So here we go…this is a work in progress and all still very new to me so if something is not working or appears to be messed up please contact me at (229) 403-6297 and let me know! We have updated our website which is still in progress and for the most part have received positive feedback with the exception of my “Ramblings” not being updated. Special thank to Kayla at Blough Tech, and for Mason, here at the office, for spending so much time on this site….trying to get it going.
The upside for taking over a year to update my Ramblings is that if gives me a great deal of material to write on! Although, I do think the content of my last Ramblings does have some good merit. I think the way this site is supposed to work now is that my previous Ramblings will stay up. So with that being said, keep in mind that a lot of what I write is just observation and opinion. Always consult an Accountant or Attorney when you have questions about legal or financial matters.
The Local Real Estate Market (Thomasville Area)
2014 was another active year for the Thomasville Area…probably a little less active than in 2013. As always it seems we had plenty of offers, some very good but for whatever reason were just not accepted by sellers who where were holding out. Thomasville always seems to have those sales that are just tremendous “curve busters”. You can bank on a certain type of land selling for “X” number of dollars and then next thing you know, someone buys a piece of property for far and above what comps or appraisals would indicate is it worth. No fault to the buyer, if you want it and can afford it….buy it. Now you have that one comp of like kind that sellers will gravitate towards when pricing their property. Sadly and gladly, we seem to sell some of those properties and there is you double edged sword. Below are some figures from our local board MLS. These numbers should be spot on as they were taken from information submitted to our local mls by REALTORS from all real estate offices in our area.
2014: 545 Residential Sales, 70 Land Sales, 28 Commercial Sales
2013: 567 Residential Sales, 116 Land Sales, 20 Commercial Sales
2012: 500 Residential Sales, 101 Land Sales, 16 Commercial Sales
2011 439 Residential Sales, 85 Land Sales, 12 Commercial Sales
(land sale would include foreclosed subdivision lots which would inflate # land sales during this period)
2015 1st Quarter
522 Current Residential Listings
143 Residential Sales (1.5 Homes Being Sold Every Day For the First Quarter of 2015)
This is a 13% increase over the 1st quarter of 2014.
First Quarter Land Sales were up 80% over 1st Quarter of 2014. (10 Sales 2014 / 18 Sales 2015)
That is a lot to digest but it does give you a snapshot of our market and an upward trend.
I had another broker tell me one time, ” It is always the first son, the second wife, and the third broker that always gets paid!” I am not sure about the the first two of this group but that is pretty accurate regarding the broker. This goes back to pricing properties correctly. Everybody wants that home run but sometimes a single will win the game! Years ago I went to a courthouse sale with my dad in Grady County to bid on some land we had been watching. Upon arriving, it was clear that other people had been watching the same property. I knew many of these people. I also knew that many of these folks were better funded than we were. (We had already talked with the bank to see how they would work with us.) Well to my surprise we wound up with both properties. At first I could not figure this out but over time it became clearer. Many folks want that home run or that “cherry” deal and they will step all over and around a good deal….in search of a “Great Deal”. Well we purchased those two properties, cleaned them up, flagged corners, got a farmer to plant some peanuts on them and we sold those properties in 6 months. There are plenty of good deals out there. It is like making a good grade on a test. You have to study and do your homework.
We have about 100 or so REALTORS in our Local Board and all of us are pretty much running around after the same buyers and sellers. The best I can say is that we all have strengths and weaknesses and what I know is that there is still plenty of business for everyone. It is notable that we have seen more younger REALTORS join our ranks in the last couple of years. This is encouraging and I believe is an indicator of our market. The new REALTORS put pressure on the old ones to step up our game. I think one of my strengths it that I realize after 20 years in the business, I don’t know everything.(But it might surprise you what I do know.) This would explain why I spend so much time and money attending classes and conferences on land and real estate related topics. Apparently the Georgia Real Estate Commission thinks along those lines as well as they have recently increase our Continuing Education Requirement from 24 hrs to 36 hours. That is a big jump in hours.(I have a 14 Hour Florida CE Real Estate Manual waiting to be completed at my House!)
