Adam Mikesch is a real estate broker specializing in vacant land and rural real estate. He was recommended to me recently when I asked the REtipster Community for references to good land agents who are making an impact and getting great results.
In this interview, we cover a range of topics including best practices for selling land, the most important due diligence items that should be on your checklist, which selling websites get the fastest results, the most important aspects of a listing that get properties sold, and a lot of other insights about working as a broker in this field of real estate.
Links and Resources
- Premier Farm Realty Group & Auction
- BoxBrownie Review: My Real Estate Pictures Have Never Looked Better
- DJI Mini 3 Drone
- MapRight Review: Doing Land Research and Due Diligence Online
- 10 Google Earth Hacks Every Real Estate Professional Should Know
- Google Earth
- Realtors Land Institute
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Empathy in Business Success
Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth Williams. You're listening to the REtipster podcast, and today I'm talking with another real estate broker specializing in vacant rural land. His name is Adam Mikesch.
Adam was really strongly recommended to me recently when I asked the REtipster Community to let me know about some good land agents and land brokers. Adam's name was a very prominent one that came up and I thought, let's reach out to this guy and let's grill him and see what we can figure out about how to find a good land agent, how do you know when you have a good one, what you should expect from one, and get a lot of insights on the selling process so we can either figure out how to sell properties better ourselves, or preferably find somebody like Adam who's really good at this so they can do the job for us.
Adam is an avid outdoorsman livestock owner, landowner, and wildlife habitat enthusiast, and he's just known as a reliable and trusted resource in the real estate industry. Adam is the vice president of Premier Farm Realty Group & Auction, and he is the managing broker in one of the states that they operate out of, which I believe is Missouri. Adam, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Adam: Good, thank you guys for having me.
Seth: Awesome. Maybe we just start with your story. How long have you been working as a land broker? How did you get into this business? Tell us how this all came to fruition to bring it to where you are today.
Adam: Absolutely. I've been in the land business since 2015. It was something that had always intrigued me, not so much from investors' perspective, but just being attracted to all things outdoors as a lawn outdoorsman, recreationists, anything outside I love it.
I had learned about different brokerages and the benefits that one can obtain by being engaged in real estate from various perspectives. And it's something that I strongly started to investigate at that time. I knew of a couple local brokers that operated in my market. I reached out to them to learn more and one of them picked me up the same day I called them and the rest is history.
A handful of years later, I graduated up to the vice president of our managing brokers and we've got a pretty strong staff along states across the world west and we are continually growing from day to day.
Seth: Wow. So, how many people do work for Premier, and what states are you guys in?
Adam: Absolutely. As of, I guess, this week, we're adding new people all the time. I think we're up to about 25, 26 agents. We represent clients in different states across the Midwest, on primary states on Missouri and Illinois. But we do operate in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kentucky and now Arkansas as well. Arkansas just added to our list at the end of last year.
Seth: Oh, that's awesome. Being in Missouri, your role in particular, all the properties that you deal with, is that just specifically in Missouri because that's your home base, or do you ever do stuff in any of the other states?
Adam: Yes. Most of my direct sales of my own do occur here in the state of Missouri. I'm licensed myself in three different states. Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. But most of my sales occur here on the east central southeast side of Missouri.
Seth: What was the motivation to getting licensed in those other two states? Is it often that you deal with properties there and what made you pick those two specifically?
Adam: Absolutely. Our brokerage was found at Apollo on land. That is our forte. From recreational properties to agricultural properties or just all things land. We had since grown and opened a residential division. We do also support the residential market across our territory along with commercial properties as well.
But those states in particular, as we're centralized here west of Missouri, were obviously expanding around ourselves, targeting states that are highly saw laughter for recreational and agricultural interests. Minnesota and Wisconsin being two of those states. And I pursued those states myself more so from a leadership perspective to obtain a broker's license so that we can legally operate in those states and agents that are local to those markets would operate under reach my license.
Seth: To be a managing broker, what does it take to get to that point? You have to start… is it an agent that works underneath a managing broker for a number of years, or how does that work?
Adam: Correct. Each state has a different real estate commission, which is typically the governing body ensure the licensing, and they have different requirements. Most of the time, there are two components. One component is a number of years acting as a salesperson on age eight, and a number of transactions. Some states either require that those transactions be of a certain tier before you can obtain the next level of licensing.
That's the path that I chose. Most of my sales all occurred in the state of Missouri before my first brokerage license. And that's typically how each of the states operate. Some states do recognize and accept reciprocity. If you're licensed in one state as a salesperson, some of them may have less of a requirement for you to obtain an equivalent license in that state. And the same thing goes to the brokerage licensing as well.
Seth: And I assume this is your full-time gig, right? This is all you're doing.
Seth: Okay. Are there people on your team that do this kind of part-time?
Adam: Yes. It does exist and it's something that licensees or real estate agents, all sectors of the real estate industry, residential, land, commercial, a lot of them are part-time agents. They have another primary source of income. And just based upon their level of interest in the industry, that's how much time and effort they put into it and their sales reflect that.
Seth: Because my next question was going to be like what are the typical sizes, uses, and values of the properties you sell? Is it ever anything other than agricultural and recreational? Do you sell residential vacant lots ever, or commercial or anything like that?
Adam: Yes, absolutely. That would fall within that realm and altitudes on what market you're in. Here, as it relates to me and my direct market in Missouri, our headquarters is about 30, 45 minutes south of St. Louis, right along the Mississippi River. I reside just a little bit further south. So, most of my sales in my market here, just south, but still relatively close to the St. Louis metropolitan area are of smaller acreage just because development progress has reached this point.
I do a lot more residential lot as pertains to the land or vacant land here closer to the St. Louis area. But as we get further out, whether that's west or directly south, obviously there's been less progress and less development. So some of those acreages are much larger in size, and that's typically myself, where I will support clients with properties of pretty good magnitude and might see different molds like agricultural or literate recreational as opposed to residential development lots.
Seth: A lot of people in our community, a lot of us are land flippers. We're buying vacant lots for a pretty cheap price relative to their market value and then selling them either at market value or someplace close to that, maybe slightly discounted. And it just makes me wonder, what profile would it need to fit for somebody to bring it to you and for you to be happy to list that for them? Does it have to be a minimum value or a certain size?
For example, if I bought a property for $1,000 and tried to sell it for $4,000, I'm assuming that's probably too small for you to waste your time with. Is that accurate? What would be a minimum value to which you're like, “Okay, yep, now we'll get involved?”
Adam: Not necessarily. I think some agents out there, they may have that perspective on that example that you provided. But with me and how I support an investor, I think that might be a follower of yours. I don't turn anything down because I know that that could lead to another opportunity with that same individual. And that individual may grow into larger properties that will ultimately have a better return on the next niche for myself as they're representing the real estate perspective.
In that specific example, I would suppose that yes, I would take that on and be happy to support you. Now as it was four hours away from me and it really, really just didn't make sense, maybe I could at least give guidance on how to successfully get that property slipped as opposed to me being directly involved or charging traditional fees or additional type of property. But for the most part, I've never turned anything down. I can't say that I've ever done that to anyone of our investors or any new client that's come in.
