A property we divided into four parcels and sold small tracts.

Is it a good idea to divide your rural property to help it sell? That question can only be answered once the landowner determines their objectives, and if the characteristics of the property lend itself to division. Each property should be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if a division will help the owner make the sell.

Recently I have made recommendations to two different land owners about whether they should offer their properties as a whole or divide them and market them separately. Both tracts share many similar qualities: each has state highway frontage, a cabin, a lake, and they both join the national forest. In my property evaluation and marketing proposal I suggested that one owner divide his property and the other I recommended that he offer it in its entirety.

The decision about whether to offer your property in multiple tracts or to sell it in its entirety should be made based on what your objectives are in selling the property. Is your goal to generate some immediate revenue? Perhaps your goal is to liquidate an asset that is in another state so as to remove all liabilities associated with it. Do you want to get the highest possible price for a property no matter how long it takes, or do you simply want to dissolve a partnership quickly and move on with your life?

Here are some considerations I take into account when advising clients about dividing the tract:

Here is when I would consider dividing the property:
1. If you want to maximize returns on the property and the number of days on the market is not really a consideration.
2. The property is large, and offering smaller parcels increases the potential buyer pool. (Because there are more buyers that can afford a $50,000 tract than a $500,000 property.)
3. You need to generate some revenue quickly, and the odds of selling a small parcel are good.
4. There is a market for mini-farms or small estates that would justify breaking your tract up.
5. An adjoining owner wants a portion of the property and brings a bag of cash.

I would advise against dividing a property for selling it if:
1. One of the divided parcels would be a liability or would be unlikely to sell if the more desirable piece is sold first. (Then you may be stuck with a “dog” forever.) Use the good tract as leverage to make someone buy the undesirable one too.
2. The costs associated with closing a small parcel of land are not justified by the sell price.
3. By dividing your land, the piece you sell adversely affects the property you are going to keep. (ie.. lose road frontage, increased cost to connect to utilities, lose farming capabilities, give up access to a water feature, etc…)

When considering how to divide a property, these are things I generally look for when making a recommendation:
1. Natural divisions such as creeks, canyons, fields, forests, and other topographical features that would make a dividing point?
2. Logical divisions such as roads, fence lines, fire lanes, varying ages of timber stands.
3. Surveyed boundaries

A few other things to consider would include the costs associated with dividing it. A survey can be expensive as well as closing costs and real estate fees. Make sure you examine the estimated net sheet closely before agreeing to divide and sell.

I hope these tips are helpful when considering whether to divide your property or not when putting them on the market. The decision can really only be made based on your objectives and the features of your property. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your property, and how we may be able to help you get top dollar when the time comes to sell.

Written by: Jonathan Goode who is passionate about helping people buy and sell land. Jonathan is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and a licensed broker in Alabama and Mississippi.

Patrick Jones, owner of Phat Farm Outfitters, in Eutaw, Greene County, Alabama is our special guest on this edition of The Land Show. Patrick recently hosted Dave and Jonathan, as well as Dave’s father, Dr. Jimmy Milton and his son, Josh for some fun bass fishing in his stocked lakes. The group took home over 30 bass and Dr. Milton caught a nice one that went over 7 lbs. (They left the camera in the truck!) Patrick offers guided deer hunts, duck hunts, and some pretty darn good bass fishing.

Josh Milton with a keeper bass.

Robert King shares the benefits of aerial mapping in our Farmland Report. Kyle Ingalls talks about the effects of Canadian timber tariffs on timberland in the Southeast in Timber Talk. John Morris shares a great new property for sale on Pioneer Lake in Shelby County. Tim Baker shares about a recent speaking engagement in Franklin County that meant a lot to him.

Bonus Recipe!

A few of the keepers from Phat Farms last week.

Dave filleted the fish, and Jonathan took home the bass fillets to his wife Whitney. Last week they cooked them on the grill, and here is the recipe Johnny used.

