Money is simply an idea. We all agree that we’ll exchange this idea of money for goods and services. If it all breaks down you can’t eat money. However, you can grow crops on your land and eat those fruits and vegetables and survive. What is more important than that?
As the economy slowly rebounds and unemployment begins to drop in almost every state, now is the time to ride the cyclical wave of real estate. Whether it’s a house, multi-tenant, commercial building or my favorite raw land now is the time to start reloading and dipping your toe back into the investment waters of real estate.
The argument is obvious. Interest rates are low and the competition for great deals are getting fiercer every day. These next few years are where some serious wealth is going to be made as it just seems the timing is getting better and better and now the employment numbers are finally backing it up.
The real question is how do you start getting involved building wealth in real estate if you are a newbie? There are some excellent free learning resources online such as www.biggerpockets.com or you could take a real estate investing class at your local community college. The days of information being a rare valuable commodity are over and there is literally no excuse to not find the information you need to become a knowledgable real estate investor.
Now is the time. Don’t delay.
Why do billionaires love land so much? Probably for the same reasons that you do… It’s the only thing that lasts. Anyways, check out this article on CNN and learn how John Malone eclipsed Ted Turner as the largest land holder in the country.
I just spoke with a customer of mine named Paul that owns 40 acres outside of Lovelock Nevada. He is constantly exploring alternative building methods, and sustainable living. Every time I speak with him on the phone he tells me about a cutting edge idea to help people build a home off the grid using alternative energy or alternative building materials.
Today he told me about aquaponics. I had never even heard of the term and then started doing some research at the sites he recommended such as http://www.friendlyaquaponics.com/ and http://www.aquaponics.net.au/.
Basically, aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
Aquaponic systems vary in size from small indoor or outdoor units to large commercial units, using the same technology. The systems usually contain fresh water, but salt water systems are plausible depending on the type of aquatic animal and which plants are used.
Aquaponic systems do not typically discharge or exchange water under normal operation, but instead recirculate and reuse water very effectively. This is fantastic in a desert environment! The system relies on the relationship between the animals and the plants to maintain a stable aquatic environment that experience a minimum of fluctuation in ambient nutrient and oxygen levels. Water is only added to replace water loss from absorption and transpiration by plants, evaporation into the air from surface water, overflow from the system from rainfall, and removal of biomass such as settled solid wastes from the system. As a result, aquaponics uses approximately 2% of the water that a conventionally irrigated farm requires for the same vegetable production.
Learn more about this new technology by simply googling aquaponics or visiting the sites above. Let me know if you have any experience with this type of self sustainable farming and the results you had using it.
In 1906, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. In the late 1940s, Dr. Joseph M. Juran inaccurately attributed the 80/20 Rule to Pareto, calling it Pareto’s Principle. While it may be misnamed, Pareto’s Principle or Pareto’s Law as it is sometimes called, can be a very effective tool to help you manage effectively.[i]
In everyday terms, the Pareto Principle is a reminder to focus on what’s really important. Specifically, it teaches that of all the things you do today, only 20 percent actually matter because that 20% produce 80% of your results. So, when you can identify those things that produce the majority of your results, you can better manage your time and focus on just the 20% that really counts!
When we think of this from an entrepreneurial standpoint, we realize that we should be able to generate 80% of our revenue from just 20% of your activities. Let’s look at the example of Warren Buffet: 90% of his wealth comes from only 10 investments. The same holds for real estate – here are a few practical tips for applying the Pareto Principle in your daily life:
- Focus your time efficiently
- Don’t get caught up in the little details like formatting content, colors or other less important details that you can pay someone else to fix;
- Don’t get sidetracked on Facebook and Twitter and answering emails
- Attend to these matters but use your time wisely and strategically
- Learn to balance competing priorities – If you are busy taking care of something important and the phone rings, answer the phone so you can have a good reputation for being accessible to people and then get right back to what you were doing;
- Your priority needs to creating deal flow and then selling those deals;
- Everything else is unimportant
- Write down your top six priorities for the day, cross out 5 and devote 90 minutes to the one thing that is going to make you the most money in that day;
- You’ll get to the rest when the most important things have been done.
- I bet if you really look at how you spent your time, probably only two hours were really effective in terms of taking your goals to the next leve.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, and you can always call or email me.
The Land Geek’s Part II to Creating More Buyer’s Than You Can Handle
Step #1: Be accessible: When people call you, pick up the phone!!!!
In this day and age people get a lot of comfort from being able to personally speak to the owner of the property, especially when they are buying on-line and have not actually seen the property themselves.
We also live in the era of instant gratification. People are so tired of going through the bureaucracy of anything now and folks now want to be able to contact anyone at anytime! So be social, be everywhere! Be on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc. Configure your website settings so that when you add a blog post it automatically goes to Facebook and Twitter and ensure that you have your notifications properly set up so that you are immediately made aware of new questions that are posted in forums, social media sites etc. where you have a profile. If someone has a question for you on a forum or Facebook, answer the question promptly even if you need to gather additional information you can at least make your presence known in a brief way and then respond with more information as soon as you are able.