Seth: Wow. That's awesome. Good deal. Now, what kind of commission do you typically charge on these properties you sell? Is there a range or a minimum dollar amount or something like that?
Adam: Absolutely. Typically we, as you might suspect, are based on a percentage. Those percentages can range anywhere from 4% to 7%, depending on what the property is. One thing that I like to offer, and I think it's fair to both sides, especially if it's some of them going to be doing business with frequently, is a variable rate commission. For example, as you may know, the listing agent, the representative of the seller may not always be the one to find the buyer or procure the buyer or for that property.
And at that point, we're then obligated to share the commissions with any different brokerage, co-book the property, which we're always happy to do. There's never any occasion where we wouldn't be willing to do that. This very great commission structure is typically put in place when you have that potential and usually that rate, and there are two rates, usually separated by about a percentage point.
A good example of this would be like 4% and 5% commissioning on sale price. In that example, if I were to procure the buyer on this listing, we would be at the lesser of those two rates, the 4% of the sale price, ultimately putting more money in the pocket of the client because we're not obligated to share commissions with another brokerage. Whereas if some other brokerage brought the buyer, we would be at the higher of those two rates, 5% just to make it worthwhile for everybody involved.
Seth: I've heard a 10% commission for a lot of agents elsewhere, and I didn't hear you say 10%. So, why don't you guys do 10%? Just out of curiosity.
Adam: We have heard 10% in some markets. Our market, at least where I'm at specifically here in Missouri, we don't see rates that high. There are a lot of very reputable and worthy brokerages out there that we compete with. We show that we're one of the best out there, just based on our resources, our skillset with marketing, and our industry knowledge overall.
But we still don't feel that that's in our best interest to try to be quite so competitive in the commission structure if we want to continue to grow and support our clientele. Yeah, I have heard of commission rights that high, but they don't ever reach that point here in my direct market south of St. Louis and Missouri. The most we've seen is going to be around that 7% mark.
Seth: If I have a property I want to sell, and I want to list it with you, how long does your listing agreement last?
Adam: They can vary. Pre-COVID, before the market got as crazy as it had been over the past two and a half years and how quickly properties were being moved, we always strived to have listings for about a year, depending on what they were. And that's ultimately just to give us sample time to get it out there, make sure it reaches all the various potential buyers that may be interested in making an offer on it.
And they put our best foot forward right out of the gate as opposed to limiting our ability to get a property marketed right. But I'm flexible and we don't have a standard expectation that we dictate with our agents. Our agents are able to make that decision upon their own in collaboration with their client.
Typically, we work three months. So, three months, six months, nine months, a year. Even down 45- and 60-day listing agreements just based upon the deal with the particular client. And if I feel confident that I can get a property marketed and moved from them, why not? We'll give them a shot.
And one thing that I always say to all my clients, regardless of whether they're repeat clients or not, is if we settle on something in writing and we are listing agreed by all means, if you're not happy, I'm not happy. If you're not satisfied with my services, tell me, then we'll terminate that agreement before the expiration that we put in writing. I don't want to be out there working my tail off if you're not happy with what I'm doing. So, as long as we set that line of communication and that expectation upfront, it's pretty flexible.
Now, some of you did some firms that may be a little more stringent on the policies internally in terms of contractual obligations and legalities, but with me, I'm pretty transparent for your product, and as long as we're on the same page from the get-go, there's rarely ever any occurrences or issues with seeing the deal through. One way or another, we're going to get through.
Seth: This next question is pretty broad, actually several of these questions are, but just on average, how long does it usually take for you to sell a property? If I bring you whatever you would call an average deal, whatever that means, would you think maybe three months, six months, one month? I don't know, anything come to mind?
Adam: Yeah. What the way the market has been over the last two and a half years now, we're obviously seeing some changes, with interest rates, inflation, et cetera. But there's rarely ever a property. Again, as long as the pricing strategy is appropriate for the property in the area that's been with all new variables considered, it's not unheard of to have it under contract within 30 to 45 days.
There are listings of mine that even in today's market have been out there for 90 days plus, but that's primarily due to that particular seller, client of mine had any unrealistic expectations on the pricing. And of course, we work for you. We may make suggestions or recommendations, run a comparative market analysis to tell us what it's probably worth. And based on the market conditions at the time, the other variables that might affect that value, make a suggestion.
But at the end of the day, if there's a number that you're looking for, we'll try to get it. But not always does that happen within that 30- to 45-day window. If we price it right and we put our marketing plan forward as we do for all of our properties, very rarely does it get beyond that, at least over the past two and a half, three and a half years.
Seth: Is there a point at which you would say, okay, something's wrong. There's a reason this hasn't sold, maybe we're asking too much, maybe the property pictures are terrible. Maybe something is wrong. What would that point in time be? Is it three months, six months? When would you reassess and say, “Okay, we got to exchange something here?”
Adam: It all depends on what kind of activity we've added up to that point. I'm just going to throw out a number of 90 days. If we haven't had a certain number of inquiries, whether that came from an email inquiry, a phone call, a showing request, if we haven't had an adequate number of those in the 90-day period and no offers, then it's probably time to make an adjustment.
Really, really dive into everything. See what could be the problem. Many, many times it's just price. Very rarely would we ever attribute the property not being under contract to something like poor marketing photos or not being in enough places. In our firm, it doesn't matter what type of property it is, it's going up on every single platform we have access to. The MLS system, all our signature membership accounts with Land of America, LandWatch, allland.com, network places, social media, our website, and so on and so forth.
Rarely ever is it due to our marketing. Primarily it's going to be either price or some unforeseen outside third-party factor that we just didn't really put enough weight on at the beginning, whether it's access or a neighboring property like a landfill or a junkie property that had a bunch of trash and abandoned cars and things nearby that we just really didn't recognize upfront. That's the driving factor as to why buyers aren't picking up the phone or sending an email.
Seth: That was going to be one of my other questions is, “What are the different selling platforms you use?” And you kind of just answered that. It makes me wonder, do you ever use things like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or some of these? They may be unconventional to a licensed broker, but for somebody who's trying to sell for sale by owner, it's like the first place to go to because it's free to do. It makes me wonder, do you bother with that since you have access to all these other platforms?
Adam: Many of our agents, including myself, we do push our properties or promote our properties via social media, whether that be LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, of course. And when it comes to things like Facebook Marketplace, we are limited in the ability to market certain properties via that platform just due to internal policies, and discriminatory things of that nature we have to be mindful of.
One of the things I do, at least for my land-focused properties or recreational properties, there are a lot of private Facebook groups out there. Missouri Hunters or Missouri Hunting Properties for Sale, things like that. I will share or boost a particular social media post about any new listing or price reduction or whatever that IP within those private groups that I'm a part of, just to gain additional exposure that those participants or followers of that group may not have seen it well elsewhere.
