Transitional Land: Finding The Highest & Best Use

Land. A word some commercial agents fear and some see as an opportunity. Make sure you are one of the latter. While some agents hesitate when they see a property come up involving land, like a vacant lot or tract of farmland on the outskirts of an urban area, savvy agents know that these can be diamonds in the rough awaiting discovery. Transitional land real estate properties are just that and being able to identify and properly market these types of properties can be quite lucrative.

THE DIRT ON TRANSITIONAL LAND

The purpose of a real estate brokerage is to sell a property at its market value and earn a reasonable profit for the client, as well as for the agent assisting with the transaction. In traditional real estate brokerage, the agent lists an existing property with a known use and markets that property to the users for that type of property. What makes Transitional Land properties different is the need to determine the market value accurately and then market the property according to its highest and best use, which is different than its current use, in order to increase the property’s value and thus the profit.

It is optimal for an agent listing either a residential or commercial property to utilize a comparative market analysis (CMA) to bracket the price range within which the property should sell. Then, working with the seller, the agent determines an asking price and prepares the seller to accept a sales price in this range. Whether you’re a commercial specialist working with a strip center or an industrial specialist working on a warehouse listing, there are comparable sales in the market place to utilize in determining and estimating the market value of the property to be listed.

THE DOWN-LOW ON HIGHEST & BEST USE
What makes transitional land a unique area of real estate brokerage is the fact that the ultimate use of the property might not be easily recognized. In fact, the very nature of transitional land is that the highest and best use is dynamic. Typically, when we think of transitional land, we think of an agricultural property whose highest and best use changes to commercial. Everyone can envision the new big box development being built on the land that was farmer Brown’s pasture. However, properties can also transition from one commercial use to another or from agricultural to industrial or recreational. While we normally think of a transitional property increasing in value because it has changed to a more profitable use, we sometimes see values decrease as neighborhoods deteriorate or governmental actions dictate a change to a use with a lower return.

In any event, until the highest and best use can be identified, the market value cannot be determined and the market cannot be targeted for the property to be sold.

Much of the knowledge needed for conducting transitional land transactions is founded on appraisal principles, which will allow the broker to identify the highest and best use of a property, and then estimate its market value. It is important for the student to understand these principles in order to apply them in the process of determining market value. It is also important that an agent be able to explain these principles to a seller in order to get the listing in their real estate practice.

WHAT’S YOUR MARKET[ING]?
Once the highest and best use has been determined and the market values estimated, an agent will then develop the marketing strategy. At this point, they must identify a target market, create a marketing strategy, and start marketing to these buyers. This is the area of brokerage that most agents enjoy.

How well an agent does in this area and how successful they are in their overall brokerage of transitional land will depend a great deal upon the work they have done in identifying the highest and best use and determining the market value.

TRANSITIONING TO TRANSITIONAL LAND

In transitional land, as in any other type of brokerage, preparation is the key to success. To be prepared, you must practice what you have learned. Here are some ways to get started today:

  • Take a second look at inventory using the insights gained in this article to see if the highest and best use of these properties has been properly identified.
  • Review the property’s marketing plan and marketing materials to see if they meet the standards expected.
  • Analyze potential new listings with these ideas in mind and you may find that your success rate in obtaining a listing and closing the sale increases.

Conducting land real estate transactions, including transitional land transactions, requires specialized expertise. Before attempting to conduct land transactions, agents should acquire the proper education and knowledge through programs like the REALTORS® Land Institute’s (RLI) LANDU Education Program.

Interested in learning more?

*Content from this article pulled from RLI’s Transitional Land Real Estate course.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 NAR Commercial Connections Magazine.

 

Jessa Friedrich, Marketing Manager, REALTORS Land InstituteAbout the author: Jessa Friedrich, MBA, is the Marketing Manager for the REALTORS® Land Institute. Jessa has a Bachelor of Science with a dual major 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.

