I get asked a good bit by landowners to-be if they will need tractors. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question though. It makes sense for some to get large equipment, but for some it does not. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind that might help you determine whether you need to invest in a tractor:

  1. Are you mechanically inclined? Tractors break—even brand new ones. Tractors are for working and are meant to perform very specific tasks. Most of the time when tractors break, it’s because people have pushed said machines beyond what they were designed to do. If you are not mechanically inclined, and you don’t want to learn how to use a tractor, don’t buy a tractor. Hire someone to mow, scrape, disc and plow for you.
  2. What is the value of your time on your tractor? Tractor work is therapy for me. More than likely, I could pay someone to operate a tractor for me for less than it costs me in time, from a strictly economic viewpoint. However, for those that really enjoy the think time it provide and the satisfaction of completing a job with big visual results, the value of that time spent on the tractor is not measured merely in dollars and cents. This is probably the biggest consideration you should make. If you don’t enjoy these things, and you can pay someone to do it for you for less than it costs you in time, then you should pay someone to do it for you.
  3. How big should your tractor be? Here’s a formula for you. One-hundred-twenty-five percent times your hardest job completed with your tractor equals the size tractor to buy. Again, we push the limits. If your tractor is slightly oversized, you are not nearly as likely to push it beyond its capabilities. If you have a 40-acre farm, a 120 horsepower tractor usually does not make much sense. Likewise, neither does an undersized 25 horsepower tractor. Now, where in the middle you fit depends on what you want to do with it. If a cab is a must for you, make sure you get one that’s big enough that the cab is not a danger to the operation. Cabs raise the center of gravity on the tractor, making them easier to turn over.
  4. What brand of tractor should you buy? I’m of the opinion that if you don’t go green, you will go wrong. However, I also only drive GM vehicles. I certainly ascribe to the “Found on Road Dead” theory, and I feel the same way about all tractor lifeforms that don’t have the initials “JD.” Be your own judge. I do have friends that drive “Fix or Repair Daily’s.” I just make them park out of sight if they visit me. In all seriousness, some brands are perfectly good for someone that spends less than a couple hours a week on a tractor. If you spend more than that on a tractor, consider very carefully the quality of the tractor you buy. You generally get what you pay for.

I use a 65 horsepower tractor in my day-to-day use. I pull a 10-foot bush hog, rake hay, bale hay, use a hay mower, use an 8-foot pick up type disc and use a 6-foot chisel plow with my tractor. For me, a front-end loader is indispensable.

I have a four-wheel drive tractor because on occasion, on a cattle farm, it gets muddy. It makes all the difference in the world. I grew up running tractors without four wheel drive, and got along OK, but it’s not something I want to do without now. My tractor does not have a cab, but does have a canopy. Real men don’t need a cab. We are perfectly capable of running the tractor in 95-degree heat, 15-degree cold and through all of the dust and yellow jackets you can throw at us. Plus, in that cab it’s much harder to “feel” the tractor and the land you are working on. Although a cab is a little more comfortable, yields less bee stings and less dust to extract from your lungs at night after several hours of mowing in August.

Robert King
Land Agent Southeastern Land Group

Licensed in Alabama; Georgia
GA License #351945


Dr. David Skinner Alabama RLIWe had a great turnout of land brokers and agents from across Alabama this past week at our spring meeting. The Alabama Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute (RLI) met on April 14, at the Mobile Area Association of Realtors (MAAR). More than 60 real estate professionals from 35 different brokerages signed up to earn 6 continuing education units from Dr. David Skinner.

The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation. Dr. Skinner presented two, 3-hour courses, “Conveyancing in Alabama” and “Asset Protection Strategies 1”. Dr. Skinner is a licensed Alabama attorney and popular instructor for the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE). The response of attendees to the courses was overwhelmingly positive.


We want to thank Alabama Ag Credit and First South Farm Credit, both were Gold Sponsors for the event, and shared with the group about their services and current market observations. Moe’s Original BBQ catered an outstanding lunch. After the CE courses were completed, brokers stayed to share property listings and buyer needs at the marketing session. Several showings were scheduled in the coming weeks as a result of the property presentations. The marketing session was facilitated by RLI board member Craig King (JP King Auction Co.)