This past year we did see a noted decrease in the demand for Agricultural property in our market area. We did however see an increase in folks looking for recreational land. Our residential rental market remains strong and our commercial rentals are staying pretty much full. Currently we have a good bit of ground being broken around the Thomasville/Thomas County Area on commercial projects. Things seem good. We are very thankful.
2015 Land Conference in Orlando:
Wow!!! What a great conference. This conference is put on every year by Dean Saunders of Coldwell Banker Commercial down in Florida. They have some of the same speakers as the REALTORS Land Institute National Land Conference. Kayce did her best to wrangle a Disney Trip out of this conference but we had to pass on Mickey this time. Hopefully soon…..Disney has grown on me…..my kids are growing up way too fast. Conference…..Powerful Speakers….write out of the Blocks…AG Land, Soils, Water….and there you go. Paul Genho, PhD (President of Farmland Reserve, Inc., Retired) spoke on increasing world populations, specifically those countries and areas of highest growth rates that are unable to feed themselves. Then he spoke on the importance of soils and the importance of water. I could have left the building after he spoke. Folks, somebody has got to feed the world and it will be the United States. And would you just look at the Southeast….100,000 square miles of aquifer covering 3 states, great soils, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, the Mississippi Super Highway, Ease of Doing Business, Quality of Life, Climate, and SEC Football! Truly, GOD is Good! The Southeast is looking good and even though commodity prices are down…this is just good time to be trying to pick up Ag property. Farmland Reserve Inc. was the entity which purchased all that land from the St. Joe a while back. Dr. Genho was president of Farmland Reserve at that time.(Dr. Genho was also General Manager of King Ranch out in Texas for a time.) This guy knows his dirt! That is what he said……”Show me the dirt, let me see a soil map, let me go to the middle of this land and put my hands in the soil.” The dirt will tell you all you need to know.
I like numbers and this guy had them. Considering AG Land For Investment? Consider the following:
We in the US Spend about 6% of our income for food, most countries spend over 25% of their income on food. These percentages will rise. You can see the correlation between civil unrest and wars when compared with sharp spikes in food prices around the world. Consider food prices and the “Arab Spring.” IN the Asia/Pacific region the middle class will increase by 60% by the year 2030. When you consider food, population growth, and who has the means to produce food…..you really start seeing how Ag land is a good investment. Even though commodity prices are down, we still have farmers leasing dry land for $100 per acre. As an investment, start squeezing some money out of that land….brake out your hunting leases…..separate turkey and separate deer leases, farm lease, rental property on non performing parts of your land, crp programs, fruit/nut plantings, timber plantings, there are all kinds of ways to start pulling money out of property in addition to the farm lease. Staggering numbers this speaker was putting out….and he was citing his sources. This speaker made the statement that there had not been a decade since the 1920 that land did not exceed Standards and Poor. Weather we as U.S. citizens recognize the value of land or not, people from other countries are starting to…..and they are buying land, because they see it…they see what is going on with food prices in their own countries..they see our police power in place to protect their investments…we have just been so blessed for so long….we think things will never change. Time to start scratching your head and give land some thought as an investment. Ol’ Bill Gates has been picking up several “Small” farms in the southeast. Bill ain’t on the JV team folks…..he knows a thing or two. (Most of the above was taken from some of my notes at the conference,,,the non opinion stuff anyway.)
There were speakers from the Citrus, Cattle, and Forestry Industry as well as an economist from Texas A & M Real Estate Center. I could go on and on with my notes….The guy from Texas A & M was really good(Dr. Mark Dotzour). He has been a Key Note speaker at the National Land Conference for years. Here are the high lights from his presentation:
Economy will continue to improve in 2015. Investment yield in farmland going up. Foreign and US investment in Farmland exploded in the last 5 years. US spending money on wars instead of infrastructure. Consumer confidence up. Price of oil has been down so we have more money to spend. Stocks have hit record highs but much of this is on borrowed money to buy stocks(margin debt)…….this speaker my have a website but he was really good eat explaining hard concepts to folks like me. You might can Google his name and see what you come up with.