How To Start Your Own Vineyard

Who hasn’t secretly (or not so secretly) dreamed of opening their own vineyard? The idea of walking through rows and rows of plump purple grapes sounds heavenly. Plus, all the free wine you can drink! Pour yourself a glass of merlot or chardonnay and let’s learn all about starting your own vineyard.

What Do You Want Out Of The Vineyard?

Before you start looking into grapes, ask yourself what you want out of the land. Would your vineyard be more for personal use, or would you like to make enough wine to sell to local stores and restaurants? Do you want to just grow grapes or produce your own wine on site? These questions can help you figure out how much land you’ll need and how much you can expect to spend.

Pick The Grapes

There are dozens of types of grapes, each with their own unique aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and climate where they grow best. Here are a few popular types of grapes and what they are best for:

  • Riesling grape. These grapes do best in cool climates. Vineyard owners love the flowery, sweet scent these grapes give off.
  • Cabernet Franc grape. This is a popular black grape around the globe. It can be used to make its own wine, or to be blended into other wines for a more complex flavor pallet.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon grape. This is one of the world’s most used red grapes. This late-budding grape is able to avoid most frost. It can do well in many climates with the taste varying based off of the climate. For example, in cooler climates, you can expect more crisp flavors like mint and cedar, while the grape takes on a sweeter, jam-like flavor in warmer climates.
  • Chardonnay grape: This grape produces a mild flavor and is easy to grow, making it a fan favorite among growers. It can thrive in many types of soil, but does best in chalk or clay.

How Much Can You Spend On Your Own Vineyard?

If you want to open a vineyard just for fun or are planning on growing grapes in your backyard, this step might not be as important for you. If you are planning on making money off of your grapes, this is important. It’s hard to give a general estimate of how much you can expect to spend, because there are dozens of factors that are different for every single vineyard owner. Here are just a few of the many things to consider while making your budget:

  • timing of the first harvest
  • when you can expect to see an ROI
  • labor costs
  • irrigation needs
  • machinery needs
    • fruit crusher, distilling, sanitizing, siphoning, bottling equipment, etc.
  • shipping costs
  • overhead to run the business and marketing costs

According to a study from Sierra Nevada Foothills, the average twenty-acre property can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here’s a comprehensive budgeting plan for those of you interesting in opening a vineyard of fifty acres or more.

Prepare The Land

When choosing the property for your vineyard, be sure to pick a plot that is on a slope. Grapes do well on slopes because of drainage. You’ll also want to make sure the property has plenty of access to sunlight, because too much shadow can be deadly for budding vines.

You’ll also want to do a soil test. The soil should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, but no higher than 7. Vineyard vines are unique because they struggle to produce grapes in soil that is rich in nutrients. Because of this, you’ll also need soil that has quality drainage.

One Last Piece Of Advice

Patience is the name of the game when it comes to owning a vineyard. It can take at least two years for a vineyard to produce fruit, and turning a profit on wine can take even longer. Similar to green energy or timber, vineyards require a lot of money up front and can take many years to start making money.

Owning a vineyard doesn’t have to remain a daydream. If you start setting aside money and grow grapes on a property where you can maximize profits, you can make the American dream of owning your own vineyard into a reality.

If you want to learn about the art of buying and selling vineyards, check out these great RLI articles from the Summer 2017 Terra Firma magazine written by expert Accredited Land Consultant Flo Sayre. And if you are looking for a qualified agent to help you buy or sell vineyard land, be sure to use our Find a Land Consultant tool.

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.