2016 Chapter President, Jonathan Goode, ALC (Southeastern Land Group) shared about the purpose of the Realtors Land Institute and the benefits of being a member and earning the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation. Two of our Chapter board members were recognized for recently earning the prestigious ALC designation; Clint Flowers (National Land Realty) and Calvin Perryman (Great Southern Land Company). Jim Logan, ALC (Mossy Oak Properties), 2015 Chapter President, was recognized for his service to the chapter in the previous year.12998768_1066944653351166_4566248849816713662_n

The Realtors Land Institute is a national organization for Realtors whose business focuses specifically on land. The Accredited Land Consultant designation is conferred upon only those brokers who have demonstrated a high commitment to the land profession through a rigorous educational regimen and vast experience with successful transactions involving land. The designation is the highest honor a land professional can earn. In Alabama out of over 16,000 active licensees, there are currently only 20 brokers who have earned the ALC designation.


Special thanks is given to our Gold sponsors and to the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE) for marketing and coordinating the event. The Chapter has 2 more events planned for 2016, so please visit our website or our Facebook page to stay up to date on what is happening in our state. We welcome real estate practitioners, foresters, surveyors, attorneys, lenders or anyone interested in land to attend our public meetings.




Written by: Jonathan Goode, Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) with Southeastern Land Group and is acting Alabama RLI President for 2016.

SELG_Alabama River Selma-Jonathan Goode-001You need to do these 3 things RIGHT NOW if you have decided to put your piece of rural land on the market. Before you let your agent advertise your tract of land on the open market, there are a few things that will help you get and keep top dollar when your property sells. This list is not exhaustive, but doing these few things will generally increase your profit and expedite your sales process.

1. Contact your accountant- “Why do this before I sell?” A short consultation with your accountant will help you decide if now is the right time for you to sell your land. There are often tax consequences associated with selling a piece of rural real estate that is not your primary residence. You may be subject to capital gains tax, and that rate varies based on your income. Your accountant can also offer strategies that may help you minimize or defer your tax liability.

2. Secure Deeded Access- This is a non-negotiable item for sellers looking to get top-dollar for a piece of property. Banks will generally not loan money on a property that does not have legal access. Ideally you will be able to get a permanent easement if your property does not have direct road access. Shoot for a 30’ to 60’ easement that will allow for utilities to be run along the right of way. At a minimum you need a legal easement with the right of ingress and egress at all times, and one that will convey to subsequent owners. You will need the help of an attorney to advise you on the best way to obtain the easement if you cannot work it out yourself. A lack of deeded access may cut your property value in half, and that isn’t an exaggeration.

3. Clear Internal Roads- Prospective buyers must have a way to see the property. “You can’t sell what you can’t show.” is a maxim we preach to landowners. Spending a little time and money clearing the trails will often make the difference in how a buyer responds to your property. Make the trails 6’ wide so that your land broker can use their UTV to show the property. It makes the process more enjoyable for buyers, and will increase their willingness to pay market price for your land.

There are other considerations that must be made when selling rural land, but these 3 things will give you a running head start at the process. Each property and situation is different, which is why having a trusted real estate broker is essential to the process. Selling land is something most people do only once or twice in their life. It is wise to make sure that you and your property are ready before you put it on the open market. I hope these tips help you get top-dollar when the time comes for you to sell your property.

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

Photo Sep 12, 11 57 19 AMBuying your first piece of rural land can be very exciting. First time land buyers often tell me, “I want to buy a piece of land, but I don’t really know what I am doing.” Buying land is something most people do only a couple of times in their life, so this article is aimed at increasing your chances of having a successful transaction.

The list of questions and information contained in this article are not meant to be exhaustive or to give legal or other professional advice, but are for general informational purposes only. You should seek the counsel of a licensed attorney or other professional about your particular situation.

