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How the Pros Buy and Sell Land

The following article appeared in the Fall 2011 Issue of TerraFirma, the official newsletter of the Realtors® Land Institute

Doing Things Right
by STEVE ANDERSON, AlC Anderson Realty

As an Accredited Land Consultant, I am able to communicate--and demonstrate -- to my clients that I have achieved a high level of expertise and am committed to serving their best interests.

I recently was involved in a transaction that illustrates exactly why, and I use these kinds of examples so that my clients understand what a land professional, espe­cially one with specialized training, can do for them.

Upon a walkthrough prior to a closing, I noted a "red flag:' The property boundary, according to the survey and the field notes provided, were not matching. It is not my duty to verify boundaries, but it is my duty to ask questions and seek expert advice. So, I called the title company and informed them of the discrepancy and was told the abstract they pro­duced was good. I also informed the selling agent of the situation and was told they had sent the wrong field notes and legal description.

Seeing that transaction was set to close in two days and that the property being described was not the same as is in the contract,  I got in touch with the sur­veyor that supplied the survey. I was told that nei­ther the seller nor his agent had requested a survey, but only to go out and mark the corners of the prop­erty. (It's also important to note that two other land transactions affecting the boundaries of this prop­erty had been done and recorded since the last survey and field notes had been recorded.)

I am not a surveyor. However, I did have the good for­tune of taking the Institute's GPS course and having the proper software to support such boundary research.  As a result, I did have the presence of mind to know that there was an error that had to be rectified prior to letting this transaction go forward.  I know that Accredited Land Consultants understand the impact of this kind of mishap when someone learns that he did not buy the piece of property he thought he had.

I don't know which is scarier: working on land trans­actions with an agent who does not have a clue of what is involved in land deals compared to homes or commercial properties or working with a title com­pany's abstract department issuing a legal descrip­tion on the wrong property and closing it.  Either way, if we don't do our due diligence and insure that all of the Ts are crossed and Is are dotted, our clients are going to be saddled with a mess to clean up, which also will bring legal action to all involved.

I know we all have accumulated similar horror sto­ries over the years. However, in our current market with all the new agents and cutbacks at the title companies, it behooves us to take great care in pro­viding our clients with the type of representation they come to expect from our ranks.

Our company has taken on a commitment to train new agents as well as encourage continuing educa­tion of more experienced agents to insure that they have the knowledge and tools to better understand what their responsibilities are in performing their job in the area of farm and ranch land transactions.

I appreciate being part of an organization like the REALTORS® Land Institute, which continues to pro­vide the education and tools we all need to provide the highest level of competency to our clients. There's no better way to build your business than by doing what's right and doing the right thing.

--Posted with permission from REALTORS® Land Institute

REALTORS® Land Institute is a membership organization that is specialty offshoot of the National Association of Realtors®.  This organization consists of an elite group of realtors who specialize in land.  To become an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), these men and women have gone through extensive training in land brokerage.  They continue to train throughout their careers so they can give their clients the best available advice when buying and selling land.  For more information about REALTORS® Land Institute and to find an Accredited Land Consultant, visit their website at

Trevor  &  Dave  at the
RLI Land Conference in
Nashville, TN  March 2011