Seth: Yeah. Of all these different platforms out there, I don't know if you build like an email list or a text blast list or other kind of internal list that you shoot stuff to, but it makes you wonder if you could only have one of them, which one makes the biggest impact for you? Is there a particular? Like I don't know, LandWatch or the MLS or your own home website or something like that? Which one is most impactful or maybe even the top three, what would you say they are?
Adam: I would say at the very top, no question is MLS access, MLS marketing. And the reason for that is if you were to ask any other land broker, depending on which firm they're with, they'll probably tell you, we just sell land, we don't mess with the MLS. I feel that's a very poor perspective.
And the reason for that is, the MLS in all markets that various MLSs might have a reach to, you're getting much, much more than just a platform to market a property on that other brokers are going to see. There is in many cases what's called an IDX agreement that tugs all the list to your MLS membership. And what that allows is instant marketing ability on sites like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com and the list goes on and on and on and on.
And that's something in our firm that we sign up for from day one when we get into a new market and become a part of that area's MLS is we ensure that we have an IDX agreement in place. As soon as I put up one of my listings on my local MLS within a few minutes, it instantly gets pushed to all of those other, what some would refer to as best-focused sites like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, et cetera. So, it just gets a lot of exposure in a very easy, very quick way.
First and foremost, I would say MLS. Any land brokers tell them to dabble with it because the only benefit of getting out of it is if they were marketing the residential property. I personally most agree.
The next would probably be, at least at this time, this changes every month, it seems. There's always some competition out there, but the land.com network. That would consist of Land of America, LandWatch, and Land and Farm.
Right now, land brokers have the ability to sign up for different levels of membership or account exposure. The highest being a signature membership, which is my brokerage, we have that, and we've had that for a long time. What that means to our clients and for our listings is that when we put a new listing up on those platforms, it shows up at the top of any filter search. At the top of the search, larger ages more predominant compared to other listings of other land brokers that don't have that level of membership.
I'd say those are the two top recommendations, in my opinion, at least as of today. Again, that changes all the time based on competition, new platforms being rolled out every month, it seems. And we are continuing to investigate those and invest in them as we see fit as the markets change. It's going to be MLS and then land.com that works, in my opinion.
Seth: That IDX thing you mentioned, that stands for Internet Data Exchange. And just to make sure I'm understanding that right, once you create a property listing and put it on your home website at premierfarmrealtygroup.com, that automatically goes out to Zillow, Redfin, all those websites. Does that also go out to the Land Network or is that a separate process you have to go through to list it there?
Adam: The only land network site that it gets pushed to through the IDX removal, at least in my example here in Missouri is, I believe, LandWatch. Land And Farm, and Land of America and a few others, we have to manually put that up on those sites and have a separate account to do so.
Seth: I wonder why that is since they're all the same thing.
Adam: Yeah. I'm not sure either. I think in the past 12 months or so, maybe no longer than that, I know the land.com network has expanded. They have since acquired I think Land And Farm. Many even consist of LandWatch as well now. We expanded upon features, but the last I checked, it does not get pushed to all three of those sites, but I believe one of them had been in place prior.
Seth: On the social media front, is there one particular social media platform that you find gets results better than the others? Or do you ever pave to boost posts or anything like that?
Adam: Yeah. At our firm, we do have a social media manager that manages our firm's account on Facebook, Instagram as well as LinkedIn. There are other platforms that other land brokers do dabble in, but we don't currently. And each of our agents is encouraged to have their own business page, if you will, for their real estate business. And I do as well. I typically manage my own social media platform where I will post every single one of my listings. Anytime it goes on their contract, anytime that sells, anytime the price gets reduced along with other relevant content to just build my following and my clientele base.
And yes, I do pay to boost many of my listings to reach a much broader audience than just my followers on social media. As far as which platform we receive most success from, I'd have to lean toward Facebook. I think that's probably still the biggest player in the game. I know there's Twitter and Instagram and a few others, but I still feel that our most success comes from Facebook exposure as opposed to LinkedIn or Instagram.
Seth: Yeah. It's a good question. I know there are ways to do this, but it can be tricky to really know for certain that, yes, this post on Instagram was what brought the person in. Because I know with a lot of the social media stuff and even Craigslist and all this, it just feels like a lot of busy work, just a lot of posting and clicking and renewing ads and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Sometimes it's like, just tell me what works so I can just do that. That's why I ask in case there's any clear answer. And it sounds like it's not surprising that you say Facebook because you're right, I would agree with that. That's usually where I see a lot of activity and I think a lot of people in the audience can probably agree with it.
There's a lot happening there. And maybe it's one of these confirmation bias things where, well, yeah, that's because you're putting more energy behind that one, of course, it's going to get more results. But either way, somehow, whatever causes that to happen, it does seem like Facebook is a pretty big force in that realm.
Do you think there is such a thing as unsellable land? And if so, what would make that the case? Property that just will not sell for any reason? Have you ever had any property like that where you just couldn't get the thing to move?
Adam: Very few. I'm trying to think of one that I just could not get sold. I would have to say just to be safe, yeah, there probably is somewhere out there. There's some underlying factor that it drives any potential wire way, I'm not really sure what that would be. Maybe just super, super poor access or the topography was just not suited for anything at all. I'm sure it's out there.
I can't think of one off the top of my head that no matter how I marketed it, priced it, whatever the case may be, couldn't get it moved. I'm not sure that's ever happened, to be honest, but to be safe, I'd say, yeah, there probably is something out there like that. I may not have encountered it yet.
Seth: On that, with the access issue, if I brought you a landlocked property that it was impossible to get to, there's no way, would you say no thanks to that kind of listing because it's just difficult to get the thing to sell? Or would you be like, “Well, but you could probably sell it for a really low price?” How would you treat something like that with a difficult property that is going to be a challenge to get that thing to move?
Adam: Well, two things come to mind when you say that. First off, I would not turn it down. I think there are opportunities for every property. For a landlocked piece of property, there are two things I would think about right on the date before I decided to move forward. Is my client realistic on price compared to that factor, landlocked property? And two, can I get the property listed for a long enough period of time to allow me to work through all of the things that we need to be worked through to get sold? So no, I would not turn that down.
The two things that come to mind after getting it listed. First one is I would pursue, is there a neighbor that wants this property? And secondly, is the topography or the distance to the nearest traversal roadway or trail system, whatever it might be, is there a feasible path to gain an easement if you're a neighboring property owner?
I've dealt with ingress and egress easements many, many times. And a lot of times it's feasible to obtain one after the fact. Usually, for so small monetary fee, those roads that would be impacted by said easement will usually have some restriction on where that easement travels and how wide it might be. But many times, you can get them obtained.
In the state of Missouri, you cannot have a landlocked piece of property. If you were to take something like that to court, the court's going to rule and grant access to the most practical and probable pass-in, if you will. In Missouri, at least, you can't ever result in a landmark piece of property. One of your followers invested in one, there is a way to obtain it. It may be time-consuming, a little bumpy, but you can gain legal access in Missouri. Those are the things I think about when you described that example.