Step #2: Utilize Virtual Assistants to Leverage Your Time
You can’t be everywhere at the same time and one way to be accessible to your clients is to use Virtual Assistants to free up your time. I am creating an entire training program on how to use Virtual Assistants because in this business they can do almost every aspect of this business. To the contrary, you can’t focus on your priorities if you are trying to do everything that is involved in running a business. Your focus should be exclusively on: customer service; doing deals, buying property at wholesale prices, creating your marketing plan and overseeing your virtual assistants to ensure it is executed; setting up your social media presence, building your lists and overseeing the development of your website and squeeze pages so that you can develop strong buyer’s lists.
For an example, if go to my website www.frontierpropertiesusa.com you will see that I have my Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, RSS Feeds icons readily accessible and very visible to make it really easy for people to engage with me on the social media sites.
Your goal is to quarter-back off the work of the Virtual Assistants. So to get started go to Odesk.com or Elance.com to find Virtual Assistants from countries around the world with varying skills, rates and more. You can have Virtual Assistants (VAs) help you from the beginning:
- Example #1: Hire someone to set up your WordPress site
- Example #2: Once you have created your land ad, you can pay them to post the to the appropriate websites.
- Example #3: Have them troll the internet for real estate questions that you can answer. I hired an assistant in the Philippines who goes on a yahoo forum for real estate and sends me ten land questions every day. I answer the questions directly through the yahoo forum which engages me in these on-line forum conversations and sure enough that is driving traffic to my website because people say “who is this guy,” they see that I know what I am talking about and want to start following my work.
It does not do you any good to be working 80 hours/week trying to do this job and getting all bogged down in the technology and the details when there is such a better way to do things! In this day and age, there are so many inexpensive ways to get this work done so think outside the box and use your time wisely!
People often ask me: “Mark, what is the secret to your success.” While each person’s journey is unique, there are some key elements to business success that each aspiring entrepreneur must learn. In thinking about how to offer you the most valuable advice today on my blog, I settled on some advice from one of my land coaching programs, “More Buyers Than You Can Handle.” I will share with you today one component of that program as Mark’s Marketing 101.
Let’s begin by talking about on-line marketing. There are so many incredible resources available these days to folks who are looking to advertise properties. I recommend that when you first get started you begin with the free sites such as craigslist.org, basckpage.com, bid4assets.com, ebay.com, webstore.com etc. You also want to really take advantage of the power of Social Media – make a Facebook page, upload photos and descriptions of your properties and let all of your contacts know about your new page.
Once you start generating some income, go ahead and invest in paid advertising by marketing your properties on quality sites like landwatch.com, landandfarm.com and other sites as well. You really want to create an on-line presence – you want to be everywhere.
You also want to create your own website. I recommend using WordPress.org and you can easily and inexpensively hire a virtual assistant from a website such as freelance.com or Odesk.com to help you develop your site. Once you have a website, here is the list of what to focus on:
I. Make sure that your site is SEO ready
- Consider hiring an SEO expert to get your website up to speed
- You want your site to come up at the top of the search results page when people enter search terms matching what you offe
II. Start Making Land Videos
- Make sure to include keywords when you upload them to the internet so folks can find them (You can do your keyword research at adwords.google.com)
III. Tell a Story – Give Life to Your Land!
- Differentiate yourself from 99% of the other people out there;
IV. Build Traffic through Video
V. Incorporate Calls to Action
- There need to be calls to action everywhere on your site so that your clients can easily make a purchase and don’t’ have to search around for the “Buy Now” buttons.
These are just a few tips to help you get started. If you are really interested in making money in the raw land industry, consider some of my land coaching products. Contact me today for a free 15-minute consultation so I can steer you in the right direction and tell you what products would be a good fit for you.
Stay tuned next week for Phase II of Mark’s Marketing 101: Guerilla Marketing Off-line!
These days I am constantly hearing from my Land Coaching clients how difficult it is to research properties. Doing it wrong can cost you time, money and your reputation! I’ve seen people buy land with no access, property with liens on them and in areas that the water is not even drinkable!
Most often flat land is the least expensive to develop and the most desired for building purposes. However, be careful when buying flat land because the worst thing you can do is buy swamp or marshland. Land with barren rock will increase costs and virtually eliminate a basement just the same as a high water table. The best $150 you can spend is investing in an online research company such as www.homeinfomax.com. Also, please review the mapping program included regarding expertgps.com in association with Google Earth. Short of visiting the parcel, this is going to give you 90% of the land story, plus you’ll have great maps to provide your potential buyers!
Regarding the quality of the soil – high quality soil appears rich and dark in color and is considered ideal for most purposes. You don’t want soil that is hard, cracking ground when dry and then sticky soil when wet. Warning! Check with your state offices for the presence of expansive soils; this stuff cracks foundations in the most insidious ways, leading many to ruin.