  • 8 bass fillets laid onto 4 small squares of aluminum foil (2 each)
  • Add a pat of butter to the top and bottom of each square
  • Sprinkle fresh cracked salt and ground black pepper the fillets
  • Fold the foil squares to seal in the juices
  • Grill for about 5-6 minutes on each side over medium heat

The fish were so fresh and moist, it was amazing. Be sure to couple that with some Conecuh sausage as an appetizer and the veggies of your choice. You’ll be glad you did!

Johnny’s bass fillets, Conecuh Sausage, and asparagus

Join us again next Saturday morning for The Land Show. You can find your station and times here, or if you want to catch up on past episodes, please find our podcasts.

By now many of you may have seen the Facebook posts about this beautiful new farm listing in North Florida. If not, you can get all the information on our listing page: selg.biz/8716 (main narrative copied below). As one of the listing agents, I wanted to take a few moments to talk more about my impressions of the property – why I think this is one of the most beautiful properties and best values currently on the market.

I’ve been active in North Florida rural land sales for going on 4 years now, and that time has afforded me many opportunities to explore beautiful properties. Florida is known for its beautiful beach communities and tourist attractions, but it is also home to some of the most exquisitely appointed rural properties in the Southeast. Campbellton Farms is one of these properties. Anyone that has ever driven the US-231 route from Alabama to Panama City would have been hard pressed to ignore this property as they drove past. For nearly two miles along the highway, the passerby is afforded a lovely view of rolling red clay farmland, waving hay pasture, ponds and open hardwood hammocks – not to mention the estate on the hill at the end of a live-oak lined drive. Those that have had the privilege of passing through the wrought-iron entrance gates can speak to the sights, sounds and smells of working farm fields, migratory birds, and an Old World landscape that is quickly disappearing in other parts of the South. Personally, to see this land passed on to a new generation of stewardship would bring me great satisfaction. The current owners have expended far greater funds on protecting, preserving, and improving this great landscape than is reflected in the asking price. This is truly a strong value for a beautiful Southern estate and working farm. I encourage anyone interested to contact us for a tour – we are more than happy to introduce others to this beautiful land.

– Daniel Hautamaki, Land Agent

Below Copied from Listing Page: selg.biz/8716

Introduction

Campbellton Farms is the most beautiful turn-key agricultural estate and investment available on the market today. The farm is 766 acres of rolling pastureland and cropland, fully fenced, with open hardwood and pine hammocks and ponds, giving the property a unique Old World character. The beauty of the landscape is matched by that of the luxurious 11,000 sq. ft. estate home, which boasts 6 bedrooms/5 baths, a pool, and an abundance of superlative features. A second 2,400 sq. ft. farmhouse, large enclosed metal equipment building, and long list of included machinery finalize this all-inclusive opportunity as one of the best values in high-class country living currently for sale.

The Land

Campbellton Farms is 766 acres of highly productive rolling red-clay vistas in one of the most highly sought-after locations in North Florida. The property sits just 20 minutes south of Dothan, AL and less than an hour from Panama City, FL, along U.S. Highway 231 approximately 4 miles south of the Florida/Alabama state line. Of the total acreage, 268 acres are currently leased for hay production, 226 acres are leased for row crops producing peanuts and cotton, and 191 acres are in picturesque Old Florida hardwood hammocks, natural upland pine, and cypress bottomland. The remainder of the acreage is made up of ponds, roads, buildings and landscaping; a full set of maps are available for download in the Attachments section below. The upland soils are nearly all USDA Prime Farmland. Current lease rates are available upon request. The property’s 6-mile perimeter is entirely fenced, making this an ideal option for the horse enthusiast or cattle operator. There are 4 wells on the property providing water for all buildings, as well as irrigation for all landscaping (including the live oak and azalea-lined main drive), and an additional 10 water spigots spread around the property for filling watering troughs, etc. For the sportsman, two ponds are on the land: one 7.5-acre and one 1.5-acre, providing recreational opportunities for fishing and duck hunting, and additional irrigation reservoirs and watering sources. Each pond has a dedicated well and can be filled during dry periods to protect fish populations. The combination of high-quality hay and forage on the property and abundant shelter yield very strong deer and turkey populations. Dove fields could easily be established to increase available recreation options, and some of the upland pine would make for an ideal quail course. In short, there are no limits to the enjoyment that a property of this caliber provides.

