Selling Land

The Greatest Experience Of My Professional Lifetime…Teaching about Land

One off the greatest experience of my professional lifetime has been to teach the Realtors Land Institute’s “Land 101” class.  For the last sixteen years, I have specialized in Land and Farms sales in the beautiful Piedmont Foothills of the North Carolina and the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Throughout this time I had the opportunity to also develop thirty-four rural subdivisions ranging from four lots to thirty-eight tracts.

Working with Realtors® from all over our region, I have found that rural markets much different than urban markets. Imagine the experience of previewing with clients 100 acre tract of Land with the vast vista mountain views, bold babbling streams, clean crisp air stirring and all of nature’s beauty and sounds surrounding you. What better way to make a living?

Land brokerage is unique profession which requires the knowledge of many different fields. Unfortunately, our real estate industry has not included Land, commercial brokerage or property management among other specialties in its basic real estate education curriculum. It is also unfortunate that real estate buyers have to assume that because someone has a real estate license they also have the capability to sell and market that you have the experience brokering Land.

Currently, all Realtors® are required to take the mandatory “Realtor® Code of Ethics” update course. If you have completed the course, please refer to “Article 11”. If you have not taken the course then pay special attention to Article 11 when you take the update. I have extracted it for you below.

The Article states that:

Article 11

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers Shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction and international real estate.  (NAR is currently working on having the word “Land” inserted).

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/95)

In order to build the skills and knowledge to become a confident Land Broker, you may want check out RLI. The Realtors Land Institute (RLI) is a commercial affiliate of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). It is the only affiliate of NAR focused solely on Land brokerage transactions. Organized in 1944, RLI provides unmatched, specialized Land education and awards the prestigious Accredited Land Consultant designation. Currently we have ten two day certified Land courses. I teach the “Land 101” course. See

I joined RLI in 1999 and took my first two day course “Subdivision Development” now called “Land Development”. Over the next few years, my goal was to take more RLI classes and by 2003 I had completed three of the six required for the coveted ALC Designation. I never dreamed that I would be in front of my pears talking about my favorite subject Land.

In May 2003, RLI launched a new course entitled “Land 101”. That same year, our North Carolina State RLI Chapter voted me NC State RLI Chapter President. Our Chapter encouraged me to attend the Mid-Year NAR Convention in Washington that May. When I called to register, our RLI administer stated that if I would come a day early and sit through the all day new “Land 101” presentation that if I wanted to instruct that course, I would be certified to teach it. Well I did and since then I have instruct nineteen classes in four states.

The next class I will teach is at our North Carolina Realtors® Association Office in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is sponsored by NCREFF on May 7th and 8th. This will be the twentieth class having taught in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and last fall Nebraska. The greatest experience in my professional life has been to teach about Land.

First of all, you will probably never meet a person who has the love and passion for Land more than I do. Second, if you have never been involved in a Land transaction, you will not believe what you are missing. And third, before you get involved in a Land transaction, please gain the knowledge to be able to appreciate what you are involved in.

Agents who have taken our “Land 101” class, most of them become life long friends and colleagues after they complete the course. I make every effort to communicate with all of them that have valid emails and contact information. It is so gratifying when one of my student contacts me about Land and related questions or issues. Sometimes I have several contact me during the course of the week and I always have made a  special effort to respond in a timely manner.

Networking is also a wonderful benefit. We strongly encourage everyone to network not only clients but any information or knowledge about Land and Land related issues. RLI promotes “Marketing Sessions” where our members share “Haves” and “Wants” and real business is exchanged. With this program and our classes, my referrals increase every year and so does my bottom line.

Unfortunately there is very little written about or talked about Land. My goal for 2009 is to use that four letter word “Land” until everyone is tired of hearing it. During the current economic market, Land is about the only investment that is not loosing money. I ask every “Land 101” class if they know anyone who has lost money in the equities markets. They all raise their hands. Then I ask them if they know anyone how ha lost money in Land. No one raises their hands. Then I ask when was the last time you heard or saw a “Land Foreclosure” advertised?  No one can think of one.

For you urban Realtors® there are tremendous opportunities to get involved in Land Brokerage. When is the last time you went to the country and played? For you semi-rural Realtors® you may not have as far to travel but always enjoyable. And for you rural Realtors® I am sure you already practice Land Brokerage. You are the lucky ones and are truly in the “cat-bird seat”.

How can you not like talking about Land, practicing Land Brokerage and teaching others what you know and love, Land?

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About the author

Lou Jewell ALC

Lou Jewell is an Accredited Land Consultant and the author of An Insider's Guide to Land Investment. He is the Broker of Dan River Real Estate, Inc. in North Carolina and is an RLI Land 101 Instructor. He served as the President North Carolina RLI Chapter 33 in 2003 and the NCRCA Board of Governors in 2008.

1 Comment

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  • The man who loves his work, loves life. Lucky Lou.

    I’ve been disappointed in the Obama Administration’s approach to prodding the real estate market. The tax credit for first-time home owners is too limitied–limited to first timers, too low in amount and limited to what amounts to residential housing. Why are second homes and land excluded if the point is to get things moving? Beats me.

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