Terra Firma Magazine | Summer 2018

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Does Wind Cool a Hot Housing Market, or are Wind Farm Worries Overblown? Land Real Estate’s Hottest Markets For Investing Shift Your Brokerage into High Gear

SUMMER 2018 | VOL. 72 NO. 2


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THE VOICE OF LAND Table of Contents News Brief From National




RLI Chapter News


NLC18 Recap


Getting to the Top: APEX Level Success


LANDU Education Update


Inside The Beltway: Legislation Waiting to Land


Land Real Estate’s Hottest Markets For Investing


Does Wind Cool a Hot Housing Market, or are Wind Farm Worries Overblown?


Shift Your Brokerage into High Gear


Increase The Equity Value Of Your Recreational Land


Effectively Networking for New Land Professionals


52 When Money Does Grow On Trees 59

Summer 2018 Edition An Official Publication of the REALTORS® Land Institute Published by the REALTORS® Land Institute 430 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60611 Phone: 1-800-441-5263 Fax: 1-312-329-8633 E-mail: rli@realtors.org Website: www.rliland.com

Publisher Aubrie Kobernus, Chief Executive Officer Editorial Director Jessa Friedrich, Marketing Manager Contributing Author Amanda Jenkins, Education Manager Assistant Editor Laura Barker, Membership & Communications Specialist

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Views expressed within the publication are not necessarily endorsed by the REALTORS® Land Institute and information should not be construed as recommendations for any course of action regarding financial, legal, or accounting matters.



News Brief From National NEWS BRIEF

2018-19 REALTORS® Land Institute President’s Message It is my goal for the rest of this year to continue implementing the vision of our late 2018 National President Jimmy Settle, ALC, who lost his battle with cancer on April 1. It is with both a heavy heart and great pride that I have taken the oath of office to finish his term and become the 2018-19 National President of the REALTORS® Land Institute. I am honored to serve at such an exciting time in RLI’s history as we approach our 75th Anniversary in 2019. As president, I look forward to continuing our momentum in building a more member-centric, valueproviding organization that all members can be proud to call their own. Leadership and staff continue to work diligently towards achieving the goals set out in our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan to establish us further as “The Voice of Land”. I am honored to present in this letter some of the successes RLI has seen under Jimmy’s vision and our new strategic plan. First and foremost, we had our most highly attended National Land Conference in recent history last March in Nashville with 248 land professionals in attendance, a 42% growth over the previous year. We also had over 30 partnering companies help sponsor the event, a record number, showcasing the latest technologies and services in the industry. Last but not least, we held our inaugural APEX Awards Ceremony recognizing the highest producing agents in the industry; which continues to create quite a bit of buzz as we work with our partners at The Land Report to continue recognizing our top agents. Thank you to all who attended, we hope to see you again at NLC19 in Albuquerque, NM, next March 3-6 where we plan to celebrate RLI’s 75th Anniversary with a bang – seriously, you don’t want to miss it! As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary this year of Land University (LANDU) with a new logo, RLI continues to work with an instructional designer to utilize their expertise to work with staff and instructors on revamping our LANDU courses. We plan to have ten updated courses and one brand new Recreational Land Real Estate course on our new Learning Management System (LMS) by the end of 2018. These new courses are designed to better engage attendees both with each other and the content to create an enhanced learning experience.



RLI is excited to have unveiled five of these newly updated courses at our 2018 LANDU Education Week in Arlington, TX, in June. This year’s event boasted a record number of attendees, including a record number completing all six courses towards the elite ALC Designation, and sold more courses than ever before. If you are thinking about earning the ALC, this annual event is always a great opportunity to complete all six courses towards the education requirement in one place. Plus, the networking and expertise gained at this event are valuable long after you leave the classroom. Another pillar of the strategic plan focuses on developing our RLI Chapters. Last year, we invested in providing our chapters with access to RLI National’s database to better manage and recruit members. Through this initiative, we are excited to announce that over half of our chapters have already adopted the new website and more are planning to by the end of the year. These websites will both strengthen the new RLI brand as well as better allow our chapters to help grow our organization. We have also put in place a Chapter Leadership Council (CLC), which was announced at the Chapter Meeting at NLC18. The mission of the CLC is to empower chapter leaders to deliver value, engage professionals, enhance the overall RLI member experience, and work with National RLI to ensure Chapter success. As a member of RLI, you make all the difference. You are the lifeblood of our organization and the power behind our prestige. Thank you for being a member and for your part in keeping the organization strong. If you are in the land business, RLI is where you belong! Sincerely,

Jeramy Stephens, ALC 2018-19 RLI National President


Jimmy Settle, ALC: In Memoriam It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our 2018 National President Jimmy Settle, ALC. Despite his positive attitude and determination to fight, Jimmy lost his battle with cancer on the morning of April 1, 2018. There are few more passionate than Jimmy was about land, assisting clients, and RLI. Jimmy once said, “There’s nothing like creating solutions and helping a client find that perfect piece of land. Being outdoors is my lifestyle, I do my best thinking sitting in a deer stand or riding my tractor. I get such satisfaction in sharing this passion with family and friends. It’s only natural for me to help others who wish to become outdoor enthusiasts and landowners.” Being so passionate about the land industry, Jimmy found a second home and even a second family at RLI in 2000. Four years later, he earned the elite Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation on January 26, 2004. He continued his involvement by serving on various committees at the national level including the ALC Designation Committee, the National Land Conference Planning Committee, and the RLI Government Affairs Committee. Then, as an active chapter member, in 2016 he served as the RLI Tennessee Chapter President. Jimmy’s dedication to RLI and serving land professionals still didn’t stop there. He ran and was elected by his fellow RLI members to serve a four-year term on the RLI National Executive Committee in 2016, starting as Vice

President in 2016, then serving as President-Elect in 2017, and, finally, beginning as 2018 RLI National President last November. During this time Jimmy was a beloved friend and leader, always looking out for the best interests of RLI, its members, and its staff. He worked closely with members and staff in the planning of the 2018 National Land Conference, which hosted 42% more attendees over the previous year. As president, he was a true advocate for RLI’s members, ensuring that the strategic plan continued to serve their best interests and adhere to a members-first philosophy. In addition to serving RLI, Jimmy was also very involved in his local Clarksville Association of REALTORS® (CAR) serving as their 2007 President. He was a driving force behind the purchase of land and in building their association’s facility. The association stated in a post on their Facebook page honoring him that “He was a mentor to countless members of CAR and a friend to everyone who met him.” Jimmy will be remembered by family and friends for his kindness, thoughtfulness, and friendly sense of humor. He was a pillar of his community and wellrespected in the industry for his expertise on land transactions. The RLI Family sends its full support to his family during this difficult time and wishes they find comfort in the love that returns to them from the lives that he touched.

In the wake of this news, RLI has followed the procedures outlined in our official bylaws. RLI’s 2018 National President-Elect Jeramy Stephens, ALC, has officially taken over as National President of the organization to serve the remainder of the term. “It is with a heavy heart that I take over the reins from Jimmy. He was a close friend and I will do my best to fill the big shoes he left behind as I continue to execute his vision for RLI through the rest of his term,” said Jeramy upon induction.




Your RLI Staff Aubrie Kobernus, MBA, RCE Chief Executive Officer 312-329-8837 | akobernus@realtors.org As the CEO/Executive Vice President, Aubrie is responsible for the overall management of RLI. This includes working together with the Board of Directors to develop the vision, goals, objectives, and related policies for the organization. Within that framework, Aubrie organizes and directs the staff, programs, financial performance, and activities of the organization. Members may contact her anytime with questions or concerns. Aubrie has been with RLI since March 2016. Karen Calarco Operations Manager 312-329-8287 | kcalarco@realtors.org Karen manages RLI’s expenditures within the budget, member records, and invoicing. Members may contact her for assistance changing their profile information, paying membership dues, and answering financial inquiries about their account. Karen has been with RLI since September 2007. Jessa Friedrich, MBA Marketing Manager 312-329-8353 | jfriedrich@realtors.org Jessa manages all aspects of RLI’s communications, branding, and marketing efforts; including for events, courses, the designation, and the organization as a whole. She also serves as the staff liaison for the Future Leaders Committee. Members may contact her with any member or chapter news regarding awards and accomplishments, for contributing to Terra Firma or the RLI Blog, or with questions about logo use. Jessa has been with RLI since March 2015.



Amanda Jenkins Education Manager 312-329-8441 | ajjenkins@realtors.org Amanda manages the LANDU Education Program as well as oversees the annual National Land Conference planning. She is the members’ staff liaison for the Education Committee. Members may contact her with any questions regarding the LANDU programs. She is also the main contact for companies interested in partnering with RLI and for event speakers. Amanda has been with RLI since January 2014. Laura Barker Membership & Communications Specialist lbarker@realtors.org Laura recently moved up in RLI from being a Marketing Intern to a new full-time position as Membership & Communications Specialist. She is the main point of contact for member inquiries and for agents in the industry interested in learning more about our organization. In her role, Laura also continues to assist with projects in the Marketing Department. Laura has been with RLI since October 2017 as an intern and started her new role here in June 2018. Alan Aleman Marketing Intern aaleman@realtors.org Alan works in the Marketing Department parttime assisting with email creation, graphic design for social media posts, and various other marketing-related tasks. Alan graduated from DePaul University and has been with RLI since October 2017.


RLI Leadership Attends NAR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo RLI Leadership and Members attended the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in D.C. from May 14-19. All RLI Members in attendance were invited to stop by the RLI Member Meeting on Tuesday, May 15. Later that evening they attended the RLI Presidential Reception in the lobby bar of the Wardman Hotel. Finally, on May 17, RLI gained recognition in the industry by being a supporting sponsor of the NAR Commercial Networking Reception.

Newly Updated ALC Requirements and Application Process The RLI Board of Directors approved an update to the courses and application process required for the ALC Designation. As announced at NLC18, if you are beginning coursework towards your ALC you will now need to meet the new education requirements and use the new application process. See below for a summary of changes to the ALC Requirements: • Updated Education Requirement • We now have three tiers of courses. Applicants must complete the required number of hours specified for each tier: • Required Courses - 56 hours

• Specialty Courses - 32 hours • Elective Courses - 16 hours • Smoother Application Process • Now a single-page application • Eliminated the essay word count requirement • More intuitive Volume Requirement Spreadsheet • Simplified Transaction Narrative Form • Fast Track for CCIMs • CCIMs will now take a specialty tier course instead of needing to take Land Investment Analysis.

RLI is Excited to Announce the New Chapter Leadership Council (CLC) The mission of the CLC is to empower chapter leaders to deliver value, engage professionals, enhance the overall RLI member experience, and work with National RLI to ensure Chapter success. To do this, the CLC provides mentorship to chapter leadership, monitors chapter performance, and designs and maintains resources and tools for chapter leaders. They also lead comprehensive initiatives such as leadership training for chapter leaders and the Chapter Awards Program.