Effectively Networking for New Land Professionals

Networking always has and always will be a vital component to any successful real estate professional’s career. Being new to the industry can be especially daunting considering the number of real estate professionals entering the business.  To put it simply, the best piece of advice I can share is “you must be seen to be known.” In order to establish yourself in the marketplace and be successful, you need to be seen “out and about” by your existing and prospective clients at local and regional functions.  Here is an outline of several ways you can effectively network to grow and sustain your real estate business:

  1. Network with Industry Leaders Face-to-Face
    Get to know the top industry leaders and let them know you are in the business. By industry leaders I mean Brokers and Agents (within your company as well as your competitors), Appraisers, Lenders, etc. which have been in the land business for some time and are thought of as the “go-to guys.” It may be tough to get much of their time considering their busy schedules, however, try offering to take them to lunch or stopping by their office for a quick chat when you’re in the area. Be sure to have something to offer them, for example, if you stop in to see a broker you could take information on a new listing or ask them about specific buyer needs that you may have. I am always surprised how much more I learn by stopping by someone’s office and talking for 10-15 minutes in person vs. calling, texting or emailing them to check in. Always be willing to sit back and listen when they start talking, you will be surprised how much you learn.
  2. Start Using Social Media Networking
    Social media has become a huge part of the land brokerage business. It is a great way to network with buyers, sellers, and industry leaders as well as market your clients’ properties. I recommend creating a “business page” along with your personal social media pages. The business page will allow you to promote your business in a professional manner that can be easily reached by the public. A tactic I’ve found to be successful is periodically sharing items from your business page to your personal page. This will send traffic over to your business page often resulting in very credible leads. You will also find that once you’ve established yourself in the business, many of your clients will become actual friends and will likely become “friends” with you on your personal social media pages. This is a great way to stay in touch with your clients. By simply “liking” their post or wishing them a “happy birthday” you will stay on their mind and when they need a land professional they will be more likely to think of you.
  3. Attend Conferences and Industry Events
    Conferences are one of my favorite ways to network. Generally, at these conferences there are great speakers and trade shows, along with some of the best of the best in the industry. I highly recommend attending the National Land Conference by the REALTORS® Land Institute which is typically held in the Spring of each year. This premier event is attended by the foremost leaders of the land industry and is a great venue to gain expertise from the best industry speakers and teachers available. In addition, Conservation, Agricultural, and Forestry conferences are held throughout the Nation each year and provide great networking opportunities. There are also local and state chapters such as The National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and Safari Club International that host events.  All of these can be very beneficial in getting to know like-minded individuals with an interest in buying or selling land.
  4. Network in Your Local Community
    There is no replacement for being involved in your local community. If you take care of and help the people at home, they will take care of you. There are great networking opportunities in most local areas including: Sponsoring Charity Events, Participating in Church Events, Sponsoring Youth Sports teams, etc. You should make it a point to be present at many local community events such as trade shows, community cook-offs, historical society events, etc. Along with volunteering and sponsoring these events it is also a great idea to be involved with your local Chamber of Commerce. Many of the people you see and meet at these events will eventually have a need for a land professional or perhaps know someone who needs a land professional. When this happens, you want them to always think of you.

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.

Make Your Own Luck as a Land Real Estate Professional

With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, horse lovers are breaking out their four- leaved clovers and horseshoes in the hopes of placing their bets on the winning horse. In the land industry, it’s not uncommon for people to think luck is out of their hands. However, your odds at succeeding in the land industry are much higher than betting on this year’s winning horse. Here’s how you can make your own luck in the land industry.

1. Be Social To Increase Your Odds of Success.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you work in the land industry. The industry is so big that it can be easy to settle into a routine where you talk to the same group of people all the time. This can backfire for people trying to find new clients. If you are looking to expand your business, try going to networking events like NLC or meeting people in different areas of land expertise. The more people you talk to, the more likely your chances of meeting your next big client. Make statistics work for you!

2. Nip Problems In The Bud

The earlier you can address and fix any issues surrounding a property, the more likely it is you are going to have a successful sale. Instead of thinking “We’ll fix it when we get there,” or hoping that the worst case scenario doesn’t happen, address the problem (or possible problem) as soon as you know it could hurt the sale.

