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Tips From Land Experts on Closing Year-End Deals

With stress running high and people busier than ever, closing deals in December can be difficult. To find out how some agents flourish during the holidays, we reached out to some of our elite Accredited Land Consultants to find out their top tips for closing land deals in December.

Be Where The Buyers Are

Did you know that 78% of people do their holiday shopping online? Every year, more and more people go online to make purchases. With such an increase in screen time, sharing your properties on social media and in targeted ads is a great way to get your properties in front of potential buyers this time of year.

“The holidays are one of the better times to market your properties as families get together, shop on their phones, and flip back and forth on Facebook,” said Drew Ary, ALC, with Ary Land & Home/ Keller Williams Advantage. “In fact, 78% of people do most of their holiday shopping online and 54% of purchases will come from smart phones and tablets. Share your property listings and do some live videos about purchasing the ultimate Christmas present! Tell them to plan for tax season and use that extra money to make the most memorable investment there is to make!”

Communicate

Communication is always important in the land industry, but it is especially important around the holidays. As the calendar fills up, you run the risk of double booking a showing, client meeting, or other events. Clear communication is important with your staff, clients, and friends and family.

“Elevated communication is key. Each day matters when it comes to deadlines, so putting together a closing schedule early and keeping everyone in the loop at each step is essential,” said Kenny Schum, ALC, from Murray Wise Associates, LLC. “Make sure you know each stakeholders holiday travel schedules and business hours early and plan accordingly.”

Know Why They Buy (Or Sell)

While the popular misconception is that December is the slowest month for real estate sales, the looming tax season and the natural desire to get things done before the end of the year creates a whole new client base. Knowing who and why people buy will help you in closing land deals in December.

“Year end is busy for real estate brokers, buyers, sellers, and investors because it is a natural deadline for decisions,” said Ben Crosby, ALC, from Crosby & Associates, Inc. “Taxes are a major reason for these decisions. Buyers either want a purchase on their books before year end or after the new year. Sellers make the same decisions based on their best tax strategy.”

Be Prepared

Knowing that this time of year is hectic can actually be your secret weapon. Use the months beforehand to plan, schedule meetings, and layout what needs to be done before the holiday mayhem hits.

“Scheduling closings during the holiday season can be tricky,” said Phil McGinnis, ALC, of McGinnis Commercial Real Estate Co.  “I prepare all year to be able to call in favors at holiday time to get my closings fit in. Lawyers, paralegals, and the whole team of surveyors and appraisers usually don’t mind helping out if they have been helped out throughout the year.

De-Stress

Holidays have a way of packing on the stress. Working around the clock while trying to juggle all your other Christmas activities can drain even the toughest agent quickly. Make sure to take some time for yourself.

The holidays can be a tough time to close deals. However, with the right mindset, preparedness, and open communication with those in your office and in your life, closing land deals in December will be a breeze!

Don’t have your Accredited Land Consultant designation yet? Learn about the requirements for this prestigious designation here!

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.

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.

Johnathan 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 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.

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.