Before you head out to preview a piece of rural property, here are a few key tips that will make your next outing more enjoyable, safer, and your time more beneficial.

1. Contact the agent– Always touch base with the agent before heading out to view the property. Arrange for them to meet you and show the proper access, boundary markers and key features of the land. This way you get a clearer picture of the property being offered, and you head off any potential confrontation because you are trespassing. To ensure our clients get the best service and to make everyone safer, Southeastern Land Group insists that all of our properties are shown by appointment only.

2. Have maps handy– If you are going with an SELG agent, then we will have this covered for you. Also, you can always download our free app, TerraPlat, that shows all of our listings. Printing aerial and topographical maps from the agent’s website will be helpful as you walk the property. You can find streams, boundary lines, homes, and other key features if you have your map handy.

3. Dress the part– I am always amazed when a potential buyer shows up to preview rural land in shorts and flip-flops or isn’t prepared to handle cooler weather. It is hard to walk in the woods in Alabama without being properly outfitted. I suggest wearing long pants and boots or closed-toe shoes if you are walking trails or through the woods. Alabama has all sorts of creatures and plants that like to leave their mark on bare legs, so come prepared.

4. Bugspray

5. Hunting Season– Fall and winter are great times to visit a property to view it in low-vegetation conditions so you can really see what features it offers. Alabama is blessed with an exceptional game population, and subsequently we have long hunting seasons. Our whitetail deer hunting season runs from mid-October until the end of January. For safety you need to know before you go onto a tract that no hunters are present. Additionally it is a good idea to wear bright colors, preferably blaze orange to make you visible to any outdoorsmen in the area. The same rule applies to turkey hunting in the spring. I keep a few extra orange hats and vests in my truck, so if you come with me you’re covered, but if not please plan ahead and be safe.

If you follow these common-sense tips your next outing will be more profitable and safer.

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

TerraPlat screen shotSoutheastern Land Group (SELG) has a great app called, TerraPlat, that we have developed to make your search for land much easier. Our company invested a lot of money in this proprietary software to offer our clients and customers the very best property search and viewing experience. The app is currently available as a website online at www.terraplat.com and can be downloaded for free at the App Store.

TerraPlat has some cool features that make searching for properties much easier. First, it offers a map-based search option that allows you to narrow your search to areas that are of particular interest to you. When you zoom in on a property, you will see the boundary lines are drawn around the subject tract. One of the coolest features about TerraPlat is that when using it from your handheld or mobile device that it allows you to see where you are in real time in relation to the property boundaries. This makes previewing a property so much easier, and takes the guesswork out of the showing.

When looking at a tract, you can toggle among different types of map, such as: street maps, aerial map, and a topographical map that allows you to see the elevations of the property. You can click on the information for the selected property and it will open the SE Land Group website page for that particular tract with a full description and pictures of the tract. There is also a feature that allows you to contact the listing agent for the subject property directly.

SELG strives to offer the highest level of service to people who are buying or selling rural land in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi. Our app allows you to find the property you want, when you want it. All property listings are shown by appointment only, and please contact the listing agent for specific showing instructions related to your property of interest. Please take full advantage of TerraPlat, and we hope it makes your search for property much easier and productive.

Written by: Jonathan Goode– Accredited Land Consultant with Southeastern Land Group is a licensed broker in Alabama and Mississipi

the land showThis week on The Land Show, Dave Milton interviews Ronald Levitt of Sirote and Permutt on the issue of Conservation Easements. Mr. Levitt is a nationally recognized expert on the topic of conservation easements, and frequently advises his clients in regards to planning and defending easements. He has written numerous articles about the topic that can be found on their company blog.

Conservation easements are a tool that the IRS allows landowners to use for conservation and preservation purposes on their property to help protect it in perpetuity. In exchange for donating (extinguishing) some of the owner’s rights, such as: mineral or gravel mining, real estate development, timber harvest or other rights to a land trust, then the owner is allowed some tax benefit. This tool can be a great opportunity to shelter some income for high-net worth individuals or high earners while promoting conservation of their property. Conservation easements can be a good avenue to take advantage of tax savings while continuing to enjoy a property.

Please listen to the interview with Mr. Levitt on Episode 7 of The Land Show to hear how he answers questions relating to conservation easements. The show can be heard weekly on Saturday mornings on stations around the state of Alabama. For more information on Conservation Easements or to find a property that might be a suitable candidate for an easement, please contact one of our agents in your area at 866-751-LAND.