For example, is the title to a property so complicated that you’d need a team of lawyers just to understand it? Contact an agency as soon as you can. Suspect there are some environmental hazards on a seemingly perfect property? Instead of crossing your fingers, get an environmental assessment of your land. Yes, it will cost you a little extra money up front, but the long-term cost of not fixing issues with properties is usually much greater.

Being proactive about potential problems also shows clients how dedicated you are to getting them the best possible land and shows your expertise since you’ve considered all possible outcomes.

3. Find Luck In The News

Trying to stay up to date with land news can seem harder than selling land. From land laws changing almost every day to fluctuating land values, it can be overwhelming to keep track of it all.

While it is easy to get lost in clickbait-y articles, staying on top of land news is the key to making your own luck. Land news and trends offer insight into what can make you money and what won’t. Following the news is especially important before planting season. Knowing the current and predicted future value of crops is the best way to maximize profits. Following land news is also very important for those who are selling or buying land. The values of different land types vary wildly week by week, so by staying on top of the market, you’ll be able to get the best possible price for your land. Plus, having all that information only ads to your image as the local land expert in your market.

A great way to learn about land news and trends is to follow land experts on social media. At RLI, we dig through hundreds of land news articles to bring you the information you need to know. Here are some great accounts to follow:

4. Expand Your Area of Expertise.

The more you know, the more you have to offer potential clients. Having multiple areas of expertise can increase your chances of landing your next big client. One great way of expanding your area of expertise is by taking courses through RLI’s LANDU Education Program. Here are some examples of upcoming classes and webinars:

Negotiating Oil and Gas Leases (June 13)

Google Earth Mapping for Real Estate (June 25)

Gaining Community Support for Land Use Projects (May 16th)

Land Investment Analysis (September 4th)

Taught by land experts, these classes are designed to help you expand your knowledge to attract more clients. You’ll also have access to a large network of other land experts who you can learn from, including fellow students and the instructors.

While there some factors that are out of your control, being lucky in the land industry is largely in your own hands. Proactive problem solving, learning new things, and keeping up to date with land news are all your secret weapons to creating your own luck. And don’t forget to check out all the great member benefits and resources RLI has to offer its members.

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.

 

 

Wind Farms and Solar Panels: The (Near) Future of Green Energy and Land Real Estate

Many people talk about “green energy,” such as wind farms and solar panels, like it’s as futuristic as flying cars. What these people don’t realize is that wind and solar energy is already taking the world of energy by storm. Companies like Disney and Google are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on wind farms and solar panels. Farmers are also turning to green energy sources to cut back on their energy bills and make extra money off of their land. Let’s take a look at how the land industry is being shaped by green energy.

Even the biggest fans of green energy will admit that wind farms look kind of creepy; like an alien colony landed on Earth. While they can be strange looking, their ability to convert wind into energy is impressive. The average 10-kilowatt wind turbine produces around 16,000 kilowatts annually. In comparison, the average U.S. household consumes about 10,000 kilowatts of electricity each year.

Not only can you power your house (and then some) with a single wind turbine, you can also get a pretty sweet tax break. The federal renewable electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for the electricity generated by your wind turbine that is sold to an unrelated person. This tax credit flies under the radar because so few individuals own wind turbines on their land. In 2016, wind farms produced a tiny amount of American energy (only around 5.6 percent), but if more people knew about this tax break, those numbers might skyrocket.

Another benefit to having a wind turbine on your property is kissing energy bills goodbye. Once the wind turbine has been paid for and installed, you can use the energy it generates instead of buying it. Imagine never paying an energy bill for the rest of your life!

While wind turbines have yet to reach their full potential, solar panels have become the stars of the green energy scene. Did you know Disney is planning to build a solar farm? It will lower the theme parks greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 metric tons, the equivalent of taking over 9,000 cars off the road. China has invested $86.5 billion in solar. Even small farmers are getting into it. In 2017, nearly a quarter of all California farms generated onsite solar energy

Solar panels can be a great way to cut down on costs long term. Many people balk at the high prices of installing solar panels, but over time they make money. Every kilowatt your panels produce will offset whatever you would normally have had to buy from an outside company.