For more information about these changes, please visit rliland.com SUMMER 2018



Top Social Posts The best in the business follow RLI on their social media pages for the latest updates and educational pieces relevant to the industry. Stay at the top of your game by following RLI on social! Top Facebook Post (facebook.com/RLILand)

Top LinkedIn Post (linkedin.com/company/realtors-land-institute) Date Posted: 3/26/2018 Post Title: 13 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying Land Real Estate | RLI Blog Post Content: When you buy land without a land expert, you risk making mistakes that could end up costing you a lot in the long term. Here's how to make sure you are getting the best property for your money. Top RLI Blog Post

Date Posted: 5/8/2018 Post Title: Marijuana and Land Real Estate | RLI Blog Post Content: Legal marijuana is now a billion dollar industry in America with seemingly no ceiling. But even the most profitable crop has its downsides. Top Twitter Post (twitter.com/RLILand) Date Posted: 1/16/2018


Date Posted: 12/12/2017

Post Title: 2017 Land Markets Survey Results

Post Title: 13 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying Land Real Estate | RLI Blog

Post Content: [New Press Release] RLI + NAR Research Group Announce US Land Values Up Three Percent, Land Sales Up Four Percent Showing Strong Land Market #LandMarketsSurvey #RealEstate #LandValues #Realtors

Post Content: Even if a piece of property seems perfect, there are a lot of questions you should ask before you take out that checkbook. Read the full post at rliland.com/blog



Four Most Expensive Properties on The Land Connections The Land Connections is the official member’s only listing site of the REALTORSŽ Land Institute. The page has a robust mapping feature which makes searching for properties on-the-go easier than ever. With over fourteen-thousand prime property listings from the best in the business land professionals, this is the place to find and post properties. RLI members are able to post listings to this page at no cost as a member benefit thanks to our partners at Lands of America and LandBrokerWebsites.com To add your properties, please contact RLI at 800-441-5263. Thank you to Lands of America for providing the information for our top properties. Learn more about these properties and others on the Land Connections at www.rliland.com/the-land-connections. 1 Alico East Ranch | $83,518,500

| 25,698 Acres | Clewiston, FL

of a mix of improved, semi-improved, and native pastures for cattle ranching or leases, hunting leases, or agricultural use. 2 Old Fort | $83,000,000 |

8,300 Acres | Old Fort, NC

4 Tulare 22 Pistachios |

$44,000,000 | 1,509 Acres | Delano, CA

Listing Agent: Jeff Davis One of the last and the LARGEST private land holdings in the Southwestern Mountains of North Carolina, the ninth most populated state in the United States. Located less than 30 minutes from Asheville, NC, the most cosmopolitan city in the Southeastern United States where they claim altitude affects attitude. 3 Antone Ranch | $55,000,000 |

36,663 Acres | Mitchell, OR

Listing Agent: Dean Saunders, ALC Never before on the market, the Alico East Ranch is approximately 25,690 acres in Hendry County, Florida. This south central Florida ranch is comprised

recreational ranch consisting of approximately 36,663+/- deeded acres in a large private block with exceptional water resources, including live water creeks, numerous fishing lakes, and irrigated lands. With the Spanish Peak as its backdrop, the topography ranges from timber-covered slopes, grassy hillsides, steep canyons, and large irrigated meadows.

Listing Agent: Mirr Ranch Group A large investment grade pistachio orchard located in a desirable nut growing region. The 1,509.21 acre property includes 1,450.94 net acres of pistachios planted in 2009 to Kerman/Peters varieties on UCB-1 rootstock with 19x17 spacing. The growing crop is included in the sale with reimbursement of costs to the Seller. The investment opportunity offers income, young pistachios at the beginning of their productive life, a large contiguous and efficient block, and numerous tax benefits.

Listing Agent: Bart Miller, ALC The Antone Ranch, located 100 miles east of Bend, Oregon is a legacy




RLI Committee Updates

Future Leaders Committee

The REALTORS® Land Institute has various committees that allow members the ability to help guide the direction of the organization as well as contribute to its success. All RLI Members are encouraged to volunteer to serve on a committee. RLI leadership and staff would like thank all current committee members for their dedication, hard work, and expertise.

In alignment with RLI’s new strategic plan, the committee decided to make its initiative this year be to focus on content generation. The goal is to provide land professionals and landowners in the industry with valuable information while also establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the industry. All RLI Members are encouraged to help make this initiative a success by sharing them on social media to help extend their reach. To view posts that are part of this initiative, please visit rliland.com/blog

Government Affairs Committee Thanks to the persistent work of this committee and other industry organizations who made sure the voice of land professionals and landowners was heard, 1031 exchanges were safely preserved under the new Tax Plan. The committee also requested and was approved permission from the RLI Board of Directors to participate in a broad industry-based coalition to ensure that prior converted cropland (PCC) exclusions are retained in the revision of WOTUS rules. To learn more about these issues or see other legislative issues affecting the industry, visit rliland.com/advocacy

ALC Designation Committee The Committee has been working diligently revising and making improvements to the ALC application process. Their goal in redoing the application process was to ensure that our designation remains a highly sought after, prestigious designation, not because of the complexity of our application, but because of the education and experience you have to prove in order to achieve it. As outlined previously, the committee also made some changes to the ALC Requirements to clarify and improve what is needed to attain the designation.

Education Committee The Committee has been working to create a Land Topic & Expert Directory. This resource will include a list of subject matter experts and hot topics to help RLI staff and chapters when selecting webinar and course topics or seminar speakers. They have also helped develop policies and procedures for LANDU Instructors and course participants. Lastly, they have overseen the course rewrite and update project of LANDU courses from a high-level perspective.







© 2018 Century 21 Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. CENTURY 21 Farm & Ranch® and CENTURY 21® are registered service marks owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC. Century 21 Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and È ¿Ëv¨ ?½½³ÀÈË® Èâ Èƛ v ³í à *® ½ ® ®È¨â ³Ü® v® ³½ ÀvÈ ƛ

The Magazine of the American Landowner


RLI Chapter News


RLI Chapter News The REALTORSÂŽ Land Institute offers strong and engaging chapter programs because of the superior commitment and dedication of its volunteers. RLI Chapters routinely offer local LANDU courses, information, networking opportunities, and an array of professional development programs. RLI Members may elect to join one or more RLI Chapter organizations to benefit from participation on a regional or local basis. Members must be in good standing with RLI National to join a chapter. To learn more about our chapters, visit rliland.com

RLI Alabama Chapter The RLI Alabama Chapter recently held a one-day Risk Management continuing education session in Dothan, AL. Jim Lawrence with LAH School of Real Estate was the instructor. More than 30 real estate professionals from across the state of Alabama attended to further their education in the area of Risk Management. The day was broken into two separate courses, the first: Risk Management: Avoiding Violations, for all real estate salespersons and brokers; the second: Risk Management for Brokers, tailored for qualifying and associate brokers.

RLI Arkansas Chapter The RLI Arkansas Chapter has hosted two Land Lunch & Learns so far this year. With title issues affecting the ability to close transactions, the Chapter decided to have a mini-seminar where members could ask questions about the most common problems they’ve seen with land transactions. Steve May, the President of Professional Title Services of Arkansas located in Jonesboro, AR, spoke and sponsored the event. The event had over 50 in attendance and the Chapter is planning two more events across the state to help educate its members. These Lunch & Learn sessions are free to attendees due to great sponsorship efforts by the Chapter.

RLI Carolinas Chapter The Chapter has exciting plans for the next 12 months that include hosting RLI classes in Charleston, SC, and Asheville, NC, with plans to add activities and tours around those events.




RLI Colorado Chapter The RLI Colorado Chapter held two very successful marketing and education meetings this year. The first was in January in Denver, CO, and the second in Pueblo, CO, in May. This was their first meeting in Pueblo and it was very well received. The downtown area of Pueblo has gone through major restoration with a lovely river walk, fine restaurants, and a welcoming atmosphere. The Chapter was thrilled to have the RLI Kansas and Oklahoma Chapter members join the meeting. The education portion of the meeting was arranged by LANDU Instructor Kirk Goble, ALC, and conducted by professionals from the 4Rivers Equipment Co. Precision Agriculture Division. The class provided a relevant educational experience for members of all three attending RLI Chapters.

RLI Georgia Chapter The RLI Georgia Chapter, in collaboration with the Albany Board of REALTORSÂŽ, put on a successful Mapping Techniques course in Albany, GA, with LANDU Instructor Steve Roberson. The Chapter also made sure the course was approved for seven hours of CE credit for the state of Georgia.

RLI Florida Chapter The RLI Florida Chapter is planning a LANDU Transitional Land Real Estate course for September 13-14 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the REALTORSÂŽ Association for Lake and Sumter County. They are also planning to put on the newly updated LANDU Land 101: Fundamentals of Land Brokerage course in February 2019. Both courses are required for the prestigious ALC Designation and will help members get one step closer to earning it. Out of the APEX Top Twenty award winners, five were from the RLI Florida Chapter and hold both their ALC and CCIM designations.



RLI Illinois Chapter The RLI Illinois Chapter has seen some exciting things happen in the last six months. The Chapter collaborated with the Illinois Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers to organize the 2018 Farm Land Values & Lease Trends Conference in Bloomington, IL. The program takes place every spring and was highly successful with nearly 200 people attending from across the state. The Chapter has also seen their membership increase 10 percent over the last several months. Providing quality learning experiences and networking opportunities continues to be the goal of the RLI Illinois Chapter.


RLI Kansas Chapter The RLI Kansas Chapter was well represented at the RLI National Land Conference in Nashville, TN, with Tim Gates, ALC, President; Brian Rose, Vice President; and Mike Regan, Secretary/Treasurer all present as well as Board Members Kelvin Heck, ALC, and Dave Rose. Tim and Mike also traveled to Pueblo, CO, to attend the RLI Colorado Chapter’s May Marketing Meeting & Ag Tour. The Chapter will be hosting a similar event the first part of August in or near Garden City, KS, and is hoping to bring one to the eastern side of the state in October.

RLI Iowa Chapter The RLI Iowa Chapter held its Spring Seminar and Annual Meeting March 20-21. At the annual dinner, the following RLI Iowa Chapter Awards were presented: • Rising Star: David Thien, ALC • Longtime Dedication to RLI: Randy Hertz, ALC (pictured) • Volume Sold: Troy Louwagie, ALC • Acres Sold: Steve Bruere • Deal of the Year: Andrew Zellmer • Good Neighbor: Eric Schlutz, ALC At the National Land Conference in Nashville, TN, the Chapter was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Chapter Award. The RLI Iowa Chapter was then busy in June with a boat ride social on Lake Okoboji and two training opportunities,hosting the Tax Law Update course and the LANDU Land 101: Fundamentals of Land Brokerage course.

RLI Minnesota Chapter The RLI Minnesota Chapter has put in place quarterly conference calls for market updates and sharing listings to make deals. The Chapter will hold their yearly in-person meeting scheduled for August 22-23 in New Ulm, MN. The meeting will include a Let's Make Deal$ property marketing session, local tours, networking time, and CE class options.




RLI Oklahoma Chapter

RLI Mississippi Chapter The RLI Mississippi Chapter enjoyed their End of the Year Holiday Lunch where they installed their 2018 Officers at Sal & Mookie’s Pizza Place in Jackson, MS. The 2018 President Wesley Webb from Tupelo, MS, welcomed attendees and shared the Chapter's plans for the upcoming year. In May, the Chapter also held a Land Broker Symposium in Stoneville, MS, including a lunch sponsored by Southern AgCredit. The Symposium included four expert speakers with PhDs in the field and a biologist.

The RLI Oklahoma Chapter kicked off 2018 hosting their Social Networking Event featuring a Duck Hunt in the Guthrie area on January 25-26. The weather was great and members harvested over 80 birds in three hunts. After the hunt, there was a property marketing session at the hotel and Jim Menzer, ALC, the first ALC in Oklahoma, joined them. Members presented listings and a buyer board was created. The Chapter hopes to build on the buyer board during future events. In March, the Chapter held their first Ranch Tour in Latimer County. Drew Ary, ALC, led the way as members rode around for three hours and saw almost everything the KT Ranch had to offer. It was a good networking opportunity and the word “buyers” was used several times.

RLI Pacific Northwest Chapter RLI Missouri The RLI Missouri Chapter hosted two days of continuing education at Missouri’s state meeting in April. The brand new classes were on a variety of land-specific topics, including: LBP Regulations/Environmental Remediation (EPA Staff); Agricultural/Fence Law (Brent Haden, Esq.); Foreign Ownership of Land (Bob Thompson, Esq.); 1031 Exchanges (Greg Smith, Esq.); Agency/Contract Law (Robert Campbell, Esq.); and Online Mapping Tools/Geospatial Law (Chris Dunn, Esq.). The event was well received with attendees coming in from all over Missouri and surrounding states like Illinois, Iowa, and Arkansas. 14


The RLI Pacific Northwest Chapter had a great turnout again in Pendelton, OR, for their Annual Spring Marketing and CE Class event. Attendees traveled from throughout Oregon, Washington, and Montana to attend. The cowboy auction was a huge success with the grand auction item being an all-inclusive guided fishing trip provided by Chapter members. LANDU Instructor Steve Roberson did a fantastic job teaching the LANDU Real Estate Mapping Technologies & Techniques course. Steve taught tricks and tips of mapping that many in the class didn't even know existed. Student feedback was consistent in that Steve's insights will, without a doubt, make their job as rural agents much more professional and efficient.


RLI Virginia Chapter RLI Texas Chapter The RLI Texas Chapter held a chapter board planning meeting in Georgetown, TX, in which all Past Presidents were invited. The Chapter has held several RLI LANDU classes and, again, sponsored the social event for Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s Outlook for Texas Land Markets Conference. The Chapter has a farm/ranch tour planned for the fall along with various RLI classes throughout the remainder of the year. The RLI Texas Chapter was honored to host the largest ever RLI LANDU Education Week in Arlington, TX, June 2-10. The board planned a special Networking Night Out for the attendees in the historic Ft. Worth Stockyards. They congratulate Kasey Mock with Keller Williams Realty, KW Land, and Mock Ranches as well as Minor Taylor, ALC, with Taylor Land Investments on being recipients of the new RLI APEX Awards, each as a Top Twenty Producer and member of the Producers Club.