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

Photo Nov 12, 2 50 42 PMApproximately 30 land brokers participated in a joint meeting of the  Alabama and Mississippi Chapters of the Realtors Land Institute (RLI) on Thursday. Brokers from the twin states met at the Central Station Grill in Starkville to hear from several great presenters. Southern Ag Credit was the major sponsor for the meeting.

Our first presenter was Lanford Holloway of TerraStride, illustrating how their online products can help land professionals market high end properties that are for sale. The mapping platform allows users to add multiple types of media onto the base maps, but the most unique feature is the ease with which the maps can be shared on websites and particularly social media sites.

Photo Nov 13, 4 45 16 PMOur next two presenters were both from Mississippi State University. Jeff Little of the MSU Foundation spoke with us about the school’s initiative in receiving donations of land and other types of real estate .Their total holdings have ballooned to nearly 30,000 acres of forest and farm lands. The keynote speaker was Dr. Bronson Strickland of MSU’s Deer Lab. Dr. Bronson shared information from some of the interesting research that he and his students have done with whitetail deer and feral hogs. Their research has shown clear data on the effects of proper nutrition and deer genetics in the quest to grow deer with the best antlers. You can find the results of their studies on their website. They offer some fantastic free apps for deer hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Photo Nov 12, 1 38 59 PMWe spent the last couple of hours touring the Andrews Forestry and Wildlife Laboratory, with Dr. Bronson explaining their research into finding the optimal balance between timber management as a financial investment and also for developing wildlife habitat for recreational use. The information presented to the land brokers will allow us to help our customers and clients when the time comes for them to sell or purchase a piece of property that they want to use as a timber investment and a recreational and hunting property to enjoy. This was an excellent opportunity for land brokers to learn and find better ways to serve the public with that knowledge. Thanks to all those who presented, helped organize and facilitate this meeting, it was a big success in my book.

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

question markWhat are the right questions for a buyer to ask when considering purchasing a rural piece of land? It all depends on the objectives the buyer has in mind when making their purchase.

This list would need to be tweaked a little depending on the objective for the purchase. For example, a person considering developing a tract into a subdivision on a river would have some significantly different questions to answer than a person merely buying a rural retreat for their family. So the following list would be my jumping off point for most buyers of rural tracts:

  1. How is the property accessed? (Road frontage, deeded easement, etc..)
  2. Are there any water features on the property? (rivers, creek, lake, springs)
  3. Are utilities available to the property?
  4. What is the timber like? (stand types, age, planted or natural)
  5. Has the property been surveyed? (Are boundaries marked?)
  6. Who are the neighbors surrounding the tract?
  7. Can I get a clear title to the property with title insurance?
  8. Do the timber, mineral and water rights convey with the sale?
  9. Are there any easements on the property? (adjoining owners, conservation, utility)
  10. Are there any known environmental concerns or latent defects with the property?
  11. How is this property zoned? (agricultural, residential, commercial?)
  12. What are the annual property taxes?
  13. Have the owners received notice from any governmental agency about possible assessments or actions in the near future that would affect this property?
  14. Will the property be conveyed subject to covenant and restrictions? (If so, what are they?)
  15. How does the land lay? (slopes, bottomland, elevation change, etc…)
  16. Are there internal roads and trails?
  17. Do all of the improvements to the property convey with the sale? (gates and fences, shooting houses, out buildings, etc…)
  18. Does the land drain well or does it stay wet for much of the year?
  19. If I had to sell this property again in a year, is it desirable to other potential buyers?
  20. Can I pee off my porch in privacy?

Buyers that are considering purchasing land for growing crops would also be concerned about things such as:

  1. What is the corn grain yield per acre?
  2. Is it possible to irrigate with a center pivot?
  3. Is an irrigation permit available from the Army Corps of Engineers?
  4. What is the soil profile of the property?
  5. Where are the nearest grain processors?

An investor purchasing timberland for their portfolio would ask questions like:

  1. What is the site index of the land?
  2. Is any of the timber merchantable now?
  3. Is more than 70% of the property sloped suitably for growing and harvesting timber?
  4. Where are the nearest wood outlets and mills?

The list could go on indefinitely for developers, hunters, farmers, investors, and survivalists. The point I am trying to make is that you need to know what your objectives for owning a rural property are before you can even know the right set of questions to ask. This is one reason a buyer should engage the help of a competent agent when purchasing a rural property. Having someone working for you that knows the right questions to ask can save you thousands of dollars and make your transaction much safer and pain-free.