So, should you invest in wind turbines or solar panels for your land? While green energy is great, it’s not always the best option for everyone. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is your state supportive of green energy? Some states are pushing green energy by offering huge tax breaks and rewarding bigger companies for using solar energy. For example, in Illinois, the Future Energy Jobs Act requires Illinois utilities to get at least 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. If you live in Illinois, you could make serious money selling green energy to companies.
  • Will green energy make more money than your current crops? While the values of crops and livestock fluctuate, the value of green energy is strong and there is a growing demand for it. However, if solar panels and wind turbines would make less money than your current land use, it might not be worth it.
  • Do you have the money for the down payment? Wind turbines and solar panels will save you money in the long term, but they do cost a fair amount to install.

Wind turbines and solar panels are the future of the energy business, and that future is not as far away as you might think. Green energy has a lot to offer landowners, from tax credits to additional income. As the cost of installing green energy sources becomes more and more affordable, we will see the full range of benefits green energy has to offer the land industry.

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.

RLI Joins Coalition to Protect Prior Converted Cropland (PCC)

The RLI Board of Directors recently approved the Governmental Affairs Committee request to participate in a broad industry-based coalition to ensure that prior converted cropland (PCC) exclusions are retained in the revision of WOTUS rules. PCC are areas that were converted from wetland to non-wetlands for the purposes of agricultural commodity prior to December 1985 and should not be subjected to WOTUS rules. RLI is joining the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, and many others to protect the PCC exclusions.

The Most (and Least) Expensive Land Real Estate in America

The price of land varies wildly across this great nation. In some areas, land real estate can cost millions of dollars per acre. In other areas, land is being given away for free. What’s truly baffling is that in many cases, the two types of land are only miles apart. What makes some land worth millions and other land worth next to nothing? Let’s take a look at the most and least expensive land real estate in America.

Most Expensive Residential Land Real: Atherton, CA

This town has the most expensive land real estate in the entire country. An empty lot in Atherton costs more than a home in San Francisco. According to curbed.com, vacant and residential land can go anywhere from $6,750,000 to $6.9 million, and that’s not even counting the price of a house. A 1.43-acre property was recently sold for a whopping $6.9 million.

A great location and a scarcity of available land are the main reasons Atherton land is so pricey. The town is located forty-five minutes south of San Francisco and less than twenty minutes away from major tech companies in Silicon Valley. Add in the fact that there is only a limited amount of land available in the area, and you’ve got properties that will continue to skyrocket in price.

Most Expensive Farmland: Rhode Island

The smallest state has the biggest prices when it comes to farmland. The U.S. Department of Ag reports that farmland in Rhode Island is priced at an average $13,8000 per acre. New England states tend to have more expensive land real estate, but why does Rhode Island have land prices almost triple some other states?

Similar to Atherton, the main draw to Rhode Island farmland is location. It is close to many big cities, which allows farmers to save thousands on transporting their produce. Thanks to this, farmers are also able to sell their produce to stores for a lower price than far-away farmers.

Least Expensive Residential Land Real Estate: Marquette, Kansas

This land goes beyond cheap. It’s free! According to the town’s official website, “The community of Marquette, Kansas, is offering free building lots to interested families who are looking for an extraordinary small town.” The only requirements are building a real home on the land and living there for at least a year. It’s like a modern-day Homestead Act.

The reason for the free land? The 2008 real estate crash stunted the town’s real estate business. No one had the resources to buy or build a new home. The town hopes the offer of free land will bring more people, businesses, and cash flow back to Kansas.

Marquette boasts a low crime rate and a low cost of living. However, the town does lack what makes Atherton and Rhode Island so desirable. The town is very remote, which can lead to problems finding a job.

Interested in applying for free land in Marquette? You can apply for land here (http://www.freelandks.com/availableland).