Seth: So, if somebody did come to you with a property that was just clearly problematic and they were not realistic on the price, at that point, would you say no? I'm just trying to find where the limit is for you in terms of, like, “Sorry, this is more trouble than it's worth.”
Adam: If they are just hardnosed and you can tell from the initial conversations, personalities are going to clash, they're never going to come to their senses, they're unreal. Well, very unrealistic, right of the gate, yeah, I would probably turn it down. But I feel like there's any potential for me to breach that point with them or make my point in terms of what it needs to be priced at, I'll take that risk. I'm going to take that out in most cases.
But again, it's just something I gauge at the beginning. Like I said, there might be one or two opportunities that have been put in front of me that I've turned down, but that's the kind of things I'm thinking about. I'm trying to understand what the personality is like, what their mental state is, are they ever really going to make progress if we're getting into this relationship together in terms of pricing and just working with each other. I think it seems like it's a failure right out of the gate. And yeah, I'd probably turn it down.
Seth: When you think about what it takes to put together a good listing with all the right information and pictures and price and headline in some cases, what do you think is the most important aspect of a listing that really grabs the attention or makes things happen? Is it the pictures? If you could only have one thing to be perfect, would it be that, or maybe the description, or just the right number? Anything come to mind?
Adam: The main photo. Think about this. Since you're on Lands of America or any other site, you're looking for properties to just take a look at, investigate where do you see yourself stopping? You stop at that photo that is just gorgeous. Something about the photo just catches your attention and you stop and you click on it.
When I think about it, I just have this example with one of your followers, I think, that recommended me to. We just moved a property in a certain county here in Missouri that was well outside of our traditional area that we've worked together in. A place that I've not done a whole lot of business, to be honest—I've told him that upfront—nor has he. But he had an opportunity to secure a property. He got it secured and we had another contract within a day. And I attributed it to the quality of the main photo that I used in the listing on all the platforms it was on.
It was a fairly small acreage, I think it was 11 acres, but it had river frontage on two sides. River views on two sides. I'm actually a licensed commercial drone pilot. I had the license to operate drone commercials. So, I do all of my area and drone photography. And the photo that we used was a beautiful, beautiful view at probably 350-foot elevation, with the sunrise waning down on the property. So you could see the whole thing, you could see the river. And it was just a really neat photo. I think that the main photo, the photo that's used to present the property initially, is one of the most important things to add right.
Seth: The drone thing. It's crazy when I got into this, drones, I don't think they even existed in terms of just consumers could buy them as they've become more and more easily available. Obviously, it makes sense that they've become more and more common.
Do you take any pictures from the ground, or are 100% of your images from that drone?
Adam: No, it doesn't matter the size of the property, the price of the property. Every single one of them is going to have drone photos, aerial maps from my mapping system and boots-on-the-ground photos as I described them. Many times I will also, when I'm out in the field, boots on the ground, try to flag property cords or at least approximate property cords to give buyers an understanding of where these boundaries are likely to be if there's not a current survey in current survey documentation to truly depict where those things are at.
Sometimes buyers pursue certain properties, and in the end, they just have no idea. They have no reference as to what direction they're looking, or distance, and so on and so forth. So I try to, when I'm out taking my boots on the ground photos, identify all the corners and if there's a dividing line around even long timber or through a pasture or through the shield to try to flag that with as approximate boundary. It's not a survey level of information by any means, but it gives buyers peace of mind and a reference point.
Seth: If I'm understanding this right, just back to those images, are you the person taking your own photos, or do you hire somebody to go do these for you?
Adam: For all my listings, I do them myself. I actually had an interest in photography long before I got into real estate, so it's just carried over well for me. And I obtained my pilot's license to operate because that was commercial early on. And everything just developed from there. I've continued to develop my skillset in flying drones and capturing good pictures and knowing what to look for. So, I feel pretty confident in myself where I stand today.
Seth: What kind of drone do you have?
Adam: I actually just upgraded. I historically operated the DJI drone. I just graduated from a Phantom 4 Pro Plus Obsidian (I think it was the full name of it) to a DJI Mini 3, one that is much more convenient than the size of the DJI Phantom. So I've got all my photography tools in one work bag. It's pretty nice.
Seth: How big is that thing?
Adam: Well, if you give a second. I'm looking at it on the floor here in my office. It fits in the palm of my hand. I'd be happy to show it to you.
Seth: Yeah. Let's take a look at it. To all the listeners who are listening to this audio only, I guess you'll have to go check out the YouTube video if you want to see this.
Adam: I'm back. Here's in my bag. This is my candid revel bag. Everything shut right here. Here's my boots on the ground. Wide-angle landings is a trick that I picked up over the years.
Seth: What range is that lens, out of curiosity?
Adam: This is an 18-millimeter.
Seth: Is that like a Cannon 70D or 90D or something?
Adam: Yeah, I think so. 70D probably.
Seth: Okay. So, he's got a crop sensor lens Canon with a 10 to 18 widening angle lens. I used to have that lens. That's a wonderful lens to have.
Adam: And then there's my girl.
Seth: Wow. That literally fits in the palm of your hand. Is that like the size of a phone basically, the surface area? That's pretty cool. Man, that's crazy.
Adam: Now, of course, this is folded up, but you can see some of it… It might be traveling or very UTV. It's pretty nice to have a drone with this compact. Well, it takes the highest level of quality photos and video. Its innate features that when put together make good marketing videos and content. I found great. Now I haven't used it. It's been a lot of fun.
Seth: Yeah. A lot of land investors I know will hire drone photographers from droners.io or something like that, and I think that can totally work. But ultimately, it's out of your hands in terms of what that photographer is going to do and how good they are at it and if they even find the right property and all this stuff.
Do you have any tricks of the trade in terms of ensuring that you get the best image? Did you make sure you do it as there's a sunrise, a sunset, or a certain angle? Even if you're trying to give directions to another drone photographer, what would you tell them to make sure that they get the best shot?
Adam: We do have multiple different topography resources for all things photography, whether it's drone or marketing videos or house photos, whatever that may be throughout our territory. I had hired out photography on a couple of occasions. In most cases, that's been for virtual tours in internal photos for a residential property.
When I do that, I only hire the best of the best. There's no direction that's needed. It's, “Hey, here's the address, here's your appointment time. Send me the deliverable when you're done.” And it's the best stuff that you can get. Now, if I were to hire out my boots-on-the-ground photography and my drone photography, well, I would try to find a reputable individual that knows what they're looking at, knows what they're looking for, can identify the property with relatively easy instruction.
Maybe they have access to the same mapping system that I would to understand where boundaries are at. Maybe there are some level of outdoor terrain or recreational where they know would fall into policy and look for wildlife sign and capture things that are important to a certain buyer.
I think that's one of the reasons I feel much more comfortable doing my own photography. I get a really good feel for the property and an understanding of what it has to offer. That way, I can speak to it when I'm talking to potential buyers.