The Estate

The elegance of the surrounding landscape meets its match in the refinement of the primary estate. Built in 2009, the 7,187 square feet of heated and cooled space with 6 bedrooms, 4 full-baths and 2 half-baths provide ample space for visitors and endless options for entertaining. For the best experience, please take our 3D tour of the main house.

Estate features include:

  • Large living room with built-in entertainment center and bookcase, built-in movie projector and drop-down screen, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the patio and pool.
  • Spacious kitchen with high-end appliances, abundant cabinet and counter space and eat-in breakfast nook with pool views.
  • 5 bedrooms, 3 full-baths and 2 half-baths with large closets and windows (an additional bed and bath are in the pool house).
  • Butler’s pantry with decorative cabinetry to house fine china, silverware and table settings, and cellared wines.
  • Large laundry room with additional cabinet space, sink, and counter space. Would make a great flower-arranging space.
  • Separate office room with large windows providing light and views out over the pasture.
  • Exercise room with floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
  • Concrete-walled “safe room” with dedicated air vent and phone line.
  • Hardwood floors, 12″ molding, recessed lighting, and more finishing touches than can be listed.

In addition to the luxurious living space, the estate boasts a beautiful heated pool and hot tub with views of the pasture and hardwood hammocks, complete with pool-side terrace and separate pool house, with a finished bedroom and bath, additional poolside kitchen and bar, and storage space. There is a built-on 3-car finished garage, as well as another separate 2-car carport with an enclosed workshop, and enclosed generator room which houses a Cat whole-house diesel generator designed to come on automatically in case of power failure. These structures bring the final covered area to just under 11,000 sq. ft. The estate comes complete with a dedicated security system, and flood-lighting that provides visibility for the grounds around the estate at night. The grounds are fully landscaped, irrigated and manicured, designed to increase in beauty over time.

Separate from the main estate, there is also a 2,400 square foot (heated and cooled) traditional farmhouse on the grounds, built in 2007. It provides 4 more bedrooms and 3 baths for visiting family, a groundskeeper, or as a quaint country rental house to increase property income. The house is very well-kept and move-in ready. It provides views out over the larger pond. It also contains a 2-car garage and landscaped/irrigated grounds.

The Equipment

Campbellton Farms is a truly turn-key investment, and comes with everything you need to maintain the property. Additional improvements to the grounds include a 100’x50′ enclosed metal storage building with office, bathroom, and power. It adds more covered space with a built-on lean-to, and there is another 30’x95′ pole barn nearby. A complete list of equipment included in the sale is available for download in the Attachments section below. Highlights include:

  • Two John Deere tractors with comprehensive list of implements
  • Two farm trucks
  • John Deere 650J bulldozer
  • Kodiak 5-ton dump truck
  • Altec 50-foot boom bucket truck
  • Kubota Zero Turn mower
  • A variety of heavy-duty tools including chainsaws, pressure washers, welders, generators, and more
  • See full list in the Attachments section below

Conclusion

Campbellton Farms is one of the finest properties for sale of any type in the Southeast. Its combination of productivity and luxury create a value picture worthy of consideration by any serious buyer of agricultural estates. In addition to the income production, the nearly 2 miles of Highway 231 frontage and development potential present an opportunity for a conservation easement for anyone interested in tax reduction holdings. Furthermore, the State of Florida does not have an income tax for Florida homesteads and buyers from out of state could potentially see additional tax savings should they move. Add to these investment characteristics the sheer beauty and recreational opportunities, and the compelling case for owning this land is clear. To schedule your tour of Campbellton Farms, please give us a call today.