Many people are literally being driven to the hills -granted the views can be spectacular but roads, utilities, water, sewer, and foundations, such as pilings, can add 25-30% to building costs alone, further adding to this already expensive proposition. When considering going vertical, an 8-degree slope is about the limit when concerning building economically on hillsides. Plots with trees, a view, rectangular in shape, a gentle slope or none and a good location are most often preferred, and streams can boost values by 100% in some cases.
How to Determine the Value of Raw Land
Using the appraisers standard view of estimating value can give us some clues, so let’s look at what appraisers do!
* Site size and shape, represented by frontage, width and depth.
* Corner influence equals visibility for commercial, or privacy for residential
* Plottage, has assembly or combining of parcels been accomplished
* How much land is excess or surplus; surplus has less value than what is required
* Topography: Land’s contour, grading, natural drainage, soil, view and usefulness
* Utilities: Sewers, drinking water, natural gas, electric, telephone, cable, etc.
* Site improvements: Landscaping, fences, gutters, walks, drives and irrigation
* Accessibility: Parking, location, streets, alleys, connecting roads and highways
* Environment: Climate, adequate water supply, air quality, rivers, lakes, oceans and the absence of any hazardous materials
An old timer once gave me this advice: He said, “Mark, always try to buy land that is located as close to those amenities that an area is famous for, as that is often the reason people come to certain areas. He lived in Florida and had plenty of beachfront property located in tourist areas, which clearly illustrated his point.
There are so many different ways to make money if you own land. If your goal is to create income using an existing asset, you might be surprised how creative you can get even with a small piece of land you.
If your land includes fields, you might want to take a look through the on-line and paper classified ads in your area. More than likely you will be able to identify horse or cow owners who are looking for space to graze their animals. What a fantastic way to make money and if your land includes large pasture areas, the animals will keep the grass down so you can even save money!
If you own wooded land suitable for hunting, you can rent your land out during hunting season. Best of all, you can charge by the person or charge a flat fee. You are in control with this one, making it one of the best ways to make extra money while maintaining full use of your land during the off-season. If you have wildlife on your land, I recommend that you explore this income-generating possibility.
Have you noticed how many mini-storage rentals there are? If you have a building on site, this is another potentially lucrative way to make extra money. These days no-one seems to have enough room to store their stuff which makes storage space a prime way to earn some extra income. Even if you only have an old barn or shed you can store four wheelers or boats during the off-season (or trailers, campers, snowmobiles, classic cars etc.).
If you have level, open land that would be suitable for camping, you might want to look into the logistics of starting a basic campground. Depending on the current condition of your property, it is possible to start up a campground with only a small amount of start-up money. Usually to get started you only need stakes to make the sites, some campfire rings, a port-a-potty and signs. There are so many free and inexpensive ways to advertise these days such as Craig’s List and backpage.com that you can at least place an ad and see what kind of interest it generates. If there is interest in your area, you have a pretty simple way to generate passive income without having to make a large upfront investment or doing expensive upkeep.
If your property includes wooded areas, it might be smart to get a few quotes from different logging companies to see how much you could earn from the timber. In order to preserve the value of the land and to be a good environmental steward of your property, I do not recommend that you clear-cut the land. However, you may be able to log part of it while preserving some of the wooded areas. You might want to look into logging companies that cut sustainably by selectively harvesting only certain kinds of trees. This protects the value of the land as well as lessens the negative impact on the environment. Just do a Google search on “sustainable logging companies” in your state.
If your land is in a high traffic area, I suggest that you look into renting it out as a flea market. Do you know how many small tables you can fit on an acre of land? Even if you charge just $15/day for each vendor and you have 20 vendors/day for the first year, you are already generating an additional $300/day which comes to more than $2,000/week. This is a very low-cost way to make use of your land while helping to connect local vendors and consumers in your community. As usual, do some research on the logistics before diving in.
Depending on the kind of farming that exist in your area, there may be individuals or larger companies looking to lease land short-term or long-term for farming purposes. If you have tillable land, it could be worth your while to place an advertisement in the local papers as well as places like Craig’s List and backpage.com to see if you get any hits.
In this day of alternative energy, it is possible to make money leasing rural land to wind generating companies or others within the alternative power industry. However, the details about this are too complex to cover in this article. I do explore these topics on my blog which you can access through my company website or check into other articles that I have posted here on Ezine.com on the topic.
Providing space for paintball “wars” is still a big industry. If you are in doubt, just check out all the paintball fields linked through this website: http://www.pbreview.com/fields/ As you can imagine, it does not take that much to make your raw, rural land “paintball” ready. Essentially you just section off all or part of your land and rent it out to groups. Just to give you an idea of how it works, here is a a link to an example of a privately-owned paintball field: http://www.actionpaintballsac.com/
Land is an asset especially for those who are creative and determined enough to invest the time and energy into getting something started. Just be sure to do the proper research before you get started such as finding out if you need a license or permit and dot all your “i’s” and cross all your “t’s.” Good luck!