I'm an outdoorsman, I'm a buyer's real estate myself, so I know what to look for, I know what I'm interested in, and I try to capture that. In all live photography, one thing I always try to target is water features, if it has it. If properties have water features, I’m including that and much of that in my photography as well as wildlife signs for recreational outdoors and fishery. Those are the things that I target when I'm out walking properties. Where is the game trail? Where is the easiest access to water?
As far as your timing of pictures, most will tell you that early morning or evenings, just before sunset or shortly after sunrise is the best time to get good photos due to the light and the shadows that it casts. In some cases, there is a time where it's too early and there is a time where it's too late, but there's a sweet spot depending on the overcast.
In the example I spoke about a while ago at a river property. I want to say I got there just after 8:00 A.M. and started taking photos around 8:30, 09:00 o'clock, that window right in there and they turned out phenomenal. The lighting was just perfect.
Seth: Yeah. I know in photography, there's something some people call it the “golden hour” or the “magic hour.” Basically, it happens twice a day for about an hour, either sunrise or sunset when the lighting is just like optimal for what you just said, Adam, in terms of the shadows and the lighting. And there's a bunch of free mobile apps you can download that will just tell you wherever you are in the world, whatever time of day that is just so if you're ever curious when you start shooting outdoors, there you go. And if it's overcast skies, I guess it doesn't make a difference because there's no sunlight anyway.
But one other thing I was actually going to mention on that whole thing of overcast skies or if the lighting just isn't good, and this is very common in Michigan where I am about half the year, the lighting is not good because it's just gray skies.
There's a website called BoxBrownie.com that I've used a handful of times. You can basically take these property photos and they will do all kinds of stuff to make them look way better. And you got to be careful about this because you can't go too far. You don't want to alter what the property is.
But I shot a video about this, I can link to it in the show notes a few years ago where I had this property in Colorado where when the person went out to take pictures with their cell phone camera, the composition was fine, they got everything in the shot, but the environment was about as bad as you could get. The sky looked terrible, it couldn't really see much of the features on the ground.
But with BoxBrownie, they basically can Photoshop the sky so it looks like a sunset and they can change the exposure of the land. If it's too dark or too light, it'll make the exposure right. I actually had to have them throttle back the changes a little bit because these are desert properties and they were putting green grass on it. I'm like, no, don't do that. That's not what this is. Keep the ground the same. But to the extent that you can, you can take an ugly picture and make it look way better through this kind of thing.
So that might be another thing, whether you're taking the pictures yourself or you hire it out and they just don't come back that good, BoxBrownie can kind of help out a lot in that regard.
Adam: Good to know. Thank you. I have had some of my photos in the past edited in situations like that. Just the logistics didn't work out and the only time to get the photos captured was on an overcast day or whatever vacation pressure on time whatever it might've been. And I forwarded the content that I was able to capture with my efforts to our photography resources for editing purposes. So, that was a very good point. That's a good resource.
Seth: Yeah. For sure. Let's say, I'm trying to find a land broker like you, Adam, but it's in a place where you don't work. In Michigan, for example. I didn't hear you say you guys have any agents in Michigan or Washington or Maine or something like that. How do I find this person who clearly has your level of experience and knowledge and network? Because I know one way to go about this is just to look on Zillow and find some recent land transactions, dig into some of those agents, and see, “Hey, have you sold a lot of land like my land? Well, maybe I should call you.”
And that's one way to start. But I feel like you're kind of on a different level where it's not that you just have a land transaction in your history, it's like that's what you do. This is your specialty. Is there a way to find people, and not just find their website, but get them on the phone and really know that you're dealing with a pro? What questions should you be asking? Would there be any red flags to be like, “Uh-oh, maybe I shouldn't be dealing with this person?” Do you have any thoughts on that?
Adam: The first thing that comes to mind is Realtors Land Institute, RLI. Realtors Land Institute is an organization that facilitates a credential that most land brokers recognize as well. It’s the best of the best. It's referred to as the ALC, Accredited Land Consultant. So, if you can identify a land broker near your market that has the ALC credential, you're dealing with the best of the best of the best. And I can promise you that. And that is through the Realtors Land Institute.
They are considered the best resource for all things land from 1031 exchanges to understanding pricing strategy, marketing strategy, anything related to land transactions. They are kind of the governing body or the place that most of us look to for guidance and recommendations on how to build our brand, build our business.
Seth: For somebody to be listed as a land consultant with them, what do they have to do? How are you so confident that they're going to be good?
Adam: To obtain the ALC, you are required to go through a multi-year, very stringent education program. And even if you've completed the education, you have to have a certain level of experience that has to be netted and verified by RLI before they will even allow you to sit for the final exam and apply for the ALC credential.
If you were to go to Realtors Land Institute's website, I believe, they have a tab at the top that speaks to this credential and explains what it means to obtain it and how you have to obtain it. So, if any of your listeners are interested at the end of the day in what quality you are dealing with, if you find yourself an ALC and you can even search for an ALC in your territory via their website, it will explain that much further. But it's a very stringent long process to even obtain that credential to put behind your name in their marketing efforts.
Seth: All right. Cool. That's great to know. Yeah. When I interviewed Pat Porter in episode 153, he also mentioned that. I've heard that mentioned a lot. So I'll be sure to link to that website in the show notes in case anybody's listening and you want to check it out. It's a great resource to know about.
As a land broker, I'm sure you've seen a lot of deals at this point. What are some common mistakes that you see land investors making in their acquisition process? When somebody buys a vacant lot that they shouldn't have bought, maybe they overlooked some piece of due diligence, maybe they overestimated what the thing was worth and now they're coming to you trying to get it sold and they're trying to get you to pay for their sins, that kind of thing. What would be some common mistakes you see them making? If you had been involved, you would've advised them, “Oh yeah, watch out for this, or don't make this mistake.” Anything come to mind?
Adam: Yeah. Two things. Two seems to be the number that keeps clicking in my head, but topography and the size of the lot.
If we're talking residential lots, topography is everything. And if it's a rural residential lot, many times the topography can make or break a deal on whether or not that lot is truly developed, if you can truly develop it or not.
In most cases, we're talking single-family residential homes, 1,200 square feet, 2,500 square feet, something like that. And many times, as the topography, just excuse my language, is poor and you can't do anything with it, it's not worth what she thought it was worth as a residential lot.
Topography is one, size is the next thing. Sometimes counties or the governing body in certain areas may change after certain lots were established in a plot of the subdivision, so on and so forth. This is rare, but it can happen. I have seen it happen when lots were determined that an acreage that is too small to suit the restrictions around sewage systems.
For example, the county I'm in right now, which is Jefferson County, Missouri, they have, I think, it's a three-acre limitation. You can have adequate space to put a residence as well as a water well and septic system where you have to have room for the septic tank and the laterals and so on and so forth. And depending on when the lot was established, they will grandfather it and allow a septic system to be installed on it as long as there's suitable space for it to occur. But I should say, a newly established lot that doesn't meet that threshold, you can't develop it and you can't put a septic system on it if there's not public utilities available along the road front or nearby.