 

In order for a seller to command top dollar for the sale of a rural piece of land, a buyer must generally be very certain of what they are purchasing. The degree of certainty, or the comfort level, the buyer has with a given property often directly affects the price they are willing to pay.

Markets hate uncertainty” is a saying we’ve all heard dozens of times in the past few years. The real estate market is also not averse to the animosity towards uncertainty. In financial terms, uncertainty equals risk.

There are many different types of risk associated with any given property, but I deal with a few that frequently affect a buyer’s interest level:

1. Access– Does the property have road access or at least a deeded access? In Alabama, 95% of the time land lenders will not loan money on a tract that is land-locked. Without legal access, even the lender is not willing to take a risk on a property.

2. Soil types– Buyers I deal with are usually looking for a timberland investment or an agricultural property. They want to know about the suitability of the soils for their intended purpose. Good timberland needs a high site index for the tree species they want to grow, and farmland also needs to be suitable for the purpose of the farmer.

3. Mineral Rights- Does the current owner of the land also own the mineral rights? This matters to many prospective buyers because they want to know if someone will come put an oil derrick in their front yard.
And the list could go on indefinitely.

The purpose of this article is to show that generally the more information you can provide to a potential purchaser up front, the more likely you are to make a sale. In my experience the more risk a property poses to a prospective buyer, the less money they are willing to offer for it. Please see the chart above that I’ve used to illustrate this point: the lower the risk, the higher the sales price, and inversely, the greater the risk, the lower the sales price.

With the exception of institutional and commercial land investors, land investment is usually a matter of personal finance. People buy land. People need good information to buy a piece of property. Generally your average buyer of a small to medium sized property has a fairly low tolerance for risk with their land purchases. They want to be pretty certain about what they are purchasing. The proof of that is that most buyers (I deal with) make sure they have a clear title to a property and get an owner’s title insurance policy for extra peace of mind.

I find it helpful to address negatives about a property early in the process of the buyer making their decision. Hiding it from the prospect only creates ill-will and distrust, and derails many deals before they get a good chance to start.

Sellers and agents will benefit from the maxim: certainty makes the sale. The more good information we can provide to prospective buyers, the greater the likelihood that we can sell them a property.

Written by: Jonathan Goode.is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) with Southeastern Land Group, and is passionate about helping people buy and sell land in Alabama and east Mississippi.

 

On the way home from school last Friday, my son JD, asked me “What is wrong with buying a property that already has a conservation easement on it?” You may think that is an odd question for a 12 year old to ask, but around my house we talk about land all the time.

The previous week he had been riding with me in the truck as I was on a Bluetooth phone conversation with a client who was considering a property that already has an easement in place. The client asked me essentially the same thing, “What is the downside to purchasing a property that already has an easement in place?” I answered, “It’s kind of like ordering a milkshake, and someone else gets to drink the milkshake and you get to keep the cup. Somebody else has already gotten all the ‘goodie’ out of it.”

That is an over-simplification of purchasing a property with an easement in place, but it makes the point nicely. As long as the prospective buyer goes into the purchase knowing that he is only getting the cup with no milkshake, then that is acceptable.

Conservation Easements, by design, involve a property owner donating some of the rights associated with their ownership to a land trust or conservation entity in perpetuity, usually in exchange for some tax benefit. These easements are generally binding on a property forever, or at least some protracted amount of time. I am not an attorney, accountant, or tax professional so I will leave it to them to give advice about exactly how an easement would work for your situation.

Here are some suggestions about doing your due diligence on a property you are considering purchasing that already has a conservation easement in place:

1. Ask for a copy of the paperwork associated with the easement donation. You need to know everything you can about what rights were donated and what rights the landowner retained. There are some rights, that when extinguished, may not adversely affect what you would want to do with a particular property. If the rights to develop a subdivision were donated, but you would only want the property for a personal getaway, then it may not be a deal breaker. You may still be able to hunt, fish, or manage the timber and that be acceptable to you.