Written by: Jonathan Goode– Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and licensed broker in AL and MS

When a property comes on the market and the sellers receive an offer immediately, their first instinct may be to think they should not accept the first offer that comes along. Many times my seller client will respond to early offers with, “Maybe we aren’t asking enough for our property.” Below is an analogy I like to use to explain this real estate phenomenon.

Let me preface my explanation with saying, before listing the property sellers should do their homework to price the property according to the current market conditions and to meet their objectives for selling. If the property is priced well to begin with, then the following analogy can hold true.

When a property is newly listed and brought to the open market, there will be some amount of demand for the tract. The strength of that demand is difficult to determine before the property is exposed to the public. Buyers for the property can be compared with bulls in a corral. When a property hits the market, the gate to that corral swings wide open. Sometimes a whole herd of bulls may come charging through the open gate, or maybe there are only one or two bulls that run out. When sellers find themselves in a multiple offer situation right out of the gate, it can be a good opportunity to get more than the asking price for the property. When they only receive a single offer it can be confusing to determine if this is actually going to be their highest and best offer.

I witnessed this on a longleaf pine tract that I listed this spring. Within two days of putting the property on the market we had a 92% offer on the property. The buyer had always wanted to own a longleaf pine property for conservation purposes. My sellers just knew that they shouldn’t take this first offer and that more would follow. It has been 4 months and we have had only one other showing on it. I tried explaining this concept to the seller then, but they chose to pass on the offer and wait for the next offer.

It is often difficult to determine the strength of the demand for a property before putting it on the open market. In my area, good listings are getting harder to come by and there is some pinned up demand from buyers. When the gate to that corral of buyers swings open, hopefully there will be multiple prospective purchasers, but if only one buyer comes out strong do not make the mistake of passing on the offer in hopes of the one right behind it. Sometimes the first offer really is the best offer.

Written by: Jonathan Goode– Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and licensed broker in AL and MS

 

Realtor LogoIn all instances Southeastern Land Group strives to do what is in the best interest of our clients who are buying and selling land across the Southeast. One major part of helping our clients purchase or sell rural property is cooperating with other brokers.

All agents, associate brokers, and responsible (qualifying) brokers for Southeastern Land Group are Realtors, meaning that we are not merely licensed real estate agents in the states where we practice, but we are also members of the National Association of Realtors. As Realtors we agree not only to abide by the laws of our state, but also swear to uphold the Realtor Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice.

Article 3 of the Realtor Code of Ethics states, “REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest.” Most people in the public assume that all real estate agents and brokerages are going to cooperate with every other licensed person, and generally this is true. There are, however, some brokers that are exceptions to this rule.

Southeastern Land Group tries in almost every situation to invite the participation of other brokers. 999 times out of 1,000 it is in our client’s best interest to invite another broker to bring their buyer client to look at a property that we have listed for sale. We also generally offer to split the commission evenly with other brokers, which is not required by law or by the Code of Ethics. We believe this, as a practice, is in the best interest of our clients, and again it is surprising that other brokers do not take this position.

Evidence of our belief in cooperation as a way of doing business can be seen by our team’s memberships in professional organizations such as the National Association of Realtors, Alabama Association of Realtors, Lee County Association of Realtors, Realtors Land Institute (we have members in the national, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia chapters of RLI), the Black Belt Land Brokers group, and other associations. We have a strategic alliance with another brokerage, SonUp Real Estate, that offers our clients some unique advantages that SELG alone cannot offer.

Southeastern Land Group has a team of land professionals that are willing to work with all other licensed agents to do what is in the best interest of our clients. We work hard to ensure that you get the very best representation and that we do it by abiding by the rules. We do our best to let The Golden Rule be our guiding principle. Let the team at Southeastern Land Group work for you when it comes to buying or selling your farm, timberland, recreational tracts, or transitional properties.

Written by: Jonathan Goode– Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and licensed broker in AL and MS

GDO magSoutheastern Land Group is devoted to helping people buy and sell land in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Each month we advertise properties that we have for sale in strategic print media. Specifically we purchase ads in 4-5 slick glossy magazines as one way to reach all possible buyers about the great tracts of land that we have for sale.

To capture the attention of hunters, anglers, and others who enjoy being outdoors, we advertise in 3 magazines that are targeted for that readership: Great Days Outdoors, Georgia Outdoor News, and Alabama Outdoor News. We try to advertise properties that would appeal to those who subscribe to these good publications.

Looking for farm properties? We run ads each month in the Alabama Cooperative Farming News to showcase cattle farms, poultry farms, row crop land, orchards, and other farm properties that we have for sale.