Least Expensive Farmland: New Mexico

You might be surprised to learn that this state has the cheapest farmland in America. New Mexico has a sunny, warm climate that would seem perfect for growing crops or raising livestock. However, it’s the desert heat and dryness that drives the prices down. The U.S. Department of Ag reports that farmland in New Mexico is priced at an average $530 per acre, a fraction of what Rhode Island farmland is priced at per acre.

The Land of Enchantment state can be perfect if you are growing foods that flourish in heat and dry weather, such as asparagus, cantaloupe, snap beans, and many spices. If your crops require lots of water, you might want to look elsewhere. The cost of irrigating some properties could be more expensive than the land itself.

Scarcity of land and location are the two most important factors when it comes to the price of land. Two properties in the same states can be priced at wildly different figures depending on how much land there is, how much demand there is, and the location of the land. To make sure you are getting the best price for the land you are selling or buying, be sure to use an expert land real estate agent.

Looking for land? Check out properties on the market from the industry’s top land real estate agents using RLI’s Land Connections property search tool.

 

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

How To Start Your Own Land Blog

Have you ever wanted to start your own land blog, but never knew how? We here at REALTORS® Land Institute have got you covered! Blogging about land real estate is a great way to attract new clients, establish yourself as an industry expert, and share your knowledge with other land professionals in the industry. We’ve  put together some tips that will help you create and maintain a memorable land blog.

What Are You Great At?

Everyone has their own area of expertise. What’s yours? Is it residential land real estate, selling land, buying land, helping investors, 1031s, mineral rights, hunting, or something else? Whatever your specialty is, there are people out there that want to learn more about it.

Tailoring your blog to feature what you are best at is a great way to help it stand out. There are a lot of land blogs out there, so the more specific you can make your content, the more unique and valuable your blog will be.

Post Regularly On Your Land Blog

Nothing kills a great blog more than irregular posts. If a blog doesn’t post for months at a time, people will lose interest and stop coming back. Over-posting is also a problem. A blog that posts multiple times a day can be overwhelming for some readers.

Consider posting on a weekly or monthly schedule. This way, readers know when to expect new content from you. Then, make sure to share out your new posts on social media to increase your blog audience.

Pick Your Tone

You might think that tone would be the least of your worries when creating your blog,but tone is actually one of the most important things to consider. The tone of your blog is set by the topics you choose, your unique writing style, and the layout of your blog. Do you want your blog to be informative? Funny? Casual? These are all things to consider while making your blog. Whatever tone you take, make sure to keep it professional and watch for grammatical errors. Nothing can hurt more than a typo or misspelled word when trying to gain respect and position yourself as an expert.

Have Back-Up Articles

Posting an article every week doesn’t sound like too much work, right? Easy peasy. But when you get to a week where you have a huge to-do list for work, you are sick, your car broke down, and you’ve got to take your dog to the vet again, writing a blog post is the last thing on your mind. For these weeks, be prepared by writing a few back-up articles during weeks where you have a little extra free time.

The Layout Of The Blog

Tons of pop-ups adds, white font on a white background, and blurry pictures are just a few things that can make a land blog look unprofessional. You can get some great blog site templates from a website like WordPress for free. Use a simple, easy-to-navigate site design. Some of the design options are really eye-catching and fun, but they can be an eyesore if not done correctly. Remember, your readers are coming to your blog for your content, not for the colors of your blog.

SEO, OMG!

If you have a land blog, you will run into SEO. SEO (search engine optimization) helps improve an article’s search engine ratings.

When it comes to using SEO, you want to make sure your SEO keyword is specific, but not so obscure that no one else will have heard of it. For example, a good SEO title for this article about starting your own land blog could be ‘starting land blog’. Using an SEO keyword like ‘land’ would be too general. There are thousands of articles with the word ‘land’. A SEO keyword of ‘starting a land blog 2018 RLI posting monthly’ is too specific.Think about what people would type into Google when they are searching for your blog, and tailor your SEO to that. If you want to learn more about SEO, here’s a great article to get you started. If you are using WordPress for your blog, we highly recommend the free SEO by Yoast plugin.