2. Determine what rights are extinguished and for how long they are extinguished. Conservation easements can involve a seemingly endless amount of rights that can be donated to the land trust. Your ownership rights will certainly be encumbered, you just have to determine to what extent and if you are willing to accept those limitations of your use.

3. What are the penalties associated with failing to adhere to or violating the terms of the easement?

4. Find out who is the land trust that will monitor the easement. A conservation easement is donated to a land trust that will monitor the property on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance with the terms of the donation agreement. It would be prudent before making a purchase on a property to go meet with personnel at the land trust to find out about the process for how they will do their annual audits and site visits. You will want to make sure that you can reasonably get along with the entity that will be monitoring your activity on your property from now on. You are essentially married to the land trust for as long as you own the property.

5. Have an attorney that understands conservation easements review the documentation for you. Conservation easements have many pieces, and it may take some expertise to understand how they all fit together and how that relates to you. Before making a land purchase, get the counsel you need to make the best decision possible.

Properties with conservation easements in place often sell for a price that seems like a bargain. You must understand that what you are purchasing is not the full bundle of rights associated with a typical land purchase. You must spend more time investigating what is included and excluded before you make this type of purchase.

Conservation easements are a great tool to protect a property, help mitigate some of your tax liability, or both. Determine what are the limitations and obligations imposed by the easement and if those are compatible with your ownership objectives. Going into a land purchase of a property with an existing easement with a comprehensive understanding of the property, the easement, the entities involved, and what is expected to maintain compliance is essential to ensuring a positive outcome.

Jonathan Goode is a licensed real estate broker with Southeastern Land Group, serving Alabama and Mississippi. He is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), and loves helping people buy or sell rural land.

“Well how many acres actually make up this property?” If you have looked at more than about 5 parcels of land, you have no doubt come across a property where it wasn’t exactly clear how many acres constitute the given tract. How is it possible that there can often be discrepancies between a county plat map, county tax assessor report, survey, and deed to the same property?

Before we go any further, let me give a disclaimer that I am not an attorney, surveyor, or engineer. This article is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. Neither is this intended to disparage anyone associated with determining acreages. I am only sharing this for informational purposes and maybe to be mildly entertaining.

This past week I worked on three distinct properties that had varying degrees of confusion on exactly how many acres would be involved with a transaction. On one parcel I consulted 3 separate sources and received 3 different acreage amounts: the county plat map showed 1033 acres, the deed totaled up to 1007 acres, and the county tax assessor reported 995 acres. If you were selling this parcel, which acreage amount would you want to use calculate your sales price? If you were purchasing the property, which amount would be most appealing when you made your offer? So why are there three different acreage totals?

Let’s use this property as a case study that might help understand where some of the discrepancies originate. The property has been in the same family for 90 years, and all conveyances used the original legal descriptions. The property is bounded by a free-flowing river, and is subject to periodic flooding. There is extensive county road frontage on two places in the property. Put on your sleuth hats here, and let’s figure this out.

1. The property is bounded by a free-flowing river. What does a free-flowing river do over 90 years? It meanders. It floods. It erodes banks and deposits sandbars. The processes of accretion and reliction over a century have likely influenced the acreage total to some small degree.

2. How do county roads affect acreage ownership? Depending on your county or municipality and how they calculate acreages, you may notice the tax assessor reporting fewer acres than the deed or survey. Many times tax assessors will deduct the acreage associated with road, utility, or railway easements. They make these deductions because the amount of usable land has been reduced by the easement.

3. Over the past century there have been dramatic improvements in the technology associated with survey techniques and equipment. Crews no longer have to stretch long chains through the countryside, they are now able to do much more efficient work with GPS equipment that can be accurate to within centimeters.