So, topography and the size of the lot are important. I think one of the first properties I worked with was one of those, it was that scenario. It was too small. It was so small. It was perfectly low, but it was too small. We couldn't get sold to another buyer for development purposes. We ended up selling it to the neighbor at a lesser price than what we had hoped for because of that fact. So topography and size are important when we're talking about residential lots.
Seth: It makes me wonder at what point do you recommend paying for a boundary survey versus just looking at the GIS map and saying, “Yep, that's fine, we'll just assume that's correct?”
Adam: I encourage it as often as it is justified. Even if there was all done in the recent past. If it was done a year or two ago, don't pay for it and then just do your due diligence. Make sure you look at it from an aerial perspective, make sure there's no potential encroachments from the neighbors. There's not a big discrepancy in what the county records show the acreage is to what your GIS tool that you're using might show the acreages.
If there is not a recent survey and or there's a large discrepancy in what the acreage is or the county assessor's office, NGIS tool, or tax record, or you know there is potential encroachment of some kind, then get it surveyed. It is in your best interests to get it surveyed and insured as policy. And if you purchase it that way, if something happens after the fact, you're protected.
Seth: That's always the trick. I was using Google Earth not long ago because I've got a property where we're trying to move a power pole and we're trying to figure out where do we move it and how far can it go because the local power company, the poles can be up to 120 feet apart from each other, not further than that.
I was trying to use Google Earth's little measuring tool to measure by feet based on where the current one was and where it could go. And I came up with what I thought was less than 120 feet and I pointed it out to my engineer and they're like, “Nope, that's completely wrong. That's 30 feet off. Google Earth is not always correct.” I was like, “Really? Wow. I don't realize it was that far off.” I knew it wasn't perfect, but I didn't realize that big of a discrepancy could be there. And even when you mentioned earlier, sometimes we'll go to a property and mark out approximately where the boundaries are.
Has that ever come back to bite you at all or bite anybody in terms of like, “Oh, we thought it was over here and that this tree was part of our property, but it's actually not and that was a really important tree for us?”
I don't know, just thinking of some example. But does it ever become an issue where it's like, “Wow, I really wish we would've gotten this surveyed?”
Adam: With my clients from the past, nothing specific jumps out at me, but I have heard some similar stories of situations like that. It's usually something much more significant than a walnut tree was on our property line that was here prettier, whatever it might have been. It's usually something much more significant. But yeah, that's the whole deal. Most of the time is to prevent things like that from happening because if it happens after the fact, sometimes you’re SOL, unfortunately.
Seth: Is there any common mistake that you see people making in their selling process? Whether it's another land agent or just an investor trying to sell for sale by owner. Maybe just a common sense thing that they might miss, like, “Yeah, you should list it on this website too and that will make all the difference?” Or you got to get better pictures or ask for a better price. Or you should be offering seller financing when you're not? Anything come to mind in terms of, “Yeah, this is a no-brainer error that you should be fixing and it'll make your life go a lot better?”
Adam: One thing, and maybe I'm biased because I'm a land broker, but when I look at my competitions listings, at least that's what comes to mind as you say that, is lack of aerial maps. Lack of mapping to understand what's the footprint of the property, how is it intermingled with neighboring properties? How large are the neighboring properties? Who owns the neighboring properties? Where are the floodplains located and in proximity to the property?
There are many, many different things the quality of a mapping tool can provide you as a buyer and a seller. My competition, he put out a listing with phenomenal photos. They had top-notch photos, the narrative was wonderful, the pricing strategy is great, but they lacked any type of aerial imagery from a mapping perspective. It's so easy to do. If you have access to the right pool, include that. That's what I would say, it's a lack of mapping.
Even if it's a small property, it doesn't have to be some monstrous 500-acre recreational property. There are things that you can learn pretty quickly by looking at information from an aerial perspective, even if it's not directly related to this 500-acre building line. What is grounded, what is nearby that you can learn to include in your narratives? And you can investigate and do your due diligence before selling on price point, so on and so forth.
Seth: Yeah. On this whole mapping subject, it makes me think of different software or websites out there that can assist with mapping, whether it's Google Earth or MapRight, or something like that. Do you have any software in general that you live and die by? Like you have to have this, or your life is going to be a lot harder. Is there any resource, whether it's paid or free that comes to mind?
Adam: MapRight. Hands down, MapRight. I mentioned before I've been outdoorsing my whole life, so I always feel messed with other smartphone apps like onX and Outstand and different things like that that outdoorsing can use to their benefit and to know where they're at on properties and state locations and trails and game trails and things of that nature.
But we had once used or previously used, at my firm, a different mapping tool called AgriData, and we switched to MapRight a couple of years ago. And the way I describe it to new agents or to someone that's not familiar with MapRight, I like to think of it as onX or HuntStand and AgriData combined and on steroids. There is so much information available to you on MapRight. It's pretty amazing. It really is.
Not just features and tools and things you can do to better market a property and understand what it has to offer, but I mentioned a floodplain, knowing how a property might be impacted by a floodplain. Knowing what the school district is. There's a layer you can toggle on and off to understand what school district a property is. I saw that that's going to be a young family with children, they want to know what school districts it's in. So you can confirm that just by a click of a button via MapRight, along with many, many other things. From the land brokers' perspective MapRight, as of right now, that always changes with competition, it's the best of the best, and I can't live without it.
Seth: It's a great example of how people will gladly pay for organized information. A lot of the stuff you can see in MapRight you can get for free in other places, but it's a pain to get it, or maybe you don't know where to get it, but MapRight just condenses it all into one spot. You don't have to go searching all over the internet to find these simple answers. You listed off a handful of things that MapRight can do that you find useful.
Is there anything else, if you had to say this is the most important thing, is it like getting directions to a property or creating these parcel maps? Anything come to mind? If you use MapRight a lot for this specific purpose, what would that be?
Adam: The one thing I really, really like about MapRight that I've been doing more and more frequently, pretty well set on as a standard is its ability to embed the interactive mapping experience into the listing no matter where it's shown. For example, we have the ability to integrate straight into the MapRight platform via our website.
If you go to see my listings on premierfarmrealtygroup.com, there will be a map tab that you can click on and view the property, as if you were in my MapRight account and toggle on and off all of those various layers. I like that feature, that MapRight offers is the ability to share the interactive mapping experience with a third party from public view without any special account access. You can see everything that I see on a particular property.
The other thing I really like, which you'll see on most of my listings, is the panoramic view feature where you can drop a panoramic view waypoint. For example, I think I do this on most of my properties, but that river property that we were talking about and that main photo that I mentioned, I used as my main photo. Well, at that same perspective from the drone, I captured that 360-degree panoramic image. And I stitched that 360-degree panoramic image into my MapRight project via a waypoint in that georeferenced position above the property.
So you, as a potential buyer of that property, can view that listing of mine, whether it's on the Land.com network or my website. Click on that waypoint I placed on the mapping system, and you can be inside the drone essentially. And spin 360 degrees and zoom in and look down at the river or the water's edge to just literally get a feel for what it is and where it's at as if you were there in person.