Alabama has some unique laws when it comes to purchasing real estate. We are one of the few remaining Caveat Emptor states. Caveat Emptor is Latin for “Buyer Beware”. Alabama law puts the responsibility for determining the suitability and condition of a property squarely on the shoulders of a prospective buyer. Sellers, and their agents, are only required to disclose Health and Safety issues related to the property and in some cases Latent Defects with the property. Mississippi, and many other states, require a seller disclosure when selling a piece of real estate, and you can see a copy of the Mississippi disclosure form here.

Alabama has a unique provision in the real estate law that allows for the agents of sellers to disclose information that affects the transaction if the information is specifically requested, and if that information is not required to be kept confidential. There will be things that a seller’s agent is not legally allowed to disclose if the seller does not authorize them to do so, because it violates their fiduciary duty to their client. However, the maxim from the Scriptures is often applicable concerning information in a real estate transaction, “You do not have because you do not ask.” The best suggestion I can make is for you to ask the questions, and the seller’s agent will either provide the answer or tell you that they cannot answer it.

If an agent does not fully answer your question, do not necessarily take this as a sign of bad faith dealings with the agent or the seller. Last year I was asked by a buyer’s agent if there was an appraisal on a property I had listed. The buyer’s agent asked if I would provide a copy of the appraisal. My sellers did not allow me to share the appraisal information with the prospective buyers because they felt the negatives to sharing outweighed the positives.

I have created a pdf list of 24 Buyer Due Diligence Questions to ask. The list is meant to be a helpful checklist to determine if a property fits your needs. It is by no means exhaustive, and should not be relied upon solely as the means for making a decision to purchase. You should additionally consult a licensed professional or attorney about your particular situation.

If a property you are considering checks a lot of your boxes, fits within your budget and meets your objectives, you should strongly consider making an offer. Hopefully you already have your financing options in place, and will be ready to move forward. Buying land, like any other business decision, is simply making the best decision you can with the information you have available. The Due Diligence phase is a crucial part of making the best decision possible, so ask the questions that will give you the best information. I hope this is a helpful resource as you move forward with your land purchase.

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

Photo Aug 14, 10 21 13 AMEvery fisherman has a heartbreaking story about “the one that got away“. That is not the type of story you want to have about a piece of land that you really wanted to purchase.

Last week I had a conversation with a high net worth individual about a piece of property they missed out on last year. This person had been looking for the perfect piece of property for over 5 years, and they finally made an offer on a property I had listed. This property was an exceptional, once in a generation type property, and he made a respectable offer of a little over 90% of the asking price. Another buyer made an offer barely an hour or so before, and ended up offering full price for the property. The full-price offer got the deal done. Why in the world the other individual didn’t offer full price is beyond me. Now he has one of those all too familiar stories of regret about the piece of land that got away.

Here are some tips for making sure you don’t miss out when you find the right property:

  1. If a potential property appears to meet your criteria, set up an appointment to go look at it as soon as possible. Desirable properties attract a lot of attention, and very often the first to see it is the one who gets the chance to buy it. If owning a piece of land is important to you, make it a priority to visit promising new listings.
  2. If you visit a property and it “checks all your boxes”, be prepared to write an offer. I often tell sellers that the first offer they receive may the best offer. This is true simply because buyers like you have seen enough properties to know what you want, and are ready to pay for the value you see in the land.
  3. Have your financing in place, or at least have a head start with the lender so you know you are able to make the purchase.
  4. Be prepared to pay what it is worth to you. When “the one” comes along, it’s not time to be a cheapskate. There was a farm my wife and I really wanted to purchase two years ago, and we offered the sellers full price for it because it was worth the money to us. We felt like paying the full asking price would have been worth it because we could see ourselves there for decades. (Incidentally, even after receiving our full price offer, the sellers decided not to sell and took it off the market.)
  5. Try not to get too emotionally attached to a property during the buying phase. Land is a visceral investment. Buyers often get a property stuck in their craw, and you can become obsessed with a place. Do not get so attached to a property (before you own it) that you lose the ability to be objective or walk away if necessary.
  6. Enlist the help of a true land professional. Having a good land broker in your corner infinitely increases the odds that you have a successful transaction. They have experience with all types of land transactions and the nuances of purchasing rural properties. Find a broker you can trust and lean on them for good advice.