To find timber properties for sale in Alabama, just look for our ads in Alabama Forests the publication of the Alabama Forestry Association. Here you will find production timberland tracts or good hardwood properties that have a strong timber component that contributes to the value.

We also advertise in other print media from time to time, but these are staples of our advertising regimen. Print media is merely one prong of the multi-faceted approach we take to marketing land for sale across the Southeast. Please feel free to pick up a copy of any of this quality publications, and be sure to look for our announcements about quality rural properties for sale.

Written by: Jonathan Goode– Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and Licensed Broker in Alabama and Mississippi

 

Big Daddy Lawler ShowSoutheastern Land Group is a network sponsor of the Gettin’ Outdoors Radio Network hosted by James “Big Daddy” Lawler”, and this past weekend Jonathan Goode was invited to sit in as guest host of the show.

Big Daddy’s show airs weekly in west Alabama and east Mississippi, covering topics related to hunting, fishing, local festivals, or anything that happens in the great outdoors. Jonathan was brought in to discuss the Alabama Wildlife Federation Wild Game Cook Off that took place in Selma on October 29. Jonathan serves on the committee that puts on this great event.

The show recapped the success of this event, and that this was the best AWF Cook Off Selma has ever had, with over 600 people in attendance enjoying the various dishes from the 21 cook teams that entered the event. Big Daddy gave the Southeastern Land Group team some love for their second place finish in the Fowl Division. Jonathan’s wife, Whitney, made an excellent bourbon- pepper jelly glaze for their pheasant.

The special guest for the show was Bruce “The Alligator Man” Mitchell, star of the History Channel’s Swamp People television show. Bruce talked about a variety of topics including why he got involved with the reality show, his love for cooking, and how he is enjoying his new-found fame.

Jonathan thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the studio with Big Daddy Lawler and Ashley Mason. You can listen to the show in the archives  or search the site to find a station and time for you to catch the show weekly.

Written by: Jonathan Goode– Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and Licensed Broker in Alabama and Mississippi

The Land Ordinance of 1785

One of the most important pieces of legislation from Congress that made a lasting impact on private property ownership in the United States was enacted in May 1785. The Land Ordinance was an effort on the part of the Confederated Congress to raise much needed funds for our fledgling country and to promote settlement of our western territories.

In 1785, Congress did not yet have the power to levy taxes, but there was a desperate need to find ways to meet the financial obligations of our burgeoning nation. The US had recently received a massive amount of land from the British as a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Our nation was land rich but cash poor, so prominent statesmen such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison helped develop a framework for converting this land into cash.

A plan was developed to create a systematic survey of our newly acquired lands that lay west of the Appalachian mountains, east of the Mississippi River, north of the Spanish controlled Florida, extending all the way to the southern boundary of Canada. Below are a few of the portions of the act that I consider to be highlights .

  • A rectangular survey system was created that divided the territory into 36 square mile areas called Townships. Each Township had 36 “lots” or “sections” that were 1 mile square consisting of 640 acres each. Thomas Jefferson had originally proposed townships that were 7 miles on each side, but that was rejected for the system that we currently use.
  • Each section was to be sold to the public for settlement for no less than $1 per acre. This proved to be too much land for a single family to purchase and clear, and the cost was prohibitive for all but the wealthiest citizens.
  • Perhaps the most fascinating to me, and what demonstrates amazing foresight was that Congress designated the 16th section of every township to be used to fund public education. This section was reserved for the local government to be able to sell land, timber, or minerals and use the proceeds as revenue to develop and maintain an education system for the region.
  • Congress also reserved four sections of every township: the 8th, 11th, 26th, and 29th sections to be held for the federal government’s future use or disposition. Their theory was that if all of the other sections around them were sold and developed, that the property the government owned would increase in value. In essence, this was land speculation by Congress. In addition to retaining these four sections in each township, the US reserved 1/3 of the gold, copper, silver and lead mined on these lands.
  • This act had a specific template for the conveyance of the property patent from the government to the individual purchaser. The verbiage on these conveyances will look familiar to anyone who frequently reads deeds. The deed language has lasted over 200 years and much of it is incorporated into our current conveyance documents.

There is much more that could be written about the historical importance of the Land Ordinance, but the lasting legacy is the strenuous efforts to survey, describe and convey these lands for the good of the public. The new survey system that was developed would later be applied to over 75% of the land in the United States. This act laid the foundation for the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) that is still used in most of the country. Our Founding Fathers were truly wise men, and their passion for private land ownership and the development of this nation is a lasting heritage that we enjoy even today.

Written by: Jonathan Goode Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) and Licensed Broker in Alabama and Mississippi