Those are the two things I absolutely love about MapRight, is the ability to share the interactive experience via just a simple URL and then the 360-degree panoramic solo feature.
Seth: Yeah. I'm on one of your listings right now. Pulaski County, 11.2 acres, I think. And I'm seeing exactly what you're talking about. I see the images stitched down there, I can see the topographic lines showing. Yeah, that's pretty sweet, man. I like that. That's very, very useful, especially for what you do.
Adam: Yeah, I love it. And that particular client of mine likes it as well.
Seth: I want to talk a little bit about just the profession of being a land broker like you are. For someone out there who might be thinking, maybe I want to do this, maybe I want to list and sell land on behalf of other people. I know we talked a little bit about how you have to get licensed first and then work under another broker for usually a number of years or do a number of transactions.
In terms of picking a market, where you want to do this, when I was talking with Pat Porter earlier in a different conversation, he was explaining to me how usually you want to live within a couple of hours of all of the property that you sell. The place you actually sleep should be relatively close to those properties so you can get to them and service them on a daily basis. Would you agree with that in terms of you kind of need to live where you're working?
Adam: Absolutely. Hands down, I agree. Some of my competition with other brokers, they may be outdoors and they may understand the dirt, the trees, the animals just like I do, but they live in a metropolitan area, and most of the transactions that they have are a couple of hours away sometimes from where they reside. And I can only imagine how tough that might be from a cost perspective to a time management perspective that can be very challenging.
The other side to it that I see a benefit of being that I live in a little area on a piece of real estate, just like I'm selling to my clients, is I understand the lifestyle. I know the other nuances of living in a rural area and that someone who lives in the subdivision that doesn't take their boots off a county area may not know.
So if you want to become a land broker, I would absolutely encourage considering being centralized in your own market that you serve. And if you're not, one that is familiar with the lifestyle that comes with selling land, maybe looking into educating yourself on what those things are that comes with living the rural way. I've got buyers that want to buy rural property that have lived in the metropolitan area all their lives and they didn't know what a septic system was. They weren't familiar. They thought every single place had some kind of HOA sheet or something. Sometimes that stuff doesn't exist, or things like satellite internet. You don't always have the ability to tap into a hard-line fiber that gives you 200 megabytes a second. You're at the mercy of a satellite connection. So if you want to get in the land game, those are some things that I would consider for sure.
Seth: In terms of figuring out what a good market is to do this. Say if I'm 19 years old, straight outta high school, I want to get into this game, I can move anywhere. I can pick any place to do this. Do I just pick any random rural place in the U.S., or are there certain metrics I'm looking for? I want to see X number of vacant land transactions in this county before I know it's a good place. I don't know, anything comes to mind about “Yeah, move to this type of area because of this. That's going to serve you well in terms of a good market for rural vacant land?”
Adam: Something that comes to mind would be maybe focusing on obviously what's most desirable. Everyone always pursues properties that can produce a passive income of some kind. And what I think about is agricultural properties, tillable property. Properties that you can put in a notation of cash to the enabling farmer that's going to lease it for the next 20 or 30 years from an investment perspective.
There are all those opportunities there, along with the recreational side of things. So most land brokers, at least from my perspective, I think hone in on those two things, the recreational interests, and the agricultural investment interests. So if I were an 18-year-old that knows where I know now, and I could pick up shops wherever I would, I'd obviously see what kind of competition I'm dealing with from other brokers and focus on a part of the world that had properties of that type that were most prevalent.
I don't want to go plant my roots in the middle of the desert and think that I'm going to make a living selling 40 acres of sand over and over again. I want this lumber where it's got property types that are highly sought after.
Seth: On that competition issue. I don't know about you, you can probably agree with me, but something I've found in my life is that competition is actually pretty easy to beat if you just show up and try and respond to people and work hard because so many people won't do the easiest things like calling you back or responding to your email or just putting their effort into it and really caring about the job.
When you think about competition, say if you did enter a market that was already really competitive with other land brokers doing stuff. What kind of things could you do to really stand out from them really easily? Is it just making better property listings or being more responsive? What do you think gives a broker that edge that makes them better than the rest?
Adam: Yeah, that's a very good point. In terms of competition, just in general, I feel that there are more and more land brokers out there that I'm competing against in the past five years than the previous five years. I'm sure that's just attributed to the way the market's been. Will that change going forward? Who knows?
But as far as the things that I try to hold on to beat my competition, and me and another broker here in my office, we say this to each other frequently, well, maybe it's a common thing, I don't know. But if we have an opportunity to get in front of someone, we are going to win every single time. And we attribute that just to our communication skills, being empathetic, having emotional intelligence, understanding the industry or the market and who we are and what we do, and just being real with people.
I feel like Realtors get a bad name just like used car salesmen get bad names for every reason. I think you know why, and I can't stand that. Yes, there are some bad apples out there. Yes, there are some people that are lazy and they take advantage of you and be unethical and that's part of the reason why we feel we can win every time if we just get the opportunity to talk with somebody and show them we're not smoking mirrors. We’re the real deal. We are a buyer of real estate just like you. We know what to look for, how to give you guidance, and how we would want to be treated if we were in your shoes.
I think you kind of had to nail the head right from the get-go is just picking up the phone and talking to people, just being willing to work and work hard for a variety of reasons, being passionate about what you're doing, and serving people like you're going to be served.
Seth: And just to clarify earlier, when you said if you can get in front of somebody, do you mean literally physically face-to-face, or are you talking about on the phone call? Or what does that mean?
Adam: Just in general. Just on the phone would be satisfactory. If I could get in person with them across from the kitchen table, want a neutral kitchen for a cup of coffee, whatever it might be, show people who I am, give myself the opportunity to speak with them beyond just an email or a text exchange, I think I'm going to win.
Seth: I had actually read an interesting article, this is about a year or so ago now. The Microsoft CEO was talking about how empathy is the number one most important thing to a successful business person. Something to that effect; don't quote me on it. But empathy is not something that immediately comes to mind for most people, but when you think about it, it makes a ton of sense.
Just being able to identify with somebody and feel their pain and understand their struggles and what keeps them up at night and just showing that you get somebody can go a long way. I think that gets lost a lot of times. People are looking at more like numbers and figures and other kinds of results, but empathy, it's kind of like that secret sauce a lot of times, I think.
Adam: I would agree. I hang my hat on that myself. I feel like I'm a very down-to-earth, very reasonable individual. I have the ability just to connect with people. Maybe that's an oddity. I don't know. But that's something that I try to take with me everywhere I go even outside of real estate. But I know if I could bring that to the table and find a way to connect with someone and understand their pain points and have a solution to it, why wouldn't you want to work with me? At least that's my goal.
Seth: Yeah. Absolutely. I'm curious, how lucrative of a profession can this be for a land broker? I know we talked earlier about how some people do this part-time, some people do it full-time. It probably has a lot to do with how hard a person pushes it and what markets they're in, what kinds of listings they get, all this stuff. When you just look at the people that you know and that you work with, is this like a six-figure income if a person wants it to be? Is it beyond that? I’m just trying to figure out how much money can be made in this kind of business.