The RLI Virginia Chapter secured eight hours of CE credit for the LANDU Land 101: Fundamentals of Land Brokerage course and is working to offer the course along with the Richmond Association of REALTORS® soon. The Chapter also hopes to host the course in the future at a second location.

RLI Wyoming Chapter The RLI Wyoming Chapter held the first Industrial Hemp – Impacts to Real Estate class on February 21 in Cheyenne, WY. The passage of Wyoming Statute §35-7-2101(a)(ii): "Industrial Hemp" in 2017 prompted the Chapter to pursue this class. The legalization of cannabis, in some form, in more than 30 states has benefits, perils, and direct impacts on real estate practitioners, landlords, purchasers, and tenants as it has restarted the Industrial Hemp industry. This class summarized the history of cannabis use, prohibition, and legalization of cannabis, and examined in detail the impacts to property brokerage, disclosure, opportunities, and pitfalls of industrial hemp for all types of real estate and property management. LANDU Instructor, Kirk Goble, ALC, wrote and taught the class, which was approved for four hours of CE credit with the Wyoming Real Estate Commission.




Congratulations New ALCs Dan Bates, ALC Whitetail Properties Greenville, IN dan.bates@whitetailproperties.com Dan grew up on a small farm where he learned the value of discipline and hard work. His parents got him started in archery at four years old. From that moment on he developed a passion for hunting, fishing, trapping, and experiencing all of God’s creation. With Whitetail Properties, he has been able to combine his passion and profession as a Land Specialist. He has a true passion for helping people find the property of their dreams. Stephen Brown, ALC Stephen Brown Associates, Inc. Salinas, CA steve@sba-realestate.com Steve Brown began his appraisal practice after graduating from San Jose State University with a degree concentrating in real estate and working for Bank of America as a Senior Appraiser. A former instructor for the Appraisal Institute, his area of expertise focuses on complex commercial appraisal issues, including right of way work (he also has the RW-AC designation from the International Right of Way Association). Additionally, Steve has experience in the courtroom as an expert witness. Ashley Goodroe, ALC Coldwell Banker Commercial Lake Country Eatonton, GA ashleygoodroe.cbc@gmail.com Ashley is a 10+ year commercial real estate veteran joining Coldwell Banker Commercial Lake Country in 2011. She is also an Associate Broker with a Bachelor of Science who specializes in sales and leasing of Commercial Real Estate and Property Management around the lake and surrounding areas. John Hardin, ALC Southeastern Land Group Opelika, AL johnhardin@selandgroup.com He has been in real estate for over 13 years. John has a background in agronomy with an emphasis in Turf Management and is a Co-Owner/Broker of Southeastern Land Group in Georgia and South Carolina. John has the experience and marketing knowledge to help with the business of land investments in today’s market. With knowledge of rural lands in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, he focuses on hunting, timber investments, recreational land, and agricultural land sales.



Jeff Hardy, ALC Southeastern Land Group Dadeville, AL Jhardy991@yahoo.com Jeff has been with Southeastern Land Group since 2006. He grew up in Coosa County and raised deer for 15 years. He attended Benjamin Russell High School where he played baseball and football, and later attended Southern Union. Jeff is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting all seasons. He is an excellent fisherman spending time on the Gulf and on beautiful Lake Martin. Ted Harvey, ALC Live Water Properties of Cody Cody, WY tharvey@livewaterproperties.com Ted has been a ranch broker with Live Water Properties since 2012. Specializing in working ranches, hunting, and fishing properties, Ted has worked on ranch deals from 40 to 55,000 acres and has been involved in $40 million in sales in the last five years. Ted has worked all over Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana. He is the Owner/Founder of Dude Ranch Consultant, LLC Services including every aspect of ranch management operations, financial, business, and marketing plan development. Todd Henon, ALC Todd Henon Properties/Keller Williams Realty Chattanooga, TN henongroup@gmail.com Todd has consistently been named a Top 10 producing real estate agent since 2001 by the Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS® and is among the Southeast's Top 20 Keller Williams agents. He has been Signal Mountain's Top-Producing agent since 2007 and represents properties throughout Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Kurt Hollenberg, ALC United Country Missouri Land & Home Columbia, MO kurth@missourilandandhome.com Kurt Hollenberg, Broker/Owner of United Country Missouri Land & Home and United Country-Commercial, began his career after an active engagement in the farming industry at a young age sparked his interest in property ownership. Family entrepreneurship is also in his heritage. Running a real estate brokerage allows him to combine both—he’s proud that today his wife and oldest son are part of the organization. Under his professional care and guidance, for the past seven years, Kurt’s team has consistently ranked in the top five offices of the United Country Real Estate franchise.

RLI MEMBER NEWS John G. Lile V, ALC Lile Real Estate, Inc. Little Rock, AR gardner@lilerealestate.com Gardner was raised in Benton, AR. Growing up he spent a lot of his free time with his dad on the Arkansas Prairie and Delta where he developed a passion for agricultural and recreational lands. This love of the land is what brought him back to Little Rock, AR, to work for Lile Real Estate, Inc. in the spring of 2014 after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Finance and a minor in Accounting. Gardner and his wife Leah currently live in Little Rock. Ren Martyn, ALC Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty Steamboat Springs, CO ren.martyn@steamboatsir.com Ren has real estate in his heritage. Having grown up in Florida in the cattle, citrus, and real estate development businesses, he received an early tutelage in proper land management and development practices. A professional REALTORŽ since 1995, Ren has developed a broad range of real estate brokerage, marketing, management, water, and land conservation experience. Tyler McConnell, ALC Comey & Shepherd, Southern Ohio Properties Cincinnati, OH mcconnellgt@gmail.com A lifelong resident of Ohio, Tyler has a passion for working with people and an immense respect for the outdoors. Tyler services a broad range of land sales, ranging from commercial/development property to timber and recreational ground, including all areas between. He prides himself in making the buying/selling experience as enjoyable and seamless as possible for his clients. Joe Nugent, ALC Nugent Curtis Real Estate, LLC Kankakee, IL jnugent@nugentcurtis.com Joe is a real estate executive with 17 years of experience in various forms of commercial, agricultural, and residential properties. He is involved in acquisition, disposition, financing, development, zoning, and entitlements. He served as Alderman and is active in the community and its economic development. Joe has founded companies in real estate and hospitality and has experience with managing employees while meeting financial budgets and goals.

Bob Regester, ALC Colorado Mountain RealtyMossy Oak Properties Divide, CO bregester@mossyoakproperties.com Bob is a 3rd generation Colorado native of Teller County, west of Colorado Springs. Since 1983, Bob has been specializing in the marketing of huntin, fishing, and recreational mountain properties. He is a devoted family man, avid outdoorsman and four-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion. Rusty Riggin, ALC Riggin & Company Wichita, KS rusty@rigginhomes.com Rusty grew up farming and ranching. He has always enjoyed working with landowners all across Kansas. His team members enjoy their work as much as he does. They list and sell property, as well as offer buyer representation. Auctions are a big part of his real estate sales, as are personal property, including farm machinery/equipment and vehicles. His mission is to Perform, Protect and Provide for every client before, during, and after the sale. James Warren, ALC Anders Realty-Fredericksburg Fredericksburg, TX txranchsales@gmail.com Jim is part of Anders Ranch Realty and has a desire to help others achieve their dream of owning a part of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. He and his wife Jeanne live in Fredericksburg and have eight children and twelve grandchildren. Jim is a member of the Texas Alliance of Land Brokers, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and serves on the City of Fredericksburg Planning and Zoning Commission. He serves clients in the Texas Hill Country and all around the great state of Texas. Jason Ziegler, ALC Whitetail Properties Frazee, MN jason.ziegler@whitetailproperties.com Jason grew up on a small dairy farm on the Becker and Otter Tail County line. Being raised on a farm, he has a solid work ethic and understands what it takes to the get the job done. He has a true passion for whitetail hunting and has helped start several grassroots Quality Deer Management cooperatives. A landowner himself, he also owns several tracts of land in his core area. He has had a blast transforming properties into big buck factories. He looks forward to helping his clients do the same and is proud to have obtained his ALC to better serve them. SUMMER 2018



Have an award or accomplishment you would like featured in the next Terra Firma magazine? Please send your submission to RLI Marketing Manager Jessa Friedrich at jfriedrich@realtors.org.

RLI Member News John Dean, ALC John Dean, ALC, Owner/Broker, Landmart/Dean Land & Realty Co. in Leland, MS, was given the annual Alumni Achievement Award by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University. Richard Dempsey, ALC Richard Dempsey, ALC, with Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, FL, received the 2017 William Loftin Commercial REALTOR® of the Year Award presented by Lakeland REALTORS® last week. The award recognized him for his service to the organization and his advocacy of private property rights at the local, state, and national government level. Mike Garrett, ALC Mike Garrett, ALC, Owner/Broker of Garrett Land Brokers in Emerson, GA, successfully completed the Regional Economic & Leadership Development program through the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. Dan Hatfield, ALC Dan Hatfield, ALC, with Farmers National Company in Comfort, TX, received the 2017 Texas REALTOR® of the Year Award from the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

Lou Jewell, ALC Lou Jewell, ALC, with United Country Real Estate – Land Pro in Pilot Mountain, NC, has started a new Let's Talk Land educational talk show on land issues featuring a different land expert each week. The show is geared towards real estate agents, landowners, and the public. Jewell is working on turning it into a podcast where listeners can access it anytime, anywhere. He invites readers to listen in live every Saturday from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. at wkte1090.com or to check out recordings of past shows at letstalkland.net 18


Christina Kurtz-Clark, ALC Christina “Christy” Kurtz-Clark, ALC, with Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, FL, was installed as a board member for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Central Florida Chapter at the group’s Annual Gala in Orlando. Terry Pauling, ALC Terry Pauling, ALC, with Exit Realty North Star – Itown in Indianola, IA, was presented with the 2018 Kent Britton Memorial Leadership Award by the Warren County Leadership Institute in April. Ryan Sampson, ALC Ryan Sampson, ALC, with Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, FL, took home the Deal of the Year Award in the land category at the Florida Gulfcoast Commercial Association of REALTORS® Pinnacle Awards Ceremony. Dean Saunders, ALC Dean Saunders, ALC, Owner/Broker of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, FL, was recognized for the Top National Land Deal at the Florida Gulfcoast Commercial Association of REALTORS® Pinnacle Awards Ceremony. Bob Turner, ALC Bob Turner, ALC, with Southern Properties in Cordova, TN, was elected to NAR’s 2019 Enlarged Leadership Team as the Commercial & Business Specialties Liaison. Barry Upchurch, ALC Barry Upchurch, ALC, Owner/Broker of Barry Upchurch Realty LLC in Chesterfield, MO, graduated from the NAR Leadership Academy in 2017. Upchurch is also slated to be the 2018 President of Rebuilding Together St. Louis, the local chapter of a national organization which renovates homes for elderly, disabled, and veterans.

NLC18 Recap


RLI Leadership Award Winners Land REALTORÂŽ of America Award Flo Sayre, ALC, Farmers National Company The Land REALTORÂŽ of America Award recognizes an exceptional RLI Member for their effort and work expended in the interest of their fellow members, their profession, their clients, and their community. Robert C. Meeks, ALC, Distinguished Service Award John Dean, ALC, Landmart/Dean Land & Realty Co. This award is presented to an RLI Member in recognition of long-term commitment and service to fellow RLI members, the land profession, and their community. The Distinguished Service Award is presented in honor of dedicated long-time member Robert C. Meeks, ALC. Land Rising Star Award Kasey Mock, Keller Williams Realty, KW Land, and Mock Ranches First introduced in 2015, the Rising Star Award was created to recognize a land professional who demonstrated the most promise. The award recognizes a member approaching a mid-level in their career who is on their way to making significant contributions to the land profession and to RLI. Excellence in Instruction Award Fletcher Majors, ALC, Great Southern Land, L.L.C. The Excellence in Instruction Award recognizes an RLI LANDU Instructor for their exceptional teaching skills, contributions to the professional development of students, and volunteerism for the LANDU Education Program.