So how do you decide which number to pick to go with? For me that answer is simple: I don’t. I am a real estate broker. My job is not to determine or define any acreage associated with a property. My job is to give the parties the information they need to make a decision. One thing I like about Mississippi real estate law as opposed to Alabama law (where I conduct most of my business), is that in Mississippi if you provide an amount of area (acreage or square feet) you must cite the source of that data. That is helpful for identifying the source of the area, and also transfers liability away from the broker.

For buyers or sellers who are reading this, here a couple of things you may want to know.

1. Plat books and county tax assessor websites provide maps that are NOT meant to be used for conveyance. If you will read the fine print inside the cover they explicitly say that. Here is a portion of the disclaimer from one of my plat books, “The contents of this book are not intended for any legal use in sales, trades, or transfers of land.” Almost every county tax assessor website I have seen also makes a similar disclaimer. They can be used for reference for location purposes and acreage estimates, but not for legal conveyance.

2. County mapping agents and tax assessor offices often report acreage estimates in two distinct ways. They will often show a Calculated acreage total and a Deeded acreage total. Due to the availability of excellent GIS mapping software, it is possible for them to draw the shape of a parcel and calculate (estimate) the acreage. There are often small discrepancies between the calculated and deeded acreage amounts.

3. A survey can usually determine the precise amount of acreage for a given parcel. Fewer than 10% of my transactions involve having a property surveyed. I mostly sell timberland, farms, and recreational properties, so the exact acreage is not necessary. People I deal with generally only want to feel comfortable with the location of boundaries and corners. However if knowing exact acreages, area, or distances is material to a purchase, then you likely need a current survey. Surveys can be expensive, but not nearly as costly as purchasing a property that is not suitable for your intended purpose.

4. It is often possible to provide a copy of the legal description to an attorney, land lender, or land broker and ask them to run the calls through a Deed Plotter. These are programs that allow you to enter the directional calls of the legal description and it will draw out the shape of the parcel and estimate acreage. Most importantly it will tell you if the calls to the deed “close”. This means that it will show if the legal description terminates at “the point of beginning”. Some lenders require that the calls to the deed close or be within 2% of closing in order to avoid having the property surveyed. They are generally willing to assume a small risk when there is a discrepancy.

There are many other considerations that may contribute to why discrepancies exist between sources that report acreage totals. The main point is that all parties to a transaction satisfy themselves to the amount, and establish an agreement that works for them. The job of the broker is not to be the determiner of the acreage, but to provide the resources necessary for the parties to make a decision. If you are considering purchasing or selling a piece of property, enlist the help of a professional that can assist you with this or any of a hundred other issues associated with a land transaction.

Written by: Jonathan Goode is an Accredited Land Consultant and a licensed real estate broker in Alabama and Mississippi. Jonathan is a co-host of the weekly radio program, The Land Show, which is meant to educate and entertain listeners about the many facets of landownership, management, and land investment.

Southeastern Land Group is pleased to welcome William Lyon to our team of land agents and brokers. William founded and has been the responsible broker for Lyon Properties since 2001. He and his wife, Kim, and three children live in the Tyler community of Lowndes County. William has a strong reputation of integrity, is well-respected in our industry, and brings a solid record of land and farm sales to our team. Please contact William if you are buying or selling a farm, timberland tract, or recreational property in central or west Alabama.

Our team has added several great agents in 2016, including Tim Baker (Decatur, AL), Jack Gabriel, ALC (Scottsboro, AL) and Daniel Hautamaki (Tallahassee, FL). Southeastern Land Group (formerly AlaLandCo) now has 23 full-time farm and land brokers serving your land needs in Alabama, Tennessee, Gerogia, Florida, and Mississippi.

Written by: Jonathan Goode, Accredited Land Consultant, is a licensed real estate broker with Southeastern Land Group in Alabama and Mississippi.

Lowndes County 1400 acresThe results of the election this week took many, if not most, of us by surprise. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to make a dramatic course change from the direction President Obama has been leading our nation. My hope is that this newly charted course takes business owners and investors to new places of profitability and opportunity, while limiting government obstruction with common-sense regulations.