Adam: Absolutely. If you're an individual with a reputable firm that has appropriate resources and support, there's no reason a newly licensed agent couldn't be making six figures within two or three years. There are other factors obviously that would impact that.
For example, there was one agent in north central, northeast Missouri that comes to mind that's just a competitor of mine. They make a great firm, they do a very good job across the country. And he and I sell the same number of units, if you will, every year. Whatever those units might be. But his earnings far exceed mine because of the size of the units that he sells and the price point those units bring.
Do I have the same skillset? Yes. Do I have the same tools and resources? Yes. It's just I'm not in that part of the world. So, I'm not going to have the opportunity to generate as much for myself and my family as he might be able to with all other things considered the same.
That individual makes well over half a million dollars a year. I think there is an opportunity, probably more so on the commercial and residential market side of things, to make beyond six figures. Now, that's probably a 10-plus-year endeavor before you make it to that point. But from a land broker perspective, six figures is very achievable and consistently within a very short period of time. You can if you're willing to work hard. This is one of those jobs where you get out of it what you're willing to put into it. Very much so.
Seth: Why specialize in land instead of houses or commercial buildings or something like that? Why would a person go down this track? When you look at the people that you work with, what was it about this niche of real estate that turned them onto this? Any words of encouragement or warning you would give to somebody who is thinking about this?
Adam: I guess the first part of the questioning why get into it? I think real estate in general, whether you're in it from an investment perspective or in it as a broker of some degree, it's very new grids, it's financial new grids. There's just a lot of opportunity all the time.
As far as why get into the land side of things as opposed to the residential commercial side, for me, as I mentioned a couple of times now, I've had a passion for the outdoors all my life. Who wouldn't want to go make a living doing something you're passionate about?
If I can be outside 24/7, I'm going to be outside doing something, whether it's hunting, fishing, just hiking, whatever it might be. I cannot wait for my next showing every time to load up my UTV, meet someone that has similar interests as mine on a piece of property in the middle of nowhere, amongst nature and everything else that has to offer. Drive around on that UTV and just look at stuff. With the opportunity to make six figures doing that, it's a no-brainer to me. As long as you have the skillset or the resources needed to be successful, go get it. It's there to be got. There's a lot of opportunity with it.
Seth: What are your favorite and least favorite things about what you're doing right now? Surely there must be something that you don't like about it. I'm just curious, what would that be?
Adam: The least favorite thing I would say is probably all the paperwork that comes with the job. And there are ways to get around that. There are a lot of contractual obligations that you have to take into account when you begin serving a client beyond just a listing agreement or sale contract. There are addendums and contingencies and timing that is very important to protect our interest and secure the property the right way. And a lot of paperwork that comes with that.
You got to be really, really organized. You have to obviously understand what you're doing, know what forms to bring in and to implement that at which time, know where to find them or reference them when we need them. So just that side of the business, which it's just part of it. But that's probably my least favorite.
I mentioned there are ways to combat that. We have at our firm internally, what's referred to as a transaction coordinator, and this is a service that a third party can provide, a brokerage. They're usually licensed, very knowledgeable individuals that know all of those things, which forms to use, how to execute them appropriately when they need to be executed. And you can pass off that burden firstly, of course, to someone what's called a transaction coordinator that can kind of offset that. So, that's probably my least favorite thing about this.
Seth: Somebody like yourself, I have to assume if somebody is a land investor or if they do have an interest in buying their own vacant land as well as being a broker, you probably come across plenty of opportunities, right? It's almost like you would have a first shot at a lot of deals that nobody else would even know about.
Is that accurate? Do you have a lot of cool opportunities to acquire properties that you otherwise would never even know about because you're in this business?
Adam: Absolutely. And that's one of the primary reasons to have a Realtor on your side. You may not find your next opportunity scouring Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or cold calling people or sending mail or whatever that might be. That works so many times. If you have a Realtor in your back pocket that you've established a relationship with, usually you are the first one to learn about many of these opportunities.
And we call it pocket listings, and you may have heard that term before, where we know about a property that can be bought before it ever makes it to the open market. And if a Realtor can align a buyer and a seller before that time comes, many times you can save yourself a lot of heartache and time in buying new properties and in flipping properties as well. It goes both ways.
I've got a long list of buyers that are looking for everything under the sun. Once he's got a new opportunity ready to take it to market, I may have a buyer that's willing to pay you whatever you're willing to ask before we ever have to get to that point of getting pictures and putting out signs and taking this deal to the open market and dealing with phone calls and all these back and forth cases with offers and things like that and contingencies. We can get it done a lot of times before it ever comes to that.
Seth: I was actually having breakfast with a guy this morning who's interested in getting into the land business, but more looking for passive income opportunities, whatever there is in that realm. He's kind of telling me what he's looking for and I was thinking of somebody like you. Would it be possible for me to come to you and say, “Adam, I've got this amount of money, I'm looking for an investment that has this kind of yield, I'm looking for this amount of financing?” Just give you all the criteria of the specifics of what I want and just tell you that. And then you can say, “That's unrealistic because of this, or okay, cool, I'll go find you something.” Is that something that you deal with often, or somebody just sort of gives you their order and then you find it and serve it up to them?
Adam: Absolutely. That's exactly how I serve all of my clients. Upon the first conversation, I have essentially a list of questions I'm going to ask. I want to know everything I can about what they're looking for. And right out of the gate, like you mentioned, if there's something that doesn't quite align to me, either their budget to the size of the acreage they're wanting, or the part of the world that they're wanting this acreage isn't realistic, I'll tell them that upfront. There is no reason to waste anybody's time and mislead them.
But at that point, I can then start customized searchings on the MLS system within my own network and so on and keeping a feel for opportunities to keep my thumb on those opportunities as they present themselves.
Seth: Anything else I should be asking you about your job or what land investors should be thinking about as they're buying and selling properties? Anything come to mind?
Adam: No. I think we covered quite a bit, headed from all different angles. I don't think there's anything else right now.
Seth: Yeah. Awesome. Well, Adam, I totally appreciate you sitting down and talking with me. It's been awesome to grill you on all this stuff. If people want to find out more about you, reach out to you for any reason, where should they go? What should they do?
Adam: Absolutely. Well, you can find me in a couple of ways. Visit our website, premierfarmrealtygroup.com, or I'm happy to speak with you on my phone at any time. (314) 541-0389. That's my direct cell. I have it with me all the time. And, of course, my email, email@example.com. You can also find it on the website.
Seth: Awesome. And for the listeners out there, this is episode 154. If you want to check out the show notes where you'll find links to all the stuff we talked about here, go to retipster.com/154. You can find all that there. Adam, again, thanks for chatting with me. It's been awesome. And hopefully, we can talk again soon.
Adam: Yes, sir. Thanks for having me.
Seth: You bet.
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