ALC-to-ALC Networking Award Ray Brownfield, ALC, Land Pro LLC Luke Worrell, ALC, Worrell Land Services, LLC The ALC-to-ALC Networking Award showcases the range of referral opportunities available to those land professionals who have achieved the elite Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation. Chapter Administrator of the Year Award Ladonna Ignatuik, RLI Arkansas Chapter Administrator RLI’s Chapter Administrators play a key role in the success of each chapter. The Chapter administrators help keep everyone “on track” with schedules, policies, and more. The recipient is chosen by RLI staff based on performance that builds a stronger RLI chapter -- such as helping to enrich member experiences, providing support and benefits to members, applying for continuing education credit for LANDU courses, and displaying a high code of conduct and ethical standards.



Outstanding Chapter Award



The Outstanding Chapter Award recognizes one RLI Chapter that has demonstrated excellence and creativity in the following categories: member retention and development; course and other educational offerings; volunteerism to National RLI; technological achievements; and outreach and collaboration with other RLI Chapters and NAR local and state organizations.


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Listen Up! The ROI on NLC By Luke Worrell, ALC, and Allison Worrell, Worrell Land Services, LLC Married people, who can relate to listening to your spouse without really listening? No, just me? For years, I’d heard my husband, Luke Worrell, ALC, come back from RLI’s National Land Conference raving about how valuable it was – the speakers, the networking, and everything in between. I didn’t fully grasp what he meant until I experienced NLC18 for myself this year. It was the single most valuable professional development tool I’ve put in my work belt in a long time. Luke and I are blessed to work together in the land business that his dad, Allan Worrell, ALC1, started and that we now own together -- Luke as a land broker and farm manager and me on our marketing and operations functions. NLC18 equipped each of us with new ways to become more effective and efficient in our roles. Allow us to elaborate…

Networking Opportunities Luke: The NLC has become somewhat of an annual pilgrimage for me. Like many organizations and activities, you get out what you put in, and the NLC has given me so much. The thing I most value about the conference is the chance to come together with colleagues from around the country and network. It can go beyond networking as well; I have made countless genuine friendships over the years by attending this event. The 2018 conference in Nashville was special to me. Not only was it the first NLC that Allison and I could attend together as business partners, but it held certain symbolic meaning to me, personally. My very first NLC was in Nashville back in 2011. I was “green as grass” to the industry and literally knew no one there other than my dad. I was there lacking confidence and not really knowing what to make of everything and everyone. Ray Brownfield, ALC, held a national position with RLI at that time and was on stage talking about how the NLC held such distinction to him. He cited that networking through RLI has led to great business. I distinctly remember a younger, naïve version of myself sitting there wondering if what Ray was saying was true or something nice he felt like he had to say since he was in leadership… SUMMER 2018



Fast forward seven years to 2018 and I was in Nashville again, this time winning the National ALC-to-ALC Networking Award for the largest real estate transaction closed between two Accredited Land Consultants. Low and behold, the colleague with whom I partnered and closed that sale was Ray Brownfield, ALC, himself. As it turns out, Ray was telling the truth back in 2011! Closing on an $8.4 million farmland sale is a huge gift from God that makes for a great story and a feather in the cap to networking at these events. However, the biggest take away goes beyond an award-winning sale – it is the people. Since that first trip to Nashville in 2011, Ray has become a trusted colleague, a mentor of sorts and a genuine friend. The wonderful thing about the NLC and going year after year is that I could say that about many other members of the REALTORS® Land Institute. Barring tragedy or the birth of a child (literally, the only reason I missed Tucson in 2015!), I refuse to miss the National Land Conference. It is an invaluable experience for me as a land professional and on a personal level.

Knowledge Acquisition Luke: Another obvious benefit of the NLC is the amount of knowledge you take away. Over the years, the conference has continued to add high-quality breakout sessions with expert speakers that essentially create a buffet of knowledge. You can pick and choose from numerous choices and tailor your conference experience to expand your knowledge in just the right places. Nashville was a prime example. I went into the conference wanting to learn more about reaching different types of buyers, other than those I have grown accustomed. Because of the numerous breakout options available at NLC, I was able to do just that. On one day of the conference alone, I learned about working with foreign buyers on land acquisitions, understanding what motivated institutional investment groups, and how to better position myself on social media to appeal to a broader base. Keep in mind, I was able to attend all of these sessions in an eight-hour window of time. There isn’t anywhere else I could cover that range of topics in depth in such a short period of time. Over the course of three or four days, the quality of options to learn is incredible.




Allison: Just as Luke was able to acquire new knowledge to help him as a land broker, I was able to expand my knowledge on topics that help me better market our company and address some operational challenges we’re facing. I either participated in a session, met with an exhibitor, or swapped strategies with other attendees on the following topics, and more: 1. Tools for tracking sales leads and processes within the sales cycle 2. Tips for how to motivate our brokers and measure their performance 3. Social media tips and tricks – when to post, what platforms to use, and how to engage an audience 4. How to improve our online footprint 5. Tips for becoming more effective and efficient For at least three of those topics, I had signed up for various webinars over the past year and cancelled at the last minute because something came up at work that made it fall on the priority list (not RLI webinars, of course – those are can’t miss!). Participating in the National Land Conference allowed me to pull away from the day-to-day so that I could finally devote uninterrupted attention to topics that will help to grow our business.

Public Relations Allison: You might be surprised to read that Public Relations is one of the value-added benefits we identify for the National Land Conference. But, hear me out. Anything you do to develop yourself professionally is an opportunity for you to demonstrate to landowners, lenders, attorneys, and others with whom we all share the agribusiness space, that you embrace the notion of lifelong learning within your craft. That you aren’t just someone who operates solely off of intuition in your little corner of the world. Tactfully slide into conversation that you just got back from the National Land Conference and that you learned about XYZ topics, compared land market trends with brokers in neighboring areas, and invested in developing yourself to the benefit of those whom you serve. In our market in Central Illinois, after Luke returns home from a work conference, I often contact the local radio station and offer him up for an interview on their farm programming show. They usually jump on the chance to fill a timeslot, and it’s a great way to position ourselves as thought-leaders within the ag realm, so it’s a winwin for everyone. Write about what you learned at the conference on your blog and/or company newsletter. Post a photo from the conference on your social media pages. Plus, you can tell your clients you promoted their property to over 200 agents nationwide at the Let’s Make Deal$ LIVE property marketing session! Make the most of any conference you attend, leadership role you hold, or award you win. You can bet your next commission check that I leveraged Luke’s ALC-to-ALC Networking Award to his advantage! It’s okay to toot your own horn (in a humble, highintegrity way of course) about awards you earn. More than just a plaque in your office, industry awards are tangible ways to show potential clients and business partners that you have the credentials and experience they’re looking for in a land broker. SUMMER 2018



And for goodness sake, get your ALC Designation! Talk about good publicity! Can you tell that we’re big fans of the National Land Conference?! Taking time out of your territory might seem like a costly endeavor, whether financially or procedurally. But we assure you, it is an investment that pays for itself. If you’ve never been, what are you waiting for? Let’s meet up in Albuquerque for NLC19! 1

For those of you who know Allan, rest assured, he hasn’t retired. We honestly don’t think he ever will – he loves the land business too much! He’s just tired of dealing with the headaches of business ownership.

About the authors: Luke and Allison Worrell own Worrell Land Services, LLC, specializing in land brokerage, farm management, and land appraisals across Central Illinois. Luke is an accomplished Land Broker who has earned the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation. He is also an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) who manages 84 farms across Central Illinois. Luke is an active leader in many ag-industry organizations, both nationally and locally. Allison leads the company’s strategic marketing and communications efforts. She brings to the business a unique blend of professional experiences from her background with a national pharmaceutical wholesaler, as well as non-profit work.






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2017 RLI APEX Awards The REALTORS® Land Institute is proud to announce the winners of its 2017 APEX Awards Program, sponsored by The Land Report, as the topproducing land agents in the nation. The APEX Awards Program is designed to recognize the excellence and performance of the best in the business by distinguishing agents with these prestigious production-based awards. All APEX Award Winners were announced by RLI CEO Aubrie Kobernus as well as The Land Report’s Co-founders Eddie Lee Rider Jr. and Eric O’Keefe at a special awards ceremony on Tuesday, March 13, at NLC18.

RLI 2017 APEX Award Winners Top National Producer (tie) The APEX Top National Producer Award is the program’s most coveted and prestigious award, recognizing the applicant with the highest qualifying transaction volume. Dan Murphy, M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

Michael Murphy, M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

National Broker of The Year (by category) The National Broker of the Year Award is presented to the agent with the highest qualifying transaction volume in each of the seven categories as seen below.

National Broker of the Year Ag Land Sales – Crops Troy Louwagie, ALC, Hertz Real Estate Services, IA

National Broker of the Year Ag Land Sales – Ranches Dax Hayden, Hayden Outdoors, LLC, CO




National Broker of The Year Recreational Land Sales (tie) Dan Murphy, M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

Michael Murphy, M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

National Broker of the Year Residential Land Sales Danny Smith, ALC, Smith & Smith Realty, FL

National Broker of the Year Auction Land Sales Troy Louwagie, ALC, Hertz Real Estate Services, IA

National Broker of the Year Timber Land Sales Clint Flowers, ALC, National Land Realty, AL

Wrangler Award The Wrangler Award recognizes the agent with the highest number of closed transactions.

National Broker of the Year Commercial Land Sales Ryan Sampson, ALC, Eshenbaugh Land Company, FL



Troy Louwagie, ALC, Hertz Real Estate Services, IA


APEX Top Twenty Producers APEX Top Twenty Producers are those applicants who, based on qualifying dollar volume in closed land sales, are among the twenty highest producing agents in the country. Rick Bourne Southeastern Land Group, AL

Ray Brownfield, ALC Land Pro LLC, IL

Steve Bruere Peoples Company of Indianola, IA

Jason DurJava, ALC Century 21 M&M and Associates Ag and Ranch, CA

Bill Eshenbaugh, ALC Eshenbaugh Land Company, FL

Clint Flowers, ALC National Land Realty, AL

Kyle Hansen, ALC Hertz Real Estate Services, IA

Dax Hayden Hayden Outdoors LLC, CO

Ryan Hostetler, ALC Agprofessionals LLC, CO

John Knipe, ALC Knipe Land Company, ID

Troy Louwagie, ALC Hertz Real Estate Services, IA




Kasey Mock Keller Williams Realty, KW LAND, and Mock Ranches, TX

Danny Smith, ALC Smith & Smith Realty, FL

Dan Murphy M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

Bob Stalberger, ALC Whitetail Properties, LLC, MN

Michael Murphy M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

Minor Taylor, ALC Taylor Land Investments, TX

Billy Rollins, ALC Land Solutions, Inc., FL

Ryan Sampson, ALC Eshenbaugh Land Company, FL

Dean Saunders, ALC Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate, FL




APEX Producers Club Members of the APEX Producers Club have proven a minimum of four million dollars of qualifying dollar volume in closed land sales. Matt Adams, Peoples Company of Indianola, IA Daran Becker, Peoples Company, IA Rick Bourne, Southeastern Land Group, AL

Jonathan Goode, ALC, Southeastern Land Group, AL

Ryan Sampson, ALC, Eshenbaugh Land Company, FL

Kyle Hansen, ALC, Hertz Real Estate Services, IA

Dean Saunders, ALC, Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate, FL

Dax Hayden, Hayden Outdoors, LLC, CO

Chris Smith, ALC, Hertz Farm Management, IA

Kenny Herring, ALC, Peoples Company, IA Ryan Hostetler, ALC, Agprofessional, LLC, CO

Danny Smith, ALC, Smith & Smith Realty, FL Travis Smock, Peoples Company, IA

Marv Huntrod, ALC, Hertz Real Estate Services, IA

Bob Stalberger, ALC, Whitetail Properties, LLC, MN

Ray Brownfield, ALC, Land Pro, LLC, IL

John Knipe, ALC, Knipe Land Company, ID

Jeramy Stephens, ALC, National Land Realty, AR

Steve Bruere, Peoples Company of Indianola, IA

Stan Lierz, ALC, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., NE

Winnie Stortzum, ALC, Farmers National Company, IL

Jared Chambers, Peoples Company, IA

Troy Louwagie, ALC, Hertz Real Estate Services, IA

Tommy Stroud, ALC, National Land Realty, GA

Rusty Lowe, ALC, Century 21 Harvey Properties Inc., TX

Kirk Swenson, 1 Stop Realty Inc., MN

Sam Bowers, ALC, Bowers and Burns Real Estate Company, GA

Brad Chandler, Buy A Farm Land & Auction Company, LLC, IL Bill Davis, Keller Williams Foothills Realty, CO Mike Downey, ALC, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., IA Jason DurJava, ALC, Century 21 M&M and Associates Ag and Ranch, CA Devin Dye, Ron Spencer Real Estate, OH Brenda England, First Realty Company, TN Bill Eshenbaugh, ALC, Eshenbaugh Land Company, FL Clint Flowers, ALC, National Land Realty, AL Wendy Forthun, ALC, 1 Stop Realty Inc., MN