No more pouty lip or breath that reeks of sour grapes; I hope these tips will help you find and purchase the right piece of land when your right opportunity comes along. Ask yourself, “Do you want it?”, and if you do, take the necessary steps immediately to make it happen.

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


Squirrel huntersGrowing up in a small town, visiting your grandparent’s farm during summer vacation, wading cold creeks, sitting on a deer stand, watching a bobber dance on the surface of a farm pond, feeding carrots to the horses, picking tomatoes from the vine, climbing to the bows of a magnolia, stalking up on a covey of quail, eating an apple fresh off the tree, playing king of the hill on bales of hay, filling glass jars with glowing fireflies, sitting around a campfire and laughing with friends, paddling a canoe over rushing shoals, waking up early for work or play, riding side-seat on a tractor, skipping rocks on the lake, crawling under a barbwire fence, grasping the rough lip of a largemouth bass, dusty dirt roads in the bed of a truck, the freshest food you’ve ever put in your mouth by a woman that could cook better than anything you’ve ever had since, the fellowship of a great dove hunt, crossing a creek on a fallen log bridge, learning what a good day’s work really is, the pounding of your heart as a gobbler thunders mere feet from you, the companionship of a great dog, having to undress outside because you are filthy from head to toe, playing in the rain, feeling the burning cold wind on your cheeks and loving it, patting your pants legs and dust pluming out, wearing gloves because your hands were tender, going barefoot because your feet were tough, shooting guns at empty soda cans, whittling sticks with your very own pocket knife, facing challenges that you weren’t sure you were ready to conquer, making memories you’ll never forget, sharing stories that make everyone laugh, a finger pinch from a crawdad, a peck from a chicken, a scratch from a cat, running from the bull, leaping at the sight of a snake underfoot, dirt under fingernails, a tire swing, tying knots, the sound an arrow makes leaving the bow, the thrill of the first kill, the first taste of food you harvested, naps in the warm sun, summer nights on a screened porch, the first nip of autumn, tracking game in the snow, juicy peach dripping from your chin, simple, slow-paced, authentic, honorable, hard-working, wanting to relive, worth passing along,.

If these are similar to your memories and if you want to pass this along to those you love, contact the team at Southeastern Land Group. We know it, we live it, we can help you find the right place to share what you value with those you love.

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

Southeastern Land Group Kick Off Party 2016Southeastern Land Group was blessed with a great year in 2015, and the New Year is off to a strong start! On Friday, January 15, our company held its annual “Kick Off Party“. This event is dedicated to giving thanks for the previous year, recognizing the achievement of our team members, and looking ahead to the coming year.

2015 was a huge year for our company; our best sales year ever. In 2015, we were able to help our clients close 213 properties in Alabama alone, consisting of 23,426 acres with a total sales volume of $91,580,000. We have been blessed to have so many great clients and customers that have given us the opportunity to help them with their land needs, and the result was closing 362 sides. We listed and sold land in 57 of Alabama’s counties last year.

Many of our team members achieved a high level of sales results in 2015, and for producing at such a high level they are inducted into the Champion’s Club. The 2015 Champion’s Club members were: Austin Ainsworth, Brandon Harris, Lee Gantt, John Morris, Jeffrey Hardy, John Hardin, Matt Burnett, Rick Bourne, Kenny King, Kyle Ingalls, Robert King, Jonathan Goode, George Mann, and Mason Dollar. The top producers recognized for the company this year were Jonathan Goode (3rd), Robert King (2nd), and Kyle Ingalls (1st).

2016 is off to a hot start. We have been fortunate to close around 10 deals in the first two weeks, and have put about that many more under contract already this year. If you are looking to buy or sell land in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee or Florida, let the professionals at Southeastern Land Group know how we can be helpful to you.

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