through some official guidelines from the IRS.

Unique Tax Rules For Different Kinds of Land

Different land types come with different benefits and drawbacks.

  • Timberland: Each state taxes timber differently. For example, in Texas, timberland property is taxed by the appraised value multiplied by the tax rate. In Massachusetts, the tax is five percent of fair cash value, plus an enrollment fee and eight percent yield tax. To check your state’s unique rules, check out this handy website.
  • Vineyards: Small-time vineyard owners could be entitled to a sweet tax credit for making American wine. This Title 27 credit applies to producers who make under 250,000 gallons of wine a year in America. You can get up to a nine percent tax deduction. Bottoms up!
  • Agriculture: The most recent tax bill made many changes favorable for agriculture. Starting in the 2018 tax year, farmers can immediately write off up to one million dollars of capital purchases such as breeding livestock, farm equipment, and single-purpose structures.

Capital Gains Tax

A capital gain is defined as a profit from the sale of property or of an investment. This gain is taxable at the state level and the federal level.

This is where capital gains gets tricky. Each state has its own rules. In states like Texas or Nevada, you can expect to pay around twenty-five percent. In California or New York, you can expect to pay upwards of 30 percent! Here’s a tool from SmartAsset that can help you get a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay.

How High Are Capital Gains Taxes in Your State?

https://taxfoundation.org/how-high-are-capital-gains-taxes-your-state/

No one enjoys paying taxes. But having a solid sense of the fundamentals of land taxes can help you save your hard-earned money and make you (and your clients!) the most profitable deal possible. 1031 Exchanges are such a dense topic that we can’t possibly cover all there is to know in this article. If you’re a land pro and you’d like to learn more about helping your clients take advantage of 1031s, check out RLI’s November VILT-online course: Tax Deferred 1031 Exchanges. If you’re a landowner looking to learn more about how your property can benefit from these, make sure to contact a land expert near you to learn more.

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

 

RLI 2019 Leadership

The Realtors® Land Institute Announces 2019 National Leadership

September 18, 2018 (Chicago, Ill.) – The Realtors® Land Institute (RLI), a commercial affiliate of the National Association of Realtors®, proudly announces its 2019 leadership. Renee Harvey, ALC, the Owner/Broker of Century 21 Harvey Properties in Paris, TX, was elected by membership as their 2019 RLI National Vice President. Renee joins the 2019 RLI National Board of Directors as a part of their Executive Committee alongside 2019 President Jeramy Stephens, ALC, of Stuttgart, AR, with National Land Realty and 2019 President-Elect Kyle Hansen, ALC, from Nevada, IA, with Hertz Real Estate Services.

In this position, Renee will serve a four-year term on RLI’s Executive Committee making her the association’s 2021 RLI National President. She has an extensive record of service to RLI, serving most recently as Vice Chair of the 2018 Governmental Affairs Committee, Chair of the 2017 RLI Education Committee, and a member of the 2017 RLI Board of Directors. She also played a large role assisting with the organization’s rebrand from 2016-2017, serving on two member-based task forces. Prior to that she served as Chair of the RLI Governmental Affairs Committee in 2015 and as the RLI Texas Chapter President from 2010-2011.

Renee joins the RLI Executive Team at an integral time for the organization as they continue to push forward into the final year of their three-year strategic plan, which has an overall goal of strengthening RLI’s position as The Voice of Land. As a key pillar of that plan, land professionals can expect to see a full offering of newly updated Land University (LANDU) courses in 2019 as well as a brand new Recreational Land Real Estate course added to the program. Members of the organization will continue to see an increase in awareness among consumers of the RLI brand and will also benefit from the strengthening of RLI’s local chapters, both being major goals of the strategic plan.

In response, RLI’s CEO Aubrie Kobernus, MBA, RCE, released the following statement upon Renee’s election: “The RLI Board of Directors and I could not be more fortunate to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable addition joining us in our mission to further position RLI as The Voice of Land in the industry. We look forward to another success-filled year of bringing our members exceptional expertise, camaraderie, and resources to help them become the best in the business.”

The election also adds two At-Large Directors to the RLI Board. In an effort to give members a stronger voice into the direction of the organization, the addition of these elected seats were implemented in 2017. Out of the seven candidates running for an At-Large Director position, RLI is proud to announce the election of Bart Miller, ALC, of Mason & Morse Ranch Company in Glenwood Springs, CO, and David Hitchcock, ALC, of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate, LLC, in Lakeland, FL, onto the 2019 RLI Board of Directors.

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 rliland.com or call 800.441.5263. It’s the best time to join the best!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For additional information contact:
Jessa Friedrich, Marketing Manager
800-441-5263 | jfriedrich@realtors.org

land sales

RLI Member Land Sales Summary | August 2018

Based on data shared through the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program in August 2018, there were 212 properties listed as sold by REALTORS© Land Institute Members. This represents some $155 million and 30,000 acres of land and rural real estate sold across 24 states. August 2018 sales activity by REALTORS© Land Institute Members participating in the program increased by 13 percent over the previous month and 7 percent compared to sales volume from the same period in 2017.

Largest Size Land Deal

Congratulations to HomeLand Properties’ Andy Flack, ALC, in Huntsville, TX, whose sale of 3,132 acres in East Texas’ Tarkington Bayou was the month’s largest recorded land sale by REALTORS© Land Institute Members participating in the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program. Andy also recorded the month’s most sales, with 13 sold properties at a combined sales value of $13.9 million.

Andy Flack, ALC, property SOLD

Highest Dollar Volume Land Deal

First listed in August 2016, the most expensive land deal recorded during August 2018 was the sale by Pearson Realty’s Dan Kevorkian, ALC, in Fresno, CA, of a 1,509-acre investment-grade pistachio orchard in Central California. First planted as an experimental crop in California in the 1930s, the Golden State is now the world’s largest producer of these tasty and healthful nuts. The orchard was listed as sold for $43.6 million.

Dan Kevorkian, ALC property SOLD

The Lands of America Comparable Sales Program includes over 260,000 individual sales records dating back to March 2000. The program was put together to offer one centralized, nationwide location to assist in valuating properties. Sales information is shared on a voluntary basis by individual program participants. Please click here to learn more about participating in the Lands of America Comparable Sales Program.

national land conference

Answering Common Questions About RLI Membership

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

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

Q. Why should I become a member?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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