Kasey Mock, Keller Williams Realty, KW Land, and Mock Ranches, TX

Minor Taylor, ALC, Taylor Land Investments, TX

Dan Murphy, M4 Ranch Group, a Division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

Derrick Volchoff, ALC, Trophy Class Real Estate/Sports Afield Trophy Properties, MI

Michael Murphy, M4 Ranch Group, a Division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC, CO

Kirk Weih, ALC, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., IA

Justin Osborn, The Wells Group Real Estate Brokerage, CO

Jim Wirth, TRI Commercial, CA

Calvin Perryman, ALC, Great Southern Land, AL Clayton Pilgrim, Century 21 Harvey Properties, TX

Luke Worrell, ALC, Worrell Land Services, LLC, IL Jason Ziegler, ALC, Whitetail Properties, MN Andrew Zellmer, Peoples Company, IA

Billy Rollins, ALC, Land Solutions, Inc., FL




Getting to The Top: Finding The APEX of Success By Dan Murphy, M4 Ranch Group The REALTORS® Land Institute recently presented the 2017 APEX Awards Program, sponsored by the internationally recognized magazine The Land Report, to identify and recognize the nation’s top producing land real estate agents. Over $1 Billion in property sales were recorded by RLI’s top 50 agents in 2017. That’s an amazing accomplishment to say the least, and this success again demonstrates the knowledge, work ethic, and power of the collective brokers within the RLI organization. Clearly, RLI partnerships are a force to be reckoned with. At this year’s APEX Awards Ceremony, Michael Murphy and I of M4 Ranch Group were honored to be recognized with four APEX Awards, including a tie for 2017 APEX Top National Producer, a tie for 2017 APEX Broker of the Year Recreational Land Sales, both as a 2017 APEX Top Twenty Producer, and both as part of the 2017 APEX Producers Club. First, I want to pass on my deepest appreciation for the blessings our clients, our company, and our team experienced in 2017. We had “one of those years” that all of us in RLI work diligently to produce. In 2017, the M4 Ranch Group Team was able to close over 95,000 deeded acres in 35 transactions. You, the top professionals in this industry, clearly know that just does not 34


happen every year. You also know it has a much better chance of happening when you build the right platform, establish the right avenues for success, and most importantly, associate your company with the right performers in the industry. We at M4 Ranch Group have worked tirelessly to do just that, working daily towards building a platform that couples timeproven tools with the newest technologies. We are both challenged and excited with learning new technology as well as with refining the ancient art of human relations. Being successful in this business is a never-ending quest for knowledge from understanding the details of an ALTA survey, easements, and water rights to understanding the history of a property and the biology of its wildlife. M4 Ranch Group has been fortunate to capitalize on the neverending opportunities for education through our RLI Colorado Chapter. In our RLI Chapter, we focus on the needs of the industry, the needs of our chapter as a group, and the everchanging needs we as professionals face daily to better ourselves and our companies. Each of us in the industry knows that “we only eat what we kill.” This industry makes no payment for a second place finish. If the transaction does not close, we don’t get paid. Our success at M4 Ranch Group in 2017 is without fail directly tied to the strength, intelligence, and the never-quit attitude of Team. While Michael and I were recognized by RLI for the fantastic success in 2017, that success would not have happened without the


back up of our partner, Michelle Murphy, as well as the rest of our amazing team. If there is one path to success, it is to build on peoples’ strengths within your organization and allow them to flourish in their niches. We are all faced with what seems to be insurmountable challenges in the industry, including marketing, meeting our clients’ needs, and budgeting so that we get the most bang for our buck. Marketing alone presents an almost-bewildering array of decisions, from a virtually limitless list of print opportunities to working every technological angle to develop the highest web rating for listed properties, from full page banner ads and web listings to drone tours, from multi-page brochures to 3-D property imaging, from the highest standards in mapping to the local chambers of commerce. It seems no one person or firm has the perfect answer here. I do know that those who rise above never quit, and they never take the easy path. Nevertheless, many of these top firms are very humble in their success. If not, they only have to wait for a down year to regroup with humility! It is easy to get tied up with statistics: where did we get the most results, what drove the most traffic, tracking web hits, social media clicks, direct leads, direct mail, etc. We can be consumed with questions. “Are we in the right market?” “Did we spend those dollars wisely?” “Will this work?” However, in the midst of our continuous data gathering at M4, we have recognized that the single biggest avenue for success has been relationships. In particular, we can attribute success after success directly

to the personal relationships built within our RLI Chapter. Without these friendships, partnerships, and working relationships, M4 Ranch Group would not have seen the success we experienced in 2017. The bottom line is that the RLI Colorado Chapter is, simply put, something special. The Chapter is built on the philosophy of “A Rising Tide Raises All Ships.” If you don’t have the answer you do have someone to call within this group who does. The level of integrity is extremely high. You just flat out can trust those you work with, something not said often in many industries, and sometimes even less in ours.

About the author: Dan Murphy has experience running restaurants, a guest resort, owning and operating a respected outfitting business in Colorado for twenty years, and as a current owner of M4 Ranch Group, a division of Team Murphy Realty, LLC. His company specializes in ranch and recreation properties in Southwestern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

Building on the past outstanding years of effort from National RLI we are entering into a new era. With the appointment of Aubrie Kobernus, CEO, and the drive and tenacity she and her team bring to the table, this organization is rising at a rocket rate. The rest of National RLI and the nation’s chapters are working daily to build that same level of integrity into everything from the ALC Designation and LANDU Education Program to the National Land Conference. RLI continues to work to help each of us better understand the strengths of those we work with, better understand the knowledge base of our partners, and better understand how they can share that knowledge base to help us all succeed. Knowing the professionals in our industry is a major key to success. That’s one of RLI’s main benefits. We at M4 Ranch Group are honored to work with each of you, we are honored to call many of you friends, but most of all, we are thankful.



LANDU Education Update L A N D U E D U C AT I O N U P D AT E

Big Changes to RLI’s LANDU Education Program Exciting changes are happening to the Land University (LANDU) Education Program this year! Education is what propels our members to truly be the best in the field. It is one of the biggest reasons RLI is set above the rest in the industry as “The Voice of Land.” As part of the RLI Strategic Plan, we hired an education instructional designer to work closely with our instructors / subject matter experts to update and provide consistency to all LANDU courses. The following newly updated courses are now being offered or are available to be offered: • Land 101: Fundamentals Of Land Brokerage

New Learning Management System & My Learning Page RLI debuted a new LANDU Learning Management System (LMS) in May. The LANDU LMS is now the go-to place for all RLI education. This new education platform will help members reenergize their education journey by providing an engaging and exciting variety of learning opportunities. In the LMS, participants will be able to track course completion, communicate directly with instructors, and post on discussion forums with other participants. With the implementation of the new LMS complete, RLI is now offering a new variety of distant learning education called Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) courses. These VILT courses will take the place of the hybrid courses RLI used to offer. VILT courses will include interactive online lectures with expert instructors and independent study by the participants. To access the new LMS, login to rliland.com and click the ‘My Learning’ quick link on your Member Profile page. This page features: • A history of LANDU courses you have passed or are currently enrolled in. • A gateway to access RLI’s LMS for students currently enrolled in a LANDU course. • Coming soon! Access to downloadable PDF course certificates for all successfully completed LANDU courses.



• Land Investment Analysis • Transitional Land Real Estate • Real Estate Mapping Technologies & Techniques • Tax Deferred 1031 Exchanges RLI will also be updating all LANDU courses and adding a new Recreational Land Real Estate course by the end of 2018! This project is crucial to the future success of RLI’s LANDU Education Program. Thank you to the Executive Team and the Board of Directors for your leadership on this important initiative and thank you to the Education Committee, Amanda Jenkins our Education Manager, and the Deep Dive Task Force for the blood, sweat, and tears in overseeing this ongoing project. We also want to give an especially big thank you to our instructors and subject matter experts for their time and expertise during this process.


Upcoming Webinars Five Ways to Make Money off Your Hunting Land Facilitator: Kirk Gilbert, ALC August 15 | Noon CT | Complimentary

$500 Education Scholarships Available! The Land Education Foundation (LEF) contributes funds to students of the REALTORS® Land Institute's LANDU educational programs and their Military Transition Program. They also contribute to other activities and educational conferences promoting land and the ‘wise utilization thereof’ in the industry. Make sure to take advantage of one of these $500 scholarships available through LEF to attend any of RLI’s newly updated courses. If you or someone you know might be interested, applications and more information on the Land Education Foundation can be found at www.landeducationfoundation.com.

New LANDU Logo RLI unveiled a brand new LANDU logo for the 30th Anniversary of the LANDU Education Program. The new logo is being released just as the year-long overhaul of the LANDU Program comes to fruition. It is meant to be a visual representation of all the positive changes made to the program and the exciting new direction in which it is heading.

Every year millions of Americans hunt and fish in the woods. They’re lured by the thrill of the chase, the beauty of the outdoors, and the desire to create memories with their families—and they’re willing to pay for the privilege of doing it. In this webinar, you will learn five ways you can begin making money off your hunting land to recoup your investment. Hunting enthusiast and land expert Kirk Gilbert, ALC, from Whitetail Properties will share the top ways to make money off your property.

Solar Panels: A Good Idea for Your Land? Facilitator: TBD October 24 | Noon CT | Paid In recent months, many landowners have been approached by solar developers who are looking to lease their property in order to install a solar project raising the question: “Is this a good idea for my land?” Join an expert in solar panel land leases to review the pros and cons of this type of land lease to determine if you or your clients should consider this avenue.

Unleashing Your Social Media Strategy Facilitators: Jessa Friedrich, MBA; Wendy Johnson, ALC; and Drew Ary, ALC October 24 | Noon CT | Complimentary Social media has completely shaken up the way we market to clients and prospective clients, and this stands true for the land real estate industry. Are you using social media in your professional marketing mix? If you are using it, are you doing it correctly? This panel discussion will be led by social media expert and RLI Marketing Manager Jessa Friedrich, MBA. She will be joined by two land professionals, Wendy Johnson, ALC, and Drew Ary, ALC, to share how they use social media to market their properties, connect with clients, and close more deals!



L A N D U E D U C AT I O N U P D AT E GREG GOOD, Agent, Clift Land Brokers/Clift Land Auctions

“The week was intense but the classes move quickly with excellent instructors engaging each class. I thoroughly enjoyed the courses and the opportunity to meet and connect with other students within our industry from across the country. It’s well worth the time and investment. Thanks Again, I really enjoyed the classes!” We are excited to announce that we also had a record number of attendees – 21 in total – complete all six courses towards earning the elite ALC Designation! We are proud to congratulate the below attendees: • Wallace Cartwright

• Billy James

• Wendy Cline

• David Marr

• William Derrick

• Judy Moss

• Jeanne Gang

• Debbie Payne

• Greg Good

• Brent Pennington

• Jamie Griffis

• Clayton Pilgrim

• Kevin Haack

• Delena Radney

• Glenda Hall

• Curtis Trousdale

• Walter Hatchett

• Robison Wilson

• Justin Hugron

• Cynthia Woolley

• Geoff Hurdle

2018 LANDU Education Week Recap LANDU Education Week was another record setting event for RLI in 2018! A record setting 203 course registrations were sold to a total of 50 participants from 14 different states. Attendees met in Arlington, TX, from June 2-10 to complete nine days of topnotch, newly updated LANDU courses. They were also invited to attend a Networking Night Out which included a tour of the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum, drinks, and dinner. A special thank you is extended to the RLI Texas Chapter and the Arlington Board of REALTORS® staff and leadership for their support in bringing this educational opportunity to Texas and for assisting participants.



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Inside The Beltway: Legislation Waiting to Land By Russell Riggs, National Association of REALTORS® With the biggest legislative achievement of this Congress behind us – tax reform and the preservation of 1031 like-kind exchanges – there are other issues that are circling the congressional runway, jockeying for position, and waiting to land. While not having a direct impact on the land professional, these broad issues could have far-reaching secondary impacts on land markets, real estate development, and the economy.