You can bet I will be at next years Land Conference in Florida….the cost was about $80.00 and included lunch. Started at 9:00 and I think we were finished by 3:00. I drove down that morning and was back home in Thomasville that evening. A good trip and I did get a glimpse of Disney as I drove through some of the hilly orange grove highways west of the Magic Kingdom! Seeing how this conference was during Spring Break it became apparent traveling by I-75 would not be the best route so we took a detour through old Florida. I got to retrace some of my steps back when my dad took me with him to school and meetings down in Florida….does anybody remember FREE (Florida Real Estate Exchangers) I was there! I got to see Rainbow Springs….went by a place called Crockers Pub…or something like that….Dunellon I think…not sure about the spelling but did not stop….4:30 was a little early to be stopping at the Pub!
Hunting and Fishing:
Colin shot his first Buck this season but it was disappointing as it ran off and we could not locate even with a tracking dog. Hard lesson learned…shot placement…more practice….good time with the kids this hunting season though….we all spent some time in the woods. I did shoot a nice doe with my bow and was able to have some smoked hot deer sausage. We fished a good bit down at the coast off and on this past years and we are looking forward to a great tarpon season this year! We shall see. I am so far behind on writing these Ramblings I really do not have a good fishing story unless I pulled out the one where my brother and I went camping at the Suwannee River with dad when we were young boys. We mistook a pack of Feen-a-Mint for Chicklet chewing gum. You can fill in the blanks on that camping trip! I have been working with Colin on his Fly-Casting. I was able to have lunch with Lefty Kreh during the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival this past year…this after he completely ripped my casting apart! Nothing like a good dose of humility! Either way, it was a great honor to learn from him and have lunch with him to boot. Thanks for the introduction Ed! In case you don’t know who Lefty is…he is the foremost educator and champion of fly fishing in the world as we know it! As of late he has been a regular on the fishing show Buccaneer and Bones…if you own a fly rod, you know who Lefty Kreh is. If you don’,t you need to sell your fly rod and go buy a can of worms and enjoy fishing that way. Just a great educator, superior fisherman. Fly Fishing may just be the ministry God called this man to.
FAMILY- Kayce and I just took the kids to Camp Winshape this past weekend. They will be there for a couple of weeks. This is the first time we have been away from each other for this long so we are all praying a lot! Kayce and I are excited for them. This will be an adventure for them as they grow as individuals with out mom and dad around, and grow closer to God in the process. I am overwhelmed at all the people we have ran into who have just went on and on about what a great camp this is and what a powerful Christian influence this camp has had on their children. Who knew Berry College had such a cool campus?
On Jesus: Well, we just finished up another year of RA’s(Royal Ambassadors) “We are ambassadors for Christ” II Corinthians 5:20, at first Baptist Church on Wednesday nights. I really enjoy this! I have helped Ms.Pat Johnson with RA’s for about 3 years now. What a blessing and what an example Ms. Pat sets. You want to talk about staying the course, running the race, and fighting the good fight… Ms. Pat is the model of consistency! She is a great example. Those boys will touch your heart. I can be hollering for them to settle down and they can be going crazy and you almost want to string’em up by their toes and then when we have our prayer circle one of them starts praying and your like…..”He was listening…He got it!” Boy it will touch your heart. These boys need to see men active in the church and in their lives. Sometimes I will get so worked up at some of these boys for goofing around when the need to be listening and then I hear from their parent or I see the kids outside of church and you find out that you are reaching some of these kids or at the very least you are making some small impact on their lives that their parents can see. Some how, some way, we all need to be plugged in about reaching people for Christ. Some folks can pray, some folks can volunteer, some folks can help financially…..we all have some gift to offer. I always thought if you just make yourself available, God will use you. You do not have to wait until everything is just perfect or the timing is right….just jump in and let God lead the way. I make a lot of excuses like that…..where I wait for the “right” time. Anyway, that is my two cents on that.
Once again, sorry it took so long to update my Ramblings….it may be better under this new format. Please excuse typos, grammar, an punctuation issues…I need to quit typing and get to selling!
As always, pray for our President, our Country and our Troops.