Follow Other Land Blogs

The best way to learn how to make a great land blog is by learning from other great land blogs. Kent Morris, ALC recently posted an article about his recommendations for top blogs to follow on his blog, Land Blog… Get The Dirt!. Check it out!

Another great ALC blog is the Southeastern Land Group’s blog. Jonathan Goode, ALC writes great articles about the latest news in the land industry. Great Southern Land also features the writing of ALC members.

Here are a few great land blogs to help you get started:

REALTORS® Land Institute’s blog. We post a mix of expert guest posts, land news, and informative articles about the land industry.

Land.com. This blog is focused on the art of buying and selling land. The layout is also very clean and easy to use.

LandThink blog. This informative blog has a lot of no-nonsense articles that answer common questions about land real estate.

Land Blog… Get The Dirt! Kent Morris, ALC, is an expert in all things timber.

Whitetail. Any hunting enthusiasts out there? This is the blog for you!

National Land Realty blog. This blog covers a wide variety of topics from hunting to owning land, but it’s the industry news section we always go to first!

Starting a land blog is an excellent way to get connected with other professionals in the business and show off your knowledge and experience to clients. We hope these tips will help you create the land blog of your dreams.

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

Top Five Reasons You Need An ALC When Selling Land

We all know the old saying ‘the customer is always right’. Usually, it’s applied to restaurants and retail stores, but at the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI), we think customer service is just as important in the land industry. Land sellers can expect an unprecedented level of expertise from any Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) that can help ensure you get the best deal when you sell land. Here are the top five benefits a landowner gets when using an ALC to sell their property.

1. ALCs Have An Unprecedented Number Of Connections

You meet a lot of great people on the road to completing the elite ALC Designation. These people include clients, other ALCs from classes and networking events, and industry experts from RLI’s annual National Land Conference.

Having these connections is a two-part benefit to land sellers. The first benefit is a larger client base. Since ALCs have so many connections with other expert land agents in the industry, they’ll have no problem connecting you with people interested in buying your land. ALCs have a national network of land professionals and industry experts at their fingertips through a directory of trusted land professionals called the Find A Land Consultant search tool offered by RLI.

The second benefit is that they have an endless wealth of knowledge from all their contacts. ALCs share their knowledge and experience through teleconferences, attending courses, and at the National Land Conference. When you hire an ALC to help sell a property, you’ve got the knowledge of hundreds of ALCs behind you.

2. ALCs Are Up-To-Date On Land Industry News

Knowing the latest in the land industry is a given for ALCs. Not only do they have an extensive knowledge of land from their courses, they are also able to stay up-to-date through a combination of e-mail newsletters, social media, and blog posts provided by the REALTORS® Land Institute. You can be confident that your ALC knows the latest legislative changes, market trends, and other news affecting the land real estate industry and will use this knowledge to your advantage in your land sale.

3. ALCs Are Proven Hard Workers

Getting the ALC Designation isn’t easy. To get the designation they must:

  • complete 104 LANDU education hours
  • meet strict volume/experience requirements
  • pass a summary exam
  • submit a portfolio that documents their experience, education, and volume of sales
  • be approved by RLI’s ALC Designation Committee and Board of Directors
  • agree to abide by high ethical standards, known as the ALC Code of Conduct, as well as the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics

Did you get tired just reading that list? So did we. Completing the ALC Designation requires immense dedication to professional development and hard work. You know they will put the same amount of hard work into giving their clients the best service possible when it comes to their land transaction.

4. ALCs Raise The Bar When It Comes To Experience

Selling land is such a complex process that you need someone on your team with years of experience. Having years of successful land sales experience is a required part of becoming an ALC. This experience helps them navigate every part of the sale, from mineral rights and soil types to how the land transaction could be impacted by 1031s or WOTUS. They know all the tricks of the trade from their years in the industry and can use it to help you sell your land.