Farm Bill Introduced But Passage Unlikely in 2018 A 2018 Farm Bill proposed by House Agriculture Committee Republicans was passed by the Committee in April and set the groundwork for tense debates on farmland conservation and forestry — and a much more partisan battle on nutrition assistance — as Congress tries to act before the current law expires at the end of September. However, this legislation is unlikely to pass in 2018 due to a decreasing window of opportunity to act on a very controversial proposal. The bill strikes a good balance by holding the bill's cost close to the total spending levels of the current version. Doing so allowed the Committee to protect crop insurance, tweak the safety net for cotton and dairy producers, and reform conservation and crop programs.



On the other hand, the committee wasn't able to boost spending on farm programs that some groups say are more needed than ever, given the tough farm economy. Significant changes in conservation programs reflected Chairman Conaway's interest in seeing these programs work more effectively to preserve land that helps agriculture. The legislation would eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program — the biggest conservation program in the country, with about 72 million acres enrolled — and move some of its initiatives to an expanded Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The bill would allow an additional 5 million acres, 29 million acres in total, into the Conservation Reserve Program, which takes land out of production for 10-year periods. On forest policy, the proposal would allow for bigger and faster forest-thinning projects, through a 6,000-acre exclusion from certain reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, to reduce wildfire risk. It would also remove a requirement for consultation under the Endangered Species Act if a forest management project does not harm a listed species.

Infrastructure: All Talk and No Action? Infrastructure affects all parts of the American economy, from good roads and clean water to flood protection and mass transit. Both President Trump and Congress have floated proposals that would provide resources to fix aging infrastructure, such as roads and water treatment plants; and

Infrastructure affects all parts of the American economy, from good roads and clean water to flood protection and mass transit.

develop new and transformative projects, such as modernizing the electrical grid and high-speed rail. All of these kinds of activities would have a positive impact on land markets. President Trump’s plan would incentivize and stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new investment over the next 10 years, shorten the process for approving projects to two years or less, address unmet rural infrastructure needs, empower state and local authorities, and provide for intensive workforce training. The plan addresses more than traditional infrastructure -- like roads, bridges, and airports -- but addresses other needs like drinking water and wastewater systems, waterways, water resources, energy, rural infrastructure, and public lands. The proposal introduced by Democrats in the House would offer five times the amount of federal infrastructure funding over the President’s plan. Their plan would boost local economies and generate billions of dollars in new economic activity without adding to the

deficit. The infrastructure plan would invest in American iron and steel and new American-made green infrastructure materials to support good-paying jobs, and ensure opportunities for small business owners. The plan would ensure projects advance quickly, while maintaining key environmental protections and labor standards. Both plans are similar – both seek to leverage federal resources to empower the private sector and state and local governments to develop these projects. Both promise to shorten and ease the permitting process and both promise extensive worker retraining. Would you like to know another similarity between the two plans? Nothing has happened to either of them since they were published. Yes, the President has pushed federal agencies to ease permitting restrictions and some individual bills have been introduced but, at this time, nothing substantive in this area has been accomplished.

If I were a betting man (which I am most decidedly not) I would not place my hard earned money on a massive infrastructure spending bill moving through Congress in 2018. Just like with the Farm Bill, Congress is running out of time and lacks the focus to get something like this across the finish line – neither party wants to give their opponents something to brag about in the upcoming elections. About the author: In his position with the National Association of REALTORS®, Russell Riggs serves as RLI’s Government Affairs Liaison in Washington, D.C., conducting advocacy on a variety of federal issues related to land. If you would like additional information on any of these issues, you may contact him at 202-383-1259 or rriggs@realtors.org



Land Real Estate’s Hottest Markets For Investing Warm… Warmer… Hot! ON FIRE! By Jessa Friedrich, MBA, REALTORS® Land Institute Investing in land real estate can be as intimidating as it is exciting, which is why it is so important to get all the information you need to make the right decision. The 2017 Land Markets Survey*, released by the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) and the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group earlier this year, showed that 25 percent of recent U.S. land buyers and 12 percent of U.S. land sellers were investors. This indicates a strong investor demand, up five percent over last year – and for good reason! Right now is a great time to invest in land real estate. If you can find the right property, adding land real estate to your investment portfolio can be a safe bet with a steady return, especially over the long term. However, finding that right property requires expert guidance and a wealth of information to ensure the best property is found to meet the investor’s needs. Figuring out which markets are hottest can start to feel like a game. 42


Bear with me a moment, I promise this has a point, but I’m going to throwback for a minute here to when I was younger. On the playground we would play a game where you had to close your eyes and try to find something a friend hid – sometimes another friend. All the while, they would yell “Warm… Warmer… Hot… Hotter! ON FIRE!” until you navigated your way to the hidden item and it was found. After reading the results of the latest Land Markets Survey, this game came to mind because it seems like there are quite a few markets getting “warmer…,” some that are “Hot!” and a couple that are just plain “ON FIRE!” As I dug into the data further, this became more and more true -- so let’s take a look at what the hottest markets are for land real estate investing.

Time to Plant Seeds – Warm… When most people think about land real estate, scenic landscapes of sprawling farmland are often the first images that come to mind. Most in the land business know that agricultural land has taken a bit of a hit and is only now starting to rebound in many areas. Despite the overall trends, experts in the field say the demand for agricultural land hasn’t decreased much

and that there is often a shortage of quality farmland for sale on the market. Basic economic theory on the law of supply and demand explains why the survey results show a one to two percent increase in the price (or value) of the agricultural land that is on the market, depending whether the land was irrigated or not. So, now is actually a really good time to be an agricultural landowner or investor. And according to RLI’s survey, the price per acre of agricultural irrigated land sold rose two percent, while the price of agricultural non-irrigated land sold rose one percent – a rebound from the price decline reported in the previous survey. Respondents are also predicting a continued increase in agricultural land prices, alluding to a promising future as the market continues to rebound. While the market may not be “ON FIRE!” yet, now could be a good time to plant some investment seeds by grabbing-up ag land as it starts to heat up.

Bang For Your Buck – Warmer… If you are thinking about investing in land real estate, it can be hard to decide where to put your dollars to get the best bang for your buck. Speaking of bang for your buck, recreational land is also a solid type of land to invest in according to the survey. Prices of recreational land went up two percent since the last survey and are expected to go up another three percent. Recreational land sales dollar volumes are expected to increase four percent, second only to residential land at five percent, after already having gone up three percent in the prior period. All of this shows a very strong current market that is only expected to gain steam.

Chop, Chop – Hot! If you are looking for a solid long-term investment, chop, chop, because timberland is where you need to be; so much so, that there is a whole piece in this magazine written by expert LANDU Instructor Rick Taylor, ALC, on investing

in it. So where do the numbers from the survey fall on timberland? The average change in price of timberland sold increased one percent and is expected to increase another two percent. However, a more telling stat from the survey is the three percent increase in expected change in dollar volume of timberland sales compared to only a one percent increase in the previous period. Now, before you purchase yourself some timberland and start chopping away, make sure to read Rick’s article and check out the other pieces on our blog about investing in timberland real estate.

Hopefully, this piece revealed some valuable information you can use to help make your decision. Finding success in the playground game I mentioned earlier was a combination of needing expert guidance, reliable information, and, of course, a little luck -- a lot like investing in land! So, keep in mind that land transactions require specialized expertise making it necessary to find a qualified, experienced, and educated agent – like an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) – to provide reliable guidance and information when investing in a property. Then all you need is a little luck!

Groundbreaking – ON FIRE!

*The Land Markets Survey is conducted annually each fall by the REALTORS® Land Institute and the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group as a tool for real estate land professionals in all sectors of the business to use for bench-marking and as an informational resource when conducting business.

According to the latest Land Markets Survey, commercial and residential land are taking the industry by storm as potential investment options. In the time between the 2016 and 2017 surveys, the dollar volume of residential land sales grew five percent while commercial land sales followed closely behind at a four percent increase. Another great indicator that these two types of land investments are ripe for the picking is that while land prices are expected to increase by three percent across the U.S., commercial and residential land prices are expected to exceed average with an increase of four percent. Plus, 52 percent of respondents said that residential land has become less available in the last five years. Remember our lesson on supply and demand when we talked about ag land prices? Same law applies here. So a decrease in supply and increase in demand means we should continue to see an increase in price for residential land. You may notice this aligns perfectly with the increase in land prices predicted by survey respondents mentioned earlier. If you are interested in learning more about this hot market, there are some great pieces on the RLI Blog about the increase in demand for residential land real estate.

The survey is designed to reveal current trends and the current state of land markets across the US. RLI encourages all land real estate agents to participate in the survey to ensure it is accurate in representing the actual state of the land market each year. The full survey, as well as past surveys, can be viewed on rliland.com All data included in this article are pulled from the 2017 Land Markets Survey and reference the time periods outlined within. About 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 a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing. She has been with RLI in the land real estate industry since March of 2015. In her role, she oversees all of the organization’s marketing, branding, and communication efforts.





Does Wind Cool a Hot Housing Market, or are Wind Farm Worries Overblown? By Greg Alvarez, American Wind Energy Association

For most of us, buying a home is the most financially consequential decision we make. So it makes sense to protect that investment—and find out how major developments in the neighborhood will affect our most valuable asset. Traditionally, three factors have an outsized impact on home values: strength of the local economy, low taxes, and access to good schools. For rural communities that may go years between major investments, the arrival of a wind farm has large benefits in all three areas. Over 99 percent of wind power projects are built in rural America and on private land. That means project owners lease small segments of property from large landowners—usually farmers and ranchers. The concrete pads on which they build wind turbines, and the gravel lanes to reach them, typically leave 98 percent of the land undisturbed and available for other uses, such as crops, livestock, hunting, and off-road vehicles. And the checks start arriving for thousands of dollars per turbine per year.

Income Impacts Those lease payments can really add up: in 2016 alone they totaled $245 million across America, a figure that is steadily rising. That creates a steady source of income for landowners, as well as a new tax base that agricultural communities can

count on. It’s especially meaningful during years of drought, poor harvests, or crashes in commodity prices. In fact, many farmers call wind their new drought-proof cash crop. “It will not change how we operate, it will not change anything about our lives. But it will be an additional income stream that I suspect will be very handy,” said John Dudley, whose family has been ranching in Comanche, TX, since the 1880’s. “It’ll allow [our] family to have that ranch for a long time.” Dr. Sarah Mills of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy recently examined the concrete benefits of wind income for Michigan farmers. Among her findings: • Farmers with turbines on their land have invested twice as much in their operations over the last five years as those without them. • Turbine-hosting farmers have purchased more farmland in the last five years than non-hosts. • Farmers with turbines are more likely to believe their property will be farmed in the future, and they’re more likely to have a succession plan in place for when they retire. Crucially, Mills also found that landowners with wind turbines spent significantly more on improving their homes and farms.



LBNL has conducted two other major studies on this topic (in 2009 and 2013), and in all cases, found no statistical evidence that operating wind turbines have had any measurable negative impact on home sales prices.

Community Impacts Beyond income for farmers and ranchers, wind projects also create jobs in the local community. Wind turbine technicians, one of America’s two fastest growing jobs according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are needed to operate and maintain projects. That offers new career opportunities for young people. It also helps small businesses thrive, another key component in keeping local economies healthy. For example, Auxilius Heavy Industries, based in Fowler, IN, performs services for many of the area’s local wind farms. The company has been able to double in size each of the four years since its founding. Community members don’t need to work in wind or host turbines on their land to realize its benefits, however. Because they are usually built in rural areas with low tax bases, wind farms often become a county’s largest taxpayer. That boosts local budgets and can help pay to fix roads or build new hospitals, without having to raise taxes. In fact, in some communities, wind revenue renders local taxes totally unnecessary. In Sheldon, New York, for example, the town abolished local taxes for eight years because wind revenue covered all of its budgetary needs.

Property Value Impacts Wind’s extra revenue also strengthens the third pillar of home valuation: access to a strong school system. New financial resources from wind can even allow rural school districts to offer services they otherwise would not be able to.



