I have a buddy who is a Navy Seal and has become a very successful businessman. He has been fearless in battle and fearless in taking on new ventures, succeeding where others have failed. I asked him, “What is the key to your success, and how do you keep focused with so many market variables?” His answer was simple, “I plan my dive, then I dive my plan.”

As the economy has strengthened, I have been asked by clients if this is the best time to buy land. It appears when markets are strong, one of the major decision points is trying to forecast the future. When will there be a correction of values? We’re in an election year; the uncertainty of the political future is one factor that drives decision. Lots of factors, lots of fear, what to do?

I’ve been selling land in Southwest Colorado for 25 years. I’ve seen good markets, and I’ve seen bad markets. I’ve seen the robust times, and I’ve seen how we survived the 2008 economic recession. I have seen properties on the market for 15 years that don’t sell, and I’ve seen ranches sell so quickly that they never hit the active market. The old adage, “Location, Location, Location” is true, but I would venture to add “An ‘A’ property will always be an ‘A’ property, in the good times and bad.” The ‘A’ properties always sell first and always sell for the highest values. The plan we dive: buy “A” class properties. Our greatest success is finding ‘A’ class properties in a ‘C’ or ‘D’ condition and resolving those issues.

I cannot speak highly enough about the Realtors Land Institute and the educational opportunities that have been given to this elite group of ranch brokers to understand strategies and resolve issues. Recently, in Grand Junction, our continuing education was specific to title issues, understanding easements and other related issues, which many times, if remaining unresolved, will move that ‘A’ property into a lower condition—losing salability and value.

As an example, a number of years ago we marketed a centennial mountain ranch west of Montrose, Colorado. Bryan Walchle, an agent in our office, represented a buyer that very much wanted the ranch. However, it had an issue—the access to the ranch was undocumented and passed through four other neighbor’s properties. This was a deal killer! The issues certainly required legal counsel, but just as importantly, it required a seasoned broker who could work with the neighbors to explain the situation and resolve the problem. Bryan’s diplomacy and problem solving skills were evident, and he soon became the point man for the ranch. He oversaw construction, a wildlife mitigation project and livestock management. He took this ‘A’ property and took it into ‘A’ condition. The family has now decided to sell the ranch as their focus lies in other parts of the U.S. Bryan Walchle was the obvious choice to be the entrusted agent to represent the spectacular X Quarter Circle Bar Ranch.

The plan we dive: Buy an ‘A’ property, understand market values and use an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC). When is the best time to buy land? Right now! The bonus, if you hurry, the fall colors will be in full bloom lighting up the hillsides as tapestry painted only by our Creator. We even have background music of bull elk in full rut screaming with all their might, an experience never to be forgotten. I get to go to work today; I’m the luckiest guy on earth!

Joey Burns, Real Estate Agent

Joseph (Joey) C. Burns
Lone Eagle Land Brokerage Owner/Broker
RLI Colorado Chapter President
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