I am not a prognosticator, especially when it comes to politics. Nor do I hitch my horse to other people’s wagons, especially wagons belonging to politicians. I do not believe that President Trump can solve all of America’s problems, but the following are tax issues that I am hopeful President Trump (still sounds funny to say) will address in a way that is helpful to the land brokerage industry. Having a real estate developer as Commander in Chief is about as close as we are going to get to having “one of our own” in the Oval Office.

1. Conservation Easements– It is well-documented that Mr. Trump has taken advantage of the tax benefits of donating easements for conservation and tax mitigation purposes. Trump’s donation of a $39.1 million conservation easement in 2005 on the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey was one of his more well-known examples. He reportedly has donated easements for conservation purposes on properties in New Jersey, New York, California, and Florida. He has publicly demonstrated concern about the conservation of special properties. I believe conservation easements are safe for the immediate future.

2. Estate Taxes– This is an issue where Donald Trump does not mix words. In an October 4, 2015 interview for ABC, George Stephanopolous asks him specifically about his thoughts on estate taxes. Trump’s response was spot-on, “The estate tax is a horrible weapon that has destroyed many families. In particular, farms and things where they make an income and they have a certain value and they have to go out and borrow money and they put mortgages on their farm. Let’s say it’s a business that’s not very liquid, and people have to go out and borrow against the business, you are having travesty. And the other thing is, it’s a double taxation. The tax has already been paid. I mean you’ve been hearing this argument for many years.”

Trump has a first-hand understanding of how generational wealth works. He recognizes that farmers, ranchers, and timberland owners are unfairly penalized for building their business around a particular asset class in a way that many people do not understand. The casual observer does not discern that the main way that the next generation can continue to own and run the family farm is that the land is paid for, or at least not saddled in debt. I am optimistic that he will work with Congress to reform the Estate Tax.

3. 1031 Like-kind Exchange– This is one area that I have not been able to verify where Mr. Trump stands. I have scoured articles from all of the big sources, WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes, Finance, and his Tax Plan page on donaldjtrump.com but have not found anything specific I can verify about his leanings on this important issue. Tax-deferred exchanges had a bipartisan bullseye on their back during President Obama’s last term, and it has been reported that he wanted to cap them at $1 million per year, and some politicians suggested eliminating them all together.

1031 Exchanges are vital to the land brokerage business, and have been a part of the Internal Revenue Code since 1921. Donald Trump is on record for saying he wants to simplify the tax code and encourage investment. Section 1031 was written for the purposes of encouraging continued investment and avoiding the unfair taxation of unrealized gains. Without seeing his personal or corporate tax returns it is hard to know whether he has been party or how frequently he uses tax-deferred exchanges.

My best suggestion is for trade groups and individuals to continue to reach out to our politicians and let them hear from us about this issue with a unified voice. In September of this year, 26 organizations that are deeply concerned about the future of 1031 exchanges sent a joint 3-page letter making the case for the continued use of the exchanges. Some of the parties to the letter included the Realtors Land Institute, CCIM Institute, National Association of Realtors, and many other recognizable groups.

In an interview with Anthony Licata for Field and Stream and Outdoor Life in January 2016, Donald Trump shared a sentiment all of us would agree with, “We have to be great stewards of this land. This is magnificent land. And we have to be great stewards of this land.” You can say that again Mr. President.

My hope is that increased optimism among land investors will cause strong demand for property purchases in the near term. In the long-term I hope we see tax reform that provides for wealth creation and protects it for generations to come. Land brokerage is directly related to behavioral economics, meaning not all investment decisions are completely rational. Many large purchases are driven by an individual’s perception of how things are in the world. I hope post-election we see strong consumer confidence return and economic optimism that leads to vigorous land investment. That would be my dream version of “hope and change” for the land market.