“Oh my gosh, it’s been a game changer for us,” said Jeff Synder, superintendent of the Lincolnview school district in Van Wert, Ohio. “Now we have the windmill money opportunity, we have $400,000 per year for 20 [years]. I didn’t have to pass one levy, ask [our taxpayers] for anything.” The Lincolnview school district was able to provide every student grade K through 12 with a laptop, and fully fund the repair and replacement program. In New York, the Lowville school district used wind revenue to build a new athletic field and offer advanced placement courses, and it has a swim team called The Turbines. In fact, students from the Lowville district perform so well on standardized tests, compared to areas with similarly low average family income, that researchers from Syracuse University are now studying Lowville to see what makes it so successful. The added programs funded by wind surely play a role in the system’s success. For those concerned about the impacts of wind farms on property values, the evidence shows there is no cause for concern — long-term, comprehensive studies show wind power doesn’t affect property values. In 2014, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) along with University of Connecticut examined 122,000 home sales near 26 wind facilities in densely populated Massachusetts between 1998 and 2012, comparing transactions within a half-mile (1,500 of the sales) to similar transactions up to five miles away. Based on a detailed analysis, the researchers were unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values.

LBNL has conducted two other major studies on this topic (in 2009 and 2013), and in all cases, found no statistical evidence that operating wind turbines have had any measurable negative impact on home sales prices. As an author of the 2009 report stated “Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes.” “Wind is a lucrative, sustainable ‘crop’ for our farmers and entire community,” said Susan Munroe, president and CEO of Van Wert County’s Chamber of Commerce. “We hope to continue to harvest wind to not only build economic success for our county but provide sustainable, renewable energy for our state.” This post was originally published on the RLI Blog. Check out more great pieces at rliland.com/blog. About the author: Greg Alvarez is the American Wind Energy Association's Deputy Director, External Communications. He is the head editor and writer for Into the Wind, and oversees AWEA's online content and opinion writing. Greg holds a Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University.

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Shift Your Brokerage into High Gear By David Zawalich, The Land Report

Five years ago, I was a hobby farmer in Western Ohio, on the prowl for a new career. After 19 years in the automotive industry, working my way up from lot porter to salesman to GM and president of a dealer group, I was ready for a change. I was eager to apply my background and experience in consumer marketing to a new line of work, one that preferably highlighted my passion for land. Should I get a broker’s license or go to work for a management company or call up a trust department to see if they had any openings? I honestly had no idea how to proceed. Fortunately, my wife, Jessica, made a brilliant suggestion: Call the publisher of that magazine I was always raving about, and see what he had to say. You probably already have an inkling of how things turned out. I lobbed an email to The Land Report publisher Eddie Lee Rider, and that very day I got a call back. The sales guy in me immediately liked this. Not five minutes into our initial conversation, we both sensed an opportunity. My gut told me to sign on with the Magazine of the American Landowner. After a heart-to-heart with Jessica, that’s exactly what I did. Almost immediately, I recognized that the tenets of marketing and branding that build successful dealer groups also applied to the successful marketing of land. I guarantee the lessons I learned as I worked my way up from the mailroom to the showroom and finally the boardroom can better your book of business.

Consistency is Key One of the principle tenets of automotive marketing is that reach without frequency equals wasted money. Eddie Lee hammered home this very same point to me. “If someone wants to buy a one-time ad, tell them not to waste their money,” he says. “Selling land isn’t about when a broker is ready to market a listing. It’s about when a buyer or a seller is ready to pull the trigger.” “Consistency is key” is especially true when marketing land and your services. A well-crafted branding message, delivered consistently, creates top-of-mind name recall. In my humble opinion, this could well be the factor that generates that allimportant phone call from a potential buyer or a motivated seller.

There is No Off-Season Many industries target a certain time frame to ramp up marketing. Car sales is not one of them. It may seem as though dealers are doubling down when they do a “year-end clearance,” but that’s just one of many arrows in their quiver. How many times a year do you see ads about factory incentives? Or special dealer financing? By the time you factor in all the limited-time offers that are pitched – President’s Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Back to School, Black Friday, New Year’s Eve – a far more sophisticated strategy emerges. Automotive dealers market 24/7/365. So if investors who buy and sell land have no off-season, why should you?



Yes, we both know that as the calendar year wraps up, so does deal pace. I equate this to an auto dealership’s yearend clearance. But if your own marketing slacks off during the off-season while your competitors are busy reinforcing their branding, guess who gets the cold call in the middle of winter? Guess who hits the ground running when the snow melts or school lets out? Not you. As entrepreneurs, our instinct is to keep our powder dry when things slow down. Yet the decision to buy or sell a legacy property is often a family decision that is discussed and debated during the offseason, a.k.a. the holidays. Does it really make sense to pull back your marketing at the exact moment you need to be building your business? Like countless brokerages coast to coast, The Land Report shifts into high gear as spring turns into summer. Yet we consciously produce our biggest issue of the year, which features The Land Report 100, so it comes out in December. Why?

Because we practice what I’m preaching. Our must-read content is on coffee tables and in private jets precisely when families gather for the holidays. Effective marketing is a full-time, yearround commitment. The consistent marketing message that you deliver, even during spells of lower activity, builds brand equity and name recall. These are priceless.

Marketing is Not an Expense. It is an Investment. Treat it as Such. Best practice dictates you establish a marketing budget and commit fully to it. Budgets create limits; you can’t have a presence everywhere. So, do your research, negotiate well, and pick your platforms based on their position within the industry. Only invest in favorable brand association. Demand added value for your marketing dollars. Above all, challenge your marketing partners to deliver your message effectively and specifically to the right audience. Trust but verify.

Please note that I said “platforms.” Do not put all your eggs in one basket, be it print, online, or direct mail. And that includes my own title, The Land Report. Do you go to the trade shows your target buyer attends? You’d be surprised how many of those events take place during the so-called off-season. How about hosting your own event, even if it’s just a cast-and-blast for a handful of key clients. Again, money well spent. Fish where the fish are. By that, I mean make sure you connect with your target market in person, online, via direct mail, and in print. That’s a sound investment.

Branding is Not A Slogan. It’s the Truth. I've always been a big fan of Ford’s slogan: Built Ford Tough. It’s confident. It’s catchy. And it hammers home the fact that more than a century after Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company, Ford is very much an industry leader. I know that for a fact because I spent the majority of my career with the blue oval. SUMMER 2018


Let’s apply that marketing savvy to your business. If your brokerage has been around for a while, what are you best known for? A specific land use? A certain market? A specialized expertise? Spell it out in an honest, straightforward manner. At The Land Report, we call ourselves The Magazine of the American Landowner. It’s confident. It’s catchy. And it hammers home the fact that we share the stories of America’s leading landowners. But what if you’re new to the business and just starting out? What drives you? What inspired you to launch your business? Are you a longtime local? Then put those deep roots and your local ties to work for you. Maybe you relocated to the land of your dreams. If so, doesn’t your trailblazing decision make you the ideal candidate to pave the way for others who might want to do so? Do you love to hunt? Is life better on the back of a horse? Consider these questions and write down your answers. Look at it closely. Refine it. Hone it. Buff it. THAT is your brand.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Market Your Brand The landscape of marketing choices for land professionals has never been more diverse. Traditional advertising is gone. Kaput. Once upon a time, advertising featured an “offer� that was deliverable through standardized channels. Today, it’s all about experience marketing. When I got my first paycheck in the automotive industry, Facebook, Google, and YouTube didn’t even exist. By the time I left, key influencers were creating billions of impressions with blogs and podcasts that reached consumers via their iPhones, a 50


product that debuted in 2007. This avalanche of new technology has created exciting opportunities for small business owners to create and control marketing and branding. Use it to your advantage. I’m a big fan of Instagram. The visualforward nature of this rapidly growing platform and its ability to integrate video and drone footage gives a broker the unique opportunity to conduct virtual showings on multiple listings from a handheld device. If you are a land broker in 2018, an active Instagram account is a must, not an option. Finally: hashtags, hashtags, hashtags. Marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuck insists that for real estate professionals, the most effective way to grow your Instagram following is through the use of strategic hashtags. This means the use of a minimum of 10 hashtags per post. I recommend including hashtags featuring the state where your listing is located as well as the type of property – i.e., #farm, #ranch, #timberland, #hunting. Keep the hashtags relevant and watch the interactions with your posts build. Thanks to Jessica’s suggestion, I’ve been on board with The Land Report going on five years now. Even better, I’m applying insights and ideas that I gained in one of the most competitive industries to my new career. I sincerely hope that one of these kernels of truth helps you take your book of business to the next level in 2018 and beyond. P.S. If you want me to share more, reach out to me at davidz@landreport.com, @thelandreporter. I’ll even help you set up that Instagram account you’ve been putting off. ;)

About the author: David Zawalich lives in west central Ohio with his wife, two kids and a Wire Haired Pointing Griffon named Zeke. His love of land and the outdoors was sparked as a child in the wilds of northeast Pennsylvania. He employs his unique vantage point as a landowner and marketing professional as the Associate Publisher of The Land Report.

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The Land Report, “The Magazine of the American Landowner,” congratulates all of the 2018 Apex Award winners! Job well done to many of the industry’s best!

For marketing opportunities, contact Publisher Eddie Lee Rider, publisher@landreport.com, (205) 908-9872, www.landreport.com/advertise

Increase The Equity Value Of Your Recreational Land By Bob Stalberger, ALC, Whitetail Properties Real Estate

My days are spent working with buyers and sellers of recreational and tillable land. So when I was approached about writing an article about recreational land it was a no brainer. My fellow Minnesota agents and I do seminars every year at our state’s Deer Classic on the topic of “Land Buying & Selling 101.” During each seminar we do a Q&A where we typically find many of the questions are about building equity in a current property or future property. Although I live and work in MN, this information will hold true for many recreational properties and almost any place whitetail deer call home.

Eyes On The Prize In my opinion the cheapest and most effective thing you can do to grow equity and value to your property is purchasing some trail cameras. Buyers are always asking me to see trail camera photos from the property for sale. When we check the analytics of our listings, it is proven that a listing with good trail camera photos vastly out performs a listing without them. In addition, I personally advise my new buyers to go buy a thumb drive and save trail camera photos from day one, even if they have no plans of ever selling. It is great to be able to show a buyer two to ten years of trail camera photos and allow them to see firsthand the quality and quantity of deer using the property.

Road Appeal The next low-cost and high return item would be “road appeal.” Much like curb appeal on a house, that first impression of a 52


property will have a lasting effect. Start at the entrance of the property; even if your property is not completely fenced, installing a simple yet sturdy gate that is lockable with a chain and adding a “no trespassing” sign, will add appeal for a buyer. This low cost item gives buyers a good sense of security and sets the tone for what they are going to see when viewing your property. If you have spent any time on a farm you know there is a good chance of coming across an old junk site. Removing these items can be time consuming but, in the long run, it will build value in your property and make it more marketable when it comes time to sell. Clean up any trails you have on the property so when touring the property it is easy to navigate. A property that is mainly used for whitetail deer hunting in a managed neighborhood is highly sought after. Creating a so called “managed neighborhood” will take a great deal of work as well as time, but will give you an abundant return. I’m not going to discuss how a management group should be run as that is an entire article in itself. Ideally, you want your property to be in the center of this management group. Reaching out to all the neighboring landowners of your property is where you start. Once you get them on board with a management plan, ask them to reach out to their neighbors and eventually you will have a large network of landowners across a large area all working towards the same management goals. Sounds easy, but I can tell you it is not. This will take a lot of time and you will most likely have some people that will not want to participate -and that is okay. The goal is to try to get as many on board as

possible and work on growing the group. Typically, this will take years, but keep in mind the value you are adding to your property will be well worth it.

If You Build It… The next few items are more labor intensive and cost more money to complete and maintain. If you watch any hunting show or spend any time around an avid hunter you know that food plots are a huge factor when it comes to hunting whitetail deer these days. Just remember when it comes to food plots bigger isn’t always better. Making sure you locate the food plot to maximize the hunting and access on the property is more important than the size of the plot. Having several well placed food plots and keeping them maintained every year will be not only be a great increase in value, it will also help make memories when hunting season comes around. In my opinion, even more important than a food plot is water on a property. Not all properties will have flowing water on them. Even those that do may not have the water in ideal locations for hunting. If your property is lacking a water source, I suggest adding this feature before adding a food plot. This can be as extravagant as hiring an excavator to install a pond in a location for natural runoff to hold water or as simple as taking a 55 gallon drum, cutting it in half, and digging it in the ground. Personally, I use a product made by a local company that holds 100 gallons of water that has a trough for the water to sit in and allows all kinds of wildlife to drink from it. I have five of these on

my property and they are all located in great travel and staging areas that I hunt. I do have to fill them a few times a year but since they are mobile they give me the option to relocate them. Since they are portable, I can make location changes based off of my hunting observations; you can’t do that with a pond made by an excavator.