5. Top-Notch Education Equals Expertise

When conducting one of the most important transactions a landowner can come across in their lifetime, there is a lot riding on having it done right. Why accept anything less than the best? Using an ALC guarantees that the agent representing you will have the knowledge and expertise to do what is in your best interest. All ALCs have completed rigorous courses through RLI’s LANDU Education Program, which is equivalent to having a master’s degree in land real estate transactions.

Selling land is so much more complex and requires specialized expertise of a trustworthy agent with connections, knowledge, and experience. Having an ALC at your side can help guarantee that you will sell your land for the best possible price. Find an ALC or reputable land professional in your area using RLI’s Find A Land Consultant tool.

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.

What To Know Before Buying Raw Land

Raw land has become the rising star of the land industry. People used to ignore raw land, thinking the lack of development made the land worthless, and would invest instead of developed land. However, in the past few years, landowners have realized that raw land is a low-maintenance way to save for retirement. Today, we’re going to explore this land type and how you can make the most money off of buying raw land.

The Basics

Raw land is a property in its most natural state. The land has not been cultivated for any sort of crop or livestock. There are no improvements such as walking paths, homes, or fences.

For years, people didn’t invest much time or thought into raw land. It was dismissed as a poor money maker since it didn’t have any man-made improvements on it and didn’t generate any income. What many people didn’t realize is that even though raw land wasn’t making an income, it was increasing in value. As raw land becomes rarer over time, the value of the land goes up, making it a great investment to save for retirement. Improving the land by getting rid of any environmental hazards or removing invasive plants also helps to increase the value.

Buying Raw Land Vs Developed Land

There are two main differences between raw and developed land. The first is price. Raw land is almost always cheaper than developed land. This is because developed land includes improvements that make it a lot easier for the buyer to make money off of the land. If you want to save some cash and do improvements to the land yourself, raw land could be an excellent choice for you.

The other main difference between the two land types is the flexible uses of raw land compared to developed land. You are often limited to what you can do with developed land. Since developed land has already been cultivated by previous owners, the land is perfect for whatever they used the land for (hunting, crops, etc.). However, if you want to use the land for something different, that might not be possible or could be costly. For example, if you find a property that you think would be excellent for hunting, but it’s already been developed as farmland, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to change the land.

With raw land, you can typically do whatever you want with the land as long as it meets the requirements of the soil type and zoning laws. This is a huge benefit for landowners who want to sell to a wide variety of buyers. Raw land can usually be used for recreational, residential, farming, pastures for livestock, or whatever else you can think of. It is a blank canvas for the owner to do whatever they want with.

Turning A Profit From Buying Raw Land

Raw land was passed over for many years, but in recently, people are viewing it as a viable option to save money for retirement. As we’ve covered in previous articles, land is a great option for saving for retirement. Raw land has been a popular choice for retirement savings thanks to the low-maintenance, 1031 exchanges, and the gradual increase in value over time.

Another bonus to investing in raw land for retirement are the tax benefits. Raw land tax benefits are designed to prevent you from losing money off of your land. In his November 2017 article for RLI, Bill Humphrey, CEO of New Direction IRA, described the surprise benefits of investing in raw land for retirement:

“Some investors may not realize that property is a permissible retirement asset, but tax-advantaged savings vehicles like IRAs and 401(k)s can own a house, commercial building, or vacant land the same way they can own stocks,” says Humphrey. “These accounts feature tax benefits that can help offset any tax-related concerns that may otherwise deter a potential real estate investor. Pre-developed land has flown under the radar as a viable option for real estate IRAs, but that has changed rapidly over the last several years.

Raw land’s rise to popularity in the land industry is well-deserved. Buying raw land is an excellent option for anyone who want a low-maintenance way to save for retirement or a blank slate to do whatever they want with it. To make sure you get the best raw land at the best price for you, be sure to use our Find A Land Consultant tool to find a land expert near you.