I let out a big sigh when one of my students called me. He talked with a landowner who lived in Michigan but owned a parcel of land in Florida. The landowner was interested in selling but said that first he was going to call a Realtor in Florida to determine the value of the property.
So why did I sigh? My experience says that they are going to contact the wrong person and get bad advice (mostly in regards to price). Ultimately the deal will fall through.
Most sellers don’t understand that they cannot contact just ANY Realtor to help them make an informed decision. They are best realtor email database served to contact a Realtor who is experienced in land. It is the same dynamic if I am considering buying a self storage complex. I don’t call ANY Realtor – I find one who understands how to value commercial properties.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? I have had too many experiences in negotiating with landowners where the deal was derailed by a Realtor who didn’t have experience valuing land. This isn’t a knock against Realtors in general.
Let’s face it – to value land in this economy is tricky at best. It is imperative to find a land professional that knows the local area and is familiar with land that has recently sold in there. So if I am going to do a deal in Alabama, I am calling a Realtor who is experienced in land statewide as well as locally. I am not going to call a land Realtor in Georgia or North Carolina because land in Alabama is unique in regards to terrain, demand, price per acre, etc.
Why am I such a big fan of land Realtors? They are a critical person in the process to understand land values and whether a parcel is a good value or not.
I cut my teeth in land when I was an office manager at a land brokerage (I am an investor not a Realtor). While I was there, about 60% of the buyers bought land sight unseen. It was because they were looking at land like stock. They were TRUSTING that the land Realtors at the office evaluated the property correctly.
My boss was the stereotypical land broker. He came to work dressed in his cowboy hat and boots and had a drawl that this city boy could sometimes not understand. But he KNEW his area and was passionate about finding only the best deals for his buyers.
But the stereotype of the land Realtor is changing. With the advent of the Internet, land Realtors still know their area well. But now they have evolved into Internet real estate specialists creating high quality marketing pieces for websites and email requests.
It is my opinion that we are not going to have enough experienced land Realtors to service the upcoming demand for all land types. With the stock market and economy in continued decay, more and more investors are going to turn to land as one safe haven to place their money.
I have been a part of over 600 land deals and virtually every transaction has been closed with the help of a land Realtor. I would not turn to anyone else!
So how does one find a land Realtor in the area where you hope to buy? Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Go to and search through their free database of land Realtors. Look for “Find a Land Consultant” tab on the site to begin your search.
2. Go on the Internet and select the state and county that you are searching and see which Realtor is listing land parcels for sale in that area. Usually they will have enough experience in land to assist you.
3. Sometimes I call a large brokerage office by phone and ask for the land specialist in their mix of Realtors. Unfortunately I have had some Realtors misrepresent themselves so you have to be careful to interview them to determine if they are the right person. (I have a chapter in my manual on “How to Find the Right Realtor” that goes into how to interview for a land Realtor to determine if they are right person for your real estate need).