The Trail to Success A good trail network will allow you access in and around a property. The extent of the trail network needed will depend on the topography and makeup of the land. In dealing with the rolling bluffs of Southeast Minnesota, creating access from the bottom to the top is almost a must if you want to get the most for your property. Most landowners do not own excavating equipment so I highly suggest asking around to find out who others have worked with in the area to do such projects. It is in your best interest to do your research and get references prior to hiring someone. A quality bulldozer operator can accomplish a lot in a short time. Most first time buyers are nervous about what it will cost to create a good trail network. I have even encouraged sellers in the past to invest in a trail network as I knew it would make their property more marketable and they would see the return on their investment.

Blind Spots Hunters from Minnesota are used to hunting in extremely cold weather. In my opinion, the old saying “you’re not a real hunter SUMMER 2018


Owning land is one of the best financial investments you can make in your lifetime and the memories you make on it while you own it will be your favorite return on investment. if you sit inside a blind” has gone out the window in the last decade. Box blinds are here to stay, and the more hunters that hunt out of them, the more buyers want them on their property. As an example, our state’s Deer Classic event this year included at least seven different manufacturers of enclosed deer stands. If a manufactured stand is not in your budget you can also build one out of lumber, just make sure it is clean, sturdy, and safe. From there, adding a quality, sturdy ladder or hang-on stands will also increase your property value. Stands are something every hunter wants. So, if you have created a great location for them and they’re of good quality you will always get your money back out of them; plus, you get to enjoy them while you own the property.

crunch to get this done, ask the surveyors what time of the year they are least busy as they may give you a better price during their slow times versus their peak times. In my area, the down time is during winter.

questions you need to ask yourself or your group of owners are: • Will this improvement be something almost all future owners of this property see value in?

1. 2. 3. = R.O.I.

• Could it be any cheaper to do it later versus now?

These next three improvements are much more expensive but can add some serious value to your property. They are not going to be good for all buyers and will require more thought than the previous improvements I have mentioned. These three items, in no particular order, are 1) adding a driveway; 2) bringing in power; and 3) drilling a well. Some

Adding a driveway that is easy to travel won’t get cheaper with time but will always make the property more enjoyable and user friendly. Bringing power to the property will also be worth your investment. This can become costly if you are having the power brought in from a significant distance away. However, I have talked with clients that had power brought

Surveying The Land “Has this property been surveyed?” is almost always asked when I’m showing a potential buyer a property. In my territory, the land is not flat and often times you can’t see from one corner to another. Spending the money to hire a professional surveyor to mark your property boundary corners as well as points between the corners will make a buyer more comfortable when purchasing your property. It also allows you to easily establish or maintain your property line. This can also be helpful when doing any logging, adding a trail system, food plots, water locations, or even hanging stands and posting your property. With anything, I suggest getting a few quotes on this project and asking around on who others would recommend. If you are not in a time 54


YOU BOOK THE DEALS. WE TAKE THE BIDS. “We added online auctions with the goal of attracting out-ofthe-area buyers. We chose BidWrangler because the bidding experience was easy and effective. Adding BidWrangler to our team was the right choice.” -George Clift of Clift Land Brokers, Past President of RLI Online Auction Software and Consultation More than $400 million sold in 2017 BidWrangler.com/GetYours

to their property for almost free and I have met clients where it was going to cost them $10,000 or more to get power to their property, so this one can get tricky. If the cost to bring power to the property is extremely high and you are not going to use it for a length of time, it might not be an investment you will want to add to your property. The last of the three items, drilling a well, can vary in cost all over the country. Personally, I know the cost is pretty significant in Southeast Minnesota. However, when I tell a buyer there is a well on the property they all understand what cost went into it and they see the value. I do not see the cost of these three items getting any cheaper by waiting.

The Big One Now, we are going to talk about the biggest decision that can add value and at the same time affect the marketability to the greatest number of future buyers of your property. I get people all the time that ask if they will get their money back out of a cabin if they build one. My advice is to keep it simple, yet clean and functional;

don’t get elaborate or install high end finishes if you want to make sure you get your money back out of it. It is also best not to over build as it will limit future potential buyers. As soon as you make a cabin or house addition to a property, you immediately take some future buyers off the table. The goal is to not eliminate too many of the remaining buyers by building something that is either so personal or elaborate that it would shrink your potential buyer pool so small you that will not see your return on your investment. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to build a custom log home on your recreational land and you enjoy it for 20 years or more, go for it. You will get your return out of its use and enjoyment. If you have a short term plan for the property though, stick to something simple. As you can see, there are many different ways you can increase the equity in your recreational land. These improvements may take years or even decades and can vary drastically in cost, but they are all great ways to increase the equity value of your property while enjoying it. I will leave

you with the one thing I always ask while giving my seminars: “In a show of hands, how many of you have ever made any memories on your 401k, stocks, or bonds?” No one has ever raised their hand, but I can promise you every single landowner in America has made memories on a piece of land they have invested in. Owning land is one of the best financial investments you can make in your lifetime and the memories you make on it while you own it will be your favorite return on investment. About the author: Bob Stalberger, ALC, is the Land Specialist in Southeast MN for Whitetail Properties Real Estate. Stalberger is the RLI Minnesota Chapter President and a recipient of the RLI 2017 Top Twenty Producer APEX Award as well as part of the RLI APEX Producers Club. Bob specializes in selling hunting and farmland and has been an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) since March 2016.








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Effectively Networking for New Land Professionals By Calvin Perryman, ALC, Great Southern Land

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 with you 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 are several ways you can effectively network to grow and sustain your real estate business:

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 in someone’s office and talking for 10-15 minutes in person versus 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.

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 so when they need a land professional they will be more likely to think of you.

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 hosted 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 as well. 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.

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 at 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 first.



This piece 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 and at providing valuable information to land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, visit rliland.com/blog. About the author: Calvin Perryman, ALC, is an Associate Broker and Appraiser with Great Southern Land in Camden, AL. 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.


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When Money Does Grow On Trees By Rick Taylor, ALC, Mossy Oak Properties Forest Investments, Inc.

As a broker specializing in timberland, I am often confronted with comments such as “some of your properties are priced too high” or “you’re crazy if you think someone’s going to pay that much for a property in this area.” Unfortunately, they are often correct. For example, consider a recent listing I was marketing. My client contacted me about selling his family’s inherited property. He was considering accepting an offer from an adjoining landowner for part of it in the amount of $1,200/acre and selling the remaining acreage to a local land buyer who had offered him $1,600/acre for the balance. A friend had recommended that he contact me before making his final decision. I made some maps and then made a quick recon of the subject property to see if they might benefit from my services. It didn’t take long to see that these people were in desperate need of help. I relayed to them that there was substantial timber value on this property, perhaps over $2,000/acre of just timber. I recommended that they get an independent timber appraisal (cruise) done to establish the timber value and then add that to a bare land value as established by comparable sales. My initial recon was correct, as verified by the timber cruise. The resulting listing put the property at over $3,000/acre! This is a perfect example of why using an expert for your land transaction is so beneficial for land buyers, sellers, and investors.

That Land Is Too High! Now, back to my comment of people being correct when they tell me that no one will pay that much for a piece of property in their area. A simple search of land listing websites will bring up many properties of similar acreage in an area, none of which are priced nearly as high as what I had recommended. The problem is that people might like what they see in pictures or from a description, but when they see the price they pass and move on to other properties without ever scheduling an appointment to see it in person. I explained to the sellers that we would have a hard time showing the property at that price but that we also don’t need to be in the business of giving away timber. My recommendation was to put it on the market for a few months and approach known timberland investors. If we didn’t get any serious offers after a few months, I recommended that we do a sealed bid sale of the timber and then discount the land price to a “bare-land” value and put it back on the market. Back to the

“crazy” comments – the adjoining landowner actually laughed at me and told me I was crazy. After three months, the sellers followed my recommendations and the timber bid for over $2,000/acre. Advantage to the sellers – they will get paid up front for the timber and the land is now marketed to the public at a more acceptable price. Net result – when the land is finally sold, the sellers will in all likelihood make more than the original listed price. What I have just described above is a real-life example and an ongoing case but it is not at all uncommon. In fact, in marketing properties that have a significant amount of timber value, it is very common. The hard truth of the matter is that the property described above could have been discounted and sold fairly quickly but the sellers would have been leaving a substantial amount of money on the table. Had they sold to the two buyers that were interested, those buyers could have then sold the timber themselves and not only cleared out the land but put money in their pockets. I know of no other real estate classification that fails to properly value an asset as much as timberland tracts. It’s easy to say granite counter tops add value to a residential listing or high traffic counts add value to a commercial property but how do you explain to the unknowledgeable the added-value of timber, especially if the buyer is only interested in how big a deer he can harvest? To a knowledgeable buyer looking for a good investment, the above case could represent a golden opportunity.

Growing Timberland Investments In most areas of the country (not all, we’ll discuss that a little more later), timber prices are down. The right size trees growing on the right site can double in volume in just a few years. While the investor is waiting on prices to rebound, the timber is growing, increasing in volume and in value. Last month, G. Kent Morris, ALC, Registered Forester, wrote an excellent piece on the RLI Blog titled Site Index – a Measure of Forest Productivity. In that article, Kent described how timber sites (the land growing the timber) can differ significantly. The higher the “site index” the more timber that site will grow over the same period of years as compared to a site with a lower index. The difference can be substantial. A buyer may be only looking for recreational land but if he can be shown how the



land can generate significant income while still offering the recreational opportunities he desires, it becomes an easier sell and the buyer is blessed financially as a result. I mentioned that as the timber grows, it increases in volume and in value. The increase in value comes from the tree growing from one product into another more valuable product. To illustrate this, I’ll use current, per ton pine timber prices from my area of Mississippi. *Pine pulpwood - $7; Pine Chip-N-Saw (small diameter sawlogs, used for lumber production) – $15; Pine Sawtimber - $23; and Pine Poles - $45 – $72, depending upon size and quality. In looking at these numbers, you can see that as the individual tree grows, it increases in volume (weight) but also increases substantially in value. In a few years’ time a tree can grow from Pulpwood to Chip-N-Saw and then on to Sawtimber and Poles. The guy sitting out there confidently proclaiming that land doesn’t sell for that much in these parts, has no idea what kind of value or potential for growth that particular property may have. Timberland offers flexibility in harvesting. If prices are down, the timberland owner can simply wait before selling his timber, all the while, the timber continues to increase in volume. If he isn’t ready to harvest timber for whatever reason, he can still borrow against the timber through a farm credit bank or another bank that understands timber. Timber is still treated as long term capital gains when sold if held over a year and an investor only pays taxes on the gain over and above his basis in the timber. This allows an investor to purchase a timber tract, sell the timber, still have the land and put the money from the sale of the timber to other use. Disclaimer – I am not an accountant so any information I share here should be run by your accountant for application to your individual situation. That being said, timberland does offer additional benefits that can add dollars to your bottom line. A timberland investor can set his land (asset) up as a tree farm and may be eligible to deduct mileage to and from his tree farm and the cost of equipment to maintain the tree farm (tractor, disk, bush hog, four wheeler, etc.).



Future Outlook From The Tree Tops I mentioned earlier that in most areas, although not all, timber prices are down from historic highs. There are too many factors that go into determining timber prices, namely supply and demand, to discuss here but the encouraging thing to consider is that the tide appears to have turned. In the Pacific Northwest, current prices being paid for Douglas-fir timber has matched it’s all time high. In Florida, prices are considerably higher than other parts of the south. I say this to point out that the future looks bright for investing in timberland (check out Jessa Friedrich’s article Land Real Estate’s Hottest Markets for more insights on this this). There is much more to evaluating a timberland tract and fortunately, RLI has a two day course called Timberland Real Estate that teaches the concepts discussed here plus much more. If you think you would like to learn more and better serve your timberland clients, contact RLI about taking this fun, informative course. As the snaggletooth, grizzled old prospector said when he pointed towards the horizon “There’s gold in them thar hills”, there really is – and it’s in the trees! *These are average prices for the 4th quarter of 2017. Each timber stand is unique as to volume, size, and location to area mills so prices can vary significantly. About the author: Rick Taylor, ALC, is a Forestry Consultant and Broker/Owner of Mossy Oak Properties Forest Investments, Inc. in McComb, MS. He is a member of the REALTORS® Land Institute – a proud ALC, is licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi, and currently serves on the 2018 Board of Directors for the REALTORS® Land Institute as an At-Large Director. He is a subject matter expert and instructor for RLI’s Timberland Real Estate course.

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