Monday, February 11, 2013

What is an Accredited Land Consultant?

This topic is near and dear to me! Several years ago I was steering a large real estate project in northwest Alabama. I interviewed several realtors and chose a realtor who was an Accredited Land Consultant. I was so impressed with their knowledge and land expertise. Therefore when I decided to pursue a real estate career, I decided to pursue this designation. I checked with the Georgia Real Estate Commission a couple of years ago and was told there are 60,000 people in Georgia licensed to sell real estate. At the time of this posting, there are only 29 with this highly esteemed designation. So what is it..........

The REALTORS® Land Institute confers the esteemed Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation to only those individuals who have achieved the highest level of education, experience, and professionalism.

ALC candidates must be Institute members in good standing for at least 6 months prior to filing an ALC designation application. 


Successful completion of a total of six Land University courses (3 required and 3 electives).  Courses may be completed in a live classroom, online, through the hybrid (independent study) program, and other delivery systems that may be made available. (All courses must have been taken within 5 years of applying for the designation.)

Required courses (3 total):
      -Land 101:  Fundamentals of Land Brokerage
      -Land Investment Analysis
      -Tax Deferred 1031 Exchanges (International candidates may take another elective instead of this course) 

      Electives (3 of 6):  
      -Tax Implications of Real Estate
      -Agricultural Land Brokerage and Marketing
      -Creative Land Planning
      -Land Development
      -Site Selection     
      -Practical Navigation for Land Brokers
      -other electives as developed by the REALTORS® Land Institute
Applicants must submit a resume that demonstrates a minimum of 3 years of experience in land sales or brokerage or a minimum of three years of comparable real estate experience in auction, appraisal*, leasing, development, farm management, consulting, brokerage management**, or related services in land.

VOLUME REQUIREMENTS Applicants must submit a portfolio that substantiates specific levels of volume achieved in land sales or in providing real estate services related to land.

The portfolio must substantiate the applicant's participation and material involvement as a broker, agent, consultant, or employee in at least 5 closed land transactions totaling $10,000,000*, or a minimum of 25 separate land transactions of which no more than 80 percent involve residential lot sales, or a comparable level of volume dependent upon the land specialty and type(s) of real estate services provided.  The value of the land must account for at least 51% of the total sale of the transaction in order for the transaction to be eligible. 

All ALC designation applicants must successfully complete a comprehensive online exam that covers the core components of the Land University curriculum. All candidates will be able to take the exam 3 times within a year from the first exam date.  If, after the third attempt, the candidate does not successfully pass the course, he/she will be able to retake the exam after completing the Review Course for the ALC Accreditation exam.  An additional fee will be required. An additional fee will be required to take the course. 

If you decide to sell or buy real estate, why not choose someone who specializes in the type real estate you have an interest in and go with the best!!

For Information on Buying or Selling Land contact G. Kent Morris, ALC, RF at      (706) 457-0090

Friday, February 1, 2013

What are Land Prices doing?

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed writing this blog. I enjoy sharing knowledge and experiences and it causes me to read and research different topics.

I am often asked about land prices… are they getting better?  It is getting more difficult to track prices due to amount of transactions. I have had this discussion with other land brokers and appraisers. There are fewer and fewer sales to look at some, so the analysis becomes more difficult.  Intuitively, I thought prices had bottomed out about 1 -2 years ago and had remained sort of flat since then, my research proved otherwise. I have included a chart as a visual aid to this article. To begin with, the land prices are average prices for a 3 county area located between Columbus and Lagrange (Meriwether, Harris and Talbot). Columbus is the third largest city in the state of Georgia. Therefore these prices may be much different than the area you live in. The numbers are interesting,  but trends are what we are focusing on. The graphs covers Price Per Acre from 2007 to 2012.

 Many areas are experiencing improved activity in their housing market (this is a localized phenomena). Many areas maybe most areas are experiencing flat prices. Some have predicted we are at the bottom, let’s hope so.  Housing will lead the way and land will follow later. Everyone needs a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in, you do not have to own land. Land is an investment and the buyer has a very different profile from the home buyer.

What does all this mean, I’ll tell you!

For Sellers…. If you are planning to sell, you have to be properly positioned in the market place. No one knows when these prices will recover or how long it will take. Your property has to be priced based on the market not some emotional, pie in the sky number. Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush and you miss out on opportunity cost. The money from the sell of your property may be better off paying off debt or buying other assets. You can use a 1031 exchange and prevent a tax event,  if buying other like kind assets.

For Buyers…. It is a great time to buy!  Why wait, prices are low and so are interest rates. Land is a great way to diversify your portfolio, I own land as well. If you buy the right tract, it will generate some cash flow along the way, maybe from thinning some timber, leasing the hunting rights, farm rents and other techniques. That tract of land can offer lasting memories with the kids and grand kids, riding ATVs, fishing, hunting, hiking etc.

For Information on Buying or Selling Land contact G. Kent Morris, ALC, RF at      (706) 457-0090