Written by: Jonathan Goode is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) with Southeastern Land Group and is a licensed broker in Alabama and Mississippi.

Ever wondered how Native Americans could turn a round rock into a sleek, sharp weapon? This week on The Land Show VLOG, Tim Baker Jr. shows you how it’s done. Using lithic technology, Baker turns a flint rock into a symmetrical, flat arrowhead—proving that past methods have not been forgotten in the present. Check it out here! Visit www.thelandshow.com and www.selandgroup.com for more! #SELG #TheLandShow

13174028_1367158183299860_6537154651579444052_nLast week Robert King shared an excellent article about how to choose the best tractor for your farm. He gave some great advice regarding the sizing and equipment you might need. This article is an attempt to offer my perspective on the topic.

If you are a new tractor owner, like I was 2 years ago, then you need to do some research online, with a dealer, and preferably in a field test-driving one. It’s hard to know what you need or want if you don’t know anything about tractors.

Robert prefers big green and yellow tractors. I knew I wanted an orange one from the get-go. I bought a slightly used 56 horse Kubota (4wd) with 14 hours on it. It came with a commercial grade 7’ bushhog and a front-end loader. I have about 25 acres of open fields on my farm and about 5-6 acres of food plots on the property I lease for hunting. The feature I love most on my tractor is called “shuttle shift”. You can shift from forward to reverse without shifting out of gear. It makes backing up for mowing very easy. I have some steep hills on my lease that I do not feel comfortable cutting side-hill, so I cut them in reverse. Shuttle shift and four wheel drive are very helpful on this steep terrain.

Let me say that Robert is a real farmer. I am not. I am a hobby farmer. My livelihood does not depend on my equipment. My tractor is strictly for property maintenance: things such as cutting grass, clearing trees, grading roads, etc…Farmers do all of those things and a hundred other chores with their tractors. I could easily pay someone to do the bush hogging for far less than what it costs me to own and maintain my Kubota. But I love it.

Many of us have jobs these days that require us to do menial tasks or work that does not allow you to know whether you have actually accomplished anything that day. There is a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from watching row after row of weeds fall to your cutter. There is an instant gratification that comes from seeing a freshly mown field. In fact, I will often ride by it two or three times after I finish cutting just to appreciate the results with a refreshing sense of satisfaction from seeing the fruits of your labor.

Tractor work often allows your mind time to drift from the task at hand. I joke with my wife that I could solve all of the world’s problems if I had enough time on the tractor. Robert is correct when he calls it “tractor therapy”. I honestly believe that many men could reduce their need for blood pressure medicine if they had enough time on the tractor to reduce their stress. (Please do not stop taking your medication without consulting your physician.)

In addition to my utility tractor, I also recently purchased a new zero-turn mower. I did a lot of asking around and talking with landscaping professionals before I made my purchase. I ended up buying a 61” mower with 27 HP engine. For my 3 acres of yard and area that needs to be maintained with this mower it works well. In hindsight I probably should have purchased a 51” mower because a 61” deck is really wide and can scar the ground if you are on uneven surfaces. FYI, you want a zero turn with a heavy, welded steel deck, not a stamped one. They last significantly longer, and will provide years of reliable service. In any case, I love cutting grass with this mower. So much that I look for new places to mow with it, and have actually cut the grass twice in the same week since purchasing this unit.

Whatever you end up deciding to purchase, I encourage you to try to build a good relationship with a dealer or someone that can help you service your equipment. They do break down. They need routine fluid changes, and greasing, and occasional repairs. Having someone on your team to get you up and running again is important, especially for people like us who need things to work when we need them to work.

In a world where time is our most precious commodity, tractor time is some of the best time I spend alone. There have been many prayers prayed, Scripture meditations, problems addressed, and creative thoughts developed behind the wheel of my tractor. Give it a try and see if it works for you too.

Written by: Jonathan Goode who is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) with Southeastern Land Group and is a licensed broker in Alabama and Mississippi